Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of the Staff-Student Newsletter!
As this is the first issue of the new academic year, we would also like to offer a HUGE WELCOME to our new Level 4 students! We hope you’re settling in well and taking advantage of all the academic, cultural, and social opportunities that Salford has to offer. The Staff/Student Newsletter is where we showcase the amazing things that are happening in our Performance community. So, please let us know about any projects you’re working on, shows you’re taking part in, or content you’re producing.
In this bumper edition of the newsletter, we’ve got writing tips from comedy writer Sean Mason, details of an immersive theatre project celebrating the UK’s first ever national Pride event, plus news of recent student successes, and a round-up of what’s on at the local theatres.
We also have details of Level 6 TaPP student Jordan Preston’s work on a new Shane Meadows drama, advice from Alfie Ignatius on how to gain work as a Supporting Artist, an interview with Clare Bounds, and a feature on the Supported Artists currently developing work under the new Performance Graduate Scholarship Programme.
There’s plenty for you to get involved with, too, from masterclasses to showreel content, assisting with MA research to joining the Film Society. Full details can be found in the Opportunities section towards the end of the newsletter. And, finally, don’t forget to check out our Spooktacular Halloween-themed Guess the Performer feature – can you guess who the zombie is?
Abby, Bron, Emi, and Lucy 😊
Abby Bentham: A.A.Bentham@salford.ac.uk Brainne Edge: B.Edge@salford.ac.uk Emily Frith: E.M.Frith@edu.salford.ac.uk Lucy Booth: L.C.Booth@edu.salford.ac.uk
L6 TaPP Student Handpicked for New Shane Meadows Drama!
By Abby Bentham
It has been a thrilling few months for Level 6 TaPP student Jordan Preston, who has been cast as a featured artist in an upcoming period drama, commissioned by the BBC. The Gallows Pole, adapted from Benjamin Myers’s award-winning historical fiction of the same name, will be directed by Shane Meadows of This is England fame. Jordan will appear alongside a stellar cast of some of the finest young British talent, including Thomas Turgoose and Michael Socha, who played Shaun and Harvey in Meadows’s 2006 film and its subsequent television spin-offs.
Based on historical accounts, The Gallows Pole tells the incredible true story of David Hartley and ‘the Cragg Vale Coiners’, a criminal gang whose counterfeiting operation almost bankrupted the Bank of England in the 1700s. As the BBC’s publicity machine explains, “Set against the backdrop of the coming industrial revolution in eighteenth century Yorkshire, the compelling drama follows the enigmatic David Hartley, as he assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a revolutionary criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history.”
Eager to work with undiscovered Northern talent, Meadows put out a call via Shaheen Baig, whose agency had previously handled the casting for Meadows’s 2019 drama series The Virtues, which starred Stephen Graham. In a recent interview, Meadows said: “Putting this cast together, with the undying support of Shaheen Baig and her amazing team, has been an absolute joy. To be working with actors I’ve grown up with and/or have been desperate to work with, alongside oodles of incredible ‘as yet’ undiscovered Yorkshire-based talent, is an absolute honour and I’ve not been this passionate about shooting a project in years!” Meadows and the team viewed more than 6,500 self-tapes from unrepresented actors in the expectation that they might discover one or two new talents. However, the standard was so high that ultimately, half of the entire cast was found via the tapes.
However, Jordan was recruited through his profile on the production platform wegotpop.com, where artists can create a profile showcasing their talents. He was contacted directly by the casting agency who were so impressed by his work that he was booked without having to supply a self-tape.
Meadows believes that his fresh new cast will allow him to “create a series quite unlike anything else I’ve ever worked on.” Although set in the 18th century, Meadows presents the story through a typically anarchic lens, with the narrative accompanied by “a soundtrack that fits the mood like a psychedelic glove, rather than historical expectations.”
As the six-part series is still under embargo, we can’t yet reveal the details of Jordan’s role in The Gallows Pole. However, he has been working closely with both Michael Socha and Shane Meadows and has already filmed one-on-one scenes with Socha. We’ll bring you more details as we have them.
There’s no release date for the series as yet, but it is expected to air in 2022.
STAFF HINTS AND TIPS ON THE BIZ!
By Brainne Edge
In this edition, we get some fantastic hints and tips from Sean Mason, Academic Fellow in Media and Performance!
Can you describe your writing career at the moment?
The first issue of my first published comic book has just been released and I’m already working on several follow ups and side projects including an audio drama adaptation. I’m also working on a new radio play adapted from a theatre piece I wrote a few years ago.
What would you say is your writing style?
It’s constantly evolving from project to project but I like to put a little humour into everything I do. It warms us to characters and I strongly believe that if you want to make an audience cry then make them laugh first.
What would you describe as best practice for writing?
Write regularly, even if it’s only a couple of lines. Watch and listen and read as much as you can. Write for your medium; Theatre is dialogue heavy whereas film is visual. Be enthusiastic about writing and be aware of what else is out there. Know what you like and what doesn’t work for you. If you hated something you’ve seen or read, don’t post about it on social media – you never know who might read it! Be professional.
What advice would you give budding student writers?
There are no overnight successes and rejection happens to even the most successful writers. You’re in a privileged position to be able to surround yourself with budding directors, actors, and crew. Write stuff and make it – and it doesn’t have to be a full script; learn how to write an interesting dialogue scene or a more visual sequence. Oh, and don’t buy fancy notebooks because you’ll only save your best ideas for them and then they’ll remain empty forever because you don’t know what your best ideas are yet! Just write everything down!
Any decent and useful books or links?
Studio Binder are putting out some excellent blogs and video essays about scriptwriting and of course make sure you’re using the BBC Writersroom. Writersroom is not just a great resource for scripts and interviews but also regular opportunities and submission windows. There are lots of great screenwriting books and I think some of the most accessible are Save The Cat (Snyder), Writing for The Cut (Loftin), The Coffee Break Screenwriter (Alessandra) and The Anatomy of Story (Truby). Ultimately however, the best way to learn great scriptwriting is to read great scripts. Every winter, film studios update their award season or “For Your Consideration” websites which quite often have screenplays for you to download. It’s a fantastic free resource!
SHOW ME THE FUNNY!
“What’s the difference between a lobster with breast implants and a dirty bus stop?
One’s a crusty bus station and the other’s a busty crustacean!”
-Phoebe Garner, Level 4, Media and Performance
Got your own firecracker of a joke for the next edition? Email the editorial team and let us know!
GUESS THE PERFORMER!
Can you guess the identity of the zombie pictured back right, in this image from the past? One of your Lecturers played a member of the undead in this spooky film from 2004. But who is it… and what was the film? Answers at the end of the newsletter…
HEATHERS THE MUSICAL – REVIEW
By Emmi Frith
Based on the 1988 cult movie that starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, and following two smash hit London seasons and the WhatsOnStage award for Best New Musical, Heathers the Musical is back and in Manchester!
In the eccentric school of Westerberg High, Veronica Sawyer is looking to fit in and stop being a nobody. Her dreams of popularity begin to come true when she joins the most popular and cutthroat girl group made up of three beautiful girls named Heather. A rebellious boy named J.D opens up a new world to her, teaching her that sometimes it really kills to be a somebody…
As a young woman watching ‘Heathers the Musical’ for the first time, with no idea as to what it was going to be about, this show (aside from the brutal murders of close friends) really resonated with me not only from a feminist standpoint, but from one with a prominent mental health message to come away with.
Rebecca Wickes plays our anti-hero Veronica Sawyer with a sense of playfulness, cheek, and sincerity. Wickes embodies the character of the desperate, relatable girl wanting to fit in but not quite being accepted. This is until she finds J.D, played by the mysterious and pessimistic grandeur of Simon Gordon, who completes her and teaches her about the wicked intentions of high schoolers. All of these woes are caused by the ferocious blonde-headed leader of the Heathers pack, Heather Chandler, portrayed wickedly by the droll Maddison Firth.
The show, with its book, music, and lyrics written by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, takes a rather bizarre and bloodthirsty approach to scrutinise the idealised portrayal of suicide amongst young teens. The show’s director, Andy Fickman, juxtaposes the lavish musical numbers, choreographed by Gary Lloyd, with the dark subject matter at hand with a touch of self-awareness and satire. The bright colours of the high school alongside the incredibly out-of-touch school musical numbers about the tragedy of suicide – lead by the hilarious Georgina Hagen as Ms. Fleming – enforce a hollow and selfish approach as to how society responds to severe mental health disorders.
Within Heathers The Musical there is a strong message of female friendship and morale between the girls at the school. Veronica’s bumpy friendship with innocent Martha Dunnstock, meaningfully played by Mhairi Angus, allows us to see inside a realistic female friendship that is broken down by a distinctness in popularity, tension from peers, and being perceived by others. How women are portrayed in this play can be drawn mostly from the main Heather, Heather Chandler, and how femininity, death, and sex go hand in hand when it comes to being noticed as a woman. Furthermore, these feminine obligations are soon taken over by another Heather in the group, Heather Duke performed ardently by Merryl Ansah, and how the desperate pressures and duties of being a lead female for her peers take a weighty toll on her mental state and her ability to keep friends close.
The play hones in on heavy mental health issues relating to suicide and the ignorant idealism of when beloved figures commit suicide, as opposed to when undesirable figures do. This is evident in the harrowing number ‘Lifeboat’ performed by the wide-eyed Lizzy Parker as Heather McNamara which, although being the shortest song in the musical, truthfully captures the horrific anxieties of high school and youth, and the raw, unspoken struggles of teenagers dealing with depression and anxiety. The chilling idea of being forgotten and unnoticed in death is explored in Martha Dunnstock’s number ‘Kindergarten Boyfriend’ that reminisces on feelings of being desired and having a purpose in someone else’s life, but also the refusal to accept what is in the past and to see one’s self-worth in the present.
All in all, Heathers the Musical is an absolute riot. The highs are rich in hilarity and bizarreness, and the lows are poignant in grief and anguish. This show may look like a kooky and flamboyant retelling of the dark cult film classic, but underneath its showy front this musical has a lot of tough and barefaced lessons to teach us.
HALLOWEEN KILLS – REVIEW
By Evan Dottridge, Level 6, Media and Performance
The end of October is swimming slowly into sight, and we all know what that means… Skeletons poised at doors ready to greet you with a cackling laugh, pumpkins smiling warily from behind candlelit eyes, and children donning white sheets or sharp teeth, knocking on your door with the intention of filching a handful of sweets. For the adults, however, a different Halloween festivity has been resurrected; scary movies are being screened in cinemas worldwide again.
The long-awaited Halloween Returns (2018) sequel, Halloween Kills (directed by David Green), has been released and fans have flocked to their local cinema to watch the masked killer, Michael Myers, terrorise the poor town of Haddonfield for the twelfth time! That is to say; eleven Halloween movies have been previously released. Halloween Kills is the second film in the latest of the movie remakes, and the third film that fits the linear narrative.
The film begins with a nod to the original 70s Halloween opening credit scene, an eerie black background with the trademark orange text fading in and out. It then transitions into a shot of receptacles that all horror directors love to use – a set of multicoloured balloons. This is not what a typical horror movie colour scheme consists of, and yet it works. The bright colours of the balloons contrasting with the dark, unsettling, and empty town creates an immediate ghostly atmosphere and sense of unease, a feeling that all horror films attempt to inflict on their vulnerable audience.
Jamie Lee Curtis reprises the role of headstrong lead Laurie Strode. Whilst her performance is strong and clearly experienced, it is counteracted by the fact that she doesn’t appear all that often. The character is severely injured at the end of the previous movie, rendering her incapacitated throughout this one.
A popular movie maxim is that the acting can only be as good as the writing. This observation is especially significant in horror films. Which is why Halloween Kills’ chief writer Scott Teems deserves considerable credit for his script, which manages to balance the moments of rage fuelled swearing and naturalistic conversation between characters who, all in all, react quite sensibly to the situation unfolding around them; picking up weapons for the purpose of self-preservation.
Audiences could argue that Halloween Kills is just another same-old, tedious kill-fest that lacks any real plot or gripping characters. And you know what… they would be right. But that’s exactly what Halloween fans wanted. It gave us a plot that was as basic as possible: Michael Myers skulking through the bereft little town once again, picking off victims one by one, until he has the whole town ruffled and terrified.
If you’re already a fan of the Halloween franchise, or not put off by copious amounts of blood, gore, and human culling, then Halloween Kills is a great spooky film to celebrate Halloween season this October.
DIANA: THE MUSICAL – REVIEW
By Lucy Booth
A dramatic crescendo of music. A flash of light onto a huge stage. Darkness. Then, twinkling flashing lights, appearing in unison, illuminate a lone figure stood in a power pose. Could it be…? Yes. It is. It’s the People’s Princess. Lady Diana.
I am watching the Netflix preview of ‘Diana: The Musical’ and it is harder than I thought it would be to sit through. Not because it is a harrowing retelling of the late Princess of Wales’ life, but instead because it comes across almost like… an American parody? As a student of comedy, I can appreciate humour in all its many forms; however, this is difficult when faced with a musical where you spend the whole two hours trying to figure out if it is even appropriate to laugh.
The songs are very well sung. The lyrics are… interesting. For instance, in one song, the chorus become cockney news-reporters hounding Diana. What better way to demonstrate their cockney origins than by dropping all their ‘t’s’ and singing meaningful, authentically British lyrics such as “Better than a Guinness/Better than a wank!”. It was so realistic, I bet Dick Van Dyke is out there somewhere foaming at the mouth right now. There are touching moments too, also captured in song – such as when Diana looks upon her second born child for the first time, she sings, “Harry, my ginger-haired son. You’ll always be second to none”.
My personal favourite lyric, though, has to be when our Di sings to all us astrology lovers out there while confronting her crumbling marriage with Charles. In a musical belt, she cries out, “Serves me right for marrying a Scorpio!!!!” It was at this point during the musical when I gave up. I decided I just had to go along with this genre-defying biopic musical, and thus decided to become fully invested in the Diana portrayal before me, just as I had with Emma Corrin’s Diana in ‘The Crown’.
In the second act, Musical Di becomes the embodiment of a girlboss. She unapologetically locks horns with Camilla – who, by the way, is just as enraging to watch as every depiction I have ever seen of her – and enters a whole new level of swag during an (entire) song dedicated to her post-divorce stunning black dress, rightly called the “F-You Dress” song. This feminist power move was slightly dampened, however, by the Queen herself appearing and stating, with light misogynistic undertones, that “Diana is on the town/ Dressed like a tart”.
The finale of the musical is abrupt and I was thankful that there were no songs and/or chorus dances revolving around car accidents, which sounds bad but I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect at this point. After two hours of questionable British accents, shimmying servants and girlbossing to the max, I was happy for the curtain to close on this particular musical. It had its moments, for sure, with a nice blend of touching moments and comedic lines; even if a few (a lot) of those lines were not intended to be comical. Reader, I will let you form your own opinions on the show — I for one simply wonder how our Di would have reacted to this musical in her honour.
THE FABULOUS FIVE – NEW SUPPORTED ARTISTS AT THE NEW ADELPHI THEATRE!
As part of a new programme with the New Adelphi Theatre, five recent performance graduates have been offered an amazing opportunity!
At the end of their third year, five Salford students from Performance degrees applied for and were accepted into a brand-new scheme, run by the New Adelphi Theatre in collaboration with the Alumni Team. The Performance Graduate Scholarship Programme gives graduates from performance disciplines the funds, time and resources to experiment and take risks with their creative practice within a supportive framework. The programme is designed to provide graduates with an opportunity to develop their skills and professional experience, and includes a financial award, practice space in the New Adelphi building, access to mentoring from professional artists, and a showcase of their project, or work in progress, in New Adelphi Theatre space.
The first cohort of supported artists are:
Ben Hodge, a Media and Performance graduate who won the ‘Into Film Best Documentary of the Year 2020’ award for his short documentary, ‘1 Year’. He has performed all over the country at the Edinburgh Fringe, Frog and Bucket, Chortle’s Student Comedy Lincoln Heat (People’s Choice 2019) and at the New Adelphi Theatre’s ‘Homeground’ event in summer 2021.
Charlotte Cropper, a Media and Performance graduate who recently produced the ‘Curio Comedy: Salford Showcase’ and has been featured on Funny Women and BBC Upload. She was the recipient of The Dean’s Award at the 2021 Create Awards, was a Chortle Student Comedy Award 2021 Finalist and performed at ‘Homeground’ in summer 2021. Charlotte was also featured in our last newsletter, here!
Grace Bastyan is a Theatre and Performance Practice graduate who recently won the Performance, English and Creative Writing Award at the Create Student Awards 2021. Grace was the technical director and a performer in a devised collaboration at the Manchester Fringe Festival in 2019, and has worked under the guidance of Imitating the Dog, making a live performed graphic novel inspired by Airlock that was on BBC iPlayer’s ‘Culture in Quarantine’.
Joe Greenaway, a Comedy Writing and Performance graduate, has performed across various open mic nights on the Manchester Circuit and as part of our very own New Adelphi Comedy Night, #Homeground and ‘Curio Comedy: Salford Showcase’. He was part of the comedy troupe @SalFUNNI, who performed a two-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019.
Oli Hurst, a Theatre and Performance Practice graduate, is the co-founder of Redbrick Theatre and recently directed the sell-out kitchen sink drama ‘Sour Milk’ at the Manchester Fringe Festival (you can read an account from a Manchester Fringe Festival judge, our own Stephen M. Hornby, in the next article!). It was nominated for Best Newcomer and Best Drama at the GM Fringe Awards. Oli is also part of the music collective/record label Desk Jockey Records and recently performed as part of the Chengdu International Sister Cities Youth Music Festival.
The Performance Graduate Scholarships are funded through the generosity of our donors and supported by the Alumni Engagement & Development Team.
To read more about the supported artists and find their socials, you can read the full New Adelphi Theatre article here.
You can stay up to date with all our Supported Artists, plus check out a whole lot more, on the UoS_Performance Instagram!
SUCCESS OF SALFORD STUDENTS AT THE GREATER MANCHESTER FRINGE AWARDS!
By Stephen M. Hornby
I have had the unique pleasure of being a judge for the Greater Manchester Fringe Awards for the last few years. I’ve been to an immersive piece about religious cults, survived being the only person in the audience in a venue in an industrial estate for three long and intimate monologues about sex, and found my way down a back passage into an underground club reclaimed for one night only. But never have I seen so much talent from Salford come bursting through.
The Fringe normally happens every July and is an excellent launch pad for the Edinburgh Fringe but the exigencies of Covid forced this year’s festival to move to September. The extra rehearsal time obviously paid off, if the size of the house and scoop of awards and nominations is anything to go by.
I was delighted to see all the Salford students’ shows and even more delighted that they did so well both in terms of box office and critical reception.
So, a quick roll call of winners:
- Best Newcomer and Best Drama Nominations: Sour Milk from Red Brick by Abbey Hayes and Jonathan Mitchell (B.A. Theatre and Performance Practice)
- The Write For The Stage Award for best new drama: Toxic written by Dan Lovatt (M.A. Creative Writing)
- The Best Drama Award: Bysmal Boys, featuring Connor Evans (B.A. Drama & Creative Writing)
Abbey and Jonathan started Sour Milk as their Performance Research Project in their final year, expanded it to a one act piece and took it into production.
The Fringe is back to July for 2022. So, give them a follow @gmfringe and get planning and writing something for next summer!
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
By Alfie Ignatius
Working as a supporting artist on a TV series or movie can be hard and will usually involve long, 12-hour days, but it is all worth it. The experience I had this summer on the set of a Netflix/BBC iPlayer show was absolutely amazing; you get to have the full experience of working on and around the camera, even if you are not a leading role. Everything about it is great, from filming multiple takes of a scene to having a lunch break with new friends you make on set.
I learned about this project through my agent, Mune Casting. Mune are based in Manchester and they specialize in actors, supporting artists and models. You can find them on social media as @munecasting – they are always looking for talent to join them! Supporting artists play an important role on set; as Mune say, “You’re not just part of a crowd, you’re an essential part of the story!”.
The best thing about the agency is that they can find multiple projects for you to take part in. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal the main series I did this summer as it is still embargoed, but I can say that I took part in another Netflix series named Red Rose, that is coming out next year.
The key things to remember when working as a Supporting Artist are that you should always be prepared to be called in at short notice – sometimes just a day before the job starts. Early starts or late nights are common, so it’s good if you have access to a car. Don’t forget to bring snacks and water as you will be working long days. The crew usually have no problem with bringing items like these; I also recommend bringing a blanket! Another thing to remember is that it’s OK to ask the AD’s (Assistant Directors) for clarification or advice if you are ever feeling confused about anything. Also, you must always follow the rules on set as it can be quite strict. Professionalism is vital – if you are late for a job, you’re likely to get sent home without pay. It’s well worth putting in the effort, though. Being on set was a wonderful experience and I cannot wait for the series to be released!
OUTing the Past: 40th Anniversary of UK’s 1st National Pride
By Abby Bentham
The UK’s first ever national Pride event took place on 4th July 1981. The fortieth anniversary of this milestone in the LGBTQ+ history of the UK is being marked by a series of arts events that will run until July 2022. With funding from the Arts Council of England, Kirklees Council and LGBT+ History Month UK, the multi-media celebrations will consist of a photographic exhibition by the internationally renowned photographer Ajamu X, an immersive performance by Inkbrew Productions, and an online photographic archive of personal images that will permanently document the 1981 march.
The Artistic Director of Inkbrew Productions is our very own Stephen M. Hornby. Stephen, Abi Hynes and Peter Scott Presland, all of whom are award-winning playwrights, have written ten monologues recreating the events of 4th July 1981. The audience will march alongside the actors playing activists from 1981, turning the project into an exciting piece of co-creation. Stephen tells us: “The Pride march of 1981 was full of extraordinary characters from Huddersfield and across the country. And the stories! It’s a treasure trove for playwrights and Abi and I can’t wait to get started. We hope some local writers will be joining us to rediscover what marching in the UK’s first national Pride felt like.”
The monologues will be performed as a showcase at the Lawrence Batley Cellar Theatre, Huddersfield and the Kings Arms, Salford from 1st-3rd July 2022.
TIKTOK TRENDING: CLAIRE BOUNDS’ COMEDY!
By Lucy Booth
Claire Bounds is a Level 6 student studying Comedy Writing and Performance, who has gained a lot of traction with her videos on TikTok. They are original comedy videos and can be found over on her account, @clairebounds99. I reached out to ask her about her motivation and inspirations for starting her account.
Hi Claire! Thanks for agreeing to this interview. So, first of all, I’d love to know what motivated you to join TikTok?
Due to the pandemic, I felt creatively stunted. Comedy venues were either closed or open on a much smaller scale. Work experience placements were no longer taking place and I was stuck in Kent during the summer. I needed a creative outlet and TikTok is a super accessible platform.
I think your videos are hilarious. Do you have a specific idea in mind when it comes to making your videos, or does it depend on what is trending at the time?
I tend to just produce whatever comes to mind. I don’t actively avoid trends, but I’ve found that TikToks following trends don’t necessarily do better. Nonetheless, trending sounds and ideas can be a good catalyst for brainstorming material. I think ultimately people enjoy seeing original content.
What do you hope to do in the future with your TikTok account?
I don’t really have a plan with TikTok, which I think has served me well. Ultimately, I just want to make people laugh, but I do want to start taking TikTok more seriously and churn out a lot more content.
And lastly, big question here - do you think TikTok is changing the way we consume comedy for the better?
TikTok is far from perfect (palpable skinny white privilege and issues surrounding crediting original creators), however as a consumer I can say that I see 50 times more black, Asian, disabled or queer creators and comedians than I ever would in other mediums, such as television or film. I think this is due to the lack of gatekeeping at media institutions and production companies. It’s so nice to see individuals from underrepresented groups in complete control of their own narrative. I think there’s also something to be said in the shortening of people’s attention spans as well!
Best of luck with everything, Claire! And thank you so much for introducing me to Love the Way you Lie – Sid x Diego – Ice Age, it captures their relationship so perfectly.
GREATER MANCHESTER THEATRE ROUND-UP
COMPILED BY STEPHEN M. HORNBY
Most venues have now returned to normal programming for the winter 2021/22 season and some still have their lockdown online offerings available.
GREATER MANCHESTER FRINGE
Usually a huge season of vibrant work every July. The Fringe 2021, however, happened through September. It is a great showcase for emerging talent with current and former Salford students involved in shows such as Toxic, Sour Milk, Cock Therapy and Bysmal Boys.
A varied programme of local and touring work is usually on offer here, including plays, children’s theatre, singers and comedy. Red Ladder Theatre Company have a new show there, co-produced with Leeds Playhouse called My Voice Was Heard, But It Was Ignored by emerging playwright Nana-Kofi Kufuor.
HOME is a city centre arts venue with a main house, a studio, five screens of independent cinema and an art gallery. They’ve programmed outside work all summer at the special Homeground, including Salford student showcases and Manchester Pride events. The new season has over 30 live shows including the first stage production of The Lemon Tree by Julian Barnes, staring Olivier and Tony Award-winning Ian McDiarmid and directed by Michael Grandage.
The Lowry is the major arts complex in Salford, with a large main stage (The Lyric), a second theatre (The Quays, which somewhat bizarrely was operating as a Court in lockdown), a studio and an art gallery. Their programme for this season includes the hilarious drag murder mystery Death Drop, fresh from a successful run in the West End.
HOPE MILL THEATRE
The most successful fringe venue in Manchester, often mentioned in The Stage. They specialise in musicals but have a varied programme. Some highlights include a revival of The Wiz as their Christmas production.
SALFORD ARTS THEATRE
A place for local talent, and some touring work; a venue for Greater Manchester Fringe Festival shows and home to the Salford Theatre Company. This is also the host of the Shelagh Delaney Day every 25th November.
The Octagon has emerged from a massive rebuilding programme. They offer some interesting writing workshops and a full, live programme including a new production of Home, I’m Darling by Laura Wade.
Contact has completed a refurbishment and is now fully operational. Its live work is back on site, including the excellent First Time by Nathaniel Hall. It is also a local centre for under-30 talent development with their acclaimed Young Identity group.
Manchester’s leading producing house and home of the prestigious Bruntwood Prize for playwriting, which returns in 2022. It didn’t have a good lockdown with little to no activity, but its back now with some live work including Glee & Me, Stuart Slade’s 2019 Bruntwood Judges’ Prize-Winning dark comedy. Joint Artistic Director Roy Alexander Weise also makes his Royal Exchange debut with the award-winning play The Mountaintop about Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
THE TOTALLY IMPROVISED MUSICAL – PEER HAT
CSzUK presents the Totally Improvised Musical. Every night is opening night as our team of top improvisers compose a brand new musical from your suggestions – hitting all the right notes in any order they like. Tickets £5, 30th November, 8pm.
CALL FOR CONTRIBUTORS!
Level 6 TaPP student Lucy Wrigley is looking for people to collaborate with on her showreel. Lucy and her colleague are looking for MaP students who’d be willing to film a scene they’ve written, so if there are any cinematographers, sounds experts, etc. who are looking for projects to take part in, then please email Lucy directly.
Lucy is also hoping to hear from other writers willing to submit a script that she and her friend can perform, whether that’s a two-hander or involves a more populous cast. Her aim is to build up footage for the showreels, and the work will also look great on the reels and CVs of those who respond to this call!
If you’re interested in working with Lucy, please email her at L.Wrigley@edu.salford.ac.uk
Master your November with upcoming EMP sessions!
All this month, the New Adelphi Theatre’s Employability Masterclass Programme (EMP) will be taking place on Zoom. These Masterclasses bring together experts from all across the performance spectrum, full to burst with tips and tricks, professional know-how and industry expertise – everything you need to kickstart your own career in the arts.
These masterclasses are designed for students in BA Theatre and Performance, Tech Theatre, Media and Performance, Comedy Writing and Performance, MA Screen Acting and @macppsalford.
The first five EMP sessions will take place on Zoom every Tuesday in November, from 3:30pm – 5:30pm.
To find out more, look out for EMP announcements on Blackboard!
Fancy a Feature Flick?
Are you mad about films? Love filmmaking? Or simply just enjoy watching movies with friends?
If these things sound right up your street, then the University of Salford has the best film society for you to join and express your love for films to your heart’s content!
The Filming Society meets up every Tuesday at 7pm on campus in the Pillars Northside and their membership fee is just £7 – which can be paid through Inspire.
The group is currently working through the pitching process for the short films they are soon to collaborate on. The club also has many plans to present detailed masterclasses on production and filmmaking both in front of and behind the camera.
The plans for next semester are to hold classes on the film industry. The sessions would offer hints and tips on making it big, how to get involved in a career in filmmaking and how to gain contacts for the future. Not only do the group hold educational masterclasses, but they also schedule themed movie nights for the whole group. Recent events have included a Halloween movie night viewing with endless amounts of Pot Noodles, costumes and lots of laughs!
Additionally, the Filming Society has an AMAZING Hollywood Night event planned for December 2021 that will be set up like a mini Oscars, where the group’s short films will be viewed in the style of a movie premiere.
The club has many more exciting and creative events coming soon, so buy yourself a membership, get involved and start making some films!!
For more information you can follow the Filming Society on Instagram here.
Avatars and Vtubers: What are your thoughts?
Have you ever come across a virtual youtuber or streamer online, or spent time with other avatars in VR Chat? Are you a fan of virtual avatars online or indifferent to them? Or perhaps you don’t like them!
Staff member and MA Student Hannah Briggs is conducting research into people’s impressions of virtual avatars, how we relate to them and what makes a “good” avatar.
She is looking to conduct some surveys by interviewing people briefly about their thoughts on avatars. The information collected would be kept anonymous and would only be used for academic purposes.
Would you be interested in a brief interview? If so, email Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org to let her know!
GUESS THE PERFORMER – THE ANSWER!
The zombie is our very own Brainne Edge, in Shaun of the Dead (Dir. Edgar Wright, 2004)! Extra bonus points if you also spotted Jessica Hynes!