Our Big Love Story

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Headlining the Actor awareness Festival after a 3 week, 4-Star run at the Hope theatre last March is ‘Our Big Love Story’. Our Big Love story was written for the Race and culture scratch night and has gone from strength to strength.

The critics said: ‘Hilarious & Heartbreaking’ ‘Reminiscent of a Guy Ritchie Film’ ‘Perfect example of how theatre can deal with with serious issues and still be entertaining’ ‘Heart-wrenching’ ‘Captivating’ ‘Energetic, fast- paced and thrilling’ ‘Beautifully Detailed’

The Play is now set for some more London Venues including ‘The Rose, Kingston, Main stage, 8.15pm on July 7th as part of the international Youth Arts festival. Tickets can be nabbed here, don’t be shy, it’s a big theatre!! :  https://www.rosetheatrekingston.org/whats-on/our-big-love-story

Originally directed by Calum Robshaw the show is now under the direction of Kevin Russell of New Dreams Theatre. We are very excited to bring a new vision and fresh ideas to the show. At the heart of new writing is evolution and we are so excited to shape the show further with the brilliant Kevin Russell. Kevin’s directing credits include: the award winning production of Hang by Debbie Tucker Green – Edinburgh Festival 2016 and Brighton Festival 2017. Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson,  My Best Friend by Tamsin Olgesby, The Diary of Anne Frank (Pavlion Theatre Brighton) Worsooz by Catherine Kay (Actors Awareness) Frankinstein, I Thought I Heard a Cuckoo by Micheal Cadman,   Homefront by Rosie McPherson Jermyn Street Theatre, An Act of Kindness, a new musical performed at Tristian Bates Theatre and the London Premiere of Briony Lavery adaptation of Henrik  Ibsen play – A Dolls House. Kevin is also artistic director of New Dreams Theatre.

The show headlines the Actor Awareness New Writing Festival Saturday 28th July. We have 2 showings, 3pm Matinee and a 7.30pm evening show.

Stephanie Silver /Artistic Director Glass Half Full Theatre 

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Bio: Stephanie is a actor/writer/producer/director. Artistic Director of Glass Half Full Theatre, New Writing producer for Actor Awareness and Associate producer at New Dreams Theatre. Currently developing ‘How To Save a Life’ under Catapult Scheme at TheatreN16, writing and producing short film #StrongNotSkinny, Co-written and performing in ‘Walk of shame’ at Tabard theatre this July as part of Get Over It productions new writing festival and developing new play ‘Consequences’ Barons Court Theatre,  Jan 2019.

 

Cast

Holly Ashman, Sulin Hasso, Ikky Elyas, Alex Britt, Grace Hadleigh

Check out some of the reviews here if you aren’t already eager enough to come!!

https://secretreviewldn.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/our-big-love-story-the-hope-theatre/

http://www.swlondoner.co.uk/heart-wrenching-and-laced-with-emotion-our-big-love-story-at-the-hope-theatre/

https://www.carnstheatrepassion.com/team-review-big-love-story/

Our Big Love Story, Hope Theatre – Review

http://www.miromagazine.com/theatre/review-kicked-in-the-shtter-at-the-hope-theatre/

Book Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/actor-awareness-new-writing-festival-tickets-46395174215

We will also be at The Courtyard Theatre July 31st to August 4th. Tickets: http://www.thecourtyard.org.uk/whatson/1046/our-big-love-story

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Brittle Britain

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Director & Writer – Tom Stocks 
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TOM STOCKS works as an actor, writer, director, stage manager, producer and teacher before founding his company, Actor Awareness, which fights for equality, diversity, and working class talent in the arts. A proud northener born and raised in Bolton and Manchester, he trained in musical theatre and performing arts, receiving his degree from the International Film School in Wales.

Having worked on various theatre projects, commercials and feature films, Tom joined Pen Works Media as an agent in the spring of 2018. His passion and commitment to representing talent from all backgrounds makes him a unique person within the industry; one who can be trusted and relied upon.

 

The Play

Brittle Britain is a series of comedy sketches on politics, Brexit, UBER ambulance and over sensitive hipsters. Lets all laugh at the state of our country. In a world where sketches are a dying breed Tom Stocks offers us a refreshing selection of laugh out loud sketches.

Cast

Hue Cox
Stephanie Watkins
Sarah McKenzie
Elliot Blagden
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Book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/actor-awareness-new-writing-festival-tickets-46395174215

Taking Liberties by Caroline Gray

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 The Play

“If you’ve ever wondered where Cumberland sausages come from, this show is not for you. Amy’s having a shitter of a day…week…month…well, year.  Listen closely as she tells you the story of how things went from bad to downright diabolical, but when you’re this good at lying the truth is neither plain, nor simple.”

How have you found being part of the Actor Awareness festival has been beneficial to you?

This is my first time doing anything but acting in a show and the thought of all the extra things to take care of is definitely anxiety inducing, so it’s been really great to have someone to ask for advice. To explain about what else needs organising and when, someone who has experience. Also Taking Liberties is a solo play so it’s good to be under the umbrella of a known name rather than just me.

What have you done to prep for the festival?

I’ve been working on the script and gearing up for rehearsals now that I have a director. I find music is important terms of character and atmosphere so I’ve put together a list of songs to play as the audience come in so they’re getting to know the character already and to get them in the right mood for the play. Also I’m about to start rehearsals so I’ve been doing a lot of the regular prep stuff to be able to make the most out of the time I have with Lucrezia.

Your biggest challenge?

As Taking Liberties is a solo piece and is pretty minimal tech-wise, I think the director and I will have to work hard to keep the audience’s attention, to keep them interested and invested in Amy.

Your hope for the play in the future?

I hope people like Taking Liberties and that I can continue to develop it and put it on again.

As there has been a surge in new writing nights how do you think Actor Awareness is different to other new writing nights?

I think the main thing about Actor Awarenes is that it’s not purely the scratch night. That alone is great as you connect with lots of new people but it also has the yearly festival. Being Chosen for the festival there’s the ability to fully realise your idea to a full blown play. There’s a progression there and the security of doing that with the help of people who know what they’re talking about. I certainly needed a kick up the bum to finally make Taking Liberties a full play. Doing the scratch and then the festival helped me to make an idea I had years ago a reality. I think that makes Actor Awareness stand out.

carolineCaroline Gray is the writer and she is also performing as Amy in ‘Taking Liberties’. She is a Graduate of Manchester School of Theatre.

The Director / Lucrezia pollice

lucrezia.jpgLucrezia Pollice is a theatre director and filmmaker who has recently directed her own show ‘Breathe’ which is transferring to Covent Garden at the Tristan Bates Theatre from the 6th to the 11th of August. She has directed in most of London fringe spaces as Kings Head Theatre, Theatre n16, Canal Cafe, Bread and Roses Theatre.. Lucrezia trained at Central and RADA, as well as performing in Operas at La Scala as a child. She enjoys directing community theatre, new writing, modern adaptations of classics and Opera – “directing is all I do and will ever do, it does not matter where or how, as for me the quality of the work never changes”.

The Unspoken by Jody Medland

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JODY IS AN AWARD-WINNING WRITER, author and playwright whose work is renowned for its strong characters and original concepts. In 2013, Jody wrote his debut feature film The Adored, which went on to enjoy worldwide distribution, winning Best Film at the Durban Film Festival in South Africa as well as earning three official selections in Poland, Germany and the USA. In 2015, he released his debut paperback novel The Moors, which was the first print book launched by his own publishing company, Pen Works Media. Jody’s interactive novel The Somerton Man is due for release in 2018, and he was recently commissioned to write a TV Pilot for an original political drama / thriller, titled Shadow Empire. He was recently hired to write a British/Indian crossover film by Universal Entertainment, too.2018 will also see the release of a hat-trick of original plays, titled The Unspoken, The Architect, and The Intruder, set to establish him as an exciting new playwright in the mould of Arthur Miller, Martin McDonagh and Harold Pinter. When not juggling on his numerous projects, Jody can be found spending time with his daughter in Devon or people-watching in Crouch End, North London.

The Play……..

Northern England, 1972. When the miner’s strike threatens a state of emergency, a
seemingly abusive coal miner fools his blind daughter into thinking they live a life of luxury. However, his unorthodox methods serve as a device to protect her when he succumbs to a fatal disease.

How have you found being part of the Actor Awareness festival has been beneficial to you? 
Having never put a play on before, this has been a really good learning curve in an aspect of writing that I’d previously not explored. Actor Awareness has a good reputation, so I feel proud to be a part of it, and when I mention that I’m in the summer festival, it’s allowing me to get a good number of industry contacts interested in my work.
What have you done to prep for the festival?
I’ve rewritten my play a number of times to get it as tight as possible, and I started rehearsals early to ensure my actors can get a good handle on the script. I’ve also thrust myself into a little set-building, which I feel is integral to creating the right feel for my play. Now it’s time to work on that guest list!
Your biggest challenge?
The tech rehearsal is completely new to me, so even though it seems pretty straightforward in theory, I feel like it will take a fair bit of time to get all the music and sound effects just right.
Your hope for the play in the future?
I’d like it to tour, at least at some solid fringe venues in London. But for me, the confidence of finishing this piece and getting it in front of a live audience will give me a platform to create bigger and better shows for the stage. So I feel it’s an important step in my writing career.
As there has been a surge in new writing nights how do you think Actor Awareness is different to other new writing nights?

I like the fact that it pays talent for the scratch nights, and that it sources both venues and Casting Directors for the summer festival. That and the fact they’re looking out for working class talent are all pretty unique, in my opinion.

The Cast

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MAGGIE

Played by Suzy Gill

 

SUZY GILL trained at Drama Studio London (1 Year Acting) and the University of East Anglia (Drama & English Literature). She’s a prolific stage actress, with recent roles including Carmen (The Balcony), Bella (The Twilight Zone), Clara (Sublime) Alice (Walk of Shame), Anna (White Feathers) and Hortensia (The Taming of the Shrew). Suzy is also a playwright and a spoken word poet, which explains why the power of her delivery is so strong and engaging.

 

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JIMMY Played by Eric Whiting

ERIC WHITING has performed countless roles on stage over the last thirty years, using his craft to morph into prominent figures such as Scrooge, Captain Wentworth, Bill Sykes, Professor Higgins, Captain Von Trap and Sir Thomas More.

After contacting Tom Lehrer, Eric also wrote and directed An Evening Without Tom Lehrer, before becoming the first actor to play Jimmy in original play The Unspoken.

Eric is an engaging performer and voiceover artist.

FATHER ALDERTON and DR. ROSE Played by Elliot Blagden

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ELLIOT BLAGDEN is a strong actor with a distinctive style and a memorable presence. A RADA graduate with a passion for improvisation and comedy, Elliot regularly performs with the group Very Serious People, who are performing in the Edinburgh Fringe at The Vault this Summer. Elliot is also a singer, songwriter and guitarist.

TICKET LINK: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/actor-awareness-new-writing-festival-tickets-46395174215

 

‘Toad In The Hole by Simon James

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Writer Simon James answers some questions ….

What’s your play about?

Three primary school friends have found themselves split onto different tables, all because of their teacher’s new ‘minibeast’ labelling system: they are now Butterfly, Moth and Worm. But while the trio are working out how the hierarchy of their new learning groups could have a negative impact on social order, there’s a much more immediate threat on the way, creeping ever-so-slowly from the corner of their lives. Will they spot it before it’s too late?

How have you found being part of the Actor Awareness Festival has been beneficial to you ? Actor Awareness’s writing brief for their ‘class’ scratch night elicited my short play ‘Minibeasts’, which I’m not sure I would have come up with otherwise. Steph and Tom being so kind about what I’d produced asked me to make a version four times the length which caused me to write another play I would never have thought of without the prompt – ‘The Toad in the Hole’. So thanks to Actor Awareness, I now have a piece of work I am incredibly proud of which is two steps removed from anything I would have done flying solo. Even more significantly though, this is the first ‘long’ play I’ll have had performed on stage. I’d say I’m excited but my bladder’s not what it was; I’m now regretting not making room for an interval.

What have you done to prep for the festival ? I wrote a script, checked it for typos and saved it as a PDF because PDFs are the best. Nearer the time I may also prepare by having a shave, ticket-sales-dependent.

Your biggest challenge? Turning what was only ever intended as a fifteen-minute piece into an hour-long play. I’m one of the untrendy few (or at least one of the few admitting this) who comes up with a story first and then builds characters to authentically inform the beats. Butterfly, Moth and Worm were characters originally constructed for quite a narrow scenario, so reimagining them to each have a larger throughline was indeed a challenge and took a couple of weeks’ chin-scratching as to where exactly I should take them. The result is a story radically different from the one the characters were originally built for. This has proven to be a very rewarding challenge for me as a writer, and one which I think has made the play much more layered than if I’d taken my usual direct approach.

Your hope for the play in the future ? A Level syllabus. It’s about time poor old Woyzeck was put to rest.

As there has been a surge in new writing nights how do you think Actor Awareness is different to other new writing nights ? Actor Awareness doesn’t shy away from the nice meaty themes. ‘Women’, ‘class’, ‘LGBTQ’… I think the potential of such expansive topics encourages writers to rise to the challenge and find new stories to tell, as opposed to smaller, perhaps more trivial briefs like ‘the theme of sunset.’ Or you know, ‘write a play about a sausage.’ You’re aware as you go into an AA night that it’s going to be challenging, and that, if you’re lucky, a piece of work will try and politicise you. If you’re double-lucky it’ll be a great story to boot.

Book to see Toad in the Hole. TICKET LINK : https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/actor-awareness-new-writing-festival-tickets-46395174215

Delete by Nina Milns

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Nina Millns

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“I wrote Delete because I wanted to give a platform to the kind of voices and stories that I don’t see being represented enough in British theatre.”

“I didn’t just want to create a bunch of victims, because the people I know who are at the forefront of this movement are also at the forefront of the new conversation about sexuality, pleasure and consent.”

Included in Funny Women’s list of Ones To WatchNina Millns is an Actress, Writer and Activist from London. She founded the comedy collective Bad Handshake and her work is featured on Dead Parrot TV. Her work in TV, Film, Radio and Theatre include Channel 4’s Phoneshop, BBC Radio 4’s Giles Wemmbley Hogg and a series of radio plays for Wireless Theatre performed and broadcast live from the Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh.  Her play DELETE has been longlisted for the PapaTango award and will be adapted for radio by Wireless Theatre. Nina is passionate about making work that gives a platform to marginalised voices and places the female experience centre-stage.                                                                        

Her work as an Activist includes contributing to articles and videos for the Huffington Post on the MeToo movement for International Women’s Day, consulting with Equity for their report on sexual harassment in the industry, being a committee member of the Clear Lines Festival and running workshops for My Body Back and On Road Media.

How have you found being part of the Actor Awareness festival has been beneficial to you ? Actor Awareness is a great, much needed initiative, redressing the balance of inequality in the industry. Tom and Stephanie have been supportive and passionate in their aim and having the opportunity to tell the story of Delete to an audience that understands just how much privilege and entitlement can influence the outcome of people’s lives has been a wonderful opportunity.

What have you done to prep for the festival ? We have had to go from a fifteen minute extract to producing an entire production of the whole play! So much of my time has been spent raising funds, gathering our amazing team and prepping marketing and rehearsals. I’m looking forward to putting my Actor’s hat back on very soon and immersing myself in the character of Tanya.

Your biggest challenge ? The biggest challenge has definitely been fundraising. I’ve had to pull in a lot of favours from my amazing friends and network who have gone above and beyond to make this production happen. We are still in the midst of our crowdfunding campaign, but I have been extremely moved to witness peoples’ generosity.

Your hope for the play in the future ? I hope Delete will have a chance to have a nice run in a London theatre, and also to be taken on to further productions that can fully realise the multi-media aspect of the design.

As there has been a surge in new writing nights how do you think Actor Awareness is different to other new writing nights ? Actor Awareness champions the marginalised voices that just don’t get the same opportunities as the more privileged do. It has been so refreshing to be a part of such a varied, talented, and important selection of work. There just isn’t anything else quite like it.

Director

“It’s certainly a very timely story. In the MeToo era this play shows how normal people, for reasons beyond their control, can get dragged into something quite ugly and dark.”

Imogen Butler-Cole trained at RADA and LISPA and has directed and acted in theatre and TV in Brasil, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Bangladesh, India and the UK. Favourite roles have included Ophelia in The Secret Love Life of Ophelia, Ursula in Ursula and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directing credits include a multi-lingual Much Ado About Nothing (Mumbai); As You Like It: Gender as a Construct (RADA/ NYU Tisch); The House of Bilquis Bibi (ATC, London) and her own plays PiNiK, Dreamtime, A Story and A Song and Capoeira: Fora Das Correntes. She produced The Tempest in Bangla for Shakespeare’s Globe and was Casting Director for Bishaash, a BBC TV series in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

 

Actors:
thumbnail_ILLONA LINTHWAITE mainIllona Linthwaite

 

Illona Linthwaite trained at Rose Bruford and left at a time when repertory theatre was thriving.  In the ’80’s and ’90’s she formed her own company Mica to promote women in the theatre as performers, writers, directors and designers. During this time she also wrote and performed THE SPIRIT OF APHRA BEHN and commissioned Adrian Mitchell to write ANNA ON ANNA – a play about the Edwardian poet Anna Wickham. With these two solo plays she travelled to Scotland, Japan, France, India and the US. Illona has worked at the Arcola, Lyric Hammersmith, Donmar Warehouse, RSC, Playhouse Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Young Vic, BAC, Greenwich and the National Theatre and recently at the Old Red Lion. She has just finished a successful run of new play BOOTS at the Vault Festival in Waterloo and when not acting she both directs and teaches at Drama Studio London.

 

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Matt Hebden

Matthew Hebden has appeared in numerous stage roles including Lysander in A Midsummer Nights Dream, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Lucentio in Taming of the Shrew, and Westmoreland in Henry V. He appeared in the 50th anniversary of the Mousetrap performing in front of the Queen and also travelled with the company to Singapore. He then joined the Agatha Christie theatre company for national tours of Spiders Web and Witness for the prosecution. In 2016 he toured in R C Sherriffs Home at Seven. Screen performances include the critically acclaimed Devil Town, Knock Knock, Black Hills, The
Bill, 50 ways to kill your lover and the feature film Sink.
Radio includes the award winning Dead London with Brian Blessed.

BALVINDER SOPAL

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Theatre includes: Mother in the UK Tour of Running Wild for Fiery Angel; Cosima Trevino in the UK/German Tour of Sleepless and Salma in Sleepless both for Analogue Theatre; Tara Riki in No Exit for NGY Productions; The Daughter in The Edge for Transport Theatre; Lata in the UK Tour of Deranged Marriage for Rifco Arts; Sofia in Our Glass House for Commonwealth Theatre; The Snow Queen and Ensemble for the UK/Indian Tour of The Snow Queen for Trestle Theatre; Masi Ji in Behna for Kali Theatre; Mukti in The Tales Of The Harrow Road at Soho Theatre and Cockpit Theatre; Servant and Zainab in The House Of Bilquis Bibi for Tamasha.

Television and film credits include: Mumtaz in Call The Midwife for the BBC/Neal Street Productions; Aafiyah Choudray in Doctors for BBC; Liz (Social Worker) Recurring Role in Hollywood for Lime Pictures; DC Khan (Recurring Role) in Emmerdale, The Street III, Steel River Blues and Coronation Street for ITV; Waterloo Road for BBC/Shed Productions; Five Days 2, Kidhaar! and Anatomy Of A Crime for the BBC; Coming Up – ADHA Cup for IWC Media; White Girl (BAFTA Award Winning) for Tiger Aspect Productions Ltd; Honeycomb Lodge for Lesley Manning and Naachle London for Aviary Films. On Radio, Balvinder played the regular character of Simran Kaur in the BBC Asian Network series Silver Street for 6 years; Zarlakta in four series of Everyday Stories Of Afghan Folk for BBC Radio 4 and Above The Title; Playing With Fire, The Child In Time, The Love Ashana, The Prospect 2, Anti Macassars And Ylang Ylang Conditioner; End Of The World all for BBC Radio 4; An Enemy Of The People for BBC World Service. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TICKET LINK ONLINE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/actor-awareness-new-writing-festival-tickets-46395174215

DRY RUN

Dry Run Twitter Facebook

cressida peeverWriter and director Cressida Peever

Synopsis: ‘Maybe we look like prawns. Hairy, lumpy prawns…’ Four teenagers, one night, a hundred things they couldn’t say out loud. Dry Run is a new comedy drama about discovering sex and sexuality.  

How have you found being part of the Actor Awareness festival has been beneficial to you? It’s great to have the deadline of the performance dates, because it’s compelled me to write quickly and make fast decisions. It can be so tempting to let the writing phase drag on whilst you try to make it perfect, but that can actually be really prohibitive. With the end date in the calendar not too far away I can’t be precious about my script.

What have you done to prep for the festival? I’ve spent time speaking to people about some of the issues that worried them as teenagers, in order to give more depth to my original storylines. And then I’ve worked with them to find the funny side of these issues.

Your biggest challenge? I’ve expanded the piece from two characters to four, and that has meant sacrificing some of the original writing that I was really proud of, but which didn’t fit with my vision for the longer play. When the fifteen minute extract was performed at the scratch night it had a really warm reception, so it was tempting not to develop that section and to leave it untouched. But ultimately that wasn’t the best thing for the longer play, and so I had to be ruthless.

Your hope for the play in the future? That in the not too distant future my play stops being relevant, because there are better structures in place to help young people understand sex and sexuality.

As there has been a surge in new writing nights how do you think Actor Awareness is different to other new writing nights? This is the first time that a scratch night has resulted in me being asked to develop a piece of work further. Many new writing nights don’t offer the opportunity to do anything more with your play after that point, but it’s been a real boost to be able to develop my extended piece as a result of the success and response of the fifteen minute performance.

Actors: 

Aoife Smyth                                  Alex Britt

Stewart Prentice                                Charlotte Forster

Book:
TICKET LINK ONLINE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/actor-awareness-new-writing-festival-tickets-46395174215