Well, it’s been quite a year for The Play’s The Thing.
First of all, our director, Rosemary Hill, worked with Next Page Productions on “Funny Faces” by Steve Dimmer- two monologues featuring two great actors – Caroline Ryden as Joan Sims and Steve Dimmer as Sid James. It was great to work on these two plays and we toured them all over the place. Hard work but great fun. There will be more performances in 2019!
We were very involved with the MK Lit Fest and sponsored events – in particular “In Conversation” with the wonderful playwright Bryony Lavery who has been much in the news with her work. She is finally being recognised as one of our greatest playwrights. Her play “Frozen” ran in the West End to great reviews and her adaptation of Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones” was also highly acclaimed. Deservedly so. Bryony Lavery is so very clever, witty, sensitive, playful and yet very respectful to whatever and whomever she is working with. A rare gift to be able to deal with such intense and dark subjects and yet bring us hope. She is indeed a genius.
The massive project for the year though was “Shoulder To Shoulder” celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage. We worked with partners Cornerstone Arts Centre in Oxfordshire and The Royal and Derngate Theatre in Northampton.
Other partners were Stantonbury Theatre and International School, MK Library, MK Gallery, The Fawcett Society and The Living Archive.
Working across three counties five wonderful professional theatre companies mentored five community companies by sharing their specific way of working – Zoo Co with Stantonbury, Paper Birds with Pepper’s Ghost Theatre Company, Vamos with Abingdon and Witney College, Haste with Didcot Girls’ School and Stan’s Cafe with the Actors Company (Royal and Derngate).
After local showings of what had been devised a final festival performance of all five pieces were celebrated at The Royal and Derngate Theatre in Northampton on Sunday 21st October.
It was an amazing event - full of energy and passion and a fitting tribute to the brave women who fought for the vote. We are so proud of everyone involved in this project.
Funded by the Arts Council, Awards For All and The Milton Keynes Community Foundation, we think we delivered everything we said we would and more!
Next up was “Entertaining Mr Sloane” by Joe Orton. What a wonderful cast and team and we had a great time. We laughed so much in the rehearsal room, but we also worked very hard and the final result showed this. Again, it was a production of which we are very proud.
So, what of next year?
Well, we have some exciting things planned – an event with MK Gallery in September 2019 (watch this space as we reveal details in the weeks to come). Then we shall also be producing a wonderful play at Stantonbury Theatre in November (again details to be announced soon!)
Lastly, we shall be running some amazing workshops and master classes.
The first is “Revealing The Mask” run by Vamos, the UK’s leading mask company on Sunday 10th February 10.30am – 4.30pm at the Scout Hut, Furze Way in Wolverton, Milton Keynes.
You can sign up by emailing me.
So, we wish you all a very Happy New Year and thank you to everyone for your support, interest and encouragement.
We also want to thank our funders - The Arts Council, Awards For All , Milton Keynes Community Foundation and Willis Design Associates. And to everyone who has worked with us this year we hope you have enjoyed it! We are so proud of what we have all achieved together. THANK YOU!