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PART OF THE CAMDEN FRINGE FESTIVAL 2016

Presented by Now You Know Productions

Life is more than the days you have left. Jeff & Jasmine are two very different people, at very different stages, sharing one life threatening disease. But through each other they learn why life is worth being threatened.

Written & Directed by Anthony Orme, the play tells the uplifting story of how life is measured in friendship and the experiences had, not hours.

★★★★★ ‘Sometimes theatre doesn’t just entertain, it matters.’
(ALBIE MEDIA)
★★★★ (GINGER WIG & STROLLING MAN)
BOOK NOW https://upstairsatthegatehouse.cloudvenue.co.uk/home

David J. Keogh

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How did you get involved with the play?
Anthony Orme (The writer and Director) contacted me and asked me to audition.  He had seen a lot of applicants for the role of Jeff but because he had cancer I think they were tending to play him as a victim – when I did my audition I wanted to make him a little more normal – cancer shouldn’t define who he is.  Anthony must of liked what I did! But also, it was beautifully written and it’s the kind of role actors beg for. Really demanding and utterly uplifting – perfect! In fact, I laughed and cried a number of times when I read the script and if it moves you that much then it’s worth doing. Anthony is a very talented writer.


It is a very important and moving subject matter, how do you feel the play tackles the subject?
By not making it a play about cancer! It’s actually a play about hope and seeing the positivity in things. Cancer isn’t really mentioned in the play, it just sits, brooding in the background, feeding the character emotions. When we did the play in Brighton, we had people wait for us afterwards – hug us and say thank you for dealing with it so well.  It has moved a lot of people and we haven’t had a single negative reaction to the topic at all.  The play isn’t making light of cancer – it’s simply showing how people react to it and have to deal with it.  It’s not an easy subject for sure – but it’s sensitively dealt with and well researched.


How do you prepare for such a role?
Well I was going through cancer testing at the time as part of a study at the Royal Marsden – my father died of it at a young age so I was supporting a study into the genetic links that cause it.  So some of the preparation was done for me – I also know a number of people who have had cancer – Some have survived and some sadly haven’t – it gives me instant perspective on Jeff as a character and I understand what he is going through as I know people who have dealt with it (and are dealing with it) first hand. But I must me honest, nothing prepared me for the emotional weight I carried around with me when we performed the play in Brighton. The genuinely beautiful response from the audience however, made every minute worth it.
What challenges have you faced?
We have very high expectations of our performances – and during the week I did the play I was suffering from flu which made it hard – but I got through it – and we Had excellent reviews which helped. But also, knowing you are doing something that is deeply affecting the audience makes us all feel incredibly responsible for the audience.  And there are Some very emotional moments in the play – the emotions you see on stage are real too. We all know of people who are affected by this disease so it makes it difficult.
As an actor what keeps you motivated?
This job is such a privilege – working with amazing actors and other creatives every day is motivation in its self – but also, when an audience – be it on film or on stage, appreciates what you do. Then it makes it all worth it.
Did you know of Actor Awareness before I approached you?
I had followed you on Twitter for a while so yes – but I know a lot More now about what you stand for now and quite frankly – it’s wonderful.  I’m a working class actor – I didn’t get the opportunities when I was younger because of my background and that’s why I came into acting so late.  So hurrah to you all and keep up the good fight because we are seriously under-represented out there. I’m so proud to be in any way involved in what you are doing.
Do you feel campaigns like Actor Awareness are a good step in making a more inclusive industry?
Yes – they have to be.  Working class people simply don’t get to make the choice to go into acting in the first place and the ones who manage to, have to work extremely hard without support and often against the wishes of their families.  Acting isn’t considered a job if you aren’t earning -and families often think you’re a bit odd if you go into the arts!  There’s a whole culture issue – but purely in actor terms, we have less contacts and favours to lean on, which in an industry that very heavily on contacts and who you know, makes things harder.  Any help is welcomed.   We need actors from every background.   The reality of course is that regardless of background, you have to have talent of you’ll eventually get found out – whatever class you stem from! And working class people shouldn’t use their background as an excuse – but let’s be clear, it is harder for us.  But that’s shouldn’t stop us trying to break through.
What would you tell your younger self if you knew what you knew now?
Believe in yourself.  You have so much to offer. Stop thinking you are worthless!  I had a tough childhood so carried a lot of baggage into my adult life.  I wasted so much time doubting myself.  But I’ve proven I can do this – and I like to think I’m quite good too!   I believe in myself now. Damn… So much wasted time…
What attracts you to theatre ?
There’s really nothing like audience interaction and the sense that people are reacting to what you are doing. The buzz of knowing that at any moment, anything can (and often does) happen that’s off script -Each performance is different each night depending on the other actors and what they do and reacting to that in the moment is wonderful – It’s that mixture of fear and adrenaline and being in the moment that is so different from acting on screen.
Suffering from prostate cancer  how has that been in regards to preparing for the play? it must be very challenging.
Well I was diagnosed 4 weeks ago – and I still have to go on stage knowing that I am playing someone with the disease.  It’s a rather unfortunate opportunity to method act! In some ways it is cathartic because I get to play a character who is very angry at his diagnosis and has little support at home – I have the opposite, I have so much support and I am actually using my diagnosis to help raise awareness – I feel I carry a responsibility to help other people get down to the doctors if they are  worried about something. Having cancer doesn’t stop me from being an actor – I’m planning on being around for a long time yet and don’t see why this should stop me.  This is my dream – if anything being diagnosed only makes me more determined. My preparation for the play stays the same.  But I also have to remember the effect My diagnosis may have on the other actors – it’s not easy for them because last time we performed I was cancer free.  Next time will be a lot more real for all of us.  I’ve only had four weeks to deal with this myself – But at the end of the day it’s a play – I’m playing a character and we all have a job to do.  It’s not about me, it’s about the audience and ensuring they enjoy the play – which I am very confident they will.
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Theatre4thought

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It is time, Ed preview’s for my very own show ‘The Monologues of a Tired Nurse’ is here.

Please come and support @theatre4thought and watch some cool theatre, if I do say so myself.

THE PLAY

“One day you’re expected to know nothing cause you’re a student and then as soon as you’re qualified you’re expected to be this person, this somebody, this perfect person who never makes mistakes…” 

Emily, an optimistic newly qualified nurse and Sally an exhausted nurse in charge, both at polar opposites in their careers. The story follows Sally and Emily’s memories of nursing up until one fateful day that changes both their lives forever. Set in the present day, at a time when the NHS is short staffed, forced to make cuts and constantly under scrutiny. Where nurses are penalised, criticised and told by the government that they’re not doing enough after another long day. When you’re getting paid £11 an hour to do someone’s last offices, when you’re telling a mum their baby’s passed away or when you’re the newly qualified nurse on her first day, with little support and no time for error- how is anybody supposed to cope?

“We are all just stuff, bits of stuff and one day we won’t exist anymore. We are all just molecules and bits of dust.”

The Monologues of a Tired Nurse depicts the internal conflicts of two nurses in the modern day and gives you a peak through the curtains of how it really feels to be a nurse. The play deals with themes of nursing, mental illness, relationships & grief. It is an emotional, harrowing, raw, brave and naturalistic piece of writing which is attimes funny but more often than not painfully truthful.

“She just wanted to save everyone but you finish with one wound and there’s always another.” 

Directed by Simon Nader and brought to you by Theatre4Thought. Theatre4Thought are a new company making work with a conscience, getting people to examine today’s world in new ways.

BOOK

http://www.theatren16.co.uk/#!monologues-of-a-tired-nurse/wfmtp

Hang – Edinburgh Fringe Pick

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‘HANG’ BY DEBBIE TUCKER GREEN

Hang is set in the near future where the death penalty has returned, with a twist. Shot through with dark humour, it dramatises the inadequacy of words and the impossibility of saying or doing the right thing in extreme circumstances.

It follows one woman’s inner turmoil as she comes to a decision that she must live with forever.  She is guided by officials for whom squaring the procedural protocols and human sympathy does not come easily.

Hang premiered at the Royal Court in 2015. This is a new production by Yellow Jacket Productions – a newly formed company of June 2016 graduates from The Poor School: Kim Christie, Jessica Flood and Tiannah Viechweg.

Hang’s director, Kevin Russell, is the Artistic Director of New Dreams Theatre Company and has been working as a freelance theatre director since 1997. His recent productions include: A Dolls House Barons Court Theatre (2015),Nannies Theatre N16 (2015), The House that looks like Hitler Courtyard Theatre (2015), Memory of Water Barons Court Theatre (2013).

2 become 1- Edinburgh Fringe Pick

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Swipe Right Theatre Company was created in 2015 by Kerrie Thomason and Natasha Granger. After training together at University, they both have accomplished successes in their separate careers. Joining forces, they aim to create and perform new writing, which is thought-provoking, cutting-edge and exciting for modern audiences

THE PLAY

Comedy pop musical following four 90s girls embarking on a wild night of speed dating, meeting Mr Wrongs and Mr Rights along the way. A hilarious non-stop journey through infectious pop anthems and ballads. After her recent break-up Jess is left crying into her Haagen-Dazs, and what better way to unbreak her heart than to meet a man a minute? Relive that 90s love with all your favourite classics from Shania Twain to All Saints and witness speed dating before the takeover of Tinder.

Eliza Hewitt Jones is performing in 2 become 1 and here are a few questions we sent her way
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I did the festival last year and just had the most wonderful time. It honestly feels like another planet, it’s so creative and just a good atmosphere. I think I am going to want to come every year! Plus it is an amazing place to showcase new shows!
What keeps you going in this tough industry?
The thing that keeps me going as a performer is when I’m not working remembering how much I enjoy it when I am. That’s the key, just remember why you are doing it!
Why do you support Actor Awareness?
So many people want a career in the arts and many want to train but it’s become unaffordable. There are hardly any grants nowadays for people wanting to go to drama school etc, I know people who have had to drop out of training because they couldn’t afford to continue. It needs to be supported more so everyone who wants this career has the opportunity to pursue it, otherwise it becomes impossible, everyone should have the chance at a career that they want, it shouldn’t be a case of money, there should be more funding.
In one sentence describe Edinburgh
feel good, energetic, crazy, fun!
& Enjoy it because it goes so fast and then you end up back in London with the Edinburgh blues, be prepared for little sleep and diet plans will probably go out the window.

BOOK : https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/2-become-1

Mine

MINE

August 1st-3rd with a showtime of 2:30pm

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“Ben, I don’t want a child right now. Actually screw that, I can’t have a child right now…”

Does anyone really belong to us? Do our friends, our lovers, our children? “Mine” by Georgia Taylforth, explores three couples route into pregnancy, and questions whether they have a right to claim ownership of that child and indeed each other.

Following it’s successful run at The Courtyard Theatre in April 2016 Who Said Theatre’s “Mine”, written by Georgia Taylforth, is transferring to The Etcetera Theatre, Camden as part of the Camden Fringe.

If you missed it the first time round (or you just want to see it again!) then you can book tickets online at: https://cam.tickets.red61.com/performances.php?eventId=3113%3A1249

“Fresh, vibrant and energetic, moving along at a brisk pace, yet delivering the more poignant and shocking moments with emotional sensitivity and awareness.” – Peter Brown, ActDrop, *****

“Exciting, thought provoking material.” – Scatter Of Opinion        “Excellent.” – Brenda Blethyn

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So Patch how did you get into acting, did you always want to be an actor?

Like many I’m sure, I first got into it at school. There was a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which I auditioned for so as not to be outdone by my older brother (he had played Robin Hood the year before). To my surprise and secret glee I was cast as Willy Wonka, and so dedicated myself to learning the part. In hindsight I probably gave an utterly garbled rendition, but it was enough of an experience to chase as much theatre as I could thereafter. Aged 14 I don’t think I seriously considered the possibility of being ‘an actor’, but I suppose the ambition came about as a natural result of never wanting to stop.

You did a course at the Guildford School of Acting. Why did you decide to train? How do you feel it set you up?

To the first part of that question, the short answer is that I wanted to be a better actor and start growing a network within the industry. The short answer to the second part is that it did both those things. In more depth, I knew there was nothing else on this earth I wanted to do and it seemed like the best way to get a foot in the industry’s door and give myself some credibility. I feel it set me up pretty well; attending a school does of course qualify you for Equity and Spotlight memberships and I was lucky enough to leave with an agent as well. Furthermore, I’ve had work that I’ve got directly through contacts I made at GSA. Drama school worked for me; it was a great way to start my career but it’s certainly not the only way to start.

Many people can’t afford drama school and the rising fees cause people to choose different paths, how important do you think it is to maintain an inclusive industry?

Goodness me how do I approach such a significant subject? I feel very underqualified to share my opinions on this. I’ll start by saying what’s important at the moment is not to maintain but to pursue an inclusive industry. We don’t have an industry that is all-inclusive and that’s the problem. As you say, the cost of training is huge; the ratio of the cost of going to drama school versus what you are likely to earn when you leave has to be one of the most unfavourable of any vocational course I can think of. Understandably this puts people off as at face value it looks like a terrible investment. Then, once in the profession, there is a relatively small amount of paid work available compared to a vast number of actors, none of whom have any greater or lesser right to work than any other. This too squeezes out people who simply can’t earn enough by juggling day jobs and taking acting work when it comes along. These are people who are just as likely to be talented, skilled and have stories to share as people whose circumstances mean they can wait it out, and it leaves sections of society without a voice. So, it’s extremely important. In the long-term what can be done? As well as the easy answer of MORE SCHOLARSHIPS, networks of like-minded people such as Actor Awareness are wonderful because they provide a platform for people to showcase their stories and skills and meet professionals at the same stages of the careers, as well as actively seeking deals to help members find ways of keeping their business expenses down. I’m full of admiration for the work you guys do. I also found out about a group called BOSSY (I have limited understanding of as it is a women’s only group) it is a forum for female industry professionals to come together and support each other, groups like these are amazing places for people to help each other through the same challenges.

Tell us about the new play ‘Mine’.

Mine is a play about 3 pairs of people and how pregnancy changes their lives. In order of appearance, the first ‘couple’, Ben and Sophie, meet on tinder and engage in a no strings attached relationship (can I call that a relationship?), then my character Chris is in a couple with Emma, played by the playwright Georgia Taylforth. They appear to be the perfect couple; completely in love, supportive of each other and still having plenty of ‘fun’. The third pair is Toby, a gay man unsuccessfully trying to adopt, and his best friend Lauren who offers a solution to his problems. The play asks what ownership the characters have over their future children, and indeed each other (I may be slightly plagiarizing from the official description…). I’m also proud to say we’ve made it onto Stagedoor’s list of most anticipated shows of Camden Fringe!

What have you got from your experience working on ‘Mine’?

Today I have a headache and bruised pride because I was an idiot and misjudged where the arm of a sofa was and smashed my head against the wooden bit of it in rehearsal earlier. I’m also exhausted and I think I might smell a bit. However I’ve got the satisfaction of working with hugely talented friends, playing some seriously challenging scenes and, well, working. Just working. I cannot tell you how much I always love just having the opportunity to work.

We all know it’s a tough industry, so what advice would you give other actors and what do you tell yourself to keep going?

I’m only at the beginning of my career so I would feel like a complete fraud giving any advice! What I will say instead is the way I try to approach what I do and if anyone is able to make sense of it then all the better. My outlook is based on the old cliché ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’. I try to treat acting like a full time job. I make sure I do something to help my career every day, even when doing the day job, and treat days off from that as a gift. What I can do in a day obviously depends on how much time I have available, but believe me, now I’m in the habit of keeping busy it’s a hard one to break! I tell myself that that elusive breakthrough might not come along today, tomorrow, or even the day after that, but it’s out there somewhere so it’s up to me to be available and to be ready. I’m lucky enough to have found an extremely flexible day job (they are out there), so much so that I’ve never had to miss an audition because of it, and affordable enough rent (they’re also out there!) that it’s not a big deal if I have to cancel a couple of shifts here and there. That’s availability covered, and as far as being ready is concerned, I just try to make sure I’m always working on or towards something. It keeps me on the ball.

‘Mine’, by Georgia Taylforth, is performed by Who Said Theatre directed by Blake Barbiche, at the Etcetera Theatre on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd August at 2:30pm.

For more information (as well as booking links) you can visit our website at:http://www.whosaidtheatre.com/#!mine/tiwj8

@WhoSaidTheatre

Joseph Beaumont Howell

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If you want poetry that is funny, truthful, gutsy and given with flair, look no further than working class poet Joseph Beaumont Howell. He performed at Actor Awareness Launch night and brought the house down.

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London based, but Leicester born, Joe Beaumont-Howell is a performance poet, spoken word artist and storyteller with a love for all things real and a focus on finding beauty in the broken.Starting out shouting poems in pubs, Joe has since worked with organizations such as Roundhouse where he is an active Artist Resident, BBC 1Xtra and has performed across the country.