Scratch Nights

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So our first scratch next with Spotlight was a resounding success. We had a great turn out and a 5* review.

Safe word by Ribs Norman

Our father by Stephanie Silver

Joan and Olivia by Nicola Amory

Robbing Class by Michelle payne

Our Father from that night has gone on to be developed and is having a rehearsed read 30th September at Slam, Kings Cross at 7pm. Book FREE tickets here:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/our-father-rehearsed-read-tickets-27579652483

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Terry Eastham, London Theatre 1

‘The writing by Silver was unpredictable, the piece was described as ‘hard-hitting’, this was an understatement, I don’t think anyone in the audience was prepared for how intense the piece got’

‘My favourite – because I disliked it so much – was our Father which was not only the stand out show of the evening but served as a perfect reminder of the true power of theatre to move people. Being in a small performing space with real live human beings just there in front of you can have more of an effect on the emotions than millions of pounds spent on some glitzy west end show’

https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/144859/actor-awareness-intergenerational-night-at-spotlight- theatre/

Lily Driver, The London Reviewer

‘When someone says that something was not easy to watch, it is often a bit of an exaggeration. However in the case of ‘Our Father’ it was not just difficult to watch, there were times I had to look away from the story unfolding before me’

https://thelondontheatrereviewer.wordpress.com/reviews/

The Staffroom was another scratch night piece developed from 15 minutes to 40 minutes by playwright Michelle Payne. It was performed at N16 in August with great reviews.

 the-staffroom

Birth of a Nation was another scratch piece developed and performed at Theatre N16 under IndigoChildarts and received great feedback! htttps://https.londontheatre1.com/news/145480/michelle-paynes-thestaff-room-theatre-n16

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We are very proud here at Actor Awareness of all the plays that have come from just an idea to a full play in limited time. It is also with pride we continue at Spotlight and continue to champion new writing from people of all backgrounds. Birth of the Nation reviews below.

http://www.lastminutetheatretickets.com/londonwestend/birth-of-a-nation-theatre-n16/

http://www.uklondontheatretickets.com/birth-of-a-nation-at-balhams-theatre-n16/

https://www.londontheatre1.com/news/145687/eu-referendum-play-birth-of-a-nation-theatre-n16/

Join us at the next scratch night Monday 19th

Spotlight members go FREE

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Plays 

Orange Juice by Karim Khan

On The Beach by Chris Sivewright

Tea with Good Intentions by Instinct Theatre

Bleached Out by Jasmine Stewart

BOOK HERE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/actor-awareness-identity-night-tickets-27264853912?aff=eandprexshre&ref=eandprexshre

Our Mental Health Scratch Night is now open.

Mental health within the arts community has shocked me, the first that came to mind is actors to afraid of telling directors and producers they suffer from a form of mental illness in fear they wouldn’t get a part has shocked me. This shouldn’t be a hindrance, we need to get this issue spoken about, shown in a positive light and give people confidence to speak up about it in the industry. We are looking for 4 shows, 15 mins long, maximum 3 actors per show plus the writer/ director, so 4 members for each group maximum all under the theme of mental health, send all submissions to tomstocks0805@gmail.com with a short synopsis and the deadline is October 2nd. Good luck guys!

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

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

Actor Awareness Week

                        n16 actor

After the success of our Scratch nights we have teamed up with the fantastic Theatre N16 to help our writers, actors, directors develop their work. Each Play had approximately 2 months to get their 15 minute play in a form of a 40 minute piece. Quite a mean feet but they rose to the challenge and we have for you some fab shows!

This is a great example of what we here at Actor Awareness are trying to do and if you read the monthly newsletter, follow us on Twitter and Facebook we often call out for castings. So get involved and it could be you next time!

 

Actor Awareness & Theatre N16 present…

The Staffroom by Michelle Payne

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Monday 22nd August 2016, 9pm. Tickets £10.

Performed at our health scratch ardent @actorawanreness supporter Michelle Payne brings her fabulous writing to full life.

They’re teaching our children but are they teaching the right things? Three young teachers navigate their way through adulthood and educating.

Follow us @STAFFROOMplay

Directed by: Alula White
Cast:
Alison – Hilary Murnane
Hugo – Craig Webb
Ria – Faye Derham

Tralier: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrlN4JQum78#action=share

Birth of a Nation by David House

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Friday 26th august 2016, 9pm, Tickets £10

The initial piece was performed at our Sold out health scratch night, it was laugh out loud funny ! So the longer version is bound to be worth a visit.

Dave House’s satirical look at the failings of a Tory government riddled with NHS pains, Boris Johnson and Brexit.

 love and all that crap

Oliver performed at our LGBT scratch and his show has gone strength to strenght getting 5 stars for his recent run at Lost Theatre.

“And they all lived Happily Ever After”… Bullsh*t!

Love And All That Cr@p is a light-hearted ‘coming of age’ story about finding love in our modern day society. Follow a young man as he makes his discovery in awkward, amusing and arousing ways such as discovering your sexuality through porn; the naivety of your ‘first time’, a blind date gone terribly wrong and the all too true horrors of a one night stand as well as other stories and experience a cabaret of song, poetry and hilarity in this embarrassingly true story about love and all its unsaid difficulties.

OCD Theatre (Original, Contemporary, Dynamic) emerged from East 15 Acting School’s Contemporary Theatre course and has continued to produce intriguing new work which were praised for their daring and eye-opening subjects

Written & performed by Oliver Retter. With special thanks to Adam Weeks and Lottie Finklaire for their dramaturgical support.

Love And All That Cr@p contains strong language and a ridiculous amount of glitter.

★★★★ “Excellent piece of writing and performing”
Terry Eastham, London Theatre 1

★★★★ “Portrays love in a fun and relatable way”
Korien Brown, Cockpit Theatre

Book Now

http://www.theatren16.co.uk/#!actors-awareness-shows/j0ce2

Today, Life, the Universe & the Little Blue Bowl

Today, Life, the Universe & the Little Blue Bowl

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So Elaine you graduated from Guildhall, that is an amazing school to go to, how did you feel when you graduated?
I felt very proud! There were points I thought I would never make it to the end! It was also overwhelmingly odd and sad to leave the place I had spent so much time in for the past 3 years. I’d learnt things about myself there I never knew existed, I was challenged and encouraged every day and I’d made friends I believe I’ll still love when I’m 100 years old and totally mad. I thought I would be scared to leave but actually I felt excited and ready to see what was next.

Did you always want to be an actor? 
Pretty much yes! When my mum first took me to stage coach I was most looking forward to the singing and dancing (I wanted to be a back up dancer for spice girls) and I thought the drama would be boring but right from the start I loved it. I also wanted to be an author when I was younger so I guess being an actor that writes is quite apt!
 What do you love about theatre?
It’s the one of the few times that a group of people come together, put away their phones and focus on something outside themselves. A good piece of theatre can make you forget all the crap you’ve been carrying around with you all day. Equally it can open up something inside you you’ve been avoiding and help you understand it better. I just love that something as traditional as telling a story is still so powerful. We have more technology than ever, more knowledge then we know what to do with and yet still someone just standing and speaking truthfully on stage is listened to and wondered at.
 How do you find juggling earning your rent and auditioning/working in London?
It was really tough at first and I still find myself in my overdraft more often than I’d like but you find a way to balance, you have to! I’m lucky I’ve found two other jobs I really enjoy that offer extremely flexible hours and good pay so if some weeks I think “I really need a couple of days to do something creative or prepare for an audition” I can take it. Dog walking and pet sitting has been a saviour because I can earn money whilst writing emails/learning lines/drafting a script. Some months it’s tough because the flexibility means you aren’t guaranteed a set amount of work or pay a week, but if you can take a step back and not panic and try to budget yourself if becomes very possible.
 You have a show at the Camden fringe? Tell us loads about this please?
When I was in my third year at Guildhall I wrote a solo piece. I had no idea why I wanted to do it, I just knew I was excited by writing a part for myself and being able to share a story I wanted to tell. The piece was called “Decibels” and was about 20 minutes in length. I had 4 performances at Guildhall and, to my surprise, received a positive and warm reception to the piece. I was then fortunate enough to be asked to perform it at The Royal Theatre in The Hague with a company called STET. Four of us went to The Netherlands to perform our pieces in September 2015 for a week and it was amazing to share work with an audience of people who didn’t know us and that had paid to come. These 2 experiences taught me a lot about writing and performing a solo piece, 20 minutes alone on stage is a long time if you don’t get their attention from the start and they can immediately tell if you’re not being truthful and won’t respond to you. When I came back I knew I wanted to have another go so I began writing a new piece. What I’ve ended up with is a new solo show derived from that first piece. It has elements and, in some places, bits of text taken from the first piece but is, in my mind at least, a totally new story with a different message. It’s called “Today, Life, the Universe and the Little Blue Bowl” and is about 40 minutes long. My mum actually gave me the title totally by accident! It’s about a young girl in her 20s who’s reached crisis point. We meet her at a “well, what now?!” moment. We’ve all had those moments where we have no idea where we are going which is why I think it’s so interesting to explore as an idea. It’s a universal feeling of “oh fuck.” It’s a comic piece (hopefully) because it fascinates me how close laughter is to crying and pain is to pleasure.
 How do you feel about audition fees at drama school, Guildhall is £63 now and they only just really brought in fee waivers for low income students?
When I auditioned for Guildhall it was £50 so I didn’t actually realise it had gone up that much! I’m torn because I know what it’s like auditioning for schools. When I was trying in 2012 I went pretty much everywhere and it was always £50/55 a time plus the train down and back home as I lived in the north of England at the time. If you get to the last round of somewhere then you feel like you at least “got your money’s worth” but if you get chucked out first round then that’s an expensive 3 minutes! I had to save for a year beforehand to be able to do it and luckily my parents also helped as well. It’s super expensive and means some people who would love to audition simply can’t and that’s so sad. However, having been to a school now, I also know how much they have to spend to fund their audition days. Guildhall is 3 rounds to get in. They hold weeks and weeks of first round auditions, a few more weeks second round and then a week of third round. They also hire alumni to steward the auditions to give actors who aren’t working at the moment a hand with income. That’s a lot of people to pay for a lot of days. I really have no experience with organising this kind of thing or budgeting large scale event, so I have no idea if it needs to be as expensive as it is now but I know the money isn’t wasted. I would love it to be able to be free so that everyone had a chance but it’s a difficult balancing act I think.
 In drama school , how were people supported who struggled financially? 
Guildhall were extremely generous. In my second year I was given a scholarship from the school to help me financially as I was far away from family and there’s no time to work while training. I was given this money every term until I left and without it I would really have struggled. I know many of my year that needed help were given as much as possible and if anyone was really stuck there was always someone to talk to and emergency funds. We were very lucky that scholarships and grants were made accessible to us and we were helped with applying for them.
 People often comment how actors shouldn’t complain about the cost of drama school, but most degrees people can maintain part time jobs as lectures are a few times a week, drama school is a full on 45 hour week with work on top. What do you think about the current situation of maintenance grants being cut, do you think it’ll be harder for more and more low income applicants to get through 3 years training? 
Yes it’s almost impossible to have a part time job while training, I know a couple of people who did it but they were exhausted and barely earned enough to to make a difference. It’s a big obstacle for a lot of people about the maintenance grants and sadly I do think it will deter some talented low income applicants even attempting to train. But what’s important to know is there is support out there! Trawl through the books of supporters of theatre, there are people out there willing and able to help and if you don’t ask you don’t get. If a school wants you they will try to help as much as they can so if you’re struggling you should talk to them as they might have a solution. I would love for there to be more financial support for drama school students from the government, especially those living in London where the rent and transport costs are high, but for now it looks like we have to find our own paths and solutions as best we can!
What do you think is the most important asset for an actor to have in todays industry?
Belief! In yourself. In your craft. In your skill set. In your career. In your path. In the text. In the play. Just believe you can and you will. Sounds so cliche but the moment you doubt yourself people will use that as an excuse to write you off. You can never guarantee anyone is going to be on your side so be your biggest fan and your biggest support and you’ll never feel alone. Yes, everyone has down days and times you think you can’t act and maybe you don’t work for a year and start to think “I should be a zoo keeper instead” but those are moments you experience and then you let go. Also be able to make a good cup of tea, just because a cup of tea always helps.
 What advise would you give to your younger self, all the way back when the idea of being an actor popped into your head? 
Remember this moment when you’re older! Younger me was confident and sure of herself, she knew what she wanted and how she was going to get it. To quote little Elaine “I’m going to go to acting school in London when I grow up, they do drama all day there!” As children we have the perfect amount of assurance without being too cocky. Its passion and determination and drive and we aren’t afraid to tell people! I wish I could go back and tell myself to hold on to that and never forget how it felt to be certain.
 Can you give us a few words on why you support Actor Awareness? 
It’s just such a good family for actors! As we have already discussed it can be a lonely place acting. Financially and emotionally it’s draining. It’s great to have a platform where actors can speak out, find support, have help with new work, get advice and not feel alone. It’s being part of a community who all want the same thing and that’s something special.
Tickets are available now at http://www.camdenfringe.com/show.php?acts_id=678 Moors Bar Theatre in Crouch End 17th-20th August 2016 at 8pm.

Events

scratch night

Adam Morley is a great supporter of the campaign and he is letting us host our first Scratch night at ‘The Canal Cafe’. His enthusiasm and kindness towards Actor Awareness is allowing us to provide a night of new writing from Actor Awareness followers.

We have lots of supporters coming along including industry professionals. It shows that our message is getting out there and people are interested. Come and support the new writers, actors, directors putting their stories out there, maybe it’ll inspire you to submit something to our next scratch night.

Writers Night

Actor Awareness is about encouraging people to make their own work and actively engage in the arts industry. In this day and age there are thousands of people auditioning for a limited amount of roles, if you can make your own work, you’re one step ahead. Creating your own work, you are becoming part of a moving conversation which is exciting, Actor Awareness believes everyone has stories that are fighting for a stage.

Our first writers meeting is led by Jonathan Asser.

Jonathan is an award-winning published psychodynamic counsellor and poet. He is credited with developing a unique approach to working with the small number of violent gang members who continued to dominate within the largest prison in the UK. Jonathan used this experience to write his first feature-length screenplay, STARRED UP.

STARRED UP was greeted by audiences and critics alike with warm praise. Mark Kemode (The Guardian) praised Jonathan’s ‘fine ear for the nuances of macho verbal sparring,’ whilst The Telegraph described it as ‘compellingly gritty’.

This feature was the recipient of numerous nominations and awards including Best Supporting Actor for Ben Mendelsohn at the British Independent Film Awards and a Best Actor win for Jack O’Connell at the Dublin Film Critics Award. O’Connell was also the recipient of BAFTA’s Rising Star Award.

Jonathan himself was the winner of the Best British Newcomer award at the London Film Festival, Scottish BAFTAs for Writer: Film/Television and Best Feature Film as well as the WGGB award for Best First Screenplay. The screenplay was also nominated at the British Independent Film Awards. Further to this, Jonathan was a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit of 2014.

Date and Venue:  December 4th @ The Actors Temple. Please email tanheartssteph@gmail to confirm your place. Cost is ONLY £10.

NEXT WRITERS MEETING: January 22nd- Theatre Deli- 7-10pm. Please email tanheartssteph@gmail.com to confirm.

(please follow steffieegg12 on Twitter for writers meetings updates)