Staffroom

Saturday July 22nd 10pm

The Staff Room examines the life inside a state school staff room. Three teachers. One staff room. But what’s the subject?

Behind closed doors three teachers form an unlikely friendship. Bonding over fad diets, Instagram abs and the government’s impending sugar tax – in this school it’s not just the students who have lessons to learn. Sometimes all that matters are biscuits and banter.

One for the Netflix generation, this is a sitcom for the stage speaking about society today through the eyes of its educators. It stars Craig Webb, who appeared on Gary Barlow’s Let It Shine (BBC) earlier this year, Faye Derham and Hilary Murnane. The Staff Room plays a week at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 21-26 August at The Space @ Surgeon’s Hall.

About the writer and director Michelle Payne

Training: PPA & Arts Ed.
Michelle is a writer, director and actress from Essex. Her first play Orchid won two awards at the annual Moors Theatre Awards (Camden Fringe 2015) – Best New Writing & Best Actress.
Credits (Writing): Sad About the Cows, Too Thick For Politics, The Robbing Class, The Staff Room (The Bunker, Theatre N16), Orchid (Moors Theatre & Etcetera Theatre), Hero & Other.
Credits (Directing): The Staff Room (Theatre N16), …And The Award Goes To and Ordinary Days (Ye Olde Rose & Crown) both for The Out Of Work Collective, Hearts & Minds (Queens Theatre Hornchurch). Associate director & choreographer for Split by Emma Pritchard & musical-comedienne Tamar Broadbent (Brighton Fringe). 

Michelle is currently understudy Alice in Adventures in Wonderland at The Vaults.

Associate Director Anna Buckmaster

Cast

Hilary Murnane

Faye Derham

Craig Webb from BBC ‘Let It Shine’

Review

https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/145480/michelle-paynes-the-staff-room-theatre-n16/

The Staffroom has several Edinburgh fringe previews so go now and catch one! Follow @STAFFROOMplay

 

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2022

Saturday 22nd July 7.30pm

 

 

How has actor awareness helped you ?

Actor Awareness gave me the chance to showcase the short version of my play in front of an audience and get feedback. And now they’ve given me the chance to showcase a whole hour of work, in front of public, industry and reviewers; a really invaluable opportunity.

What do you hope to get from the festival?

Feedback, first and foremost. And to see how the material plays out in front of an audience – what works and what doesn’t. And the chance to network, see other people’s work and make contacts. 

In three words tell us your writing style ?

Punchy, funny, dynamic.

In one sentence sell us your play ?

A dystopian drama about a post-Brexit British Muslim ban.

 

About the Writer & Director…. Colleen Pendergast

Colleen Prendergast trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. As an actor, her credits include The Mortal Ash (Bush Theatre) and The Comedy of Errors (Nuffield Southampton). As director her credits include After Penelope (White Bear/Rome International Fringe Festival) and The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana (Hope Mill Theatre).

2022 is her first full length play.

 

Cast

Gower – Richard Innocent

Richard Innocent trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Recent theatre credits include 2022 (Brockley Jack, Old Red Lion Theatre) and The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, The Ugliest Woman in the World (Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester). Richard is a graduate of the University of Leeds, and has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe for Fourth Monkey Theatre Company and Aireborne Theatre. 

Colquhoun – Jayne Edwards

Jayne is an actor, writer and voice over artist. Since graduating from Bretton Hall, she has worked extensively creating and performing new work, both scripted and devised. As an Associate Artist for the Pensive Federation she has performed at The Oldham Coliseum, Tristan Bates Theatre and The Vaults. In October 2016 she was awarded the Special Mention in the 3 minute round at Monologue Slam, Theatre Royal Stratford East. 

Selwa Dewan – Lauren Santana

Lauren has been lucky enough to play a variety of exciting roles in London venues, including Juliet in The Secret Theatre Company’s production of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ She has also performed with a company in Vienna and recently filmed in New York for an upcoming fantasy book trailer, ‘The Shadow War Saga.’

Walk of Shame

Friday 21st July,  7.30pm

Meet Alice, she’s loud,  she’s proud, she loves sex and vodka.

Meet Liam a city boy with a past; hungry for the London life.

Two people’s world collide in a night that changes their lives forever. For Liam it is a night of glory, for Alice it’s a Walk of Shame ….

How has Actor Awareness helped you?

Emelia:  After not getting into a BA drama course after my foundation I felt a bit like what shall I do.  Actor Awareness has kept me focused on my career and now I have positives goals to look forward to. I’m creating work and actively steering my own career. I’ve acted, directed and wrote for Actor Awareness scratch nights. I really apprieciate their support in my work.

Steph: I have many positives to reel off but I feel I have mentioned them all before. I’m very grateful to be working with Emelia on Walk of Shame .

What do you hope to get from the festival?

Positive responses for Walk of Shame and hopefully it will give us an idea of how to shape it for the final rewrite for production later this year and early 2018

In three words tell us your writing style?

Emelia: Stephanie and I have co-wrote this so it’s two styles merged. The piece itself is brave, lyrical and honest.

In one sentence tell us your play?

Hard hitting, courageous look at different perceptions, judgments and the ugly truth of judging a book by it’s cover.

About the writer’s

Emelia Marshall Lovsey is a FCA Rose Bruford grad and she has worked with Stephanie on her play ‘The Monologues of a Tired Nurse’ Edinburgh 2016 and has directed many of Glass Half Full Theatre productions. She recently directly their 2nd production ‘C’est La Vie’ which is also showing at the Actor Awareness festival.

Stephanie Silver met Emelia at an audition at Lamda back in 2014. Their working relationship and friendship has grown and they have the same ethos and drive to make thought provoking gritty theatre.

Cast

Stephanie Silver as Alice                  OFFIE nominated Calum Speed as Liam

Worsooz

Wednesday July 19th at 7.30pm

WORSOOZ, Longlisted for the Papatango Playwrights Award, London                Written   by Catherine Kay / Directed by Kevin Russell / Performed by Actor Awareness      

An assured piece of writing – beautiful and tender. Suzanne Bell (New Writing Associate, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester / Everyman Theatre, Liverpool)

Refreshing, political and feminist.Janis Chambers (New Writing Associate, Octagon Theatre, Bolton)  

Detailed characterisation, playful dialogue, touching and funny.  A promising voice.  (Papatango Playwrights Award, London)   

A play born out of Thatcher’s Britain…When Worsooz meets her estranged father Nick, her mother Alberta is immersed in a secret relationship with girlfriend Anne and building their plan to rid the world of domestic violence.  Isolated and disgusted by her mother’s relationship, Worsooz is lured into criminality by her father Nick and immerses herself in to a secret world where only men can belong.  Set in the late 1980’s against the backdrop of the rise of the women’s refuge movement, Worsooz is a semi-autobiographical story of how far one girl will go for the love of a father.

Worsooz journeys to the dark corners of Thatcher’s Britain to explore the lives of people living in a city where there’s ‘no such thing as society’.  The people are real, their stories universal.  This is 80’s Britain but just as relevant today in 2017.

Worsooz is directed by Kevin Russell who directed the successful revival of Hang by Debbie Tucker Green for the Edinburgh Festival 2016, winning Best production of a Drama and Best Performance in a drama for Tiannah Viechweg at the Derek Awards.  The production also played at the Brighton Festival and will be produced later this year in London.  Other directing credits include the London premier of the Bryony Lavery adaptation of Henrik Ibsen, A Dolls’ HouseMemory of Water, Shelagh Stephenson, My Best Friend by Tamsin Olgesby, Barons Court Theatre, all receiving 4 and 5 star reviews.  Homefront, Rosie MacPherson Jermyn Street Theatre.  6am Hospital Chapel, Dick Curran Bread and Roses Theatre.

Catherine Kay is a writer, actress and producer from Manchester. Her first play Bubbysaurus attracted positive feedback from literary managers in new writing theatres like Hampstead and Soho Theatre, directors like Max Stafford Clark and iconoclast writers like Edward Bond.  A single parent at 18 and unimpressed by not seeing the sorts of writing for performance that reflected her own life experiences, Catherine produced Bubbysaurus a play about Love, Friendship, Babies and Raves at Contact Theatre (Manchester) and the production gained critical acclaim with sell out audiences and was later nominated for an MEN Theatre Award for Best New Play.

After a long stint in the literary wilderness, Catherine returned to theatre with her second play Just One Day an uncompromising and unsanitised story about sexual violence and the F word.  The play was researched and developed with the support of Manchester Rape Crisis and STAR (Surviving Trauma after Rape) Wakefield.  Catherine produced Just One Day at Lowry Theatre (Salford), receiving a 5 star review.  The script was published by Playdead Press in 2014.

Catherine Kay says of her new play, ‘I’m very excited about the production of Worsooz.  I wrote the play as a wedding gift for a close friend of mine. I’m also really pleased about working with the director Kevin Russell and the brilliant Actor Awareness, I wish they’d been around when I first started out to help fight my corner. It’s very uplifting and empowering the way that they’re collaborating with actors, writers and directors.’

Worsooz will be published by Playdead Press later in (2017)       

How has Actor Awareness helped you?

Actor Awareness has been a god send in terms of my play Worsooz being seen and heard by the general public.  Their divine intervention has enabled me to collaborate with talented professionals and use my work as a vehicle to generate opportunities for others and exercise my lofty ideals about art being for everyone.

What do you hope to get fro the festival?

Due to an hour long extract of Worsooz being performed at the festival I have already secured the publication of the script.  Additionally to this I would like the full play to be commissioned by a new writing theatre or on the strength of public and industry feedback secure funding for a co-production of the play.

In three words tell us your writing style?

In Yer Face

In One sentence tell us your play?

Power is never given it is taken.

Above photo taken at the Actor Awareness scratch

About the writer….

Catherine is a writer, actor and producer.  She studied a Postgraduate in Writing for the Stage at The Arden School of Theatre and a Masters in Screenwriting at Screen Academy (Scotland).  Her credits include Bubbysaurus, nominated for an MEN award for best new play and produced at Contact Theatre (Manchester) and Unity Theatre (Liverpool).  Just One Day produced at The Lowry Theatre (Salford) and published by Play Dead Press.  Worsooz, longlisted for The Papatango Playwrights Award (London) and published by Play Dead Press (2017).  Catherine is currently writing a musical / lyrical love letter dedicated to her beloved hometown of Manchester.

Directed by Kevin Russell

Kevin directed the 5-star Edinburgh & Brighton Fringe sell out  ‘Hang’ by Debbie Tucker Green 2016-2017.

Hang won Best Drama and Best Individual Performance for Tiannah Viechweg at The Derek Awards and was short-listed with two other productions for the prestigious James Tait Black Award. Kevin is an experienced director directing a wide variety of styles including the London Premier of Bryony Lavery adaptation of Henrik Ibsen: A Dolls House a new musical for Goldsmith Universcity, London and several new pieces of writing.

Additionally Kevin recently directed a new play called: 6am Hospital Chapel for Free Rayne Artists which was performed at the Southwick Playhouse April 2017.

 

Cast

Heather Howard plays Matilda

Jayne Edwards plays Anne (Worsooz mother girlfriend)

Nigel Fyfe plays Nick (Worsooz dad)

Mark Forester plays Geordie Nicks friend.

Vicky Winnings plays Alberta (Worsooz mum)

Kate O’ Rourke plays Joyce

Chloe Dark plays Worsooz

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Come Die With Me

Thursday 20th July, 7.30pm

Written by Vicki Connerty / Directed by Shian Denovan

‘I had tighter cheekbones after I laughed my way through Vicki Connerty’s black comedy’​ ​British Theatre. ​Upstairs, a man is dying. Downstairs, his family attempt to navigate their way through the entirely unfamiliar and oft-absurd waters of grief with varied levels of success. A darkly comic tale of love, loss and laughter.

 

How has Actor Awareness helped you ?

Actor Awareness was the first scratch night to fully stage my debut short play, ‘Come Die With Me’ which was a fantastic experience. It also got me my very first 5* review from BritishTheatre.com! Being asked to extend it for the New Writing Festival was amazing and terrifying in equal measure – nothing scares a procrastinating playwright more than an immovable deadline but the Actor Awareness guys have been nothing but supportive and encouraging, despite my occasional midnight ‘gaaaaaaaaaaaah, I can’t do it!!!!’ emails! 

 
What do you hope to get from the festival? 
An extended run somewhere would be quite nice! But in lieu of that, I’d just like to sell out my show and not have anyone walk out, fall asleep or throw cabbages at me afterwards. Luckily, I have a brilliant director and a talented cast so I’m hoping for a cabbage-free zone.  
 
In three words tell us your writing style 
Naturalistic, irreverent, optimistic. 
 

In one sentence sell us your play
Come Die With Me is a darkly comic tale of one family’s attempt to navigate the unfamiliar and oft-absurd waters of grief and loss. 

About the writer…. 

After spending two decades working in the media industry in the U.K and Australia, Vicki returned to London in 2016 to take up a place at the prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where she is studying for an M.A in Writing for the Stage and Broadcast Media.

In February 2017, Vicki saw her debut short play, ‘Come Die With Me’, performed as a rehearsed reading at Fizzy Sherbet’s new writing night before it was selected by Actor Awareness to be staged for the first time at their scratch night in April. Since then, it has been performed as part of Little Pieces of Gold’s new writing night at Southwark Playhouse and recently enjoyed a 3 night run at Bread & Roses Theatre in Clapham as part of ‘The Platform’.

In April, she was one of four playwrights selected for Reading Between The Lines Theatre Company’s annual writing relay event, #OffTheBlock6 where each writer was given one day to write a 20-minute play, with all four plays then being rehearsed and performed on the Friday. As a dedicated and lifelong procrastinator, Vicki is still recovering from the experience of writing a play in a day.

Despite questioning the logistical and financial wisdom of writing a play that requires a full-size coffin, she is tremendously grateful to Actor Awareness New Writing Festival for breathing yet more life into ‘Come Die With Me’.

She is also grateful to the National Theatre for supplying aforementioned coffin at a discounted rate and to her white van driver Tomas for dragging it all over London and up several flights of narrow fringe theatre stairs without complaint.

Vicki is the author of a blog (‪www.fellowshipoftheringlets.com).

 

Directed by Shian Denovan

Cast

Stella Ross – ‘Helen’

Jacqueline Johnson – ‘Debbie’

James Robert Gordon – ‘David’

Saria Steel – ‘Rachel’

Never Trust a Man Bun- Review by Emelia Marshall Lovsey

                   

Written by Katherine Thomas

Directed by Katie Turner

Lucy is looking forward to a perfect night of watching Googlebox, eating left overs and spending time with her housemate, friend and someone she cares for more than she cares to admit- Gus. Gus is looking forward to seeing his beautiful on-and-off girlfriend Rachel, who he’s just got back with and has invited round for dinner. Rachel is looking forward to seeing Caps again and setting him up with Lucy. Caps- with the sexy man bun has other ideas… One night, one box of wine and a double date- what could go wrong?

Turns out a lot. Never Trust a Man Bun by Katherine Thomas is brought to us by theatre company: OPIA after their previous show ‘Unnatural Selection’ which was co-written by Thomas and received high praise from critics and audiences. Thomas writes dialogue with ease and lines that pack a giggle and a punch just as easily. For example: after a squabble among the characters about who has to (against their desires) be partnered with Lucy for the game of charades, she shouts “does it matter who goes with who, you don’t have to shag the person!” It is this quick wit and funny one liners that Thomas does best and that keep the audience engaged and laughing throughout the play. Despite the play’s wit, it still also asks questions: Is it possible to love more than one person at the same time? Why do we love someone if they don’t love us back? How do we choose our partners a more importantly why? Going forward these big and exciting questions along with the other central questions to this piece could be explored further and not lost sight of in expense for the quick banter, the story arc could be looked over to make sure it keeps driving to the end and ensuring that this questions are fully answered so the audience can feel really the punch at the end.

The performances from this piece are solid from a strong cast made up of four actors which includes the writer of the piece who plays Lucy. It is immediately apparent that they are all well rehearsed and have all made clear, bold character choices. Their energy and comic timing is great and consistent throughout the piece. The stand out performance though is from Calum Robshaw, who’s character has real depth. He plays the awkward and slightly desperate Gus. At the beginning of the play you laugh with and admittedly at him, as he shows off his over priced and some what lame apron, by the end of the play you feel great empathy for him. His impressive comic delivery mixed with his ability to be present and truthful make for a great and moving performance.

The director Turner offers sharp, comedic direction in this fast paced dry comedy. She could afford to explore the subtext of the piece in more depth with the actors as this is where most of the drama stems from. Though I am not certain that this piece of theatre would entirely pass the ‘Bechdel Test’ it does  explore dynamics between couples well enough. My only reservation was ditsy Rachel played by talented actor Natasha Grace Hutt, she keeps telling us she’s not stupid while making a fool of herself. In the play she seems to only be referred to as either an idiot, a ‘slag’ or beautiful and though this female stereotype gets laughs, it might be more exciting to see another more complex, human and compelling side to the character. That said, the rest of the audience didn’t mind as they laughed heartily throughout this dark comedy. If you missed this sell out show, fancy some fringe theatre and a good laugh you might be in luck, the show is transferring to Bread and Roses for The Clapham Fringe.

Cast

Lucy played by Katherine Thomas

Gus played by Calum Robshaw

Caps by Jack Noble

Rachel played by Natasha Grace Hutt

 

Graphic Designer Tanya Perry– OFFER

Graphic designer Tanya Perry is an experienced poster designer and has done all the above posters design for Glass Half Full Theatre. She is offering her freelance service at a discount to our readers. Pls contact her at tanyaperry1986@gmail.com

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She can do a one day turn around on a Special price of £80

She can also do show programmes but this is a negotiated price depending on what you want.