Category Archives: England

An Interview with Euan Wilson

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Hello Euan, you are currently touring with ‘Stick Man,’ can you tell us about the play?
Stick Man is a fantastic story about Stick Man trying to find his way home and everyone he meets on the way. It’s a brilliant adventure that sees him meet numerous exciting characters and travel to equally exciting places.

What do you hope the audience will take away from the production?
I think the audience will take away the wonderful story of adventure – as well as having the songs stuck in your head!

What was your initial response to the Stick Man script?
I absolutely loved how bursting with fun and energy the script is – it’s never slow and has bundles of excitement around every corner. The script works brilliantly for only three performers onstage and I can’t wait to start performing it around the country.

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Have you found it hard bringing a character to life from the book?
So far, I’m actually finding it really easy! The multiple characters I play are really different but all full of life and energy and a joy to play. As well as that my character plays a lot of music on stage and the music is brilliant and really fun to play.

Did you always want to be an actor? How did you get to where you are today?
After deciding that being an astronaut wasn’t for me, I always wanted to do something creative. I loved music from a very early age and then got involved with drama at my school and the local amateur theatre company which I absolutely loved. From there I joined the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and after leaving sixth form studied Actor Musicianship at Rose Bruford.

What was your favourite book growing up?
I loved reading when I was growing up. I absolutely adored the adventure and excitement in Harry Potter and the Young Bond series, which is one of the main reasons I love Stick Man.

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What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?
You absolutely don’t want to miss this show. There’s more fun, music and puppetry than you can shake a stick at.

Any advice for budding actors?
Go and see as much theatre as you can! Find out where you can get the cheapest tickets from and go see whatever you can. It really is a learn by watching kind of art and the more you see the more you’ll realise what kinds of theatre you love. I would also strongly suggest auditioning for the National Youth Theatre, it’s a great introduction into the world of acting and you’ll have the time of your life!


You can catch Euan & Stick Man as they tour the UK,

from September 2017 to January 2018.

SEPTEMBER 2017
22 – 23 SEP GLASGOW King’s Theatre 0844 871 7648 BOOK NOW
24 – 25 SEP DUNFERMLINE Alhambra Theatre 01383 740384 BOOK NOW
26 – 27 SEP FALKIRK FTH Theatre 01324 506850 BOOK NOW
30 SEP – 1 OCT SALFORD QUAYS The Lowry 0843 208 6010 BOOK NOW

OCTOBER 2017
2 – 3 OCT NEWCASTLE Tyne Theatre & Opera House 0844 249 1000 BOOK NOW
6 – 7 OCT BLACKBURN King George’s Hall 0844 847 1664 BOOK NOW
8 – 9 OCT MIDDLESBROUGH Theatre 01642 81 51 81 BOOK NOW
10 – 11 OCT NOTTINGHAM Theatre Royal 0115 989 5555 BOOK NOW
13 – 15 OCT WINCHESTER Theatre Royal 01962 840 4405 BOOK NOW
16 OCT LEAMINGTON SPA Royal Spa Centre 01926 334418 BOOK NOW
18 – 19 OCT LOWESTOFT Marina Theatre 01502 533200 BOOK NOW
21 – 22 OCT LONDON artsdepot 020 8369 5454 BOOK NOW
23 – 24 OCT PORTSMOUTH New Theatre Royal 023 9264 9000 BOOK NOW
26 – 27 OCT BURY ST EDMUNDS Theatre Royal 01284 769505 BOOK NOW
28 – 29 OCT SOUTHEND Palace Theatre 01702 351135 BOOK NOW

NOVEMBER 2017
1 – 2 NOV BOURNEMOUTH Pavilion Theatre 0844 576 3000 BOOK NOW
4 – 5 NOV BRISTOL Old Vic 0117 987 7877 BOOK NOW
6 – 7 NOV MALVERN Forum Theatre 01684 892277 BOOK NOW
8 NOV TEWKESBURY Roses Theatre 01684 295074 BOOK NOW
12 – 14 NOV NORTHAMPTON Royal & Derngate 01604 624811 BOOK NOW
17 – 18 NOV SOUTHPORT The Atkinson 01704 533 333 BOOK NOW
19 NOV NORTHALLERTON The Forum 01609 776230 BOOK NOW

DECEMBER 2017-JANUARY 2018
18 – 24 DEC MILTON KEYNES The Stables 01908 280800 BOOK NOW
26 DEC – 12 JAN BIRMINGHAM Town Hall

An Interview with Katie Bonna

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Hello Katie, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I live in London, but I am Midlands through and through and I am currently travelling around the UK with my show All The Things I lied About. We hit Glasgow this week, we’ll be at the Iron on 22nd and 23rd September. I’m bloomin’ thrilled.

When did you first find yourself getting into the dramatic arts?
I was pretty certain I’d be going into it when I played Supergirl with my sister aged four. I took it so seriously I ended up with a nosebleed from face-planting into our bedroom wall. I was so convinced I could fly.

As an actress, what are the secrets to a good performance?
Before every show I have to do two things. The first is to remind myself that I have never said anything I’m about to say before and the second is to mainline Beyonce. Freedom and Formation are my two favourite songs right now.

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You’ve been washed up on a desert island with a solar-powered DVD player & three films. Which would they be?
Harold & Maude for sure, I love that film. I’m not really a film person, though. I try to be because it feels more cultured but I generally prefer TV. I’d take all of Girls and the complete Alan Partridge as well as Harold & Maude.

What does Katie Bonna like to do when she’s not being theatrical?
I love London. Walking round it, visiting obscure little places, eating all the delicious food! I read a lot, I generally have three books on the go at any one time. I’m reading a glorious book set in NYC in the 70s right now, a sort of sprawling, Dickenson, multi-story wonderland by Garth Risk Hallberg. And I’m a massive yoga-addict. I practice every day and have to find a local yoga studio if I travel with my work.

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You are just commencing a national tour of ALL THE THINGS I LIED ABOUT. Can you tell us about the play?
It’s part TED talk, part brutal, personal confession. It’s a comic exploration of how the little lies we tell every day have led us to a world of Trump and Brexit.

You have both written & are starring in the play. What does it feel like to be so immersed in a piece of theatre?
It’s a lot more intense than acting in someone else’s project. I used to get stressed about doing acting jobs, but they feel like a walk in park after performing my own work! I do enjoy it, though, and the sense of satisfaction when you really connect to an audience is incomparable.

You performed the play at Paines Plough Roundabout & Edinburgh’s Summerhall last year. What have you tweaked in the interim, either stagecraftwise or writingwise?
I’ve changed a lot actually. The heart of the show is exactly the same but I think it’s more well-rounded and crafted now in terms of the script. In terms of staging, we’ve had to move it from in-the-round to end-on. That’s been a big shift, but I think we’ve made it work well.

What emotive responses do you expect from your audience?
I don’t expect anything. Some people have a strong emotional response, especially if they have had similar experiences in their life or can relate to the subject matter in other ways, but I don’t expect anything from the audience per se. Everyone reacts differently, don’t they? That’s the beauty of it for me.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Katie Bonna?
I have just received funding to develop my new show, which is as yet untitled! I’m working with Live Theatre Newcastle to make it. It’s a three-hander about gender-conditioning, self-censorship in women and the complexities of 21st century feminism. It’s inspired by the classical Greek chorus and my love of Marilyn Monroe. It will be a lot of fun. The rest of the year will be spent on that and drafting a novel that I’m writing for young adults. I’m super excited about both of those things!


All The Things I Lied About is now on tour:

September:

16/09/17 HighTide Festival, Aldeburgh

20/09/17 Norwich Arts Centre

22/09/17 & 23/09/17 Tron Theatre, Glasgow

25/09/17 Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

27/09/17 The Stahl Theatre, Oundle

28/09/17 North Wall, Oxford

29/09/17 Dixon Studio, Southend

30/09/17 Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

October:

02/10/1707/10/17 Bike Shed, Exeter

12/10/17 The Riverfront, Newport

13/10/17 & 14/10/17 The Edge, Manchester

16/10/17 The Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth

17/10/17 & 18/10/17 Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Queen of Chapeltown

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West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
13 – 15 September 2017

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A wonderful play, telling the story of how the Chapeltown Carnival came about, and of the first Carnival Queen. At an hour long with no interval, it was the perfect way to portray this informative, important, local piece of history. Throughout, there was lots of comedy; some aimed at the locals (derogatory, yet fond, comments about Chapeltown and comparing it with Roundhay) and some bittersweet quips (“I didn’t know I was Black until I came here”), all performed with faultless comedic timing.

The ‘less is more’ approach of this piece of theatre was arguably its best asset (as Walt Whitman says: “simplicity is the glory of expression”). A sparse set, the use of the whole stage, the radio snippets, the dance and the perfect balance of simple dialogue and periods of silence, made for a thoroughly engaging performance. The actors worked well together and dance was used to evoke the situation and time. This was done beautifully by all the actors, especially the hairdressers’ Mexican wave in one of the scenes, and in the club where actress Elexi Walker used body language to show her character being initially cold and uncertain to the new dancing but thawing and enjoying herself – no speech was used.

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One of the main themes was the racism of the time period and this was portrayed very effectively through radio announcements (a ploy which gave immediacy and credibility to the racist words) and the use of music (such as Nina Simone), as well as the titular character Beverly’s thwarted attempt at scoring a job as a hairdresser. Contrasted to this deep-rooted racism, was the unison of the mothers of black character Beverly and white character Hilary’s quotes that “if you aren’t allowed to cut the hair you should wash it.”

Scenes flowed seamlessly and subtle techniques were used, for example varying the numbers of actors on stage, dialogue and silence, music. One of the most poignant scenes was where character Beverly is shown crying to a Nina Simone record; a counterpoint to the raucous dancing of the previous club scene.

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First-night nerves showed at times; a certain lack of finesse in the actors’ performance and some of the dialogue was hard to hear, drowned at times by the audience’s laughter when the actors hadn’t paused to wait. The end scene depicts character Beverly as the Queen of Chapeltown. The bright colours of her clothes were in stark contrast to the muted colours of Beverly’s previous outfit (such as the white coat and even her pastel blue party dress), and it was remarked upon by character Hilary realising that previously she lived in black and white and the Carnival was the first time that she saw colour. The audience was left with one thought: “Being a Carnival Queen is about honouring your ancestors”.

Reviewer : Georgie Blanshard

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