Watch Now for Families: Little Angel Theatre’s THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN

Young viewers will love this short adaptation of the Icelandic folk legend of The Girl and The Raven. The story is based on events surrounding a huge landslide in Vatnsdalur, Iceland in 1545, laying waste to the farm of Skíðastaðir. Tradition says that one girl survived in an extraordinary manner…

It is a Handbendi Production, supported by Little Angel Theatre.

This film will be released for free on the Little Angel Theatre YouTube channel.

The show lasts approximately 10 minutes and is available for one year.

Although this show is free to watch, please consider making a donation to the Little Angel Theatre which does vital work in helping younger children to access the joy of theatre.

Credits:

Created by Greta Clough
Performed by Sigurður Líndal þórisson (narrator) and Elín Rannveig Líndal (girl)
Music by Paul Mosley
Sound design by Sigurvald Ívar Helgasson

Handbendi is a professional puppetry and theatre production company based in Hvammstangi, Northwest Iceland.

Greta Clough is the artistic director and creative producer of Handbendi. Greta is an award winning international performer, director, and playwright. She is the former Associate Artist of Little Angel Theatre and has over a decades experience creating and touring original theatre productions around the world.

Watch THE GIRL AND THE RAVEN here


Finalists announced for 2021 OFFIES Awards

One of the highlights of the theatre year comfortingly continues despite Covid interruption as the OFFIES finalists are announced, celebrating the best in theatre outside the West End, on smaller, more intimate stages.

Despite the smaller numbers of entrants, there is still much talent to be celebrated in the shortlists and finalist lists.

Some categories did not have enough entries to be considered competitive and therefore finalists were not announced. The biggest oversight in this approach is that Temi Wilkey, author of the brilliant THE HIGH TABLE, is not eligible to win Most Promising New Playwright, a title which she eminently deserves.

In the set design award, the most interesting for me is Casey Jay Andrews’ complex and intriguing constructions for LOCKDOWN TOWN which opened in London in October 2020, a journey through the history of music expertly produced by Tim Wilson.

Musicals-wise, dynamic and savvy independent producer Katy Lipson has been rewarded with a slew of nominations for her shows RAGS and THE LAST FIVE YEARS across performance, direction, production and lighting.

In terms of plays, there are several standouts here. The finest all-round production for me was Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre’s inspired revival of Lucy Prebble’s THE SUGAR SYNDROME, with every member of the cast nominated but lead by a mesmerising performance (fresh out of drama school) by Jessica Rhodes, of whom you will hear much, much more I am certain.

Athena Stevens’ challenging drama SCROUNGER also picked up an impressive array of nominations, well-deserved for its originality and sometimes uncomfortable truth.

The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony held on February 21st.

Congratulations to all the those celebrated in these shortlists!

For a full list of all the nominees and finalists, visit the OFFIES website here

You can find a full list of the finalists below.

OFFIES 2021 finalists

Design; Set

FINALIST: Casey Jay Andrews / Lockdown Town

FINALIST: Lucy Osborne / Afterplay / Coronet Theatre

FINALIST: Patrick Connellan / The Incident Room / New Diorama with Greenwich Theatre

Design: Lighting

FINALIST: Jamie Platt / The Last 5 Years / Southwark Playhouse

FINALIST: Malcolm Rippeth / Afterplay / Coronet Theatre

FINALIST: Tom White / Macbeth / Wiltons Music Hall

Design: Sound

FINALIST: Max Pappenheim / Sunnymead Court / Tristan Bates Theatre

FINALIST: Neil Bettles / Petrichor / Theatre Royal Stratford East

FINALIST: Yaiza Varona / The Incident Room / New Diorama with Greenwich Theatre

Musicals: Lead Performance

FINALIST: Carolyn Maitland / Rags / Park Theatre

FINALIST: Frances Barber  / Musik / Leicester Square Theatre

FINALIST: Molly Lynch  / The Last 5 Years / Southwark Playhouse

FINALIST: Oli Higginson / The Last 5 Years / Southwark Playhouse

Musicals: Supporting Performance

FINALIST: Beaux Harris  / Blitz! / Union Theatre

FINALIST: Dave Willetts / Rags / Park Theatre

FINALIST: Rachel Izen / Rags / Park Theatre

Musicals: Musical Director

FINALIST: George Dyer / The Last 5 Years / Southwark Playhouse

FINALIST: Joe Bunker / Rags / Park Theatre

FINALIST: Michael Bradley / Pippin / Garden Theatre at the Eagle

Musicals: Director

FINALIST: Bronagh Lagan / Rags / Park Theatre

FINALIST: Jonathan O’Boyle / The Last 5 Years / Southwark Playhouse

Musicals: Production

FINALIST: Pippin / Garden Theatre at the Eagle / LAMBCO Productions

FINALIST: Rags / Park Theatre / Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment

FINALIST: The Last 5 Years / Southwark Playhouse / Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment in association with Edward Prophet and People Entertainment Group

Ensemble: Performance

FINALIST: Stephanie Booth & Hannah Livingstone / We Were Having A Perfectly Nice Time / Omnibus Theatre

FINALIST: Ryan Anderson, Tsemaye Bob-Egbe, Tanisha-Mae Brown, Joanne Clifton, Harry Francis, Dan Krikler / Pippin / Garden Theatre at the Eagle

FINALIST: Rachel Barnes, Laurie Jamieson, Nigel Taylor, Daniel Ward / The Canary and The Crow / Arcola

Plays: Lead Performance

FINALIST: James Demaine / Nuclear War / Buried / Graceland / Old Red Lion

FINALIST: Jessica Rhodes / The Sugar Syndrome / Orange Tree Theatre

FINALIST: Sam Crane / The Rage of Narcissus / Pleasance

Plays: Supporting Performance

FINALIST: Ali Barouti / The Sugar Syndrome / Orange Tree Theatre

FINALIST: John Hollingworth   / The Sugar Syndrome / Orange Tree Theatre

FINALIST: Leigh Quinn  / Scrounger / Finborough

Plays: Performance Piece

FINALIST: Daniel Ward / The Canary and The Crow / Arcola

FINALIST: Lucy McCormick / Lucy McCormick, Post Popular / Soho Theatre, Johnson & Mackay & United Agents

FINALIST: Miguel Hernando Torres Umba / Stardust / Roundhouse

Plays: New Play

FINALIST: Sam Steiner / You Stupid Darkness! / Southwark Playhouse

FINALIST: Sergio Blanco / The Rage of Narcissus / Pleasance

FINALIST: Athena Stevens  / Scrounger / Finborough

Plays: Director

FINALIST: Jim Pope / Can I Help You? / Omnibus Theatre

FINALIST: Lily McLeish / Scrounger / Finborough FINALIST: Phoebe Barran / Tryst / Chiswick Playhouse

ETPEP Award 2021 competition announced

If you’re a theatre professional (or know one) who wants to spread their wings as a playwright, the Finborough Theatre has announced the opening of the 2021 ETPEP Award. ETPEP stands for Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting and, as its name suggests, is not an award for playwrights. It is an award for those who work in theatre IN SOME OTHER capacity who also write plays.

The ETPEP Award 2021 is a playwriting prize for new UK playwrights who work or have worked in the theatre industry, run by the Finborough Theatre in association with the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust (ETPEP). The competition is open to new playwrights who have previously worked in theatre in another capacity for a minimum of two years.

The organisers said “We are looking for promising writers, rather than projects specifically targeted for production. The winner will be given the chance to develop and present their work in a supportive environment.”

The Award is open for submissions until 11pm on Friday, 30 April 2021.

The winner will receive:

The winner will receive a prize of £6,000.
(£3000 will be presented on the announcement of the winner, and the remaining £3000 will be presented at the conclusion of the staged reading performance).
A development relationship with the Finborough Theatre including one-to-one dramaturgy with Finborough Theatre Artistic Director and playwright Neil McPherson.
A rehearsal workshop with actors and a director to develop the play.
Pandemic permitting, either a staged reading performance of the winning play at the Finborough Theatre, London, or a rehearsed reading online.
Publication of the winning play by Salamander Street, independent publisher of theatre, performance and live art.
There will also be ten runner-up prizes of £300 each.

For more information, click here


Your support of at-risk UK theatres smashes fundraising targets

With the enforced closures brought about by last March’s Covid-19 pandemic, theatres across the UK found themselves out on a limb. Unable to welcome the public to present shows, theatres (and those working in, around and with them) found that they had to think creatively to support their local communities, work to produce online alternatives and generally completely reinvent the way they operated. For some it was easier than others. But for smaller theatres particularly, the box office income was their lifeblood. Their already delicately-balanced finances and small, often underpaid, often volunteer teams were decimated by a lack of Arts Council funding support. Over six months later, the majority of the UK’s large and mid-sized venues and organisation finally received some cash. But hundreds of theatre and organisations were left out in the cold.

Ignored by government, they did the only thing they could – they turned to their audiences. Supported by organisations like The Theatres Trust and Crowdfunder, they set up funding appeals to their audiences and the general UK public. In essence they asked all of us to support them – or lose them.

The Theatres Trust set up their own #SaveOurTheatres campaign, where donors can give to a central pot distributed to theatres most in need.

But they also brought together 60 individual fundraising campaigns from theatres and arts venues to make it easy for donors could look for the venue nearest to them and help to keep them going.

And the great British public certainly came through! At the close of the year many fundraisers had smashed their targets and reached even more ambitious stretch targets.

To date, almost 23,000 supporters have contributed over £1.6 million (including Gift Aid’s tax scheme).

Here’s just one example – my oft-mentioned favourite the tiny Finborough Theatre in West London. This tiny, 50-seat room above a pub runs on a shoestring and still produces work which is world-class. Their fundraiser campaign’s initial target was £25,000 but thanks to a very generous matching funds pledge, as of today they have smashed that target and raised over £35,000 (when Gift Aid is factored in).

These individual and collective appeals, originally due to close at the end of December, are carrying on so that all of us still have a chance to support your local theatres as they – like us, face an uncertain immediate future.

It’s incredible to witness the love and support the public are showing – but we cannot afford to let up in our support for them- we can’t have come all this way to stop the support too early and revive the risk of loss yet again.

So if you haven’t yet supported, or even if you have, please see if you can spare a few quid to help keep our small, local theatres going. Because when this is over we will need them even more!

You can find the details of the Theatres Trust campaign featuring all 60 local campaigns, here


The Finborough Theatre’s SCROUNGER

Available now is Athena Stevens’ fascinating play SCROUNGER, available to view until the end of January 17th.

The first production of the Finborough Theatre’s 40th anniversary year, the world premiere of Finborough Theatre Playwright in Residence and Olivier Award nominee Athena Stevens’s new play SCROUNGER is a head-on look at the issues around disability, not for the faint-hearted.

On the streets of Elephant and Castle, everyone likes to make speculations about Scrounger. She needs help, she must not be aware of the complexities of the world, she is sent from the demons to torture her mum… at least according to her Nigerian Uber driver.

Scrounger doesn’t care. A successful online personality, she’s got more power from her bedroom than anyone on the Southwark estates could dream of. She’s educated, she’s ballsy, and with a huge network of online allies, Scrounger is a woman who knows how to make change happen.

That is, until an airline destroys her wheelchair.

Inspired by real events and a lawsuit initiated by Stevens herself, SCROUNGER drives towards the realities of how Britain is failing its most vulnerable and the extreme cost paid by those seeking justice.

You can read my three and a half-star review of SCROUNGER here

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to Finborough Theatre to enable it to reopen after this crisis has passed.

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