The Adam Morley & Actor Awareness Bursary
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
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’
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’
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.
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
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.
Join us at the next scratch night Monday 19th
Spotlight members go FREE
Orange Juice by Karim Khan
On The Beach by Chris Sivewright
Tea with Good Intentions by Instinct Theatre
Bleached Out by Jasmine Stewart
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with a short synopsis and the deadline is October 2nd. Good luck guys!
Kevin Lee returns to Barons Court with his new play
Maria is from a lovely little town in Berkshire. Andy is from the north. They pretend they don’t get on. But really they do. They have plenty to say for themselves, and to each other. But perhaps it’s the things they can’t say which trouble them the most.
Dates: Tuesday 19th July to Saturday 23rd July 2016 @7.30pm including a matinee on Saturday @2.30pm.£12 or £10 concessions. Running time approx 60 mins
Kevin Lee returns to Barons Court for a third time after previous successes including ‘Time for Heroes’ last year. Tickets can be booked through email@example.com or by calling 020 8932 4747.
Barons Court Theatre, Curtains up pub, 28a Comeragh Road West Kensington London W14 9HR. Nearest tube stations – West Kensington (District Line) or Barons Court (District or Piccadilly lines) – Both within five minutes walk of the theatre
About the writer
Kevin Lee is a playwright from Sydenham in South East London and is the author of the critically acclaimed ‘Time for Heroes’ (Barons Court Theatre), which earned rave reviews last year. His new play ‘Different Class’ will be his fourth production to appear on the London stage. Kevin Lee’s previous work includes:
‘Time for Heroes’ (Barons Court)
★★★★★ – Everything Theatre ★★★★ – The Upcoming
Cyrano of Brixton (The Brockley Jack Theatre)
★★★★ South London Press
girl-friend (Barons Court Theatre)
by Charlene James at The Royal Court
(First produced at the Young Vic.)
This powerful, heartbreaking and haunting piece of theatre begins as a seemingly innocent, upbeat and sweet story about how two teenage girls become friends. This deception which lulls the audience into a false sense of security makes the rest of the play all the more devastating and shocking because this isn’t another ‘nice little’ story. This award winning play by Charlene James, instead broaches the difficult topic of FGM (female genital mutilation) in the UK, and gets it absolutely right. James dedicates the play to the staggering 500,000 girls and women in Europe that Amnesty International estimates are suffering from the life-long consequences of FGM. The play with it’s sharp wit and clever writing is fuelled by a sense of urgency and an anger that will eventually bring any unsuspecting audience member to tears by the end.
It is refreshing to see two female actors on stage, playing complicated and compelling females not stereotypes, whilst taking on the huge demands of the play. Adelayo Adedayo gives an outstanding performance and the acting from the small cast made up of Adedayo and Tsion Habte is brilliant throughout. Adedayo plays Muna originally from Somalia, a feisty, street smart and popular teenager who loves Rihanna and her little sister. Habte plays Iqra, a mild mannered, naive and shy teenager who recently moved to England from Somalia following the death of her family. The two teenagers who at first seem to be opposites, happen to connect and realise they share the same secret: they are both victims of FGM. Muna is scared her little sister will be mutilated meanwhile Iqra believes it is the only way for a girl to become a woman, the only way to be pure for their future husbands, a tradition that must continue…
The imposing set, made up of a concrete block of stairs, is effective in making the audience feel alienated and distanced. This adds to the sense of unease and discomfort we feel as the story unfolds. That is until the last moments of the play, when the set turns sinister and almost becomes a graveyard for many young girls that are victims of FGM. This eloquent production from Gbolahan Obiesesan and striking image to end is enough to leave the audience thinking about FGM for a long time to come. The message is simple: the estimated 137,000 girls and women living in the UK with FGM (*1) cannot be ignored any longer. Since 1985, FGM has been illegal in the UK and since 2003 it has been illegal to take a child out of the UK to be cut (*2). This alone however, as clearly illustrated in this production, is not enough to stop FGM and more action needs to be taken.
In this harrowing and devastating piece of theatre, we begin by laughing with two school girls and end up weeping as their lives are shattered. The ending of the piece does not particularly come as a surprise, perhaps because of the inevitability of FGM for girls born into this culture. The piece begs questions such as: ‘how is this happening in the UK?’ ‘How can we stop it in the UK until it is ended worldwide?’ ‘Why is this even happening at all?’ This production highlights that FGM has more to do with community, culture and tradition than anything else: “We do it because we have always done it”, “It is who we are” and “We do it because it is our culture.” It seems so impossible and so unjustified that this is happening that the haunting thought: ‘What will make them stop?’ floats in the air like a bad smell as the lights go down. Unrelenting, emotional, moving and intensely uncomfortable: book your tickets for this show now because this story needs to be heard and change needs to happen. Prepare to be haunted for some time after the show.
What inspires you about new writing?
I love it. We hunger for stories and voices that resonate with and validate our own inner lives. New writing does that. It’s an opportunity to see ourselves and our concerns reflected. The new writing scene is vibrant and continually growing and a fantastic opportunity for writers – new or established – to get their work seen and to engage with a community of like minded souls.
Why do you think theatre is important?
My god we need theatre! It gives space to the grey areas. It’s a container for the shitty, muddled up areas of our lives. It can ask all the questions and doesn’t need to give the answers.
What excites you about theatre as a medium?
The aliveness of it; its ability to transport you; the utter passion, dedication and commitment of those involved; the idea of an audience coming together to find something new. It can also be very frustrating. Lack of good roles for women, lack of female playwrights on the main stages, the ‘exclusivity’ in terms of lack of access to job opportunities and bloody West End ticket prices!
How did Little Pieces of Gold start?
LPOG started in 2010. As a writer myself I wanted to collaborate with other theatre makers and make theatre instead of waiting around for something to happen.
What is your aim with Little Pieces of Gold?
Our overall aim is to give a platform to as many new writers as possible and to act as a catalyst for their writing and theatre making careers. As we’ve grown LPOG has also become a launching pad for directors and another outlet for actors to do what they’re brilliant at. Through LPOG I’ve been able to meet and produce the work of some very brave and thought provoking playwrights. For example, last year we produced Sarah Hehir’s first full length play, Child Z about the Rochdale child grooming scandal. And for 2017 we are aiming to produce a new play by award winning Jaki McCarrick. It’s the true story of Eleanor Marx’s relationship with the trade unionist Will Thorne whom she taught to read. Jaki has called it a feminist ‘King’s Speech’ since Will Thorne had dyslexia and it was Eleanor who helped him to negotiate that in order to read and rise through the ranks of the trade unions. What’s so exciting is that this full-length production evolves out of the short that we commissioned Jaki to write for our recent ‘Class Ceiling’ production. Going forward LPOG aims to do more of the same but funding is always an issue and much good work just doesn’t get made.
Tell us how Little Pieces of Gold works?
We produce regular new writing nights throughout the year and we normally run an open submission which is advertised on BBC Writersroom and social media. Sometimes we run themed submissions or I might ‘commission’ a collection of plays from playwrights with whom I’ve worked with previously. We generally receive around 300-400 plays which are all read and then shortlisted. The shortlist is then read by our team of directors who decide which play they wish to take forward. Casting, rehearsals etc is then down to the individual director. Our shows have a great reputation for the high quality of the writing, directing and acting. Like all other new writing nights we all work for free. No-one makes any money from these productions. But it’s a much needed showcase for creatives to hone their skills, network and build up their CVs. We’ve worked at various venues including Park Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Theatre 503 and the Bread & Roses.
What advice do you give writers submitting to LPG?
Read as many plays and short plays as you can. Attend new writing nights. See for yourselves what makes a good short play.
What do you look for in writing, what makes you keep reading?
The twenty-four million dollar question! You know it when you see it. But … a strong writer’s voice that comes through on the very first page; un-cliched writing; a unique take on something;
How do directors get involved in LPG?
Check out our website and send in your CV. I will then arrange to meet with a new director to see if can go forward. The directing team for each showcase generally changes so we’re always looking to meet new directors.
Actor Awareness is a campaign fighting for diversity in actors from working class backgrounds or low income backgrounds, how do you feel the industry stands at present?
This industry is no different from any other. Access to opportunities is hugely unequal. It is not class envy to say that the dice is loaded. It’s never been any different and it’s getting worse. Getting into a London drama school and paying London rents is one thing. But then afterwards it comes down to having to juggle day-jobs to pay the bills with acting jobs and auditions. To do this requires an inordinate amount of energy, hope and faith. And a photographic memory when an audition comes through for the very next day with the expectation that the actor needs to memorise a whole chunk of text. There is no need for this when audition schedules and spaces are booked in advance. It’s disrespectful towards actors and it perpetuates a situation whereby only actors with the time and resources can give their best. I love what actors do. Working class or low income backgrounds or gender and ethnicity should not exclude actors – or writers and directors – from pursuing their chosen career paths.
How did Underexposed come together?
I had written a short play that happened to explore the idea of a certain underexposed stereotype. From this, I had the idea that underexposed stereotypes in general was an interesting subject matter to reflect on and one that had a lot of scope. There didn’t seem to be anything on the theatre scene that quite pertained to this idea so I decided to produce my own theatre festival under that theme because, well, why not?! It was a big undertaking but one that I knew would be fruitful and it felt good to be doing something so proactive. The next thing I needed was more plays so I put some feelers out there and ended up getting a huge number of excellent submissions from friends, friends of friends, acquaintances and total strangers! I selected the ones that I felt would worked best in the festival and alongside that developed another couple of my own pieces with the underexposed theme in mind. A meeting of all the writers took place shortly before Christmas with each one being given the autonomy to select their own crew and run their own show (as it were). There was still plenty of orchestration to be done and the small matter of my own three shorts to be cast and rehearsed (with me in them as well) so I had my work cut out for me but the show was definitely on the road by this point (or the engine was on and we’d backed out the drive-way anyway).
What is Underexposed ethos?
Exploring any stereotypes that get less publicity than the big ones, especially ones where stigmatisation is still more or less acceptable. It can be anything from the serious and worthy to the silly and light-hearted as long as it fits the bill. We’ve got everything from post-natal depression and revolution to hyper-spirited artistic types and deliberations over cocks and consequences in this one so it’s a broad church!
What is your current production about?
It’s a collection of nine short plays with each exploring the underexposed theme from different perspectives. They’re a mixture of comedies and dramas, although the balance is towards the former. The serious ones still raise some laughs and smiles and the comedies present some salient arguments so your mental and emotional muscles get a good flexing all round!
Actor Awareness is about creating equal opportunity, how do you guys feel the industry needs to address certain factors such as maintaining a inclusive arts culture? (big question! sorry)
By avoiding stereotyping! I think it starts with the writing and the casting: have an open mind about what your character is going to look and sound like and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. In reality, people from different backgrounds can, should and do occupy positions in all walks of life and if you can’t reinforce that through art then when can you? So if you’ve written an ostensibly white middle class character – see some working class people for it, see people from ethnic minority backgrounds; if you’ve written an archetypal businessperson – see some women for the part. Will they be any less believable? They shouldn’t be – not if the character’s fully drawn. Still always pick the best actor for the part, don’t anybody any favours – it’s patronising, and don’t discriminate in the other direction – that’s not fair either. Just widen your perspective, challenge your preconceptions and keep your options open. We’re so conditioned to think of certain people looking and sounding a certain way that it’s going to take an enormous amount of reconditioning to change that. If I said to you ‘close your eyes and think of a surgeon’, nine out of ten people will summon to mind an image of a white, middle-class man. Are all surgeons white, middle class men? Of course not. It’s the same across a whole host of professions and ‘types’ of people. It’s the way we’ve learnt to understand the world from when we were babies. Changing laws, launching initiatives is difficult (but doable), restructuring centuries of psychological and societal conditioning – harder. I think that’s the way we have to go though really – rather than writing more plays and films tailored to specific groups of people and then having the main dominated by the same people it always has been. What I’m saying is hardly revelatory and of course it’s already happening to an extent -(although more so on the small screen than the big and not nearly enough in theatre). So, how about making the next big movie a character-driven drama about a business executive who has an affair with another executive (on an equal pay grade) and then happen to cast Idris Elba and an unknown 5ft 3 inch brunette actress like um, me. Sorry!! Couldn’t resist…. There was a serious point in there though.
Shows– 8th and 9th May at The Old Red Lion Theatre in Angel, Islington.
Performance starts at 7.30pm and lasts around two hours with a fifteen minute interval.
Full details of all the different plays, as well as the writers, directors and actors involved in them can be found on our website at:
THE MONO BOX is a collaborative, not-for-profit project that provides actors and directors with affordable access to a unique, ever-growing collection of plays donated by industry professionals.
They provide actors and directors access to an extensive collection of plays donated entirely by industry professionals. They support actors to find suitable monologues/scenes for auditions and showcases in a relaxed, informal environment and deliver affordable workshops, direction and Q&A sessions to support actors’ development.
They invite professional actors, directors and playwrights to be in their a collective which fosters and nurtures creative relationships.
Speech Surgeries are monthly events that inspire, nurture and inform actors of the parts and playwrights available to them. Whether you’re looking for a new audition speech or want some advice, Speech Surgeries give actors and directors alike an opportunity to discover plays and ask searching questions in an open, relaxed environment.
NEXT SPEECH SURGERY: Sunday 10th April @ 10am – 2.30pm LOCATION: Old Vic New Voices Workrooms, 16 Drummond Road, Bermondsey, SE16 4EE
Or you can have one on one session. They can offer new speech ideas if you’re in need, re-direction, audition technique, advice or just the experience of doing your speeches in front of someone other than your Mum before an audition. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or to book a session
Check out MonoBox events at www.monobox.co.uk/#!events/cv9l. They have so many affordable workshops and events by leading industry professionals.
The Royal Court Theatre
The helm of new writing and one of my favourite theatres in London brings the play ‘I See You’
I SEE YOU by Mongiwekhaya – Genesis Foundation Project
“I don’t need your sorries white boy, yes. You heard right. You know white people think we are the same? We both look black. But only one of us is black”
Post-Apartheid South Africa, after dark.
Ben meets Skinn for a night out. But the party is interrupted by the police. Ben, a young student who doesn’t know his own history, is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. And Officer Buthelezi, a former freedom fighter, can’t let it go.
Based on a real encounter.
“Speak to me in your mother-tongue and I will let you go.”
Noma Dumezweni makes her directorial debut. After its run in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. So don’t miss out and book your ticket pronto.
Orphans– 10th Feb- 5th March
Start Time 8pm, Matinee Starts 3.30pm, Running Time 135, Price £20 | £16 conc. | £12 previews
Deserted in childhood by their father and the death of their mother, two orphaned brothers find themselves neglected and forgotten living in a decrepit house in North Philadelphia. Surviving as a pickpocket, the ruthless and violent Treat provides for his naïve and feral younger brother Philip; keeping him sealed off from the world, encased in an eternal childhood filled with Errol Flynn movies and Hellman’s mayonnaise.
Upping his game, one night Treat kidnaps wealthy Chicagoan Harold. With motives of his own, this charming and mysterious man adopts the boys, becoming the father they never had. Harold soon stirs tensions between the two brothers, changing forever the delicate power balance of their relationship.
Book Now: southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/orphans/#booking
A great venue that supports new writers and their work, run by the lovely Jaime Eastlake. This month they have several good shows taking the stage ‘Can’t Stand up Falling for Down’ ‘The Rules of inflation’.
N16 is a great venue that champions new writing, you can send in your work for scratch nights or full plays to their literacy department. They also put up castings on their websites for inhouse productions. Jaime Eastlake the AD is an accomplished producer, director and forward thinking man, trying to create a creative industry which provides a fair platform for people from all walks of life. Go see any show in their fantastic space and support an up and coming Theatre company with real ethos and passion.
Another of my favourite theatres in London. A place of fab writing and never a dull performance.
Theatre 503 bring ‘FourPlay’ by Jake Brunger, Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle
16 Feb – 12 March, 7.45pm (Sundays 5pm),
£15/£12 (Pay What You Can Sundays)
Rafe and Pete have hit a rut. After seven and a half blissfully happy years, their lack of sexual experience is driving them apart. When they proposition mutual friend Michael to help out with their problems – knowing full well Michael has his own partner Andrew – what seems like a simple solution quickly spirals out of control. Four Play is a new comic play about sex and commitment in the 21st century.
Proforca creative is a brand new non-professional theatre company based in London. It was formed in late 2014 with the idea to create a new and dynamic projects which are more accessible than the average amateur theatre company. They want to create a group of talented creatives united by their love of theatre in a warm, welcoming and encouraging environment.
Proforca want to create great quality theatre to a very high standard, and it is their mission to provide opportunities for writers to have their work performed, actors to showcase their talent and to promote the work of the very hardworking people behind the scenes in the very important technical roles and provide them with a “stage” to develop and gain experience as well as put their talents to great use. By keeping it “small and friendly” is the way to go, which means creating fringe productions which will excite and challenge audiences with something new.
As a non-professional theatre company, performance is their passion, but also a way to channel talent from their “day jobs” in a new and exciting way. Within our Proforca there are artists, performers, designers, writers and other creatives, by combining these skills with professional abilities (Marketing, Operations, Project Management, Finance, Communication, IT etc,) Proforca are able to create something interesting, dynamic, and perhaps a little bit different to the norm. Theatre allows them to step away from the office, put away the work email, (even if just for a little while) and go on those adventures which you just can’t have as part of the 9 – 5!
Proforca are always interested in meeting new and interesting people who would love to come on this new journey. If you are interested in getting involved with Poforca, please visit their website at http://www.proforca.co.uk or send an email to email@example.com
Proforça Creative presents “If I Go”
Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre, Walthamstow E17
Wednesday 4th – Saturday 7th May 2016
(Performances at 7.45pm, Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.45pm)
“This thing that the two of you have, it’s an illusion, and it can’t be this way forever…”
It’s been this way for years. Matt and Becky have lived together forever. In a parallel universe they’re probably married, except Matt’s going out with Danny. Then of course there’s Will, who been in love with Becky for the longest time, if only she’d be nice to him long enough to notice. Can one phone call be enough for Matt to make the biggest decision of his life, and in turn, change everything for all of them forever?
Proforça Creative presents a brand new comedy drama written by James Lewis and directed by David Brady about moving on, moving out, drifting apart, and the people we can’t bring ourselves to leave behind. (Please note the production contains strong language and audience discretion is advised)
Tickets are now on sale for all performances, priced £12.00
For more information, exclusive behind the scenes content and for tickets for this new production visit http://www.proforca.co.uk and for special offers follow us on Twitter @weareproforca, Facebook & Instagram @proforcacreative
Actors Awareness Special Offer: Use the code BLACKBERRY at checkout for discounted fees on tickets for any performance (subject to availability, offer expires April 30th )