At The Play’s The Thing Theatre Company, we understand that commissioning theatre is the lifeblood of the industry. We do it to not only keep theatre alive and support playwrights, but to also bring people together and connect communities through the power of the arts.
We will be staging eight newly commissioned pieces by local and professional women playwrights at our ‘Taking the Stage and Screen’ event, which takes place in March 2022 at MK Gallery.
Our four-day event will celebrate all women who work within the arts - those on stage, on screen, plus those behind the scenes - to showcase their incredible work and achievements.
There will be four strands that run through our event, which include: Newly Commissioned, which we will tell you more about in this blog; On Screen, which will put female filmmakers in the spotlight; New Voices, which showcases work by young people; and Debate, which will open discussions to thought-provoking theatre-based questions.
One of our newly commissioned plays has been written by London based writer and theatre maker, Chloe Todd-Fordham, and is entitled ‘Tapestry’. She describes the piece as “a new play exploring the resilience and value of older women-led community groups through austerity and times of isolation.”
You may have seen this play in its earliest form when it was performed at our first ‘Taking the Stage’ event in 2019. Chloe has been running workshops with Jane Charles, a Textile and Sewing Practitioner, and her wonderful sewing group to form the background of research for Chloe to write the play. Chloe will also be working with Lisa Cagnacci, a dramaturg, who also works with the wonderful Sphinx Theatre. “Tapestry” will then present as a full-length play for “Taking The Stage”. We are very excited for you to see this.
Other commissioned pieces come from our ‘Hidden Stories’ event that took place at MK Gallery in late October - ‘Now You See Me’ by actor and playwright, Carly Halse and, ‘Darlint Peidi’ by our Artistic Director, Rosemary Hill. These ‘Hidden Stories’ are based on the true events of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain, and Edith Thompson, who was executed in 1923 alongside her young lover, Frederick Bywaters.
Then we also have “Daughter of The Waves” by Lisa Lovell and “The Saltiness of Time” by Shirley Jones. We are all working with dramaturg, Andy Routledge, on these pieces to develop them further.
Lastly, we have three further pieces “Claudine” by Poppy Corbett about a nineteenth century French witch and “Welcome to Mine” by Francis Grin which looks at our relationship with our possessions in times of grief. What is sentimental value?
Then yesterday evening we were really excited to bring actor and writer Subika Anwar- Khan into the team. Subika is thinking about what she will write for her piece. She is very interested in events in Afghanistan. There’s no doubt whatever she writes will be thought provoking!
We shall be bringing you more news as these pieces of writing develop!
We are very excited about introducing you to these new plays which focus on women and have been written by women.
By commissioning these new pieces by local and professional writers, we are opening the doors to a wider audience and inspiring theatre goers with new and relatable stories, which will hopefully stay with them forever.
As The Old Vic quite rightly says, “To ensure theatre remains engaging and relevant and enables new voices and ideas to thrive, commissions are vital.”
Further information of our ‘Taking the Stage and Screen’ on 30th March - 2nd April 2022 at MK Gallery will be released shortly and tickets will be available very soon. In the meantime, why not look at our previous blog post, which will tell you a bit more about the four days.
Thank you to The Arts Council for making this all possible.