Sunday, 19 March 2017

Arise Sir Mark of Rawtenstall.

The Queen is famous, really famous.  This week we jump on the back of popular culture when we take a look at the royal family.  Hear about the time I slipped one of them a brown envelope containing 500 quid. And the time I trumped at Lady Di's wedding and followed through.  Joanne gives her insight into Princess Margaret.  


Check out this New Podcast episode!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Write here, write now.

How I write.

Please take from this what you want, there are no hard or fast rules about writing.

First of all, don't listen to anyone except yourself.  You know if your work is any good, you don't need others to compliment you (but it does help).

lesson 1 

Idea – the idea is the most important part of writing my stories.  To me they usually come out of the blue and very quickly.  I usually write a half page synopsis of every idea.  If the idea is any good it stays with me, I think about it night and day and let it grow in my head. 

  • Have a book to write these ideas in.  I have lots of idea books and when I need inspiration I have a look through.

Ideas I’ve never written are numerous.  Some ideas stay with you for years.  One of my plays, GRASS took 5 years, until I could get all the components to finish it.  Sometimes it’s because I can’t think of the end.  I think sometimes as I get better at writing I’ll be able to do the really mad ideas I have, I’m not good enough yet.

Ideas come from every where, friends, family, personal stories (Grass), internet, newspapers, photographs, flyers (walk this way). 

Lesson 2

Research - the world, the characters, the story.  I use the internet, the library and then I talk to people.  This time can take months, its writing but in your head mainly.  At night before I go to sleep I think about the problems in my story and I try to solve them. 

Who are the characters, where do the characters live, work, their age, etc?  The answers to these questions shape your story and the lives of the characters.  

I write a graph for my characters like this.  Every new play I start writing notes about the story.  The notebook and the graft is a great source of information if I’m stuck. 

I also write the story scene by scene where my hero is going - From Knife Edge  
          Brian turns up and sets up theatre  
          Brian gets annoyed by Alan, Brian invites Alan on stage.

I don’t always stick to this, but it helps. 

Lesson 3 

Write – Before I write I need to know the end so I know where I’m going.  Think of it like a journey, get everyone in the car and set off to your destination.  Along the way you might meet some interesting characters, your car might break down or there might be a massive diversion, but you always know where you’re headed. I think how it is best to start (usually slowly as an audience need time to settle) the middle part I make up as I go along; it’s the organic stage that I love.  If you’ve done your research the middle should come easier.   I like to get a first draft finished quite quickly no matter how bad it may be.   After I’ve written something I usually leave it alone for a week or two then I come back to edit. 

What is it about?  If a play were about love I would examine and explore the depths and widths of love.  Self love, young love, obsession, loathing, lost love,  

We write drama – what is drama?  It is conflict, things rubbing against each other.  One says yes, the other says no.  So my love story wouldn’t be boy meets girl they live happily ever after – that’s boring.  

Lesson 4

Edit – when I edit I start with first draft and rip it to bits.  Never be scared to take things out, if it doesn’t work cut it.
      Find out what the plays about?
      More in-depth Research, is the world and characters plausible?  I want an audience ideally to believe me and be carried away with the story and my characters.
      Smooth out the scenes, most of my first drafts are disjointed, I might repeat myself.
Re write.  I have never finished writing a play yet.  Even as the play is being performed I’ll still be thinking, tinkering.   

Lesson 5

Structure - You need tension and excitement as well as climaxes.  

and finally...

Rehearsed reading – if you’re planning to get the play on, try and get people to help you listen to it.  Plays are to be played by actors and actors are great at finding all the holes for you.  When a play is cast the actor will concentrate all the attention on their part, they will underline or highlight only their words or their actions, that’s what they’re (we’re trained to do).  If an actor comes up with something better steal it, the play will always have your name on it.  Knife Edge was read in front of an audience of actors, writers, producers and directors – it was very nerve wracking, but a good way to pick their brains. 

I have a CSE in English  

My story would be like Romeo and Juliet – two lovers who can’t be together because of their families.  

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

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.