Sentence complete

Sentence complete

BOLDtext’s first all-female Open Door – three writers, two actors and a director – arrived at The REP stage door on a frosty January morning, tasked with producing an evening of thoughtful and engaging theatre in a single day.  We knew from previous shows that we had an intense and demanding ten hours ahead of us.
Following BOLDtext’s very successful site-specific production Behind Bars – Ghosts of the Lock-Up in October, we wanted to continue our focus on law and order – but this time in a modern context by looking at sentencing.  The BOLDtext writers had scripted three short plays on that theme, which would be followed by a panel discussion.
Liz John introduced us to the fictional character of Miss Deborah Foling, a breast surgeon found guilty of unlawful wounding of her patients, having performed major surgery to remove cancers which didn’t exist . This was inspired by a recent case in our region.  Quizzed by a young lawyer as she awaits sentencing, the fictional Miss Foling gradually reveals her ‘justification’ for her unjustifiable actions.  Whatever sentence she receives, the lawyer points out, her traumatised patients’ face a future many times worse…
Vanessa Oakes was intrigued by the variety of sentences and the quirks of law that deem one action innocent and another guilty, despite their similarities. One of the strangest was the sentence for handling a stolen book which was longer than a sentence for murder.  There was some logic to it, but it still didn’t feel like justice.
Julia Wright (that’s me) looked at the most common reasons women are in jail and found the cause to be shoplifting or debt.  Often the sentence can be only six months but that is enough to disrupt the rest of her family and cause loss of employment and home in that time – as her adult daughter reminded her in the play.
Our director, Vicki Duckett, had prepared well for this hectic day and worked through calmly and professionally, determined to get the best from the scripts and the actors. And our actors had to work their socks off.  Bharti Patel, known for her role in BBC Doctors among others, proved once again her ability to inhabit a whole range of characters. Miriam Edwards, fresh from Over The Top at The Belgrade Theatre Coventry, was equally creative and the two actors sparked off each other brilliantly.
The discussion afterwards with Warwick University law professor Jackie Hodgson and probation officer Keith Stokeld, offered a thoughtful and interesting end to the evening. We heard about ‘weekend prison’, the impact of privatisation on the probation service, sentencing in domestic violence cases, and more.
Thanks to our audience for their questions and for all the lovely comments made afterwards to the writers, director and actors.   We’re glad you enjoyed it (phew!) and we’ll see you next time!
Julia Wright
Sentencing for the Future

Sentencing for the Future

BOLDtext Playwrights are delighted to announce the panel for their audience discussion, ‘Sentencing for the Future’, which follows their latest show, The Sentence, three brand new short plays at Birmingham REP on Monday 28 January 8pm.

Paying the Price by Liz John
A disgraced surgeon awaits sentencing, when a young solicitor arrives with unexpected news.

Offences Against the Person by Vanessa Oakes
Why do sentences sometime bemuse and enrage the public?

Working Mother by Julia Wright
Karen will soon be leaving prison. Has she learned her lesson? Sophie tries to help her but is it working?

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Great show, now what?

Great show, now what?

BOLDtext Playwrights’ most recent show, Behind Bars – Ghosts of the Lock Up, went down a storm in Birmingham city centre last month – with sell-out audiences who loved the humorous and heart-wrenching tales we told, as well as the more everyday stories embedded in the WM Police former Lock Up building.  It felt like our contrasting voices each captured something different from the space, with wonderful performances to bring them to life.  “Emotionally transporting”,  ” Very atmospheric – shivers down my spine several times”, and “Really unique experience” were just some of the comments from our many visitors.

And it was a unique experience for us too – we absolutely loved this site-specific work and hope to do more of the same – both at the Lock Up and elsewhere around the region.  We just need to decide where – so if you have any suggestions, please do get in touch.
Our thanks to Arts Council England and Sir Barry Jackson Trust for their support with this project, and of course everyone at the proposed WM Police Museum who made us feel so welcome.

In the meantime, BOLDtext is working on another night of political shorts at Birmingham Rep on Monday 28 January 2019, so watch this space.

The Bingo Caller

The Bingo Caller

BOLDtext’s very own STEPHEN JACKSON (aka Ted Pigeon) has a fab new show previewing at Hall Green Little Theatre this Saturday and Sunday 2-3 June 7.30pm.  It’s called The Bingo Caller – and the box office opens at 7pm.  All tickets £10 pay on the night….

….before the show moves to Soho Theatre next week  on Thursday 7 till Saturday 9 June at 7pm.

Welcome to the Binley-on-Sea Caravan Park and Social Club, where Buster Bingham is calling his last game of bingo.  After 23 years, he has been sacked – and the audience play bingo as Buster crumbles on stage. 

The Bingo Caller is back by popular demand, having premiered at HGLT in 2013 starring Marcus Hendry.  Writer Stephen Jackson is the Winner of The West End Wilma Award for Best Comedy 2017 and The Verity Bargate Award 2015.

Roller Diner @ Soho Theatre

Roller Diner @ Soho Theatre

Our very own Stephen Jackson’s fabulous musical extravaganza, Roller Diner,  opens at London’s Soho Theatre on Friday 26th May until Sat 24th June.  Steve showcased this play at a BOLDtext event at The Rep back in 2014, and it went on to win the Verity Bargate Award. We can’t wait for Steve’s unique perspective on life to hit the London stage!  He’s such a talent and we’re very proud.

Home of the full English Brexit

Welcome to Eddie Costello’s Roller Diner – a faded Brummie beacon of a deep fried American dream. The staff can’t skate and there’s a whiff of burnt sausages and disappointment.

So when new waitress Marika arrives from somewhere foreign looking for a slice of a better life, hearts are set alight in a fiery recipe of love, jealousy and murder.

A theatrical jukebox sizzling with songs, sexual tension and failed dreams… all served with extra ketchup.

Directed by Soho Theatre Artistic Director Steve Marmion, Roller Diner is the professional debut of Birmingham writer Stephen Jackson and the winner of Soho Theatre’s prestigious Verity Bargate Award for new writing.

A savage sweet musical comedy, it opens up the heart of middle England and the universal search for a place to call home.  Book via Soho Theatre.