On Thursday, 26th July we held our very first Writer’s Showcase Evening at The Houldsworth in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. We had a great evening and met some wonderful people who gave positive feedback about the format of the showcase and it’s objectives (as well as some constructive feedback, which is great, too!). We previewed 3 single scenes from three new shows – 2 external comedy-dramas and a scene from our upcoming comedy-thriller ‘Spook Manor’.
In May I put out a call for comedy scripts from Writers in the North-West region. After shortlisting my own favourite selection, I enlisted the help of 2 local Directors, Alastair Zyggu and Chloe Lang, who each selected the script they wanted to work with. The selected scripts were ‘Somebody, Somewhere’ by Lee Thompson (chosen by Chloe), and ‘Vain Zarathustra’ by Mark Reid (chosen by Alastair). After a round of casting, the two Directors worked with their cast over just 5 short rehearsals to produce a 15-20 minute performance to showcase. We invited a selection of local theatre companies, Agents, Writers, Directors and Actors to come down and take part in a vote: the audience were to decide which of the two productions we would take forward for a full run in 2013. Press packs with all the details of the evening (including actors, directors and writers) involved were emailed out with guest invites. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a copy).
On the day of the showcase the sun shone down and we had a great turn out! I wanted the showcase to be a little different to others the guest may have attended so I planned the evening to be very informal, with minimal presentations and overall I wanted people to network. I think one of the most important things people in this industry need to do is network and make connections. As guests arrived, they gathered upstairs and there was a definite buzz as people chatted. Shortly after 7pm I gave a brief introduction and the guests made their way down into the performance space.
At the end of the second preview we asked that everyone complete a feedback/voting slip. These were collected and were counted as the guests sat down to watch a preview of ‘Spook Manor’. All three scenes went really well and we had some great feedback.
At the end of the evening, ‘Somebody, Somewhere’ by Lee Thompson was announced as the audience’s favourite of the two external productions on the night. However, this is not the end for the Vain Zarathustra cast as the show has also been entered by Mark and Alastair to perform during a festival on Sunday 26 August, at 2pm (ish) at the Dog and Partridge, Manor St, Bolton. Get yourselves up there if you’re able!
The showcase has been a great experience and we have a great platform to build on for the next showcase – which you can expect to be bigger and better! The showcase evening will be back early in 2013!!
I would again like to thank everyone involved in our very first showcase evening!
Writers: Lee Thompson and Mark Reid
Directors: Alastair Zyggu and Chloe Lang
Actors: Lindsey Chapman, Kimberly-Hart Simpson, Ian Barlow, Rebecca Fenwick, Niamh Seery and Edward Hall. Also Gillian Barge, Haydn Holden and Hazel Mrozek.
Stage Manager (Vain Zarathustra): David Egerton
Additional thanks to: Bob Young, Sally Lawton, The Castle Hotel and Taurus Bar
Finally, thank you to everyone who took time away from the 24:7 Festival to attend on the night and also thank you to everyone who couldn’t attend but wished us luck! Hopefully you will all be able to attend the next showcase
So until the next blog …!