Thursday, 26 January 2017

Knife attack in Nottingham


I was attacked with a knife and a chain when I was young.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Weddings, Reviews 2 & Holidays


Our new podcast.

Today Foxy and Mark talk about reviewgate (our last podcast Ep 15). We wonder about weddings and whether Foxy will wear a Princess costume? And our holiday begins so we try and make you all jealous.

Visit our website and listen to more podcasts

Monday, 2 January 2017

Reviewers and feeding the trolls.

Our new podcast about reviewers, or one review.

In 2016 our annual Children's Christmas show was Pinocchio. 1000's of families love our shows and over 10 years we have grown out of 4 venues across Manchester and the North West. Without sour grapes we look at our 2 poor reviews and ask the question...What are your qualifications to review professional theatre? Also, Christmas telly, Wedding bells and Tenerife.

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Review for Pinocchio

Every now and again this happens and it blows me away.

As you may know Oldham is a poor town and many parents can't afford theatre.

From a teacher.

"I'd just like to say how much the children from Mather Street Primary School and Yew Tree Community School enjoyed your performance of Pinocchio this morning. It was lovely to be able to take our children to see live theatre, something which most of them won't have had the opportunity to do before. The setting was great, and with it only being small was perfect for our children, as they were all really close to the action. They loved every minute of it, and the talk amongst the children on the bus on the way home was "shall we go there again?"!!
Thanks once again, and we look forward to attending future performances."



And from social media...

Just been to watch Pinocchio with families from Alexandra children's centre and we had an amazing time! The show was brilliant, funny and entertaining and the dancers were outstanding. I would recommend a trip to this show to put you in the Christmas spirit.

What a fabulous performance!If you want to be amazed...and amused,come and watch Pinocchio...Watching the show today made my Christmas that little more extra special.The performers are all so talented.Well done to all of you.Such a special treat just before Christmas...The "mise en scene" is so cleverly done...

Absolutely loved 'Pinocchio' today! Fantastic show. I always look forward to seeing your productions.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Like father, like son.

We are about to charm audiences with a very novel double act.  

Award winning Hard Graft are about to begin rehearsals with a father and son in the cast.  Mark Whiteley will play Geppetto  in this year’s production of Pinocchio at the Oldham library and Civic hall Uppermill and his 11 year old son, Billy, will be playing Lampwick, the cheeky waif who befriends Pinocchio on Pleasure Island.

“Billy has been acting of some years now, on television and with his grandmother’s theatre classes at Saddleworth Drama centre”. Mark said.  “I suppose it must run in the family, with Judith Barker as your gran, Kenneth Alan Taylor as your Grandad and me as your dad, you’re going to have some sort of talent for performing’ 

"Billy has been working with us for years, generally backstage and front of house.  He was there when we did out Manchester Theatre award winning show ‘Thick As Thieves’ and again last year when we presented GRASS.  

“I’m really excited, not only do I get to perform with my dad, but I get a lift home too.” said Billy, aged 11.

Talk about a chip off the old block- if we’re not mistaken, Geppetto, Pinocchio’s “dad”, is a carpenter who knocks a few chips off old blocks to make a real boy!
The production also sees the return of Alex Phelps who blew audiences away last year as the wolf in Red Riding Hood and introduces the very talented Danielle Dawson and Bethany-Jo Clews. And let’s not forget the talented dancers from Infinity dance, who’s vibrance and energy enhance the production enormously. We can’t wait!  

Pinocchio is running from 8th - 17th December at Oldham Library & 22nd - 24th Dec at Uppermill Civic hall

For further information and to book tickets 


https://www.hardgraft.co.uk/

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Spread the love.

I was thinking about Jesus the other day and it got me wondering about being a great human being. Imagine living like Jesus. Not miracles or God or the acres of written material about a man, but being selfless, simple, at one.

Imagine living your life like that. Imagine having no money only faith that things will come, food will come, shelter will come, everything you need will come. Imagine just putting good into the world, to give freely and to receive freely.

Ten years ago I walked across the country with nothing, no money, accommodation or food, for the simple reason that it would make a good adventure story for the kind of theatre I work in. What we discovered is that people are great. People love people and if you scratch the surface you'll be surprised at what you'll find.

When we did our adventure we had nothing but a rehearsed show, we were travelling minstrels if you like and we offered our comedy freely to groups, families, anyone we met on the road. After our performance we would tell the audience what we were doing and 100% of the time someone would take us home and look after us. In fact I put a stone in weight on with all the cooked breakfasts and good living.

After the first week we ditched everything that we thought we needed, because you quickly learn that stuff is heavy and if you ever needed something you had to just ask and most days someone would help you. Stuff, luggage, possessions slow you down, by the end of our cross country walk we had nothing only the clothes we stood up in and a spare pair of underpants and socks. Life was simple and easy.

When I write a story I have a strong moral compass to point my audience the way I think life is better. Life, like my stories is simple, but we sometimes look too hard and find too many problems instead of looking at the wonderful world we all share.

Suffering comes from three places.
1. Loss
2.Less
3.Never

Appreciate and Enjoy
Learn and Grow
Love, Give, and Be Grateful

Monday, 6 June 2016

Unidentified Floating Object

My brother, Darren was the first to spot it.  He switched on the living room light at my grandma's house and as he went to close the curtains it was there.  A floating glowing orange orb hovering over Fraser Crescent.  Darren read about UFO's and had a great knowledge about extra terrestrials, so we all listened.

"What they do is take data" He explained.  "These surveillance ships scout planets for minerals and stuff, then when they have what they want targeted they give the signal to the mother ships".
"Our Darren knows what he's on about" My Grandma said. "Tell em about the pipes they stick on your head to drain your brains, do you think we should ring someone, get the experts in?"

Darren explained that in Close Encounters nobody was believed until it was too late, we should ring the Evening Post.

The girl on the phone didn't seem too interested, even when told her about the pipes sucking out brains.  "I'll take your details and pass them on."  She said.

By now word had spread and the slow trickle of excited kids wanting to see the phenomena was getting longer.  "As long as they wipe their feet they can come in." Gran told us. "We should charge." I said.

Within hours, Mr. Swanick learnt of the news and was knocking.  Mr. Swanick (Ted) worked for the council and was famously doing an Open University course, so his views were always sort.  "I've heard all about your sighting" he said. "Thought I'd come and see it for myself."  He walked into the living room where a group of ten year olds were talking about the best places to hide when the alien invasion happened.  "If they came now I'd lock myself in the Co-Op, you could live for years".

"Have you tried communicating with it?" Mr. Swanick asked. Everyone looked at him open mouthed.  "What would we say?" Grandma said.  "I'd ask why it only appeared when Darren switched the living room light on?"