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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

Recommended Acting Books

Written by NewLiveTheatre on . Posted in Blog, Theatre Advice

in-depth-acting-dee-cannonIN DEPTH ACTING

By Dee Cannon


ISBN: 9781849432320

Read More about In Depth Acting

A book that will stand the test of time’ – Pierce Brosnan

An essential guide to the Stanislavski technique, filtering out the complexities of the system and offering a dynamic, hands-on approach. Provides a comprehensive understanding of character, preparation, text, subtext and objectives.

  • How to prepare for drama school and professional auditions
  • How to develop a 3-dimensional, truthful character
  • Preparation exercises to help you get in character
  • Rehearsal guidelines
  • An appendix of Transitive/Active Verbs and more

‘A wonderful, succinct book that no student or professional actor should be without.’ Jenny Lipman, LAMDA

‘Dee Cannon’s classes at RADA were legendary. An inspiring and intensely practical guide for anyone, at any stage of their acting life.’ Eve Best

‘This is the definitive version of the method I use to approach every role… How wonderful to finally have it all in book form!’ Gemma Arterton

‘Working with Dee and with this book I feel my process and preparation has been energized, activated and inspired’ Ramin Karimloo


Actions: The Actors ThesaurusACTIONS: THE ACTORS’ THESAURUS

By Marina Caldarone and Maggie Lloyd-Williams


ISBN: 9781854596741

Read More about Actions The Actors Thesaurus

‘If you want to act, or act better, Actions will take you a long way on the journey to excellence’ Terry Johnson

A vital companion for actors in rehearsal – a thesaurus of action-words to revitalise performance, with a foreword by Terry Johnson.

Finding the right action is an essential part of the process of preparation for the actor. Using this thesaurus of active verbs, the actor can refine the action-word until s/he hits exactly the right one to help make the action come alive. The method of ‘actioning’ is widely used in rehearsal rooms, but has never before been set down in a systematic and comprehensive way.

An Attitude for ActingAN ATTITUDE FOR ACTING : How to Survive (and Thrive) as an Actor

By Andrew Tidmarsh and Tara Swart


ISBN: 9781848421127


A ‘how to’ book for actors who want to develop a ‘can do’ attitude to their profession in the face of rejection and intense competition.

Feeling despondent about the acting profession?
Been out of work for longer than you care to remember?
Starting to resent the injustices of the job and the success of other actors?

If so, An Attitude for Acting will inspire you to break out of the cycle of despondency and start to view yourself as a creative and autonomous individual who is valuable and employable. The book focuses on:

  • Maintaining a healthy attitude
  • Dealing with negative emotions
  • Keeping productive and motivated
  • Developing self-belief and getting the support you need
  • Turning discouragement into activity and opportunity
  • Coping with nerves
  • Preparing for auditions
  • Being included and not feeling left out
  • Building a value system that includes trust, responsibility, flexibility, creativity, adaptability and courage

The book contains a series of intensely ‘hands-on’ exercises – some for practising alone, others for doing with friends or colleagues. These techniques will enable you to free yourself from potential states of inertia and hopelessness, and prevent any feelings of worthlessness becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, you will develop a self-confident, ‘can-do’ mentality that will help you shape the career you want.

Whether you’ve just completed your training and want to start your career with confidence or you’ve been acting a while and are having difficulty planning the next stage, this book will help you on your path to surviving – and thriving – as an actor.

‘sensible practical advice… anyone embarking on an acting career or currently in the doldrums would do well to invest in this book’ British Theatre Guide

An Attitude for Acting is on Facebook here.

Paul’s Actor and Arts Marketing 101

Written by NewLiveTheatre on . Posted in Blog, Theatre Advice

“Marketing” – it’s such a boring word which makes most people groan and turn off, isn’t it. When you hear the word ‘marketing’, most people think of a suited businessman with a briefcase and mustard splodged down his tie – they picture him sat around a table in an office surrounded by more boring, mustard and ketchup splattered folk, all staring at some squiggly lines on a whiteboard at the head of the room with some cranky man conducting with his pointer, not really knowing what he’s talking about himself. That’s probably the most excitement he gets all day. This vision is enough to make most people crawl away mumbling words like ‘tomorrow’ and ‘whatever’. But that’s not all there is to marketing – you need to grin and bare it and explore what it really means before you walk away, because your career could depend on it.

Believe it or not, marketing can be fun. But if you don’t show people that you exist how are they going to find you?? My favourite quote of recent is: “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows YOU” (thank you Andrew Regan for telling me that one).

What is Networking & Social Media

When it comes to marketing, a couple of words/phrases constantly flying about are ‘Networking‘ and ‘Social Media‘. Without knowing it, you probably do both of these already. Every time you log on to Facebook or Twitter you are engaging in a social media network. Every time you talk to people at your acting class and ask questions, introduce yourself and tell people what you’re up to – that’s networking. As soon as you realise what these boring words mean, the veil is lifted and it starts to make more sense. But you probably already knew these simple facts, didn’t you. But are you aware of what else you can do to promote yourself as a performer? Do you know how best to make use of Twitter? It’s not just for stalking sexy celebrities and telling people what you’re eating. Casting Directors, Agents, Theatre Companies, Directors, Writers, Producers – all these people you want to meet; they’re all on there too. OK, well, obviously not all of them –  I admit some are still sat in caves somewhere with a candle and a chalkboard, but there’s a lot of them. But before you dive in there, you need to think about your ‘strategy’. However, Twitter and Facebook are not the end to social media – there’s also ‘LinkedIn’, ‘Google Plus’ (if you can work it out) – even ‘Instagram’ could be useful, particularly to Models wanting to post pictures. But at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do isn’t there… find your favourite(s) and work them well.

My main advice (if you want it): Get on Twitter. Add your stage name, with a professional Username. Add your headshot. Add a concise biography stating that you are an ACTOR (not ‘aspiring’, ‘wannabe’, ‘student’ etc – these all have negative connotations if you’re looking to engage with employers) and put your Spotlight LINK in your biography, with a personal website in the section for it. Make sure you add your Location, too (Manchester/London/LA etc). Remember, Twitter is used ‘on the go’ – on mobile phones more often than not, so you need to make this information easily accessible to people if you’re trying to engage their attention. Follow everyone you want to work with, give and share information/’retweets’ freely (people may return the favour one day) and respond to people’s tweets whenever you feel the urge to. I use ‘favourites’ like the Facebook ‘Like’ button – I favourite to let people know that I appreciate their post, even if I don’t have a response for them. They don’t always see that, nor care however. Remember, tweets are easily lost/overlooked, especially if people have many followers or aren’t too techy. You don’t have to tweet all the time, just check it every now and then when you remember. Basically, be there, have a presence. Why not? It’s free and it takes a few minutes.

Your Voice – Professional/Unprofessional Approach?

I always find that a little less talked about subject is the professional/unprofessional line. It’s an interesting one (to me anyway). In the world of business it is not good practice to bad mouth your competition or respond unprofessionally to complaints. The problem with being your own walking talking business is knowing what you can and cannot say. If you ever stop and think ‘nooo, I can’t say that’, this normally means you’ve reached your line. To be successful on social media sites like Twitter, you normally need to have a strong ‘voice’ – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be outspoken. You need consistency in your approach and to know what you’re trying to get from what you’re doing. You have celebrities who are known for being outspoken, loud, and they tweet all sorts of rubbish; in many cases this works for them and this is their ‘voice’, it’s what gets them known. I would call this the ‘unprofessional’ approach – but not at all does that mean it’s the wrong approach. Really, there is no right and wrong, it’s all opinion (this is MY opinion – ignore it if you wish, people often do). If you chose to be ‘unprofessional’ in your approach, you will have the advantage of seeming more approachable and people are more likely to engage with what you’re saying and reply to you – whether it’s a positive or negative response however is a different matter. In business, the belief is that it’s better to at least have a foothold in social media and know what’s being said about you than to not be aware at all. As an Actor/Writer/Director/etc, you may not want to read what people are writing about you, so that rule may be more applicable to Arts Companies. But if you ARE doing something wrong or someone has gotten hold of the wrong end of a sticky stick, you’re best knowing about it.

I will finish with explaining that the ‘professional’ approach would be always watching your P’s and Q’s, responding politely at all times and basically updating your status every now and then with some kind of marketing message. Just think about what you normally update your status with – would you say you are professional or unprofessional? Personally, I do try to tread the middle ground but would probably say that I am ‘unprofessional’ in my approach.

Know Your Product

Acting is a business and you need to think of it as one. You are your product and you need to know your ingredients (look into ‘Archetypes’) and what you’re trying to sell – your headshots and CV being your marketing material; they need to compliment what you’re trying to sell. If you’re trying to sell ‘cool, young chic’ and your headshots say ‘teacher’, you’re not too often likely to be called in for what you’re applying for. Your Twitter followers are your consumers and you need to make them want to buy your product. If you don’t know what/who you’re selling, get a piece of paper and write down some single words which you feel best describe you – deep down. Who are you? Keep digging until you can go no further. These words are also great for working into that dreaded “So, tell me about yourself” audition question.


Now the FUN part is the Networking – once you’ve got to the bottom of the boring stuff (what are you selling, how etc) you need to get out there and sell yourself! Get out where? To plays, showcases, classes, conventions, meet ups! Keep your ear to the ground. The majority of good roles/jobs are cast/taken before they’re even written/finalised, so if you’re waiting for your Agent to find you work you’re already missing out on a lot. NOBODY can do this for you.

Well, I think that’s enough of that from me. If you want learn more and have it all explained to you in more detail and more clearly, we have a great seminar coming up at our next Theatre Showcase on 13th April 2013 called ‘Marketing & Social Media for Actors’, which will be delivered by ‘Penguin In the Room‘. I would highly recommend anyone take this seminar, as there’s so much more to marketing than I’ve mentioned above.

Until the next blog,

P.S – If you have an opinion on this subject, feel free to post a comment below!




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