The last two BOLDtext Open Door shows at The REP couldn’t have been more different on the surface but again reflected the strange times we live in.
On September 19th 2017, the theme of the four short plays was Fake Times, inspired by the fake news that had exploded into our consciousness and set the tone for the year. We were certainly not short of material. Brexit fake facts, Trump and the Russian election interference continue to rumble on into 2018, and trying to sort fact from fiction remains a problem. Four of our playwrights – myself (Julia Wright), Liz John, Nicola Jones and Tim Stimpson tackled the theme, reflecting the difficulties we all experience in sorting out who we can trust for our information.
Our January 8th 2018 show was called A Mouthful of Rhinestones to mark the birthday of one Elvis Presley. How is The King relevant today? The theme of separating fact from fiction again raised its head but this time in relation to the myths and truths surrounding celebrity: ‘Elvis might be gone but he ain’t never left the building.’ Continue reading
Genius born in poverty; prodigal of the Mississippi Delta; adult suitor to a love-struck teen…
January 8th 2018 would have been Elvis’s 83rd birthday and to mark the day BOLDtext are presenting three short script-in-hand plays as part of the regular ‘Open Door’ season at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Written by Julia Wright, Helen Kelly and Vanessa Oakes, they will explore how one musical genius unleashed a tidal wave of inspiration, obsession and exploitation.
In the absence of the King we have BOLDtext’s very own Prince (of the mop and bucket), the talented (and mildly psychic) Ted Pigeon, who will be hosting the Christmas present swap where we prove that one woman’s unwanted bath bombs are another man’s… well… wanted bath bombs. So don’t ‘Return to Sender’ but instead bring all your unloved presents along and swap them for other people’s!
Tickets are FREE but please do book ahead by clicking HERE or call The REP’s box office on 0121 236 4455.
As always we’ll be rattling buckets at the end so keep a few quid handy to help us cover our costs – and then join us in the bar afterwards where the lovely people at Marmalade are ‘All Shook Up’ about creating a special cocktail for us. See you there!
All you have to do is complete our quick 10-question survey to help us develop our programme of work. Our own Stephen Jackson’s Roller Diner was showcased at The REP and went on to win the Verity Bargate Award. It had a fantastic run at the Soho Theatre, and we’re incredibly proud of our mate Steve.
Click on the link to do our two minute survey. Please complete before November 15th so we can get cracking with our planning. Thank you!
Our next show is brewing – 8pm Monday 8th January 2018 at The REP, followed by our ridiculously popular Unwanted Christmas Present Swap. Save the date and watch this space for more info.
Your news is fake. Mine is REAL. Your truth, your reality, your version of the world is wrong. Because mine is RIGHT. Isn’t it…?
BOLDtext return for another season of Open Door at the Birmingham Rep with Fake Times – four short plays that ponder how to get real and counter today’s culture of lies.
The Offer by Liz John – Chris desperately needs a new start, but is this an offer he can accept?
Inspired by Nicola Jones – A fan breaks into a famous novelists house. Or do they? When fiction becomes fact.
Don’t Burst My Bubble by Tim Stimpson – Luke writes fake news. Karen devours it. But can their relationship ever be more than a fantasy?
Back to Reality by Julia Wright – Kate has spent the last year on a desert island taking part in a reality TV show. Now she’s coming back to reality.
Come and join our theatrical deliberations at 8pm on Tuesday 19th September in The DOOR when we will try to sort fact from fiction.
Click here to BOOK FOR FREE or call the Rep’s Box Office on 0121 236 4455
These script-in-hand performances are very popular so please do reserve your seat in advance. Faking it has never been so easy!
For our 17th night at the Door – yes that’s right, 17th – Boldtext Playwrights presented their third Doubled Up evening.
These are occasional evenings where two of our playwrights showcase longer extracts from work in progress to help with the development process of full length plays. This is invaluable for the writers, as it gives a chance to see the staging, the characterisation and the plotting working in front of audience and assess the way all these aspects can be improved/ changed/developed. Having said that, it is always a tense time as you see the audience react to your words for the first time but it often brings real surprises as sections you have struggled with seem to work effortlessly and unexpected moments of humour emerge which bring laughs rather than smiles. Of course, every audience is different but a number of real insights are always there for the writers. It is also a chance to work closely with directors and actors who bring their ideas and interpretations to help in a collaborative process and make work a real joy.
For our May 22nd ‘Doubled Up’, myself (Julia Wright) and Liz John presented the first 40 minutes of our full length plays. Liz’s World War 3 looked at the challenges of the environment facing young people and the lack of power they can feel at being able to decide their own futures. Liz had two days of workshop and rehearsal before the showcase, giving her time to develop and rewrite as the time progressed and see the characters arise as individuals, each with their own stories to tell. All the cast were playing teenagers/early 20’s and seeing the world from their viewpoint which gave Liz the chance to immerse herself in that world. The digital age has changed life so much for them, while some aspects of their emotional responses remain universal and easily able to be identified with.
My play ‘Unfollow Me’ (Julia Wright) was about the worrying consequences of stalking and its profound effect on, in this instance, a 25 year old young woman. I had one day of workshop/rehearsal before the evening and, as I directed it myself, I found the insights of the actors into the characterisations invaluable. The character of the male stalker was, obviously, really difficult in order to strike the right balance between understanding and condemnation so that he could be believable and not just a product of careful research. Each actor was able to look at the relationships within the play from their character’s viewpoint and make brilliant suggestions to enable me to make subtle changes to the script to produce major shifts of tension and complexity.
As usual, the show was sold out but on the night, there were 8 or 10 empty seats. Please can we ask our very loyal audience to cancel your reservations if you are unable to attend, as we are always having to turn away people who want to come but have no tickets. Our next show, Fake Times, is on September 19th and we look forward to seeing you there.
Bold Text Playwrights return to The REP on Monday 22 May 2017 with Doubled Up – two plays-in-progress from BOLDtext writers Liz John and Julia Wright.
WORLD WAR 3 by Liz John
Zoe is fighting for the planet. James yearns for a career. Kat needs her sister to be ok. Ella just wants it all. But no-one listens to young people so now it’s time to make a stand. Can the fiery enthusiasm of youth overcome the cynical politics of today’s Britain? A challenging, acerbic tale of conflicting ambition in the 21st Century.
Liz’s work ‘shone out as a masterpiece of compression’ – LichfieldLive (about ‘Perversion of Science’)
UNFOLLOW ME by Julia Wright
What is the tipping point where obsession becomes truly dangerous? Ayesha, Natalie and Sam have to make the choices which will determine all of their futures. Who is really in charge? Who is losing the fight?
Follow Julia on twitter @JuliaWriting
Come along and catch extracts of these two plays-in-progress at 8pm on Monday 22nd May as part of The REP’s Open Door season. Continue reading
After its DOUBLED UP reading at The REP last year, BOLDtext’s Vanessa Oakes is previewing her new play ALL IS WELL in Coventry and Birmingham this May.
aleks told me that you can smell fear… people sweat it out bit by bit and then other people smell the fear and they start to sweat… and so the fear spreads… person to person…
ALL IS WELL is at times poetic, funny and devastatingly fierce in its appraisal of the true cost of nuclear power.
Thur 4, Fri 5 & Sat 6 May 7.30 pm (6 May also 2.30 pm)
Tickets £8 (£6)
Shop Front Theatre, Coventry, CV1 3HW
Fri 12 & Sat 13 May 7.30 pm
Tickets £10 (£8)
Midland Arts Centre Foyle Studio, Birmingham, B12 9QH
Plus post-show talks on Thur 4 & Fri 12 May
A stunning evocation of the long term aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, ALL IS WELL tells the story of Aleks, Stefan and Nina as they struggle to trust one another again while living with the fear of the invisible radiation.
On Radunitsa, the day of remembrance for the dead, the forest is once again filled with people as they return to visit their family graves. But Anna and Blackbird have other ideas to keep the day trippers and tourists away for good.
Written by Vanessa Oakes
Directed by Mark Evans
Designed by Nancy Surman
Puppetry by Joff Chafer
ALL IS WELL is supported by The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry University Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and using public funds from The National Lottery through Arts Council England.