It’s a very busy time here at New Live Theatre Company. As always we’re learning a lot, growing a lot and meeting some great audiences, companies and theatre pros along the way.
It’s been a while since my last blog, so here’s a little update on what we’ve been up to at NLTCo HQ…
In September we had VIP (winner of the Manchester Theatre Showcase 2013) in production – it was a great success and such an interesting show to work on, with a brilliant cast by an exciting young and local Writer (Thomas Ingham). But there was no rest for the wicked as we were already in rehearsals for our following shows. September also saw this year’s tour of A Parson’s Tale come to a close down in Cheadle Hulme. The one-man play, directed by myself (starring Bob Young and written by Women’s Voices co-writer Christopher Owen), will return in January 2014.
Next up was Women’s Voices in October – another brilliant play written by the talented, award-winning Writer and Actor Christopher Owen, along with his writing partner Susan K Monson. Much like A Parson’s Tale, which I first directed at the end of 2012, Women’s Voices is a straight comedy-drama play with songs and snippets of songs performed at various points throughout – but it isn’t a musical. Women’s Voices, however, was directed by our talented Associate Director Clare Barry. Working with Clare on first the showcase, VIP and then Women’s Voices over the course of 8 months has been a great experience. She’s full of touring tales and directing tips – a real pleasure to work with.
But back on the subject of Women’s Voices and A Parson’s Tale… I recently got into a discussion on Twitter (follow me @PaulRKenney or @NewLiveTheatre) about ‘What is a musical?‘. My view is that a musical is a show where the songs carry the story forward (even back perhaps) or expose the feelings of the character(s) in that moment. A musical will most likely be dominated by the music. Women’s Voices and A Parson’s Tale aren’t, therefore they were challenging to categorise correctly. If you wish to express your view on what makes a musical a ‘musical’, I’d love to hear your thoughts and you can post them in the comment area at the bottom of the page! I do have a point to this topic… Because of working on these two shows, I have been approached to produce a mini-musical with some local musicians. Infact, I also have another show idea bubbling to the surface of my mind, too. I’ve had the idea for a while, but it’s now morphed into something very special I cannot wait to share. But naturally, I have a very busy schedule planned next year as we tackle touring so I’m not sure exactly where it’s all going to fit in yet. It may have to wait until 2015, we shall see. I’m still trying to learn the skill of keeping shtum about new projects. I’m getting better, I think. They’re just exciting.
Regrettably, we were left with no option but to cancel our Halloween production of Spook Manor due to availability. Sadly, on the rare occasion these things do happen and we were just unfortunate. If you have been following my blogs, you will know that the show had been a long time coming, so it was an extremely difficult decision. Unfortunately, with such a busy schedule, it will be near impossible to fit it back in during 2013/2014 so we have decided to set the script free and release it into the world. We already have some interest from a number of local companies, so hopefully it shouldn’t be left on its dusty victorian shelf too long. I believe everything happens for a reason and perhaps fresh eyes will bring something new to show. I’m looking forward to seeing what someone else will do with our play.
SO FINALLY… to end our season this year we’re stepping out of our comfort zone a little with a gritty northern drama called ‘A Walk in the Park’. Yes, technically it’s a comedy-drama, but it’s got far too much grit to justify the comedy tag. But it is very funny in parts. Sally Naden as the interfering ‘Wendy’ is hilarious. A Walk in the Park is the debut play by a young writer from Warrington called Emily Chriscoli. We met Emily through the Manchester Theatre Showcase (next year’s showcase is a whole other blog on it’s own!! I’ve been working hard on that front too and it [#MTS2014] shall be a beast of an event – rocketing further than last year’s 2 night sell out) and although her participating play (Scarlett Fever) wasn’t selected by the audience on that occasion, we kept in touch and were so impressed with her writing, attitude and determination we just had to take this show on.
A Walk in the Park is being directed by Gregg Scott, who we also met via the Manchester Theatre Showcase. It’s a challenging piece we’re approaching delicately to the point where I have sworn the cast to secrecy as we would like the script to be judged on it’s own merit and avoid it being stereotyped before it’s even been seen. I say no more, aside from this – It runs 20-22 November at Chapel St Studios (which is so annoyingly on the very cusp of Manchester, but is technically Salford), come see it! There, shtum.
As always, any comments please post them below! If you want to email me directly you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until the next blog,
Paul – Artistic Director