At last year’s Ignite Festival in Exeter, New Model Theatre were the only Plymouth-based company presenting work (do correct me if I’m wrong on this…). In 2014 there are eleven. ELEVEN. That’s right. Eleven.
This is obviously quite a jump so, in celebration, and as an excuse to do a bit of cheerleading for our fellow Janners, here’s a round up of all the work which will be making the hour train journey to Devon’s second best city this year…
Coffee With Vera
Ruth Mitchell’s performative coffee morning first took place in Plymouth Synagogue (the oldest Ashkenazi-built Synagogue in the English speaking world) and will transfer to it’s Exeter counterpart for performances on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. I was away when Ruth performed the piece in Plym and so will be sure to catch it this time around.
The Actor’s Wheel
Soon to become Plymouth’s third University, Marjon (The College of St Mark and St John) recently launched a new acting course run by all round theatre legend Kev Johnson. This highly-physical production of The Tempest will be our first chance to see what these actors-in-training have been up to.
Rabblerouse Theatre started life as The Lab Company, an experiment by Theatre Royal Plymouth to give a set of emerging artists in the South West the opportunity, skills and resources to form a theatre company. Their first show, Sanctuary, was a really interesting debut and, from the bits I’ve heard through conversations with various company members, it sounds like Breakers is gonna be just as good.
Alex brought an extract of #bodyproblems to BETA2 and has since been developing it further. The short extract we saw was tragically hilarious and I’m hugely looking forward to seeing this as part of the exciting programme at The City Gate Hotel which this year is being run by a collective of theatre makers from Plymouth (including myself).
Hard Working People
Junk Shop Theatre
Alongside being Staff Director at Theatre Royal Plymouth, Beth Shouler often finds the time to immerse herself in the world of the Plymouth Theatre Scene. Written and directed by Beth, Hard Working People is a a heartwarming new take on the unemployment crisis.
Many of us were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Blasted Fiction’s new show On Air at last month’s BETA. Loosely based around a group of radio performers recording a live show, it has some really interesting moments and will be great to see the finished product.
Olivia Lockwood and Laura Henry in association with Exim Dance
Exim Dance are an extremely talented bunch of dancers based in Plymouth. Alongside their preparations for their UK tour of imPACT, dancers Olivia Lockwood and Laura Henry will be performing their new duet Keel on the Saturday.
Dagna Theatre brought an extract of their last show Project Four, in which they took on the roles of the four horsemen preparing for the apocalypse, to the very first BETA back in October 2013. It’ll be exciting to see what they’ve got up to since in this Eric Clapton-inspired show.
I Am Hamlet
Another show that I missed during its initial Plymouth run, Cyclone Theatre’s production of Richard James’ I Am Hamlet, will be heading to the Cygnet Theatre for this year’s Ignite Festival. Always good to see new companies forming and I’m looking forward to catching a Cyclone show soon.
Pilot’s Thumb have spent the last year developing what has become Protest, a theatrical college looking at the motivations behind political acts. Protest will be in the Black Box space at Exeter Phoenix.
New Model Theatre
Last, and hopefully not least, New Model Theatre will be taking Parliament Town, a show which explores our relationships with hometowns, more specifically; Plymouth. Although its resonances continue far beyond the city boundaries, it’s been great to use the city, celebrating its virtues and calling out its vices, as a vehicle for this. The show will play at The City Gate Hotel at 7:15pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Help us spread the word about all the Plymouth companies heading up by using #plymouththeatrescene
If you’re coming along to Parliament Town it would be amazing if you could also drop us a tweet at @NewModelTheatre using #ParliamentTown
Look forward to seeing you all running between venues in June!
P.S. There’s still tickets left to Static at the New Diorama Theatre, London on Monday 19th May. It’s gonna be a pretty sad occasion as it’ll be the last ever performance of the show but come along and help us see it off with a bang!