Bench Theatre have released a cast photograph as rehearsals hit a halfway point for their next show: 'Woman In Mind'.
The 1985 Alan Ayckbourn play is considered by many to be among one of his best, and has long been an ambition of The Bench to stage. The West End run of the piece was well received by critics and audience members alike.
The play is described as "a poignant and funny play about a woman unraveling". The cast include Ben Tanner; Kirsty Terry; Steve Burt; Sally Hartley; Pete Woodward; Sarah Parnell and Simon Walton. It is directed by Andrew Caple.
The performance runs at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre from 14th - 16th July, with a Saturday matinee on the 16th. The run then continues from the 20th - 23rd July.
As always with The Bench, advanced booking is advised. Opening night is nearly sold out already and tickets are expected to sell quickly as we approach July. Link to box office below.
This week Rootless Tree Productions perform the critically acclaimed play by Simon Stephens: 'Punk Rock'. The piece follows a group of sixth-formers as they prepare for their A-levels, and explores the relationships between them as they flirt; fight and bully their way through them. With a 14+ age rating, it's a gritty, angsty play that comes as highly recommended viewing this week.
As it reaches opening night, PortsmouthTheatre.com managed to catch up with director Gary Dixon to find out more.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Gary. Tell us a bit about Rootless Tree Productions and your involvement with the company.
I set up Rootless Tree Productions in 2013 primarily to give my yearning to direct an outlet, but also to put on some exciting theatre that would involve the talented people I know. It also gave me the chance to work with new performers as well as collaborate with other creatives. The company is now run between myself and my partner, Owen Graham, and involves many of the same performers that we started with during our first production of Spring Awakening in April 2014.
'Punk Rock' sounds really interesting. Can you tell us a bit about it and why you wanted to direct it?
I actually was lucky enough to experience the original production in Manchester and absolutely fell in love with the piece. I knew I had to direct it one day but it was more about waiting for the perfect cast. Then, last Autumn it seemed the stars had aligned and the perfect cast were all available and enthusiastic, which has been something we have always tried to work by; I only want to direct something if it's right for me and right for all involved, I would never produce a piece of theatre just for the sake of it. I know it might sound cliché but if my heart isn't in it, I know the production would suffer and that's not fair on anyone, least of all the audience. Luckily, 'Punk Rock' has easily become my proudest directorial achievement.
It's quite gritty with teen angst isn't it? Has that been a challenge to portray?
We actually joked about this last night during the dress rehearsal, laughing at how naïve and full of energy 17 year olds can be. I think the average age of the cast is roughly 24 which I think has come with its challenges; I know I have struggled sometimes to think and physically portray a youthful teen however I must commend my cast on all their hard work. It's actually quite scary how young and innocent we have all become in rehearsals.
The cast list looks really strong for 'Punk Rock'. Tell us a bit about the cast and casting process.
The cast have been superb, as I knew they would be. I actually prefer to audition usually with anything I direct, however with this play each character was so specific it was more of a "please can you play this part" situation. It truly is an ensemble piece and I think the audience will see that when they experience how rich and multi-layered the characters have become.
Any challenges you have had to overcome with the show?
As always, directing and performing in a piece comes with its challenges, but this is something I have created my own rhythm for. I have to say, the only difficulty has been the line learning, and I think the other cast members would agree. Simon Stephens' dialogue is beautifully real and authentic, however that means it's full of chatter, throw away comments, slang etc. which can make line learning an even steeper hill to climb.
Have you had a favourite moment from rehearsals?
That's easy, last night during the dress rehearsal we finished Act One and we all equally had that "we have an amazing piece of theatre" feeling, something that you don't always develop as a performer in a show.
Overall, why do you think people should come and see 'Punk Rock'?
If you want to experience something different, contemporary and thought provoking then you should come to this show. I honestly believe that this play is for everyone, you cannot help but laugh, cry and be moved by Punk Rock. I genuinely urge anyone with a love for theatre and anyone who wants to experience theatre for the first time to get a ticket!
Punk Rock is performed at The Treehouse Theatre 141, Fareham, from Thursday 26th May - Saturday 28th May 2016. All performances begin at 7:30pm. Tickets are unallocated, but can be booked in advance by following the link below.
All rehearsal photos shown taken by Gilly Williams.
Local writer Roger Goldsmith, who has had much success with his works being performed in London and across the pond, has confirmed he will be putting on 'It Started With a Touch' this October.
The play will be staged at Rosie's Vineyard and stars Patrick Howe, Angie Lillie, Leigh Cunningham and Chris Mills. Roger says he is hoping to have Steve Pitt direct the piece.
"It will be great to stage the play locally, and will follow on from the US production by Talking Horse Productions in September," he wrote on social media.
"The play tells the story of a Mother who reports her son to the police when she witnesses him beating up and almost blinding an innocent man. Her son is sent to prison and her family reject her.
If the play is as well supported as 'Inside Out' last year I will be delighted."
More coverage of this will be coming your way as we move towards the Autumn theatre season.
As we previously reported, The Sogologues is back this year with a third volume. For those who missed the previous instalments, the cabaret-style show, performed at Rosie's Vineyard, takes song lyrics and performs them as monologues in interesting and unexpected ways.
The production was a huge sell-out success for the Southsea Shakespeare Actors, who recently performed a reprise of highlights in Aurora, Albert Road, to rapturous applause.
This week, creator and director Matt Gibbins is holding open auditions for 'Songologues Volume 3: The Big Screen Edition'.
If you are interested we've included all the audition information below, direct from the company's release. In addition, you can find out more on our auditions page. The auditions will be friendly and fun, so definitely worth a look if you want to be part of an interesting and unique piece of theatre.
Below you will see a list of 4 songs. You will need to pick one of these songs and perform a portion, or all of it, however you see fit.
You may want to change the context, keep it the same, do it as a serious dramatic piece, or do it as a comedy etc. Some keys areas to look at are trying to avoid the lyrical structure and noticeable rhymes. You may also want to experiment with presentation and character.
In addition to that you are kindly asked to prepare a second song of your own choosing using these same methods.
Please also be aware you can make relevant cuts where you feel appropriate, such as repetition of choruses etc.
Audition piece 1 – ONE OF THE FOLLOWING
Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler for ‘Beaches’
Separate Lives – Phil Collins for ‘White Nights’
What a Feeling – Cara for ‘Flashdance’
(Everything I Do), I Do It for You – Bryan Adams for ‘Robin Hood’
Audition piece 2 – ANY SONG OF YOUR CHOOSING
With this song you are not constricted to the ‘Songs from the Movies’ theme, and you can pick any song ever recorded.
Show Venue: Rosie’s Vineyard, Elm Grove, Southsea
Show dates: Last week of August (Tues - Thurs): 30th August - 1st September 2016
Audition venue: Southsea Shakespeare Actors HQ, Omega Street, Fratton
19th @ 7:30pm – 10pm
22nd May @ 12-2:30
Rehearsals: Thursday evenings & Sunday various times, starting w/c 30th May
Director – Matt Gibbins
Production Assistant – Aaron Holdaway
South Downe Musical Society have started promoting their next production, 'Grease', following a recent unveiling of the principle cast list.
The promotions for the smash musical have begun with the release of an official Twitter account for the South Downe production.
Twitter users can follow @SDMS_Grease16 for all the latest news, information and fun.
It is believed the cast are also booked in to perform and promote at several locations close to the show's venue: Ferneham Hall in Fareham. Expect more information about this as it is released.
Tickets for the show are expected to sell quickly so advance booking is advised. Grease is performed from Wednesday 6th to Saturday 9th July 2016, with a 2:30pm matinee on the Saturday.
Tonight (Thurs 12th May), Portchester Players open their production of Tim Firth's 'Neville's Island', which runs nightly for the next three days. Ahead of their opening night, we are fortunate to catch up with the show's director, Kay Sumpner, on 'Neville's Island', sourcing a Gryfalconer and the problems associated with getting your cast wet.
Kay Sumpner is no stranger to directing. Or to the Portchester Players, for that matter. Her parents were founding members when the company was launched over fifty years ago. In the late seventies (or early eighties) Sumpner turned her hand to directing, which was definitely worthwhile, as she has been nominated for several directing awards along the way, including from Southern Daily Echo's Curtain Call and the All England Theatre Festival Awards.
This week, of course, she turns her hand to 'Neville's Island'. Keen to find out more ahead of seeing it, we asked her about the production.
"It's about four middle aged men who go on a character building team event in the Lake District. It all goes horribly wrong for them and they end up stranded on an island, with no phone signal so they can't tell anyone they're there. And they even manage to sink their rowing boat by hitting a rock!" she explains.
But it's a lighthearted play, right?
"It is funny; very funny, actually one of the funniest plays I've ever seen, but it is a little bit dark as well, which is nice."
What drew you to this play in particular?
"I first saw it on television quite a few years back, and [Portchester] Players did it about fourteen years ago and I've always absolutely loved it. Last year, or it might have been the year before, I went to see it at Chichester, and it rekindled my love of it, so I thought I'd have a go at it myself."
"There was one very specialised prop we had to source, which was a Gryfalcon, - I tootled around on the internet and found a guy who was offering one because he knew how difficult they are to source. So we ended up going to Billingshurst to pick it up!"
You never think of all these things when you watch a play on stage!
*laughs* I know! The effort we have had to go to - because the boys have fallen out of their boat and have swam to the shore at the start of the play - we have had to put down tarpaulin and sort out extra carpeting, all things like that, to absorb the drips. So it has been quite involved!
So, is someone showering them in water just before it goes up?
Oh yes! The cast are absolutely soaked from head to toe at the start!
Why, do you think, potential audience members should come see 'Neville's Island'?
Really good cast. Great performances and absolute belly laughs.
And what more could you possibly ask for from a night at the theatre?
Neville's Island runs from Thursday 12th May - Satuday 14th May 2016 at the Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham. Box Office: 01329 223100.
The play stars Steve Reading; Jason Christopher; Mark Harold and Graham Robertson.
Photo at top of page shows cast in technical rehearsal on Tuesday 10th May 2016. Courtesy of Portchester Players' Facebook Page.
Portsmouth Players have revealed their poster for 'Oliver' (above), which is to be staged at The Kings Theatre from the 1st until the 5th November 2016.
The company have also revealed that the play is to be directed and choreographed by Sarah Louise Day, whilst Darren Alderton is to take the role of musical director.
Not only this revelation, but they have announced details on how to get hold of an audition pack via their social media channels. This is to register to be seen, and is via email only:
It's a busy year for the company, who are also putting on musical revue 'Showtune' next week and 'Hi-De-Hi' in June. These are both to be staged at The Players Studio Theatre in Milton Park.
They follow a successful run of 'Spamalot' by the company at The Kings Theatre earlier this year.
Portsmouth Players, who recently had a terrific run of 'Spamalot' at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, are far into preparations for their next production.
'Showtune' is a musical revue celebrating the words and music of Jerry Herman. It plays at The Players Studio Theatre from 18th - 21st May 2016, with a Saturday matinee at 2:30pm.
The company posted the following on their Facebook page earlier today, giving a bit more information about the song choices and also promoting the newly improved seating at the theatre:
"So this is your final week to get tickets to see our fabulous musical compilation show of 'Showtune' bringing all the great hits from 'Hello Dolly' 'La cage aux folles' 'Mack and Mabel' to name but a few. Also this will be a great opportunity to come and see and experience our wonderful new tiered seating!
Please come and support local theatre, it really can make a difference.
We've now made things very easy to book tickets online via your tablet or desktop. Tickets are £11 with no booking fee. What you waiting for getting booking today!"
Tickets are currently still available. We've included a link to their online box office below.
Portchester Players open their production of 'Neville's Island' this Thursday at the Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham.
Directed by Kay Sumpner, and written by Tim Firth, the show is described lovingly as "a cross between Lord of the Flies and The Office."
"Team Building Weekend - words that would strike a chill in the heart of anyone that has ever experienced the horror of such events! But for Neville, Gordon, Angus and Roy it's a reality. These four out-of-condition, middle aged businessmen find themselves in the Lake District and succeed in being the first people ever to get shipwrecked inland! Bound in by fog, menaced by the wildlife and cut off from the world, this perfunctory middle-class exercise turns into a carnival of recrimination, French cricket and sausages.
What should have been a bonding process turns into a muddy, bloody fight for survival. Tim Firth (Calendar Girls, The Flint Street Nativity etc) certainly knows how to write comedy with a dark side and we are sure our audiences will love watching everything fall apart for this intrepid bunch."
The show runs from Thursday 12th until Saturday 14th May 2016 at 7:30pm. We've included a link to the box office below. It looks set to be an entertaining night of theatre - don't miss it!
Rootless Tree Productions have unveiled their trailer for the forthcoming production of 'Punk Rock'.
The play, directed by Gary Dixon, is being performed at The Treehouse Theatre in Bishopsfield Road, Fareham, from Thursday 26th May until Saturday 28th May. It is for ages 14 years and above.
The gritty play, written by Simon Stephens and directed by Gary Dixon, examines how relationships between a group of sixth-formers unravel as they prepare for their A-level exams; uncovering untold truths within the intense confines of the library.
It is recommended viewing and unlike anything else we've seen coming up in the Portsmouth Theatre amateur dramatic scene this year.
We've included a link below to the box office. Advance booking advised.