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.

15 Jun 2011

Pick N Mix festival - The Generous Bank with Red Lemon

I am currently deep in rehearsals for this weekend's Pick N Mix festival, part of the MACtivities aimed at raising funds for the construction of the MAC. It is a festival of theatre performances from all the major companies in Belfast all taking place in the Brian Friel Theatre. This is a great opportunity to see all the creativity going on in the city, all in one space, and the performances are only £5.

I am in Red Lemon's newwrite production, The Generous Bank, by Patrick O''Reilly. It is a chaotic mix of Bouffon theatre, circus acrobatics, musical numbers, biting satire and gay farmers. Rehearsals have been going on for the last few weeks in the newly opened Lyric Theatre. The building in beautiful and the rehearsal space has an inspiring view over the Lagan.

The ensemble features a multitalented group chosen from a series of workshops in April. John Shayegh is hilarious as the conniving bank manager, with David Stratton, Andrew Stanford and Jolene O'Hara playing his amoral staff. Rosie McClelland is frantic as the Money Making Machine, Granny Bags. Caroline Curran and Louise Mathews play the hard up victims of social mobility and Cathal J Ferris plays the manipulative robber Mark opposite my niave Tommy.

This is shaping up to be a great show, and the whole festival is sure to be one of the highlights of Belfast's packed summer calendar, so book your tickets and come enjoy the fun!

2 Feb 2011

Revival of Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy in the Belfast Synagogue

Fringe Benefits are reviving Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy at the Belfast Hebrew Congregation, Wolfson Centre on Sunday March 13th.

Following on from the sell out run of the Irish premiere in November 2010, popular demand, and a specific request from Jewish community in Belfast has meant the show has been revived as part of the Jewish Community festival.

This is great news for the company, and it will be great to get the show on again for all those who were unfortunately turned away at the door due to the high demand for tickets during our last run. The same high demand is expected again, and added to the fact that the tickets will be free, if you intend to go, ensure you get there early to avoid disappointment.

The Belfast Hebrew Congregation is in Wolfson Centre, 49 Somerton Road, BT15.

4 Nov 2010

Incident at Vichy ticket update: Tonight SOLD OUT

Tickets for tonight's performance of Incident at Vichy have sold out. There are still some tickets left for tomorrow (less than 10)± and Saturday (less than 20)±. To purchase your tickets, go to the Crescent's online box office.

±ticket numbers correct as of 10am Thursday.

21 Oct 2010

The 39 Steps has sold out!

The next show I'm in, The 39 Steps, with Wireless Mystery Theatre, part of Belfast Fringe Festival has officially sold out - two days before the performance.

[caption id="attachment_368" align="alignleft" width="484" caption="Poster for Wireless Mystery Theatre's The 39 Steps"][/caption]

I went in to No Alibis to buy tickets for family members, and was informed that after my purchase, there were only five tickets remaining, of which two were instantly sold in front of me, and my friend informed me she had bought the final three.

This is a great (and just) reward for all the work Aislinn Clarke and everyone else has put into the show, and will keep us on our toes for the performance on Friday night.

The whole Fringe Festival is creating a great buzz around the city, and it's just a pity that resources forced organisers, Peter Quigley and his crew, to keep it within 3 days, and 20 venues. No doubt next year the Fringe will be huge, and will be threatening the main festival for punters' attention within the next few years.

I am volunteering in some of the other events, and will of course be attending as many of the rest as I can, which I will write about at some stage next week. This weekend is going to be hectic, going from performance to volunteering almost non-stop, but I can't wait for it.

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).

22 Sep 2010

The 39 Steps to be performed at Belfast Fringe Festival

It has just been announced that Wireless Mystery Theatre's adaptation of Orson Welles' The 39 Steps has been picked up to be performed as part of the first ever Belfast Fringe Festival.

The show went down a storm when it played in the Chillifest this month, with the performance tent overflowing with viewer, and the good word that spread from the performance was what inspired the organisers to book us.

It will be performed in No Alibis Book Store, Botanic Avenue on October 22nd, with tickets available now at £5.

As mentioned above, this is the first Belfast Fringe, but I'm sure that with the good organisation that has been evident so far, it could be on a par with Edinburgh in the decades to come.

9 Sep 2010

Performance of The 39 Steps this Saturday

This Saturday will see the premiere performance of Wireless Mystery Theatre's adaptation of The 39 Steps by Orson Welles. The show is presented to the audience as if they were in the audience for the original recording of the play by Orson Welles and his cast in 1939.

We have had a dress rehearsal in full period costume, and will be having a tech rehearsal in the No Alibis Book Tent on Saturday.

This is a really exciting project, so congratulations must go to Aislinn Clarke for bringing this eccentric idea to fruition.

The performance is at 3pm in Custom House Square, as part of the ongoing Open House Festival and Chillifest. Tickets are £5 (children free) to get in to the Chillifest, and the No Alibis Book Tent is free to enter once your in.

I look forward to performing this, and can't wait to see you there.

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

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

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.