8 Jun 2012

The Odd Couple, Sitting Up for Michael tour and Pick N Mix

Well, I've had such a hectic month - three plays in 30 days - that I haven't been able to find space to write here about it.

First, I was in the brilliant Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival as part of Skewiff Theatre's production of Neil Simon's classic, The Odd Couple. Alongside the not inconsiderable talent of Joe Lindsay, Morgan Hearst, Christian Winterman (nee Jackson), Griffin Madill, Moninne Dargan and Emma McErlean we packed out the Dark Horse bar - a testament to the talent of director Mary Lindsay.



Then, within three days of finishing that my own company King's Fool Productions finally brought Sitting Up for Michael to the stage. I've been writing ...Michael for the guts of two years now, and to see it finally on it's feet in front of a paying audience is a hugely gratifying experience. Helen Donnelly resumed directorship after skippering the rehearsed reading that Accidental organised in November 2011. The cast, including Marianne March, Naomi Rocke, Cathy Brennan-Bradley, Benjamin Gould, Brian Patrick Kennedy and Michael O'Sullivan were sourced from across Ireland and worked exceptionally hard to bring my vision to fruition, and I can't thank them enough. With a backstage crew of Glenn Hamill (stage manager), Kerrie Milford (props/costumes), Shireen Azarmi (sound/tech) and Sharon Curran (production manager) we couldn't fail to put on a top class production. The play debuted in The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, before travelling down to The Strule Arts Centre, Omagh last week and tonight will conclude its tour in The Alley Theatre, Strabane. So far over 300 people have seen the show, so an extended tour in the near future may be on the cards!



Also, tomorrow (one day after ...Michael concludes - see not a moment to breathe!) I am in Accidental's production of Intervention, by Dave Kinghan. This thriller, set entirely within a tiny cell tells the story of two guerrilla performance artists who must try to figure out why they have been put there. This is the first full Accidental production I have been involved in, after working with them over the last few years on their rehearsed readings programme. It's great to be working with director Richard Lavery again, and with a three person cast made up of myself, Miche Doherty and Matt Faris, Accidental live up to their reputation as one of the leading emerging theatre companies in Belfast, and they are going to light up The Mac's Pick N Mix festival.

So as we go hurtling in to summer, I might have a chance to take a breather and watch some football - although not much by the looks of things!

7 Nov 2011

King's Fool Productions

King's Fool Productions has been taking up the bulk of my time recently, so these pastures have been left untended recently. Not to worry, when the launch has taken place later this month full service will be resumed.

King's Fool is my new production company, and I have been working away trying to book venues for Sitting Up for Michael, a full professional production which will be touring in Summer 2012.

Head over to the website, designed by Alex McCooke, or Like the Facebook Page for further updates.

Also, don't forget, ...Michael is getting his stage debut in the Ulster Hall on November 16, in a rehearsed reading by Accidental Theatre. The cast is set in place, with a variety of people I've worked with before (Ed Boyd, Chris McCurry, Charmaine McBride) as well as some new faces (Francis Mezza, Victoria Gleason, Chris Grant and Mary Lindsay) and the director is Helen Donnelly, another artist who I haven't had the pleasure of working with yet, but having spoke to her about the play, I'm confident she will do a brilliant job.

26 Sep 2011

King's Fool Productions, Guidelines for a Long and Happy Life/earth2.0,Culture Night, The Portrait Keeper,

My posts have been much more sporadic recently, and I've been unjustifiably grouping several disparate projects into one long post, rather than the individual post they deserve. This has largely been due to the fact that I've so much going on, I haven't had the time to give each project it's due cyberspace. This post is continuing that long and noble tradition, starting with the main vampire of my time recently,
Hatfield ProductionsKing's Fool Productions.

King's Fool Productions is the name of the production company I am starting, dealing initially with theatre, but with plans to expand into moving image, digital media, and perhaps even fashion!

I have gone on the Go For It programme, and as a result, I have been staring at spreadsheets and talking to marketing people for the last fortnight - exactly the kind of things I got into acting to avoid. Luckily, there was disproportionate amount of creative people there, who I'll probably end up doing business with in the foreseeable future.

The next step will be getting the logo done, so I can start doing the website and printing stationary, with the intent of having a launch night in early November. Watch this space!

I have also got involved with Tinderbox Theatre's next show, Guideline for a Long and Happy Life. It is being put on as part of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's, and is being performed in an abandoned warehouse the Old Victor Stationery Warehouse.

The post apocalyptic set is huge, but it sounds like it will be incredible, with audience interaction, horror elements, and poisoned ground, only scalable on stilts. Directed by Michael Duke, from Paul Kennedy's script, the play is sure to imprint itself on anyone who sees it.

As part of the project there is earth2.0 following the lives of other inhabitants of the post apocalyptic world. It is a devised piece featuring the chorus from the main show, and it is being performed in the same venue on Sunday Oct 23rd. The ensemble, lead by Patrick Sanders, with help from the cast of Guidelines..., is incredibly creative, and the show is set to be another masterpiece.

On Friday, Belfast's 3rd annual Culture Night took place, and as part of it, I was reviving my role in the latest Wireless Mystery Theatre. This time I played the announcer, and a variety of other roles with a total cast of 23 set in St James Hill furniture store. The rest of the night was a triumph as well, as this event is growing exponentially and it is a great showcase for Belfast's monumental creativity. Next year Hatfield Productions will be there, and if all goes to plan, will be a already recognised name.

Also this month, I was in the latest of Accidental's Biscuit Tin Readings, The Portrait Keeper, by Roy Endean. This expressive work was Roy's first staging, and he travelled up from Cork to see it. I played Chum, the blind milktoast to Matt Faris' tyrannical Barth. Susan Davey and Jason McLaughlin played the seductive mistress and ambitious painter, while Mary Frances Doherty was directing. It's a testament to Accidental's increasing reputation that they can repeatedly attract talent of this quality to all their projects. I'm playing Hitler in the next reading, William Patterson's Stumpergasse 31, and after that Sitting Up for Michael will be read on November 16.

Oh, and I turned 26.

Update (6 November 2011): Hatfield Productions became King's Fool Productions prior to it's launch.

20 Jul 2011

Performing in the Ulster Hall with Accidental Theatre

Tonight I'll be appearing in the Ulster Hall (Group Room) as a cast member of Robots in Disguise, the first of the Biscuit Tin Readings. Rehearsals have been ongoing since Saturday, with a great cast of Ed Boyd, Emma Little, Kim Moylan and Chris McCurry, and Emily DeDakis reading stage directions, with Gayle Dennison directing. It's always great fun working with Accidental, as they have that unneutered enthusiasm of a young company that generates such great energy and creativity.

The play, by Mike Coleman, is about the toxic effect of top down government interference on people's every day live. I play Howard Chubb, the slimy weasel tasked with auditing the Smith famliy.

The entry is free, and will be a great opening to the program, which will go right through summer, finishing with my own Sitting Up For Michael, in November.

19 Feb 2011

Recording radio ad, critical feedback for Sitting up for Michael and Incident at Vichy rehearsals to restart

This week I recorded a radio commercial for the ad agency Navigator Blue, in the Picture House Studios. It was a hugely enjoyable experience, with a highly professional setup in the Studio. I had to record several short lines in a variety of rural Ulster accents, which portrayed the scope of the client's market.

The ad will run on several stations in the mid Ulster region, and, if I can, I will put a copy on the website when it is completed.

Also this week, I met up with Emily DeDakis, the dramaturg for Accidental Theatre to discuss Sitting Up for Michael, the play I wrote. It was a hugely productive meeting, as she had reams of notes, both of positivity, and of things I could improve on. We discussed the possibility of having a rehearsed reading for the play, so that would be exciting. I am also waiting for feedback from Tinderbox, so when I get that, I shall return to the writing.

Finally, tomorrow we are starting rehearsals back for Incident at Vichy, which of course is being revived on 13th and 14th March in the Belfast Synagogue. It'll be great to get back into the play, and I can't wait to start back with the cast.

22 Dec 2010

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to post a quick blog to say Merry Christmas to all who read this blog. It has been a great year for me personally, having worked with some amazing people, from Accidental, Wireless Mystery, Devised and Fringe Benefits Theatre companies, and the various film projects I worked on.
I can't wait to work with those guys again in 2011, and see what new stuff they produce themselves.
Once again, Happy Christmas, try to get home, and have a wonderful new year.

7 Oct 2010

Performing in Accidental Theatre's Fast & Loose program

I am teaming up with Accidental Theatre again for their inaugural Fast & Loose program. It is going to a chaotic staging of a short play that will have been conceived a mere 24 hours prior.

Working in conjunction with The Queen's University Players, and being performed as part of the Queen's Quarter Weekends - an initiative to promote the cultural value of the unique area of South Belfast that surrounds the University - the project is the brainchild of Accidental's dramaturg, Emily De Dakis.

I am doing my play with Jack Geary, who I have been working with on The 39 Steps as well as Incident at Vichy, so I have a good working relationship with him.

It's being performed this Saturday evening in The Space in the Queen's Student's Union building, so come along and see four plays for a measly £3 (or £2 for QU Players members, or with a Romeo and Juliet ticket stub).

8 Jul 2010

Performance of Some Kind of Stranger tonight

Tonight is the performance of William Patterson's Some kind of Stranger at Blick Studios. It is part of Accidental Theatre's VI series of rehearsed readings and, as with the others, it is directed by Richard Lavery.


The cast is young, and I have worked with a couple before on the last reading: Christine Clare, Helen Ashton, Chloe Fox, Cormac Brown, Dan Leith, with Emily de Dakis reading.

I am really looking forward to it, because the script is really solid, and the rehearsals have been fun.

The event is free, so if you are searching for something different to do tonight, come down to the Blick for a night of new theatre.

30 May 2010

Photos of Leopoldville reading released

The photos from the reading of Leopoldville have been released on the Accidental Theatre website.

[caption id="attachment_160" align="aligncenter" width="199" caption="From back to front: Cormac Brown, myself, Shaun Blaney (obscured), Ryan Crown, David Bell"][/caption]

For more pictures, see the Images section.

Rehearsal of Some Kind of Stranger

On Wednesday I attended a private reading of Some Kind of Stranger, a new play written by William Patterson. It is part of Accidental Theatre's VI series.

The play is set in 1980s Belfast, and is about young people's experience of liing away from home for the first time, and how they learn more about themselves, and each other under the spectre of class and sectarianism.

It is the second time I am taking part in this series, and I am looking forward to it, as the company is attracting the attention of influential people.

12 May 2010

Rehearsed Reading with Accidental

All this week, I have been rehearsing with Accidental Theatre for their rehearsed reading of Leopoldville, by Jaki McCarrick, as part of their 'VI' season. It's a punishing drama set in 1990, about a real life incident of murder of a bar owner by a group of young men.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="250" caption="Accidental's VI flyer"]VI[/caption]

This is my first rehearsed reading, and I have to admit I felt out of place after the first rehearsal, but after four days of intensre rehearsals has given me a lot of confidence, going into tomorrow night's performance.

It is also notable as my first lead role, so I am excited to be going in front of an audience in this position.

I shall write again after the performance.