Looking back on 202228th December 2022
It has been an incredibly busy year for the team at The Play’s the Thing Theatre Company. One that has celebrated new writing and local theatre and supported a host of female and youth creatives through a number of initiatives.
As the year comes to a close, we thought we’d look back over 2022 to see all the exciting projects we have managed and been a part of.
- In early January our Artistic Director, Rosemary Hill, spent six fantastic weeks working with performing arts students from Milton Keynes College in a range of Level 1 and Level 2 theatre courses. Working with the next generation of theatre makers is very important to Rosemary who wants to give creative young people the tools, knowledge and opportunities to get ahead in the industry.
- In March we hosted our second ‘Taking the Stage’ festival at MK Gallery. We took over the Sky Room from 30 March to 2 April and over the four days we celebrated and showcased the incredible work of talented and inspirational women from theatre and film.
We witnessed a wealth of newly commissioned writing and scratch pieces, films from influential female filmmakers and we took part in interesting debates and discussions with professional theatre practitioners, including Chloe Todd Fordham, Sarah Berger, Polly Kemp, Lisa Cagnacci and April De Angelis.
Rosemary also invited the performing arts students from MK College, who she spent time with in January, to devise a new piece that would be performed at the event. The young creatives worked alongside all-female professional devising theatre company, Haste Theatre, to write and create the inspirational piece, ‘What Happens Next?’ which looked at young people’s views, hopes, fears and dreams for the future. Their performance was showcased in front of local and industry audiences.
As part of the legacy of ‘Taking the Stage’ we have established a Creative Youth Board (CYB) made up of young people in and around Milton Keynes. The CYB provides not only a programme of personal and professional development opportunities, but it also gives members the opportunity to create a new work with the help of local theatre practitioners.
The first newly devised CYB performance took place in August. The six young creatives developed ‘THREE: People, Pathways, Perspectives in the Maze We Call Life’, which explores the choices we all have to make in life. They worked with local Director, Theatre Maker and Practitioner Georgia Tillery Randak.
The two performances took place outside MK Gallery on one of the hottest days of the year in August. It was fantastic and a huge testament to the hard work and talent of these young creatives.
If you are aged between 14 and 21 and would be interested in becoming part of this incredible initiative, then why not sign up? You can find all the information you need here.
The event was a huge success. Thank you to everyone who played a part in making it happen. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the Arts Council, our financial supporters, our audience members, and fellow industry cheerleaders. Here’s to the next one!
- In November Rosemary staged her new play, ‘Darlint Peidi’ which was inspired by the story of Edith Thompson, who was executed in 1923 for the murder of her husband, Percy at the Royal and Derngate’s artist development programme, ‘Generate’.
The initiative supports the work and development of emerging and established artists both locally and across the country.
‘Darlint Peidi’ was first showcased at ‘Taking the Stage’ in March. Following this, Rosemary reworked and developed the piece so that it came to ‘Generate’ with even more thought-provoking ideas and intrigue. The piece asks pertinent questions about the way the justice system treats women then and now. It was extremely well received.
Rosemary is excited about some of the suggestions from Generate on how to develop the piece even further. She is now working on the next re write!
- In December, Rosemary held a workshop with make-up students at the University of Bedfordshire (Luton Campus) as part of their degree course.The students were tasked with designing make-up for characters in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and concentrate on Titania, Oberon, Puck and the Fairies.
You can see the final outcome of the workshop here and also find out ways that you can work and train with us.
Rosemary enjoys working with young theatre makers as they can be incredibly creative and inspiring with their ways of working and fresh, new ideas. She is able to learn from them and vice versa, which is what creative learning is all about.
It has been a full, yet inspiring year and we look forward to what the new year brings.
Our plans for 2023
We have some very exciting news coming for the New Year, but we can’t say too much about it now. What we can say is it involves further development of our strand of work “Hidden Stories”- the plays “Now You See Me by Carly Halse and Darlint Peidi by Rosemary Hill.
We can also tell you that we are planning a new film project for our Creative Youth Board. If you are aged between 14 and 21 and this is something that you’d like to get involved in, then please sign up today!
Keep your eyes peeled on our social channels and blog posts in January for our most thrilling news yet!