Author Archive

From Page to Stage: The Waiting Game

Written by NewLiveTheatre on . Posted in Blog, Theatre Advice

Audience members don’t often realise how long it takes for a production to reach the stage before them. Sometimes it takes only a matter of months, but in many cases a playwright may have to wait years to see their creation live on a stage in a watchable, finished form. Thomas Ingham, the writer of ‘VIP‘, was one of the latter cases – we spent a mere eight months working with his script, but for Thomas it was a much longer process.

VIP Sell OutThomas first started writing VIP whilst studying Acting at university in 2011 and even went on to produce an early draft of the play on campus. It wasn’t until November 2012 when the script first landed in my email inbox as an entry for the Manchester Theatre Showcase 2013. I loved the script and its ethereal appeal and so added it to my shortlist which was eventually sent on to our 4 directors for the 2013 event. At this early point I had no idea which script the Directors would decide to work with and could not allow myself to get too attached to any entries. It wasn’t until 20th January 2013 when we finally informed Thomas that we wanted to showcase his script at our event in April. Although only running for a number of days, our showcase has a very lengthy and thorough process, which reflected in the quality of writing and acting displayed at the showcase this year. A ballot vote declared VIP the favourite script at the event and it was then another 3 months before work began on the show’s premiere. The majority of writers prefer to stay in the background – they do not have a great amount of input into the production process, casting, rehearsals or directing of their play. As a Producer who also writes, I know how much it takes to trust someone else with your vision and I find it very admirable when someone is able to cope with this level of detachment. Last week VIP had its premiere on the outskirts of Manchester and I was very pleased to hear that Thomas was happy with what we had done with his play. We had a great time producing the show, working with the cast and the sell-out audience on the final night was a nice cherry on the top.

Womens Voices Yellow WebHowever, our next production has been with us and the writers a little longer. Women’s Voices was first submitted to me in October 2012. I had been directing a one-man play (A Parson’s Tale) written by one of the co-writers, Christopher Owen, and was very flattered to receive a script directly from such an experienced and successfully published Writer. Working with Christopher Owen’s previous play was a little different as I was approached by the Actor (Bob Young, who I had previously directed) for that. When I read the script I immediately thought of Clare Barry. Although I loved the script, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable directing the play myself knowing that there was someone out there, who I knew, who fitted the production like a glove. I just had to get her on board. I approached Clare to direct Women’s Voices even before she was confirmed for the showcase, and I’m very pleased that I did. Clare’s level of dedication, understanding of the subject matter and direction has been amazing and I cannot wait for the premiere next month. But back on the subject of the Writer’s (or in this case WriterS’) Waiting Game – Women’s Voices has had an even longer journey to the stage which pre-dates New Live Theatre. Not your average Manchester Fringe production, Women’s Voices was first given a rehearsed reading at the Actor’s Centre in London (where the writers reside, although Susan K Monson originally hails from New York) in June 2012 – the cast consisted of Eve Polycarpou, Alwyne Taylor, Eva Traynor, Joanna Foster, Kate Crutchley, Clare Oberman and Bob Putt (recognise any of those names?). It’s an honour to be able to present the premiere of this production in Manchester next month and also to be able to attach it to the inaugural Women In Comedy UK Festival, run by the founder of ‘Laughing Cows Comedy’, who are an amazing platform for female stand up comediennes throughout the UK – they’ve worked with acts such as Jo Brand, Jenny Eclair, Barbara Nice, Ava Vidal, Sarah Millican and Kerry Leigh (who plays our ‘Anthea’ in Women’s Voices). I couldn’t think of a better association for a funny play about female empowerment and equality.

Basically, writers need to have patience in bucket loads. Unless you’re one to write, produce and direct a play yourself (which, believe you me, is a huge task if you’re going to do it well, and should never be left until last minute or rushed) you’re probably in for a little wait before you see your play live on a stage that isn’t in your head. But if you’re going to attempt to produce your script yourself then plan, plan and plan ahead and then just get on with it. Producing a play is a huge learning curve which never really stops curving.

You can catch Women’s Voices 16-17th October at Jabez Clegg (just off Oxford Rd) and 18-19th October at The John Cooper-Clarke Theatre (above the Black Lion on Chapel St, Salford). It’s a fantastic play, and I hope the men can man up and come along to have a laugh, too. Click Here to Book Online.

Until the next blog,
Paul – Artistic Director

Acting Agents in Manchester

Written by NewLiveTheatre on . Posted in Blog, Theatre Advice

Are you looking for a reputable Acting Agency in Manchester UK? Here is a list of some of the most respected Agents currently operating in the Manchester region. Most of the companies listed below represent purely trained, professional actors with previous paid acting credits. If you are just starting out, you may wish to sign up with a Supporting Artists Agency and/or join a reputable Drama School or Actor Training Company whilst building your experience. Another opportunity to gain an Agent with little experience is by signing up to a good talent showcase or stage production with a known company.

Before applying to an Agent you should check: that their books are ‘open’ for new submission, their submission preference (email or post), that there is a gap in their client list for you (age/gender/style/skills/ethnicity etc).

TIPS: NEVER sign up to an agency asking for upfront fees for representation. Agents earn their wage by taking a 10-20%* cut of your wage for any jobs they assist you in securing. However, it is common for Agents to request new headshots and often recommend a photographer – but remember that you are always free to shop around for a better deal. It is always advisable to have your highly important headshots taken by a professional headshot photographer.

Manchester Acting Agents for Adults















Manchester Acting Agents for Children



Manchester Theatre Showcase Winner

Written by NewLiveTheatre on . Posted in Blog, Latest News

In April 2013 we hosted the second year of our annual Theatre Showcase event (which from next year will formally take the title of the ‘Manchester Theatre Showcase‘ – after it was accidentally dubbed this during our second year, we’re going to roll with it) at the 3MT (Three Minute Theatre) in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

VIPWe are pleased to announce that our wonderful audience voted for ‘VIP’, written by Thomas Ingham, directed by Clare Barry and featuring Katie Burgess, Hilly Barber and Caroline Warhurst, as their favourite play from the showcase to receive a premiere this September in Manchester. We are also VERY pleased to announce that we have now cast 3 further male roles for this full production – we’ll announce names on Monday! Tickets will go on sale soon and more information about this play can be read at

As New Live Theatre and our shows grow, our website is getting a little cluttered so the Manchester Theatre Showcase will now have it’s own dedicated website at where all future blog posts, casting calls and information related to the annual showcase competition will be available.

This year the event doubled in size, taking place over two nights, instead of last years one night, and instead of 6 Actors this year we showcased 12 and an additional 3 Stand-Up comedians. Instead of 2 comedy plays, we showcased 4 and opened up the competition for all genres. In total our 2012 showcase evening had 10 participants, this year we had 23 participants and next year we intend to grow yet again! As well as the showcase pieces and Stand Up Acts, we invited along Samantha Baines from London based, Award Winning Arts Marketeer, Penguin in the Room to run a workshop on ‘Marketing and Social Media for Actors’ right before our opening night.

We were delighted to have a sell-out audience for both nights of the Theatre Showcase and we’re now making plans for further opportunities and finding experienced local Directors for the Manchester Theatre Showcase 2014, for which we’ll start accepting script submission from local Writers in the run up to Christmas, with auditions in the new year.

How it all started…

The Manchester Theatre Showcase started it’s humble journey in 2012 at a 50 seat theatre on the outskirts of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, showcasing scenes from just 2 new comedy plays to an invited audience. At the end of the night, we asked our knowledgeable audience and participants for written feedback in order to help us further develop the showcase and how it is run. A few people wanted free nibbles and champagne (our original venue didn’t have a bar) but we did get some get feedback. We read each constructive slip of paper and with some new ideas we returned 9 months later with the follow up ‘Theatre Showcase’, which offered more variety and more opportunities.

Theatre Showcase, from audienceOur 2nd annual Theatre Showcase event in 2013 took place at the 3MT (Three Minute Theatre), once again in the Quirky Quarter of Manchester’s city centre. The perfect setting for creativity to flourish. We once again advertised solely via social media for new plays (this time of any genre) by local playwrights. This year we worked with a new set of experienced local directors to select not 2, but FOUR plays to showcase to not only an invited audience, but also a public audience. The selected plays were ‘VIP’, by Thomas Ingham, ‘Counting the Days’, by Matthew Smith, ‘Standing in the Background’, by Mick Cooper and ‘Scarlett Fever’ by Emily Chriscoli. In order to create some continuity for the feel of the night (we had gritty dramas to comedies) we this year advertised for locally performing Stand Up comedians and performers wishing to showcase themselves – 3 to be precise. And we got them! Daniel Carmichael, Bernie Barrett and Joshua Boland-Burrell.


We’d like to say a big thank you to all of our ‘TEAMS’ and Acts who participated and gave their time to the showcase this year – Next year’s 2014 Teams at the Manchester Theatre Showcase have A LOT to live up to, and we look forward to hopefully working with everyone again in the near future. Also, thank you to Gina, John and the staff at 3MT, all of our invited guests who made it down to watch and each and every member of the public who supported our event this year! We promise, next year will be even bigger and better!

Don’t forget – if you’d like to let us know what you want to see at the Manchester Theatre Showcase in 2014, or you’d like to give your feedback as an audience member from this year’s event, please comment below!


VIP TeamWriter: Thomas Ingham Director: Clare Barry
Cast: Katie Burgess, Hilly Barber and Caroline Warhurst.

Comedian: Joshua Boland-Burrell

Counting the Days TeamWriter: Matthew Smith Director: Chloe Lang
Cast: Jack Howard, Samuel Turner and David Degiorgio

Comedienne: Bernie Barrett

Standing in the Background TeamWriter: Mick Cooper Director: Gregg Scott
Cast: Karl Greenwood, Emma McMorrow and Ross McCann

Comedian: Daniel Carmichael

Scarlett Fever TeamWriter: Emily Chriscoli Director: Alex Shepley
Cast: Lily Shepherd, Sharon Heywood and Brian Gorman



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Before his infamy as Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth was a successful actor, acclaimed by audience and critics alike. He was well known for his energetic performances.



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