Behind the scenes of “Dinner”

Bolton Little Theatre’s latest production is “Dinner” by Moira Buffini. As with many of her plays it is concerns a set of apparently sophisticated liberal characters brought together in a room. Slowly however their veneers are stripped away to reveal ugly prejudices and other basic flaws and deceptions. In the case of this play, Lars a bestselling author of self-help books and his wife Paige are holding a small dinner party to celebrate his latest publication. But it soon becomes clear that Paige intends this evening to be an elaborate revenge against a group of people she despises for their hypocrisies. Somehow, the mysterious silent butler is the key, but what is his ultimate role?

I have made a short behind the scenes documentary to promote the play, which is being staged 6th to 9th April 2016. For tickets and more information please visit our webpage.

 

Going behind the scenes of “The Rivals”

Bolton Little Theatre’s next production will be Richard Sheridan’s famous comedy about a clash between greed, snobbery and romantic ideals in 18th century Bath. The play is most famous for giving literature one of its most famous comic characters – Mrs Malaprop, a rich pompous dowager who frequently mangles the English language as she lectures all and sundry. “She’s as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile!” Sheridan probably based her name on the French phrase “mal a propos” meaning “poorly placed”. Although many comedies had used mixed up phrases before this, including Shakespeare’s, malapropisms has become the popular description of such jokes.

Last week I took my camcorder down to the theatre to interview director Jolyon Coombs about the challenges of staging the play and talk to some of the actors

Hope you find it interesting. “The Rivals” is on 5 – 12 March 2016 in Bolton.
You can book tickets and find out more from the website by clicking here.

 

Dalek Night – Coming Soon!

Later this month, 6pm 23rd September to be precise, I’m going to be taking part in a podcast all about the Daleks. In case you’ve not heard of them, the Daleks are a xenophobic alien race of monsters from British SF television series Doctor Who. They are also a significant part of pop culture and have been since their debut in 1963. That’s what this podcast is all about, the larger realm and influence of the Daleks beyond the television series. I’ll be joining John Isles and Anne-Louise Fortune to talk about comics, novels and merchandise. The all round excellent Nigel J Anderson of NJ Productions will be hosting and filming the event for later release on Youtube. The whole production is part of the ongoing activity of The Manchester Indie Filmmakers Group.

This is a sequel to our first, well received three part podcast on the missing episodes of Doctor Who, which we filmed earlier in the year.

Should be a lot of fun. We’ll be in the performance area of Manchester Central Library, so if you are interested in being in the audience and taking part please come along and join us. I’ll be posting the finished production on the blog later in the year.

Helping Potting Shed Pete arrive on social media

I first met the performance poet Potting Shed Pete about a year ago, when he came along to Bolton to appear at Scott Devon’s monthly open-mic evening George’s. He’s an engaging character, with a fully worked out stage persona of a cheerful Northern bloke in flat cap and white gloves. Most of his poem’s are light-hearted observational fare, but occasionally he’ll reveal a more serious side to his work, which is more effective by the contrast.

A little while ago he got in touch to ask if I could commit a few of his poems to video so he could use them to promote himself. I’ve plenty of experience of filming poets for Live from Worktown and related projects, but these videos are the first I’ve made entirely under my own steam. I think they’ve turned out pretty well. Especially the sound, as I used a cheap tie-clip microphone and a separate Olympus dictaphone to capture it, rather than rely on the camcorder’s mic which also picks up reverberations from the room. Standard practice of course for professional cameramen but it’s a taken a while for me to learn to do it by default.

In addition to the videos I also created a YouTube page for him which you can visit here. Please give them a watch and I hope you enjoy them.

Whilst I still think of myself primarily as a writer, these video jobs are satisfying as another creative string.

Watch the best of our Bolton poetry festival – Live from Worktown 2015

logo lfw

So after all the stressful planning, the filming and the late nights, the second Live from Worktown festival of the spoken word is over. Well I say over, you can still buy copies of our accompanying poetry anthology with contributions from all over the UK and beyond, not to mention a long overdue reissue of Hovis Presley’s bestselling collection “Poetic Off-License”. Sometime soon the committee will have a review meeting to consider what succeeded and what could have been done better.

Plus you can watch my videos of many of the events, which I’ve been busy editing during the course of the festival. I’ve put them together into a Youtube playlist below. You’ll find local poets like Jefferama and Louise Fazackerly rubbing shoulders with major names like John Hegley and Brian Patten. I think the part of the festival I’m most proud of is the connections it makes between people, connections which might flower into new creative projects, or just make people’s lives a bit brighter.

Highlights for me have been the energy, enthusiasm and sheer quality of the performers on the INSYT Media vs Young Identity evening. John Hegley’s hilarious clever set, and the good feedback I’ve had from the Hovis Presley night. The latter was the evening I was overseeing and it pushed me into new responsibilities and has given me more confidence for future happenings.

Low-lights have been the problems of finding good venues for our festival programme, money worries when it looked like our Arts Council grant application had failed and trying to think of new ways to promote the festival at the eleventh hour.

However I think Live from Worktown as a brand has definitely raised its profile and reputation significantly this year. Most of the credit goes to Dave Morgan, Scott Devon, Paul Blackburn and Louise Coulson for all their hard work. Now its time to put some of my other projects back on the table and get them completed. Hopefully I’ll have more to tell you about soon. Thanks for reading.

For more information about the festival, or if you want to buy a copy of the anthology, please visit http://livefromworktown.org

Lear’s Daughters (or why is everyone so evil in King Lear?)

Hello again. One of the hats I wear is updating the Bolton Little Theatre website. I’m also on the marketing committee. At the last meeting I suggested filming some interviews with the creative souls at the theatre to promote up-coming plays and I’ve just completed the first one, which you can watch below.

It is centered on our forthcoming production in April of “Lear’s Daughters”, a prequel to “King Lear” looking into what made Goneril, Regan and Cordelia the women they are in Shakespeare’s tragedy. The play is written by Elaine Feinstein. But I’ll let director June Grice explain more…

Hope you find it interesting. Here is Ben Latham’s excellent poster for the production too.

BLT14156 Lears daughters