A fabulous fortnight of theatrical Fringe performances has now come to an end here at The Mission Theatre. Celebrating all things dramatic in the Fringe, The Mission Theatre has been bursting over the past two weeks with first-class performances full of so much talent. Filling both the Main Auditorium and the Theatre Upstairs across the fortnight, audiences have enjoyed the work of companies from Bath, Britain and beyond, in what has been the busiest year for theatre in The Bath Fringe so far!
The standard of work this year was so high, with performances receiving rave reviews throughout. With a diverse range of topics, genres and performers transforming the spaces, this was Fringe theatre at its best. The Mission Theatre has already begun inviting some of the stand-out companies back to Bath. Perhaps a post-Fringe binge?! Watch this space!
April marks the official launch date of The Mission Theatre’s 2018 Bath Fringe Festival programme of events. The exciting, vibrant and diverse Fringe Festival takes place in the city every year, and The Mission Theatre is delighted to yet again be hosting a huge range of shows and events throughout the Festival. This year we’ve got our biggest line-up yet with over 30 performances for you all to enjoy!
On Friday 25th May, The Mission Theatre will be hosting a Fringe opening night treat of TANTALISING TASTERS during which Fringe performers, organisers, venue staff and patrons will have the chance to all come together and enjoy short extracts from some of the many exciting shows performing at The Mission during the Fringe fortnight. This event is free and the bar will be open in The Mission's Fringe Hub in The Theatre Upstairs for what promises to be a fun night of entertainment with the opportunity to network many talented people within the industry.
The Mission’s Fringe Hub, making a welcome return this year, will be open every day over the fortnight of the Festival as the perfect spot in which to relax, refresh, catch up with the latest Fringe news and reviews and enjoy spoken word, pop-up performances and post-show discussions.
Here are all the shows - just click the image to book tickets.
The first full week of Fringe shows at The Mission has something for everyone from comedy in The Rise and Fall of King Donald the 1/5th to mayhem and madness with Bummer and Lazarus or A Dog's Brexit; from live music in The Theatre Upstairs with Thereby Hangs A Tale Theatre Company to exhilarating adventures with The Final Journey of Edward Wilson.
Our second week of thrilling Fringe performances is even busier than the first and is packed with newcomers to The Mission and returning favourites. Why not bring the kids along to enjoy Friendly Ever After as the talented duo - Nos Three - 'clown' about the stage? Join us in solving the dastardly crime in Murder Mystery on The SS Great Britain, or laugh about with Bath University's Comedy Society, CWIPS in their Comedy Sketch Show. The 2018 Fringe shows at The Mission Theatre conclude with returning favourites BUST as they perform History Boys and Yerma on the final weekend.
We look forward to welcoming you to one of the many exciting Fringe Festival events taking place at The Mission Theatre from May 25th onwards.
Here at The Mission Theatre we are extremely excited to share with you our latest acquisition of a new Allen and Heath QU-16 Digital Mixing Desk.
Sadly, at the beginning of the new year, our Soundcraft FX16 desk decided that its days were coming to an end. In our previous news article in January, we mentioned that The Mission Team were on the lookout for a new desk to replace our Soundcraft - we are delighted to announce we have found that replacement!
The Mission has now moved on to a digital desk, refreshing our technical equipment and keeping up-to-date with the latest desks available. The digital desk takes compact digital mixing to a new level with great design and exceptional functionality combining to create a superb professional audio experience. This sound desk is very user-friendly and will take no time to master. It is available for use by all of our visiting companies throughout their stay with us. We hope that it enhances audio aspects for all companies performances here and believe it is a great investment.
For a more detailed specification of the board see below:
- 16 Mono Inputs (TRS + XLR)
- 3 Stereo Inputs (TRS)
- 4 Stereo FX Returns
- 16 Busses
- 12 Mix Outputs (LR, Mono Mix 1-4, Stereo Mix 1-3)
- 4 FX Engines
- Moving Faders
- Recallable AnaLOGIQ Preamps
- Qu-Drive direct Multitrack Recording / Playback on USB drives
- 800×480 Touchscreen
- iLive FX Library
- dSNAKE Remote Audio Port
- Compatible with ME Personal Mixing System
- Qu-Pad iPad App
- USB Audio Streaming
- 4 Mute Groups
- Trim, polarity, HPF, gate, insert, 4-band PEQ, compressor and delay on all Inputs
- Insert, 4-band PEQ, 1/3 octave GEQ, compressor and delay on all Mix outputs
- Built-in Signal Generator
- RTA with Peak Band indication
Happy New Year to you all from The Mission Theatre!
Here at The Mission we have been very busy over the festive break getting the theatre ready for the 2018 Spring/ Summer programme of events. The Mission has undergone a series of maintenance procedures throughout the end of December and beginning of January, to bring to you a fresh, vibrant theatre to enjoy this season.
In early January The Mission's spring clean began! One of the biggest changes to the venue this year, is our Foyer and stair walls. Over the Winter we decided that in preparation for our busy 2018 line-up we would like to re-fresh and re-vamp the Foyer area by bringing a new lick of paint to the walls. For those of you who may have visited the theatre in the past couple of weeks, you will have noticed that our Foyer is now a lovely shade of light green - very fitting for the Spring season we felt. The colour change runs on up the stairs, brightening up the inviting pathway to our Bistro.
Also on the Spring-clean check-list was steam cleaning the theatre's carpets. This year we had the pleasure of welcoming Green Man Carpet & Upholstery Cleaners into the theatre to deep clean every carpet in the building. Jon and Gareth worked hard all day to ensure our carpets were perfect for the busy schedule that we have coming up. We were extremely impressed with their service and our carpets haven't looked as good as they do now in a long time!
With a fresh start in mind, it was also decided to replace our 13 year old sound desk which has been on its last legs for quite a while. We are improving the sound system for everyone who uses and hires the theatre, by purchasing a spanking new digital desk and acquiring new amps.
Finally in our new season re-vamp, we are delighted to announce the collaborative relationship we have entered into with local florist - The Secret Gardens. Throughout our Spring/ Summer 2018 season the theatre's Foyer will be home to beautiful, bespoke flower displays from this boutique florist. Blossoming beautifully as we embark on our busy schedule of performances in 2018, our Foyer will be host to the vibrant, colourful and cleverly created displays changing from month to month. For more details about The Secret Gardens, please contact B Cherrington at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their instagram at @the_secret_gardens or pick up one of our 2018 Spring/Summer Brochures today.
In December the Foyer played host to a classical and festive flower display, crafted with pussy willow, golden leaves, gorgeous red roses, amaryllis and more. The December display was a feast for both the eyes and nose!
This January The Mission's Foyer is currently filled with a colourful, dainty and fresh display of wonderful Spring inspired flowers. Brightly coloured narcissi, beautiful pinks and oranges, all set in a spectacular vase for you to enjoy throughout this cold month.
Back in December, the team at The Mission Theatre were grateful to have been invited to attend The Secret Gardens' first anniversary party. A warm and welcoming evening with live music, home-made mushroom soup, prosecco and of course, mince pies! The florist and gifts boutique is located inside Bath Spa Train Station, Platform 1 within the old lift room. As well as specialising in bespoke floristry, plants and arrangements, the boutique is also the exclusive partner within the UK for Granado, Brazil's oldest luxury pharmaceutical brand. We were lucky enough to test some of these luscious products at the event and especially loved the lavender hand cream! The Secret Gardens are available for weddings, events and businesses within the local area and beyond. Do get in contact - you won't be disappointed.
With the festive period now in full swing, we here at The Mission Theatre are delighted to look back and reflect on what has been an amazing year.
Our in-house company, Next Stage,kicked off 2017 with a hilarious production of Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett, which performed to sell out audiences every night. In February, Next Stage Youth tackled the incredibly challenging theatrical adaptation of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens adapted by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod. The production was a huge success and a phenomenal showcase of the talents of the young cast and crew. In April Next Stage took part in the Bath Comedy Festival for the first time, with the revival of the brilliant one-woman show My Brilliant Divorce by Geraldine Aron, featuring an impressive performance from established company member Kay Francksen. Our Summer season saw members of Next Stage and Next Stage Youth take on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, adapted by Rachel Wagstaff, premiering it here at The Mission before touring to the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. This was Next Stage’s 10th production at the beautiful Porthcurno venue. Opening the Autumn/ Winter season and in honour of our patron, Sir Alan Ayckbourn, Next Stage actors trod the boards with Absent Friends. The youth and adult company then teamed up again in October in a production of Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian, adapted by David Wood – a beautiful, heart-warming production performed to sell-out audiences every show. Finally, rounding off Next Stage's busy 2017, the company produced Democracy by Michael Frayn, a highly-acclaimed show that finished off an exciting year of theatre for the company.
In addition to our own Next Stage productions The Mission Theatre has also played host to some amazing visiting companies - both old and new - and a number of festivals including, the Bath Comedy Festival, the Bath Fringe Festival, the Bath Children's Literature Festival and the Jane Austen Festival. From laugh-out-loud comedies to intense dramas, electrifying musicals to dazzling dance, one-man-shows to full cast productions, it has been an incredibly busy and exciting year at the theatre.
In July Natalie Hyde took over from Lydia Cook as Theatre Manager at The Mission. Lydia's was a hard act to follow, but Natalie has now been in post for 6 months, bringing her own brand of charm and enthusiasm to the demanding job. Natalie has enjoyed all the challenges so far and she is looking forward to seeing the range of treats we have coming up for you all in 2018. September saw Charlotte Claydon, a Bath Spa Graduate in Creative Arts (Drama and Creative Writing) take on the role of Office Assistant at the theatre. Charlotte has done a sterling job here for 4 months, but is leaving us now to pursue her longer term-goals and, of course, to take on her first directorship with Next Stage:Proof in April. Thank you, Charlotte.
2018 is set to be even busier than 2017, for both Next Stage and for The Mission Theatre. We hope to see you all in the New Year for another great programme of events. Kicking off January will be Next Stage's production of Look Back in Anger by John Osbourne. Tickets are already on sale and available online at The Mission Theatre website here or by calling 01225 428600 (Tickets are also available through Bath Box Office here or by calling 01225 463 362).
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all, from The Mission Theatre Team!
Dear Next Stagers, Friends, Patrons and Theatre-goers,
We are excited to announce the official launch of our Spring/Summer 2018 Brochure! Packed full of thrilling theatre, comedy, dance, music and festivals happening here from January until July. The Brochure will be available online and at The Mission for you to pick up on your next visit.
We have a range of new companies performing here at The Mission Theatre for the first time, as well as some returns from audience favorites. From original contemporary drama to epic youth productions, hilarious one-man shows to enchanting magicians, stunning live music to slick Argentine Tango there is something for everyone to enjoy this season!
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MISSION THEATRE'S SPRING/SUMMER 2018 BROCHURE
Our Spring/ Summer 2018 season kicks off with Next Stage Theatre Company's production of Look Back in Anger by John Osborne. This iconic play is set to be a popular must-see show, presented in-the-round by a stellar Next Stage cast - book now on 01225 428600, online at wwww.missiontheatre.co.uk/tickets or email email@example.com.
The festive season is fast approaching! What better way to celebrate than by joining us here at The Mission Theatre for some amazing shows – fun for all the family!
We have a wonderful line-up of talented companies, both returning favorites and new-comers throughout December, take a look:
The Last Baguette Theatre Company present: The Little Match Girl (adapted by award-winning playwright T.A. Woodsmith)
Tuesday 5th - Wednesday 6th December at 7pm
Box Tale Soup & Music Action International present: Gone
Thursday 7th December at 7:30pm
Oooh Arrr Productions present: Cinderella
Friday 8th - Wednesday 13th December at 7pm
Matinee at 2pm on Sat 9th & Sun 10th
3rd Stage Dance Company present: Tree
Saturday 16th December at 7:30pm (N.B This production is not featured in the brochure)
For more information about what's on at The Mission Theatre click here.
And don’t forget Gift Vouchers for all Next Stage productions can be purchased from The Mission Theatre – the perfect gift for theatre-lovers!
These vouchers can be used in conjunction with Next Stage Theatre Company productions and are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.
Contact 01225 428600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Next Stage Theatre Company's final production for 2017, Democracy by Michael Frayn, opened last night to a wonderful and receptive audience. The Mission Theatre and Next Stage were delighted to welcome The Chair of BANES, Councillor Cherry Beath and guests to the performance and for a photograph after the triumphant opening night.
The production has already received an excellent review for its innovative look at the political system:
Review: Democracy – Next Stage Theatre Company – The Mission Theatre
I’m not sure quite what the usual run of plays is but if you’ve ever longed for something completely different then Democracy is probably it.
Contemporary politics isn’t a common subject in theatre and, although this is set ostensibly in 1970’s West Germany, much of the action here could apply to current situations.
There’s an East German spy in Chancellor Willy Brandt’s West German coalition government and, amazingly true, he becomes very close to Brandt. Thus we follow the action, viewed cleverly from both sides, of the internal politics involved in maintaining power with a slender majority and how spies worked.
Based largely on the truth, spy Gunter Guillaume (played by believable charming Jon Yardley) even gets to holiday with Brandt (excellent Peter Benson) while passing back information to his puppet master, Arno Kretschman.
When the Chancellor’s party get a bigger majority one worried member remarks, “Victory means you have to do something.” Ain’t that the truth, and the problem.
A perfect black, white and grey set, plus good lighting, simply done and cleverly constructed, this might not be for everyone but for anyone with an interest in Machiavellian politics it’s a rare treat.
Performances are at The Mission Theatre at 7:30pm until Saturday 2nd December (Matinee Saturday 2nd at 2pm).
Last week the South West based theatre company, Moondog Productions brought their production of And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank to The Mission Theatre.
Moondog Productions was set up by June Trask, who had previously created a production of the show when she was a teacher at a high school in California. Trask was asked by Eva Schloss to revive the production for a tour around the South West. Feeling concerned about the current political climates in Europe and the US, Trask felt compelled to use this production as a means to fight back for decency and acceptance.
Using multi-media and a small, yet strong, cast this production brings to life the heart-wrenching true stories of Eva Geiringer Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and the late Anne Frank’s step-sister, and Ed Silverberg, Anne Frank’s first boyfriend. Real interviews from Schloss and Silverberg are projected throughout the production, which informs the scenes portrayed by the actors. The cast performs these real life characters with depth, understanding and passion - a testament to Trask’s direction. Despite the multi-media aspect, the set is kept simple allowing for the themes this piece portrays to be at the forefront for the audience.
A truly remarkable piece of theatre, which we at The Mission were proud to have hosted.
Moondog Productions are currently available for productions at schools and community groups across the South West. For more information, or to make a booking, contact June Trask via their website: https://moondogproductions.co.uk/contact-us/ or call 07875 066 436.
After opening it's doors for the Autumn season earlier this week, The Mission Theatre's resident Next Stage Theatre Company, took to the stage with Absent Friendsby patron Alan Ayckbourn. A triumphant opening night saw the theatre filled with returning and new theatre goers for a brilliant evening of Ayckbourn vintage comedy. Below are reviews from Phil Horton (The Bath Chronicle) and Petra Schofield.
Absent Friends – Alan Ayckbourn
The Mission Theatre Bath
Written in 1974 this razor sharp comedy hits home in all the right places. The excellent company relish each barb and silence with great control and the result is a triumphant start to the autumn season for Next Stage Theatre Company.
Under the direction of Ann Ellison this Ayckbourn classic is honed to perfection. Set in real time and in one place, a rare treat for Ayckbourn scripts, we meet Diana, Marge, Evelyn, Paul, John and Colin. The event is afternoon tea for Colin as he has been recently bereaved and the friends gather to support him. As usual the cracks and chasms in the marriages and relationships of the friends are never far from the surface and the reality of life just gets in the way. Performances are strong and characters are painfully real; full of human failings and dreams wasted.
Caroline Groom (Diana) heads the cast as the hostess whose unfaithful husband Paul played with brutal force by Brian Hudd has broken all her dreams and hopes. Marge (Annabel Chater) is desperate to be loved and needed in her endless caring role whilst the bumbling Colin (Andrew Ellison) is thrown clear of the hardships of relationships due to his bereavement. Ayckbourn manages to distil so much in the short passage of time. The pressures of caring, bringing up children and life have different effects on the gloriously monosyllabic Evelyn (Georgi Bassil) and John (Michael Stevens) whilst being poles apart they seem to have the least secrets.
This is a great work and reflects Ayckbourn at his best, a tight and well drawn analysis of human nature; well worth a visit.
Next Stage production directed by Ann Ellison
The Mission Theatre, Bath
September 5th to 9th, 7.30pm: matinee 2.00pm Saturday 9th
Although written in 1974, this production feels quite contemporary. Perhaps bittersweet domestic dysfunction is always with us and that human condition is one which Ayckbourn has always been able to nail.
Colin’s fiancee has drowned recently so his friends rally round and invite him to a tea party, thinking to cheer him up. However, the boot is really on the other foot; it's their lives that are in freefall to disaster while Colin remains cheerfully content with his lot.
Monosyllabic Evelyn has just had a disappointing fling with host Paul, a serial philanderer and bully. When asked about it by friend Marge, Evelyn explains, “If you want to know who else, pass me the phone book ‘cos he's half way through yellow pages by now.”
Marge’s unseen husband is usually ill, while Paul's put upon wife Diana is gradually building up to a breakdown while Evelyn’s twitchy other half, John, accepts her infidelity as part of normal life. Meanwhile oblivious Colin chatters on, eating his sandwiches and putting his proverbial foot in it.
It is a perfect production where the cast never strike a wrong note. If you like Ayckbourn you'll love this.
Dear Next Stagers, Friends, Patrons and Theatre-goers,
The team at The Mission Theatre are excited to announce that our fabulous Autumn Brochure 2017 is now out, packed full of thrilling theatre, memorable musicals, dynamic dance, creative comedy, scintillating Shakespeare and fun for all the family.
The Autumn season begins with resident Theatre Company Next Stage’s September production of Absent Friends - patron Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s take on friendship, loyalties and middle-class, middle-aged angst. This play, one of his early works, is an insightful and hilarious comedy with all the classic hallmarks for which Ayckbourn has become famous. Absent Friends, staged in-the-round and directed by Artistic Director Ann Ellison, is likely to be very popular, so don’t wait to get your tickets - book now on 01225 428600, online at wwww.missiontheatre.co.uk/tickets or email email@example.com.
With so many exciting shows and events in the months ahead, we are very much looking forward to welcoming you to The Mission Theatre this Autumn.
All good wishes,
The Team at The Mission Theatre
Resident Next Stage Theatre Company's production of Birdsong - at The Mission this week until Saturday 1st July - has received rave reviews from critics and audience members alike. Below you can read our two official reviews, as well as some excellent comments from those lucky enough to have seen the show so far!
Birdsong is a popular and successful novel. A love story mingled with the brutality and reality of the trenches and the Battle of the Somme. The play focuses the action in the British trenches and behind the lines in France from 1916 – 1918 with earlier romantic events shown in flashback.
This is a hugely difficult play to stage, given its episodic nature and filmic quality. The constant flashbacks need to fit seamlessly into the action without breaking the flow of the script.
Ann Ellison, directing, has achieved a great balance with the use of the stage area in The Mission and the action is able to move fluidly between the defined performance spaces. An atmospheric lighting design from Kris Nuttall brings depth to the piece alongside a versatile set design.
The piece is lead with true style and conviction by Richard Matthews (Jack Firebrace) and Chris Constantine (Lieutenant Stephen Wraysford). Both men are linked by their goodness and desire to save others and tormented by the ravages of war. Hayley Fitton-Cook (Isabelle Azaire) allows the romance with Wraysford to develop under the watchful gaze of her brutal husband (Bob Constantine) and his ever present friend, Berard (Reynold Leming).
As always, supporting roles are well defined and the company work is excellent. Ben Armstrong (Private Arthur Shaw) is a loyal and faithful support to Firebrace and as the play reaches its conclusion there is much to consider.
Aside from the immense loss of life in the Somme campaign, Birdsong considers the loneliness and worries of the soldiers; the injustice of rank and the many questions that must have been asked by those who gave their lives so valiantly. This is a thought provoking play reflecting some of the very darkest days of World War One.
To say that staging Birdsong at The Mission Theatre is ambitious would be an understatement. Luckily for us, the audience, it is managed wonderfully well.
Set in France before between 1910 and 1918 the action follows Englishman Stephen Wraysford having an affair with the wife of his employer at Amiens before the war, subsequently returning there as an officer at the Somme, where acquaintances resume.
Constant flashbacks require two sets plus a very large cast and somehow these are accommodated. Highly effective sound effects, lighting and costumes help make it all work.
While there are obviously echoes of Journey’s End, this is really a love story. Chris Constantine (Stephen Wraysford) is on stage for virtually the whole time and is impeccable, but the glue in the trenches is provided by Richard Matthews in a remarkable performance as sapper Jack Firebrace.
There are outstanding individual portraits, often heavy on pathos, from all the cast in this complex but compelling tale which commands attention from beginning to the end. Amazing.
Afterwards the play is moving on to the Minack in Cornwall where the larger stage may make it even more impressive.
Not a play to be missed – if you can get a seat.
I'm sorry I couldn't stay last night to say this to everyone in person but just wanted to pass on a massive thank you for an enjoyable interpretation of one of my favourite books. The flashbacks were handled really well and the whole cast worked seamlessly together. Massive congratulations to Chris and Richard in particular who delivered such emotional and honest performances. Best of luck for the rest of the run and big love to all. HS
A huge congratulations for pulling off such an incredible show!! As good as Monday's run was, last night took my breath away, and every single actor had developed even more in the space of 2days! I felt the different relationships within the play were portrayed very well which helped us as the audience to grieve those who died as well as those who had lost friends/family. Very emotional and a 'pull at the heart strings' performance. Absolutely loved it! Thanks, and congratulations again on a very successful show. AC
To all involved in Birdsong - those on stage, back stage, hiding in lighting/sound cubby holes plus a courageous director,
How wonderful! A seemingly impossible task (to me anyway) achieved with convincing energy and compassion. Great performances and teamwork. I cared about every one of the characters. Deeply moving. I look forward to seeing it again at The Minack. All the best for the rest of the run in Bath. CG
What a fantastic opening night’s performance - so powerful and brilliantly imagined. The audience was gripped. Well done to Ann and her excellent cast! VB
Brilliant performance, very emotional and realistic. Thoroughly recommend. SBS
Thought I'd ping you an email whilst I am still buzzing from tonight's performance. What a talented group of actors you have. Congratulations on such a fantastically brilliant performance tonight. I don't think I've ever been to a performance that felt so intense and the ending, it brought a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat. You should be proud of your whole team (& yourself of course). Thank you for such a wonderful evening. JBS
An excellent production. The 'episodic nature' is well managed, with lighting and different location. The acting/talking was of a very appropriate speed. The pauses in the speeches were really poignant. Thoroughly recommended. PW
The Mission Theatre has hosted over 30 shows in under two weeks as part of the Bath Fringe Festival 2017, and has given nearly 1000 audience members the chance to experience some fantastic Fringe Theatre.
On Friday 26th May, The Mission played host to the opening night Fringe party, where organisers, audience members and performers got together to chat, network, publicise their shows, enjoy musical entertainment and catch sneak-peaks at some of the Fringe performances.
Students from across Bath, the South West and the UK have performed classic, musical, physical and devised theatre pieces ranging from Theatre With Teeth’s visually-stunning Woolf to OnSet Productions’ moving Final Test and from Bath University Student Theatre’s hilarious version of Tartuffe to Heartbeat - a brand-new musical created by Bath Spa Students.
ThreeDumb Theatre, a company made up of members of this year’s graduating class from the prestigious Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, brought a newly-written piece of modern drama to The Mission for three nights during the second week of the Fringe. The performances in I thought I might be Jet Li (but it turns out I’m not) went down a storm with audiences and reviewers alike.
Other highlights of the Fringe Festival at The Mission included Novato Dance’s 10th anniversary show Encore - performed to packed houses during the second week of the Festival. The talented dancers used their innovation, diversity and energy to bring a huge variety of dance styles together and form a spectacular show. Also comedian Luke Graves entertained a very happy audience on Sunday 6th June with his show Husband of the Bride.
Saturday 10th June, the final day of the Fringe at The Mission got off to a cracking start when students from Bath College performed a beautiful piece of devised theatre: A Suitcase of Memories. Using dance, song, physical theatre, plus a live band and some fantastic acting, this piece moved its audience to tears with the poignant tale of an elderly couple, Flo and Ernie, looking back at their life together.
The Mission also hosted several shows for children and families during the Fringe Festival, including the outstanding Taking Flight Theatre’s You’ve Got Dragons, Squeezy Green’s Compendium of Games and Brave Bold Drama with Alf the Highwayman.
Audiences have particularly enjoyed the post-show discussions held in The Mission’s Fringe Hub after most of the performances here at The Mission, and the chance to write their own short reviews which they have then posted on our review boards.
The Mission Theatre’s Artistic Director Ann Ellison says:
The quality and quantity of theatrical performances that have taken place across Bath in the 2017 Fringe Festival has surpassed all expectations. I doubt there has ever been such a range and number of theatrical events crammed into a Fringe fortnight. The standard achieved by so many artists was exceptional and audiences have been thrilled by what they have seen.
At The Mission Theatre the post-show Q&As have been extremely popular and have enhanced the overall experience enjoyed by our theatre-goers. Many of the acts will now be going on to further venues and Festivals whilst here in Bath, as the 2017 Fringe draws to an end, we are already looking forward to next year!
The second week of the Bath Fringe Festival 2017 got off to a great start on Sunday 4th June when Brave Bold Drama delighted their young audience members with the tale of Alf the Highwayman, told through imaginative movement, song and a beautifully-created set.
The audience roared with laughter as comedian Luke Graves (pictured above left) took to the stage on Sunday evening with his hilarious show Husband of the Bride.
Monday 5th June saw the talented Theatre With Teeth from Exeter University perform a new piece of theatre about Virginia Woolf (Woolf - pictured above right). Audiences and reviewers alike were wowed by this beautifully-crafted and staged production: "dreamlike in its structure and striking in its execution...One to watch indeed!"
ThreeDumb Theatre receive rave review for
I thought I might be Jet Li
(but it turns out I'm not)
Tuesday night saw the opening performance of ThreeDumb Theatre's second show at The Mission Theatre, after the company's successful and acclaimed production of Not About Heroes last July. Philip Horton, reviewing for the Bath Chronicle, said of last night's show:
At one point in this brilliant play by Stuart Crowther, Gummibear describes his flatmate Highrise as “The bastard child of Pete Docherty and Lucrezia Borgia.” This might give you a clue about the premise which could similarly be described as, “The very erudite bastard child of The Young Ones and Men Behaving Badly.” Faded rock star Highrise is trying to get back into the limelight by taking a rent boy, Prettyboy, home and alerting the press. Meanwhile, Gummibear endeavours to get his imaginary gerbil, Michelle Obama, to reproduce. Now you have a clue about the action, but what you won't understand, without visiting The Mission, is the sparkling stream of dialogue.
When told to write a book about his life, Highrise exclaims “You can't write a book about growing up well adjusted.” But perhaps my favourite line of the evening was, “Betrayal, thy name is cider.”
Matthew Bromwich demands attention as he cavorts and exhorts, while Duncan Riches plays the Zen eccentric Gummibear convincingly. Dressed only in a pair of Michelangelo’s David boxer shorts, Matt Harwood has the body and acting ability to be the grit in this particular dialogue driven evening. Not to be missed if you enjoy words, wit and theatre.
Jet Li runs until tomorrow and there are still some tickets left for the final two performances. Get them now from the Bath Box Office 01225 463362 or get them on the door from 6.45pm each night.
There is strong language in this production.
There's even more fantastic Fringe Festival shows to come in the next few days at The Mission Theatre:
Don't miss Bath University Student Theatre with Tartuffe (pictured above left) - Friday 9th 2pm & Saturday 10th 7.30pm - and Phantom (pictured above right) - Friday 9th 7.30pm & Saturday 10th 2pm). Two very different shows, but both have been produced by the talented members of BUST. Tickets are £8 (£5 concs) from The Edge Box Office 01225 386777 or on the door 45 minutes before each performances. Bath College students will also be performing on Saturday 10th at 11am with a poignant devised piece called A Suitcase Full of Memories. Tickets on the door from 10.15am.
The 2017 Bath Fringe Festival has got off to a fabulous start following last Friday's Opening Night Party here at The Mission.
There have been over a dozen performances of first-class shows from Bath Spa University students and visiting professional companies.
The exciting entertainment will continue from Thursday with the welcome return of the highly-talented Novato Dance Company celebrating it's 10th anniversary year. Don't miss this great troupe's beautiful and engaging show: Encore, featuring a wide range of dance styles from classical to modern.
Here's a taster of what is in store next week as first-class Fringe shows from around the country continue at The Mission Theatre...
Alf the Highwayman - Brave Bold Drama
4th June at 11.30am & 2.30pm
Come along to this child-friendly, award-winning production (Best Children's Show at the Shaftesbury and Swindon Fringes') as we follow the story of Alf who snatches and grabs without a care. As he gallops through the blustery woods, along the seashore and even through a circus tent... will he learn there are better ways to play?
Tickets: £7/5 from Brown Paper Tickets:
0800 411 8881
Husband of the Bride - Luke Graves
4th June at 7pm
Come and watch the "very funny" and "immensely likeable" Luke Graves with his "laid-back and friendly show" about love, life and marriage. Wit and humour delivered with an easy going charm. Luke also offers a money back guarantee if not satisfied.
Tickets: £7/5 from Brown Paper Tickets:
0800 411 8881
Woolf - Theatre With Teeth
5th June at 3pm & 7.30pm
The very talented Theatre With Teeth from Exeter University perform Woolf, based on the incredible true story of one of the world's most celebrated writers and women: Virginia Woolf. The performance uses physicality, playful creativity and nostalgic storytelling to create a treat for all.
firstname.lastname@example.org or on the door
I thought I might be Jet Li (but it turns out that I'm not) - Threedumb Theatre
6th - 8th June at 7.30pm
"You're not a woman... who you speaking for?"
Three men with made up names wait for the world to make sense. Lads, Lads. Lads? Something big's gonna happen - if they can cut the bull and keep Michelle Obama alive.
Tickets: £8/6 from Bath Box Office:
Tartuffe - Bath University Student Theatre
9th June at 2pm
10th June at 7.30pm
This hilarious translation of Moliere's Tartuffe, by Roger McGough, brings new life to the classic French farce. Set within the 17th century aristocracy the play tells the tale of Tartuffe, a fraud posing as a priest, who feigns piety to swindle the upper classes out of their wealth.
Tickets: £8/5 from The Edge:
Phantom - Bath University Student Theatre
9th June at 7.30pm
10th June at 2pm
Bath University Student Theatre perform a new play by Lucas Fisher-Horas following Gabriel Blake who is a man haunted by grief. Through an act of heroism he is introduced to Olivia, a girl who is equally lost in life and trapped within a toxic relationship. In each other they find solace, yet the closer they grow, the greater the stakes should tragedy strike.
Tickets: £8/5 from The Edge:
A Suitcase of Memories - Back In Time Theatre Company
11th June at 11am
Nothing is more powerful than the love of a married couple, when a husband is caring for his slowly dying wife, the memorable moments they've shared bring them closer than ever as they reflect on their adventurous, life journey together.
email@example.com or on the door
On Wednesday 17th May the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Bath, Councillor Paul Crossley honoured Next Stage Theatre Company with a Civic Reception in the Mayor’s Parlour.
The Reception occurred on the eve of Next Stage’s 23rd Birthday and was in recognition of the company’s contribution to the cultural life of the city.
The Mayor and the Mayoress greeted nearly 40 Next Stage actors, friends and patrons of the company, all of whom had gathered to celebrate this a public recognition of the dramatic excellence that Next Stage has brought to the city of Bath.
Guests included ex-Mayor Marian McNeir - friend of Next Stage - Andrew Fletcher OBE - long-standing patron - and ex-councillor Colin Darracott - one of the main protagonists in Next Stage’s acquisition of the People’s Mission in Corn Street in 2004.
Following the Mayor’s toast to the company, Artistic Director Ann Ellison BEM replied thanking the Mayor for all his support in the last year, recognising the wealth of talent and long-standing friendship represented by the actors and supporters present in the Mayor’s Parlour, and reminiscing on the opening night of Next Stage’s inaugural production of Willy Russel’s Educating Rita, in 1994.
Ann Ellison remarked that many people 23 years ago had thought Next Stage would be a five-day wonder, but the company that started with eight members, has, over the years, grown to encompass over 100 adult and youth members; attracted prestigious patrons: Sir Alan Ayckbourn, Sir David Hare and Dame Harriet Walter; acquired and set up its own independent theatre in the centre of Bath - The Mission Theatre; has flown the flag of dramatic excellence when touring performances to Bristol, Scarborough, Cornwall, New York and London; has raised money for, and supported, many local and national charities; set up a bursary fund to help young actors; and produced over 175 plays including a number of Bath premieres, achieving with them national recognition and high artistic acclaim.
Next Stage Theatre Company’s next production will be the adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ novel Birdsong which the company are staging at The Mission Theatre, Bath June 27th - July 1st, and then taking on tour to the Minack Theatre, Cornwall July 17th - 21st.
I am writing as both a founder and director of Playing Up Theatre Company as well as a drama teacher in Bath, to protest the removal of regular coverage of the arts from The Bath Chronicle. As someone who was once Features and Supplements Manager at The Chronicle I am well aware of the advertising revenue driven nature of publishing these days. However, the arts are more than a niche hobby or indeed a relaxing social activity after hours. The arts, in all their forms, be that theatre, dance, spoken word, music, exhibitions, street performance or whatever, are an essential part of what makes us human. Our ability to express ourselves and document our history, to educate and also entertain are embedded in the arts. They are also proven as therapeutic for those with physical and mental health problems. To step away from regular coverage of these hugely important activities based simply on financial assessments of the content that sells papers, while commercially logical, is deeply sad and, in the opinion of many, contradictory to what a local media outlet should provide.
Heads of Drama, Dance and Music in this country are already fighting a battle to protect their subjects from swingeing cuts to education. Arts lessons for some students are now fortnightly and in many schools, abandoned. The government appears to believe that only core subjects and a language are necessary for future generations, who already interact socially in an online world and who frequently lack the skills needed to function successfully in the world at large; working in groups with new people, meeting deadlines, expressing opinions lucidly and articulately, arguing a point successfully and presenting themselves confidently. Universities and employers bemoan the absence of these abilities in young people and engaging with the arts (and sport) is proven to help. Your paper does a wonderful job covering sport at all levels and abilities and celebrating the achievements, professional and amateur, of our local sports men, women and children is a regular feature. Why not the arts? The popularity, engagement and variety is equal to sports, yet one is celebrated, the other sidelined.
The arts are a multi-billion pound industry in Britain and one of our most successful tourist attractions and exports. The film, television music and theatre industries are some of our greatest achievements. Our own city boasts the egg, one of the only purpose built young people's theatres in the country, not to mention the main house where plays are regularly opened before their West End transfer. Counting the purpose built theatres at Kingswood, King Edwards, Royal High, Prior Park and Hayesfield, not to mention the ICIA and the Michael Tippett centre at the universities, the Chapel Arts, Burdall's Yard, Forum, Pavilion, The Rondo and The Mission alongside the Theatre Royal, Ustinov and egg we have sixteen venues offering an eclectic mix of professional and amateur work produced and enjoyed by people of all ages. Bath is also the home to international music and theatre festivals and the world famous Natural Theatre Company. Surely a regular arts feature in The Bath Chronicle won't drive your advertisers running for the hills?
Finally I know there are occasional interviews with the latest visiting 'star' to the main house (this week it's James Bolam and Anne Reid) which counts as a sort of coverage but the Theatre Royal is only one venue and, frankly, doesn't need the publicity. What I and many other would like to see is similar coverage of the home produced music, dance, theatre and art which is often overlooked. Please reconsider and remember it's not only reviews that help, but the pre-publicity and general celebration of the arts that counts. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Darian Nelson, Director Playing Up Theatre Company
I'm aware that Ann Ellison (The Mission Theatre) has emailed you regarding her, and many others, concerns on the diminishing theatre coverage in the Bath Chronicle. Over the last few years I have been particularly grateful for the coverage that my companies have received and know that this has supported our shows in being well attended. Theatre and the arts is a vital part of Bath's culture and attraction, and it feels only appropriate that the local paper acknowledge, support and raise awareness of the vast creative landscape that we are so fortunate to have on our doorstep.
Kim Johnson, Artistic Director Novato Theatre Company
We were saddened to learn from Ann Ellison about the marginalisation of coverage of theatre life in Bath by the Bath Chronicle.
We particularly support the Next Theatre Group and are Friends at The Mission Theatre in Bath. We also visit other theatres within and outside the City. We believe it to be a really important live form of entertainment, enlightenment and education.
To make a decision to reduce the coverage it has been given in the past, is indeed surprising. Who did you choose in your survey? From market research and surveys I have known in the past, it is easy to sway any survey towards our own advantage, depending on the participants.
Bath is important as a local, national and international place of heritage and culture. To make a decision to severely reduce or to limit the coverage of this facet of the life blood of Bath would be a) a disservice to residents and tourists b) a denial of the importance and long and broad history of theatre life in Bath and c) could even be detrimental to The Chronicle itself.
Firstly, residents and tourists DO want to know what is happening in Bath Theatres.
Secondly, have you ever looked at the long history of theatre in Bath and the interesting backgrounds there are to all our Theatres? Have you promoted this to your readers? Many of whom would have no knowledge of the existence of having the first Royal Theatre outside London in the City and the part that Sarah Siddons had in its history?
Thirdly, as part of the media that we are all exposed to these days, you have a tremendous responsibility for directing our thoughts, providing information and for leading us towards new and different experiences. A change of words, differences in inferences, a promotion, can make all the difference to survival in the world of business, in politics and in all walks of life.
We would hope you might reconsider your stance about the importance of Theatre in Bath. Please do not hide information about it from those of us that love theatre, the tourists and the prospective theatre audiences.
Theatre is alive and well in Bath because it is fairly well supported and that support makes a difference between the theatres being viable or going out of existence.
Whilst we are aware that you have pressures and that the Chronicle must stay successful, the view or directive to reduce the visibility of theatre in the paper, could potentially seriously affect all theatres in Bath. We would ask you to reconsider your support and coverage. Indeed, the Bath Chronicle could turn the tide and with exciting articles on past theatre history, quizzes, theatre walks and competitions. The Bath Chronicle could lead the way to a resurgence in theatre; an explosion in audience numbers and a reduction in participation in unsociable Internet activities.
David and Drusilla Smith
Dear Rachael Sugden,
I am very concerned to hear about the marginalisation of local theatre coverage in the Bath Chronicle, since I am very passionate about the arts in Bath and I feel the local theatres such as The Mission and The Rondo are very important to the community.
As I am sure you are aware it worries me that if there is not enough theatre coverage, subsequently, the awareness of theatrical events will be reduced. Fewer people will come to those events and hence touring companies will look elsewhere. I know that touring companies are vital to the survival of theatres such as The Mission and The Rondo. We could soon be in a situation where the grassroots local theatre community is no more.
However, I do appreciate the pressure to deliver market driven news. Therefore I am very much in favour of the proposed solutions by Ann Ellison regarding the monthly theatre feature and extra coverage for the new season programmes.
Personally I think that the monthly feature would be successful because people would look forward to reading it each month, it would become part of their routine if you like. I think the new season programmes would act as a springboard for people to decided what they would like to see in that particular season.
I also have a few ideas and suggestions of my own, which I would love you to consider:
You can find about a film review or TV anywhere on the web, but local theatre is different, and you have to find out about it in the local newspaper. We don’t have ‘local’ TV or local film. Perhaps some more space could be made by dropping something else that may be less desirable such as motoring. Motoring and cars are all over the web on specialist sites such as Whatcar and Autotrader. Hence space could be made for theatre without actually compromising TV or film. This potential solution would encourage a holistic approach from the whole newspaper which might be an option.
I realise the market research that you have undertaken suggests that TV and film are more in demand than theatre. However, I wondered many of the older generation would read the online site, where I am presuming the market research was conducted? Certainly in the case of my late Grandma, (who loved going to the theatre every week), she would never have looked on online because she didn’t use a computer bar emailing friends. Seeing as theatre is a lifeline for isolated older people to get involved int eh community perhaps there are more people reading the newspaper articles about theatre than we think?
I understand that newspapers write what they think people want to read, but i just wonder if actually challenging people to read things they wouldn’t normally read and kind of making a big thing of theatre in Bath is more interesting?
I look forward to hearing from you,
I was disappointed about the reduction of space in the Bath Chronicle devoted to live theatre, but I am encouraged by your response, following discussion, to be open to looking at ways of increasing coverage. I admit that I am biased. I enjoy film and television, but I have always found live performance inspiring, and am actively involved in theatre in Bath, both performing and attending.
I am not a newspaper editor, but I hope that I can appreciate at least some of the constraints under which you work, including the pressure to produce news of local interest with less resources than you would like at your disposal. And so much competition for grabbing the public’s attention.
I am struck by how similar this is to local theatre. Local people trying to draw in an audience, inspiring young as well as older people, competing with so many other ways of being entertained. But the theatres are also local businesses working to draw in interest from outside of Bath - performers discovering what our great city has to offer, and our population and visitors having access to a variety of performance to entertain, educate and stimulate.
We need our local press to champion this, in the face of all the competition. Every new person who is a convert to local news coverage and theatre is a success story.
Many thanks for your attention to this.
Dear Rachael Sugden,
Why does your paper no longer have proper coverage of the amateur theatre productions in Bath? Something that happened recently made me realise that the Mission Theatre, for example, is worthy of your attention. Walking along Beau Street this week I bumped into a very famous actor, J Murray Abrahams, who portrayed Salieri in the acclaimed film "Amadeus." I told him a friend of mine also played Salieri in the Mission Theatre many years ago!
I know that local papers are hard pressed to survive in these turbulent times, but please don't throw the baby out with the bath water!
H W Thomas
Dear Rachael Sugden,
As participants in and supporters of amateur drama in Bath as well as supporting the Theatre Royal and the Ustinov, it is disheartening to feel that, whilst mainstream arts events will still attract audiences, regardless of newspaper coverage, the amateur theatre scene will suffer. Amateur theatre in Bath is eclectic and innovative and deserves bigger audiences, so we hope that The Chronicle will be able to offer as much publicity as possible to enable local companies to thrive and grow. T&M W
Some of the many messages of support we have received from friends, supporters and local theatre practitioners:
“Keep up the good work” - Jackie Chappell
“Many thanks for your email and your action on behalf of local theatre with the Chronicle.” Steve Curtis, Bath Drama
“Thankyou for taking the trouble to do this” LW
"Sounds like you got good points over. Let's hope the page idea is shown to be successful." Councillor Cherry Beath
"Many thanks for keeping us updated with your considerable efforts to secure on-going Chronicle coverage of Bath's vibrant amateur drama and music scene. The arrangements you have negotiated are potentially an improvement on the position to date as we will have a publication timetable to work to and a dedicated page. It has always been a little frustrating when submitting production/performance details and not knowing whether they will be included or when. We will all need to make sure we keep a healthy and regular supply of articles and features to justify what appears to be quite a generous deal from the paper. If we don't then I'm sure the Chronicle will have no qualms in withdrawing it." Nick Lee Bath Gilbert and Sullivan Society
"Very well done on your valiant efforts to ensure a profile for non-mainstream theatre in Bath. We have immensely enjoyed the productions we have seen at The Mission and consider the standard of acting and staging to be second to none. Keep up your marvellous work." M&M J
On Thursday 28th April, Ann Ellison BEM - Artistic Director of Next Stage and The Mission Theatre - attended a meeting arranged by Rachael Sugden - Editor of the Bath Chronicle - to discuss concerns Ann has recently raised regarding the scant coverage of the local theatre and performing arts scene in Bath. The below is an open letter from Ann to anybody and everybody who is involved in, or simply enjoys, locally-produced theatrical events - particularly drama - in Bath:
I know from a variety of conversations and emails in the past few weeks, that many of you are as concerned and puzzled as I am about the marginalisation of local theatre coverage in the Bath Chronicle since the arts’ editor Dan Biggane left in March.
Today, I had a meeting with Rachael Sugden, the editor of the Bath Chronicle, to discuss my concerns. Most of the features in the new-look Weekend Magazine in the paper are used by other media consortiums. Rachael only has a few bespoke pages to cover specific Bath-based news. The fact there is no longer a Theatre page is a direct result of market research which has returned conclusive figures that whilst film and television are popular, there is not sufficient interest in the local performing arts’ scene to justify a Theatre page! Rachael was very honest about the pressures she and her team are under to deliver market-driven news.
I made the point that the Chronicle’s decision to no longer include local theatre articles and images as they had appeared in the previous Guide format, would inevitably result in a self-fulfilling prophecy: the less our local theatres, companies and events are covered, the less Bath audiences will be aware of the variety and scope of the drama on offer in the city and hence the more invisible our work will become. I made an impassioned plea for the current What’s On and Listings’ pages to be compressed to provide enough space for theatre to have its own page, but Rachael has taken an editorial decision that people basically want to just know what is on in the city and that to reduce this content would be a retrograde step. She may very well be right to think this way and so we moved on to discuss alternative solutions to the lack of theatre coverage.
Having heard the constraints under which Rachael has to operate, I made the following suggestions:
1. Would she consider a monthly feature - ideally a page in either the main paper or the magazine - headed Theatre and showcasing theatrical events, specifically drama, being staged in the city’s various venues in the ensuing four weeks. Rachael has agreed to trial such a page (sadly it might be less than a page) starting in the last week of May and featuring upcoming theatre events in Bath in June. The vision for this bespoke page would be that it would carry eye-catching images and possibly one or two in-depth stories drawing on the copy provided by local theatres and drama companies.
2. Would Rachael consider extra newspaper coverage when any of the city’s local theatrical venues produce their new season’s programmes. I explained in the case of The Mission Theatre that would be a twice-yearly feature, The Rondo I believe has a thrice-yearly brochure and of course other venues may also wish to send in season launch details as and when they are announced. Under the old regime, a feature in the paper celebrating the best of forthcoming shows at a venue and the news that its brochure was out in hard copy and available online, was a very useful and popular preview for Bath’s theatre-goers of what was on offer in the coming months.
Whilst considering how to facilitate both of the above suggestions and remaining sympathetic to our cause, Rachael will also try and include news-worthy coverage of unusual/specific/one-off theatre stories in the main paper on a weekly basis. The presentation of local Art Listings, Theatre & Comedy and Film Highlights at the back of the magazine is unlikely to change.
Finally, having sent Rachael a draft of this piece, I am delighted to say she emailed the following:
“I would like to reiterate that while yes, we are going to focus our resources writing content we know the majority of our audience will read, I have no intention of marginalising our coverage of what (as I said to you today) is an incredibly vibrant, grass-roots cultural community in Bath.
Thank you for passing on our contact details - as you rightly point out it is imperative that the theatre community keep us informed - and we will always endeavour to provide a voice and a platform for the community in our print products.”
So, in order that our vibrant city theatre scene and the excellent range of dramatic offerings available to the public here in Bath does not get overlooked or neglected in the local media, it is of paramount importance that people passionate about the arts let Rachael know their feelings and provide the necessary copy and images to make the monthly Theatre preview feature a success.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to email@example.com to express your concern about the current lack of coverage and to endorse any increase that Rachael and her team can achieve.
With many thanks in anticipation of your support,
Ann Ellison BEM
Next Stage Youth enjoyed a spectacular spring term with their outstanding production of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Audiences were wowed by the group's maturity in tackling this ambitious story which had been worked on in their 90 minute sessions each Sunday since April 2016.
Praise for the production included:
"Never less than gripping, it’s a thoroughly well told tale, with no weak links in the young cast" Philip Horton reviewing for the Bath chronicle.
"A tour de force. We loved the continual and practiced movement; and clever, polished scene and mood changes. Congratulations!"
“Wow!! What a brilliantly staged play, wonderfully engineered atmosphere and superb performances by all this talented cast with excellent confidence, delivery, tone, acting, reaction and singing and dancing to boot! Pitch perfect! This really was premier league youth drama!"
Next Stage Youth recruitment
Next Stage Youth is now recruiting for the summer term. Sessions start on Sunday 23rd April 4.30-6pm and anyone aged 11-18 is welcome. There are no auditions and newcomers are invited to attend a couple of 'taster sessions' before committing to the company. NSY meets throughout the year on term-time Sundays. The 90 minute sessions cost £12 each, meaning the 10 week terms are £120.
If you're interested in joining Next Stage Youth for the summer term please contact Ann Ellison on 01225 428600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Goodnight Mister Tom
As the summer term begins, Next Stage Youth will be starting work on the company's exciting October production of Goodnight Mister Tom by David Wood, based on the novel by Michelle Magorian. This production will be a joint Next Stage adult and Youth show. Goodnight Mister Tom is a play about the touching relationship between a young evacuee, William, and elderly recluse Tom Oakley, set during World War ll. Casting will be finalised during the first half of the term so anyone thinking of joining us in April will have the chance of being considered for a part in the play, to be performed in the 2017 October half term.
His Dark Materials
At the same time as Goodnight Mister Tom goes into rehearsal, our busy and talented Youth company will also start work on a reprise of His Dark Materials Parts 1 & 2 adapted by Nicholas Wright from the books by Philip Pullman. The production will be in the February 2018 half term and will be the third time Next Stage has performed this play since 2007. It will be another epic production from Next Stage Youth with so many different characters and worlds to explore.
Come You Giants Bursary
In May, applications for Next Stage Youth's annual bursary of £1000 will open for all members of Next Stage Youth who have been part of the company for at least 2 years. This bursary was set up by Next Stage Theatre Company in 2012 to enable talented young actors to further their training in the performing arts. We are proud to say that the CYG bursary has been awarded to 13 NSY members to date, helping to fund tuition fees, degree courses, summer schools and many other exciting experiences, all contributing to the recipients appreciation of, and development in, the performing arts. To read an article on the ways the 2015-2016 recipients have used the bursary click here.
At Next Stage Youth we take great pride in what our members do inside and outside of the company. Here are some examples of what five of our past members have been getting up to recently:
Ben Armstrong has just completed a foundation course at Birmingham School of Acting and is now auditioning at the country's major drama schools in the hopes of obtaining a place on a three year course.
Anna-Fleur Rawlinson moved to London in 2015 to do an MA at King's College. Whilst there, she worked for the National Theatre and a company which takes theatre into primary schools. Anna-Fleur has just been offered an exciting new job as Executive Assistant to the Creative Director for a brand-new opera touring London and the world soon!
Poppy Harrison has just moved to London to start her new job as Development Officer at the Bush Theatre. Poppy is also The Mission Theatre's 2017 Bath Fringe Festival coordinator.
Abi Harvey has just been offered a place on the competitive Bristol-based Big Act programme where she will be studying the performing arts for the next two years.
Ellie Williams is currently studying Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Birmingham which has been ranked as one of the top drama degree courses at a University in the country.