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12 Sep 2017

Journaling the Month: August 2017

𝔄ugust is a strange month in this industry. Many practitioners dedicate the whole month to the Edinburgh Festivals, or it is the unofficial break before the September - December Christmas rush.

25 Jan 2017

Press Release: FATHER TED PODCAST TO DECLARE FANS’ FAVOURITE EPISODE

  • Belfast-based Father Ted podcast, Ecumenical Matters to reveal results of months-long fan poll
  • Podcast covered every episode of the classic sitcom with weekly hour long discussion with a different guest from local arts and music scenes
  • Host James McAnespy has performed professionally as a Father Dougal impersonator - and had to respond to Graham Linehan’s dislike of these

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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A Belfast-based podcast that has forensically studied each episode of the seminal nineties sitcom Father Ted is set to reveal the results of a poll where fans chose their favourite episode of the show.

Having undergone a weekly hour-long discussion on each episode of the classic show, the panel - made up of host James McAnespy and a variety of guests from a variety of performance and comedy fields - were asked if they felt the episode deserved a nomination as a ‘Top 5 Contender’ to be decided at the conclusion of the podcast. Listeners of the podcast were then invited to vote on the episodes and the results are now in and are set to be revealed in the podcast’s final episode.

Father Ted was a hugely popular British sitcom about three dysfunctional priests who were sequestered on a remote island off Ireland’s west coast that ran on Channel 4 from 1995 to 1998. Written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, the show still enjoys a remarkably large following, particularly in Ireland, and is still broadcast on More4.

In 2016, actor, writer and Father Ted fan, James McAnespy started a weekly podcast that explored each episode individually to see how it held up to modern standards of comedy.

“Each week we break down episodes and try to give better context for viewers - especially viewers who wouldn't be familiar with the Irish and Catholic aspects of the show,” James explains. “A particular example is our detailing of Bishop Brennan's first appearance, and how it was directly inspired by the scandal of the real life Bishop of Galway who had a son in America, or we provide more context for Dougal's night wear, the Ireland football jersey and why it would have been important to him in the mid 1990s.”

Regular features include a running count of Mrs Doyle's 'Ah Go Ons', a 'Meet your Maker' where the panel spot appearances of writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews in the show, ‘Jack’s Drinks Cabinet,’ listing every drink Jack has imbibed, and the ‘Fillum Collection’ - a definitive list of the films that the priests have watched.

“The show is still hilarious, even after all these years, and multiple viewings, I’m still finding myself cracking up at it,” James said. “You can go anywhere in the world you will still find someone who can quote the lines back to you!”

The guests on the podcast were drafted from James’ huge network of artists and comedians from his work as a writer and actor in Belfast and London. Guests have included the street artist Friz (Marian Noone) and her husband Gerry Norman of A Plastic Rose, performance poet and musician Colin Hassard, Comedy duo Victoria E Armstrong and David Doherty-Jebb, as well a host of other performers and writers from Belfast and beyond.

Over the course of the podcast, James recorded mostly in his central-Belfast flat, but he also recorded episodes in London, a live episode as part of Culture Night Belfast (where it was one of the festival’s Best Bits) and even in a public square during the Edinburgh festival, while cellist Ursula Burns could be heard in the background.

The podcast dove right into a controversy, by responding directly to Graham Linehan's distaste of tribute shows - James has performed as a tribute to Father Dougal in a number of these shows. During the podcast covering the seminal episode Speed 3 - where Dougal is trapped on a milk float by a randy milkman - James played a clip of Linehan from an interview with Richard Herring, released a day before recording and responded directly to the creator's complaints.

All the podcast episodes are available to download for free on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/ecumencial-matters-father/id1116660897?mt=2), Soundcloud and all major podcast platforms, and the results episode will be release on the 31st January. Listeners can also interact with the show on the Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/EcumicalMatters

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4 Sep 2016

Episode 18 - Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep

Actor, writer and improv artist Michael Keane is at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, cowering from the menace of the Beast in this terrifying mystery episode. Ted's got in over his head, betting the entire heating allowance on Chris winning the King of the Sheep 1998, but Chris artistic temperament has been put askew by the howling of the beast. Everything is a bit askew as Mrs Doyle finally gets to use the sheep tea, Dougal takes up shoplifting and Jack temporarily feels the serenity of a leap year.

We also delve into running the numbers at weddings, extreme artistic temperament, Yeats quotes and Tropical Birds in South East London. Fuckin' 'ell.


Subscribe now to get a new episode every Sunday morning - just in time for Mass! Subscribe on iTunes (itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/ecume…d1116660897?mt=2) or search for Father Ted on your favourite podcast provider and leave a comment on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/EcumenicalMatters.

6 Sep 2010

Pictures from the Edinburgh Festival

Here are some of the pictures of us performing Steven Berkoff's Lunch at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival - a show which those who seen it described as "the best two-hander I have seen at the festival."

[caption id="attachment_304" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="James McAnespy onstage in Stephen Berkoff's Lunch"][/caption][caption id="attachment_303" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="James McAnespy and Caroline Brennan onstage in Stephen Berkoff's Lunch"][/caption][caption id="attachment_302" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="James McAnespy and Caroline Brennan onstage in Stephen Berkoff's Lunch"][/caption][caption id="attachment_301" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="James McAnespy and Caroline Brennan doing street performances of Stephen Berkoff's Lunch"][/caption][caption id="attachment_300" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="James McAnespy and Caroline Brennan onstage in Stephen Berkoff's Lunch"][/caption]James McAnespy and Caroline Brennan onstage in Stephen Berkoff's Lunch

27 Aug 2010

Half way through the Edinburgh Festival run

WE are about half way through the run at the Edinburgh Festival, with three more shows to go. The audiences have been steadily rising, and last night was our biggest yet. With the bank holiday weekend, and the increasing word of mouth, we are confident that numbers will continue to rise until Sunday.

I have of course been going to see other shows as well, some of which were truly incredible, and no doubt they'll be going on to bigger things in the future. I'll write a more detailed post on the shows I saw when I return home.

This has been a great experience so far, and it's great to be in amongst all the creative talent of the Edinburgh Festival. If you ever get a chance to go, go!

24 Aug 2010

It's all go here in Edinburgh

I am currently writing in the inkling of free time I have available to me in the bustling vibrancy of Edinburgh.

We had our first show yesterday, and even with an intimate audience, the show went down a storm, and it was incredibly liberating to get the first show under our belts.

With more time for flyering available to us now that the props, staging and tech is all sorted, the audience will grow exponentially from now until the end of the week.

I also got to finally meet the cast of the other show, Twelfth Night by 2, Aleda Bliss and Rosa Palmeri, and managed to attend their late night show. It was a frantic telling of the Bard's comedy, with them playing all of the characters by jumping in and out of costume between lines! It was incredible and a testament to their skills that they made this complicated, multi-character play easy to follow in these circumstances.

I have my eyes on a few shows that I'm going to try to see during the week, and hopefully meet some intriguing and interesting artists that I will work with in the future.

21 Aug 2010

Preparing to Leave for the Edinburgh Festival

I am currently gearing up to leave for Edinburgh. It's an early flight in the morning, and a hectic day tomorrow, checking in to my new apartment and leafletting like my life depended on it.
In case your in Edinburgh next week, the show is in the GRV (37 Guthrie Street) from Monday to Sunday at 3pm.

Also on our bill is Twelfth Night by Two, which is two young American actresses playing Shakespeare's comedy all by themselves, which I'm reliably informed is truly enthralling, that's the late show in the same venue.

Not forgetting my other performances coming up soon. On the 11th September (no longer the 8th), is The 39 Steps, which is coming along swimmingly, with the commercials now being rehearsed. This will be a unique experience for the audience - they will be transferred back in time to the 30s, and will watch Orson Welles in all his glory directing this thrilling radio play. Come along to it in the Custom House Square as part of the Open House Festival/Chillifest.

Also on the horizon is Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy. Rehearsals have been going strong for a while now, and getting all the cast together really portrays the scale of the production - 18 characters, all male.

There are also plans afoot to take all of these performances for further performances in different venues than they are currently scheduled for, which I will let you know about as they come to pass.

I intend to post again from Edinburgh at least once to give an account of how things are going over there, not least to recount my experiences at my first Edinburgh Festival. This is an exciting few weeks coming up for me, and I intend to make the most of them.

3 Aug 2010

Press Release: MAGNETIC Theatre Company to play at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Belfast's Magnetic Theatre Company are gearing up to perform their debut show, Steven Berkoff's Lunch, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Produced by impresario David Mann and starring up-and-coming actors Caroline Brennan from Castlewellan and James McAnespy from Omagh, the play is an exploration into relationship between two people who meet on a beach during their lunch break, through Berkoff's acerbic eyes.

James McAnespy has told how he looks forward to the challenge of taking Berkoff to the stage.

"Berkoff's work is designed to challenge the audience, so the performances have to match the pitch and tone of the source material, or else the impact will be lost.

"His writing is never simple - every word has its own significance, which creates many layers of character and subplot.

"That is why this play has been the biggest challenge of my career so far.

"This will be my first time at the Fringe, so I'm thrilled to be able to experience it from both sides of the 'fourth wall'."

The play is being performed from the 23-29 August in the GRV at 3pm. Tickets, priced at £5 can be purchased at the door.

James can be contacted further via me@jamesmcanespy.co.uk, or via his web site www.jamesmcanespy.co.uk

8 Jul 2010

I am performing at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in Steven Berkoff’s Lunch

I have successfully auditioned for a part in a performance of Steven Berkoff's play, Lunch. It is with an ambitious new theatre group, Magnetic Theatre Company.

Produced by David Mann, they have booked a slot at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is a great opportunity to get more publicity, and perform to a whole new audience.

I am playing opposite Caroline Brennan, who is a fellow member of Fringe Benefits, and more than capable as a co-lead.

The play is a post-modern take on sexual relationships, with an uncompromising tone exploring the base underbelly of sex. It is definitely a challenging piece, and definitely expands my dramatic range.

This is an exciting project to be part of, and should open many doors for me.