My worst nightmare!

Preparing to go on stage as Katie in Madjesty for Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Mayday, I put the finishing touches to my make up. Lipstick on and dabbed, I stood by the wings and waited for my cue. The opening music, The Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen, fired up and on stage I went.

As the lights went up there was a howl of laughter, screams and wolf whistles from a packed house. What was so funny? We hadn’t even started yet. Why were people laughing?

And as I stood there, bemused, I felt an uncomfortable draft. With horror, and hardly daring to look, I went to place my hands on my stomach, now sick with nerves. My hands were met not with the soft cotton of my blue wrap around dress but the synthetic polyester and elastane silkiness of my big black ‘Bridget Jones’ pants. I stood there, the bright stage lights staring into my blinking eyes, heart pounding and sweat slowly inching down my back.

Taking a deep breath to calm my thumping chest, I slowly opened my eyes. I found myself, rigid and slightly sticky, looking at the streams of bright sunlight streaming through my bedroom window. It was Monday morning and I was due at the theatre for the tech rehearsal. With a huge dose of relief, I chastised myself for not managing a more original anxiety dream. I am a playwright after all!

Madjesty 11

Ali Kemp, Ian Crump & Tom Neill in Madjesty by Ali Kemp & Deborah Klayman

Thankfully Represents…Mayday went without a hitch. We had packed, appreciative audiences on both nights; six, fantastically interesting plays, all including fully rounded female characters; wonderful performances, beautifully directed;  and although I did flash my big, black ‘Bridget Jones’ pants from under my cobalt blue kimono, it was rehearsed and a part of my character choice!

Debs and I would like to extend our thanks to: Writers Brian Redmond, Paul Howard, Sarah Davies, William Patterson and Lizzie Bourne; Directors Georgie Weedon, Alice Bonifacio, Marc Kelly, Janet Palmer, James Callas Ball and Paul Kevin-Taylor; Actors Sharon Maughan, Amy Cooke Hodgson, Jonah Fazel, Chinwe A Nwokolo, Bronte Tadman, Coleen Daley, Miranda Dawe, Ian Curran, Rachal Olivant, Laura Garnier, Anna Brooks-Beckman, Roberta Morris, Sophie Mackenzie, Lydia Huhne, Gerri Farrell, Tom Neill and Ian Crump; Technical support Tom Neill, Paul Kevin-Taylor, Eirik Bar and Gareth Radcliffe; Photography George Riddell; Graphic design Stewart Calladine @arty_stew; Waterloo East Theatre Gerald Armin and staff; and Sam Hall with 17percent for continued support.

OOs

  innovation   •   entertainment   •   social justice

A music box, a nice jumper and the shipping forecast.

Guest blogger, actress and playwright Lizzie Bourne is looking forward to seeing how the truth will out.

Alice Bonifacio directed me in ‘Amadeus’ at the University of Edinburgh – a brilliant experience from start to finish. So when she asked if I’d be interested in being directed by her again, in ‘Three Women in a Music Box’ for Represents…The Launch, it was a no brainer.

When Alice brought Thea Beyleveld, Dani Moseley and I into that rehearsal room it was, as they say, love at first sight. We bantered as easily as the characters in Dan Horrigan’s fun, playful and poignant script, which builds up to a young girl’s first date, and relished sharing memories of our own teenage years. We had three or four meetings under Alice’s considerate direction before the performances, and enjoyed playing onstage in the safe, supportive atmosphere Debs and Ali champion for all casts.

Lizzie with Thea Beyleveld and Dani Moseley in Three Women in a Music Box by Dan Horrigan

Lizzie with Thea Beyleveld and Dani Moseley in rehearsal for Three Women in a Music Box by Dan Horrigan

For Represents…Desire, Alice, Dani and I were happily joined by Anyebe Godwin, this time to tell a story which on its face seemed darker than ‘Three Women’, called ‘Nice Jumper’. However, the humour Daniel Page had written into it shone through, and within the creative character and intention work which is a characteristic part of Alice’s directing, each of us found a great story arc. The performance nights were even better this time: perhaps we were more consciously anticipating seeing the other plays, looking forward to being in the space with the Whoop ‘n’ Wail team again…thinking of Ali’s baked goods. Whatever it was, the night was fun and full of fresh work – but I have to admit, what we loved most was getting to wear those awesome jumpers.

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Lizzie with Dani Moseley in Nice Jumper by Daniel Page

Although I have a Creative Writing MSc, since graduating from the Oxford School of Drama acting and the pursuit of acting work has dominated (funny that). But I’d made decent money from my last Radio 4 job, so had generously and indulgently promised myself a few weeks off work to write – and low and behold, at the start of that period, the call went out for Represents…Mayday. How could I not?

Whoop ‘n’ Wail’s deal is that if your play is shortlisted and a director, unknown to you, chooses it, they will cast it and prep it – within this system Ali and Debs, in their organisational wisdom and immense capacity to involve and facilitate, allow as many people as possible to be as creative as possible. I’m looking forward to seeing how ‘The Shipping Forecast’ is interpreted by the cast in performance – it’s how I’ll hear and learn from the holes in the script, but also how I’ll be given truth I didn’t know was there.

Let’s cross our fingers, for the director and cast’s sake at least, for fewer holes and more truth. Come along on 27/28th April to Waterloo East Theatre and see.

Lizzie Bourne is a graduate of The Oxford School of Drama. Skills include cello, singing and puppetry, as well as playwriting. http://www.spotlight.com/LizzieBourne. Her play ‘The Shipping Forecast’, directed by James Callas Ball, will be performed as one of six short plays in Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Mayday at Waterloo East Theatre.

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Mayday
Waterloo East Theatre, London, SE1 8TG
Monday 27th & Tuesday 28th April 2015, 7.30pm
Tickets on sale now: £10 in advance (£12 on the door)
Box office: 020 7928 0060 / www.waterlooeast.co.uk

OOs

  innovation   •   entertainment   •   social justice

Baked goods at the ready – we’re in full rehearsal swing!

Here are Whoop ‘n’ Wail HQ we are excitedly moving into the next phase of pre-production. It is great to be working with our fantastic team of directors: Marc Kelly, Janet Palmer, James Callas Ball and Georgie Weedon, who are Represents… first timers; and Represents… returners Alice Bonifacio and Paul Kevin-Taylor, all of whom have been busy casting and getting rehearsals underway.

Debs and I have also been busy in the last few days getting our publicity out and inviting press and industry to the show. This is our third Represents.. showcase and although we know what we are doing now – well sort of – we are always looking at how we can further promote playwriting which better represents the world in which we live.

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THE ACT FOR CHANGE PROJECT, which was launched in 2014, is gathering pace. Founded in response to a TV ‘season of drama’ trailer that featured only white faces, the campaign has garnered support from many high profile performers and creative artists who have a simple mission – to increase diversity in live and recorded arts that can communicate with the unrepresented audiences that make up British society today.

We feel really proud of the small contribution that Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents… and all who take part in it, are making to this dynamic movement for change. And of course, you can be a part of it too by booking your tickets here for Represents…Mayday! Don’t forget, we do sell out and you don’t want to be disappointed.

In other news: I have had the pleasure of being cast by Paul Kevin-Taylor in Madjesty, written for Represents…Mayday by myself and Debs. So, I’m off now to learn my lines. And, in my capacity as Whoop ‘n’ Wail’s resident baker, prepare a batch of freshly baked goods to take to our first rehearsal on Sunday. Whoop!

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Mayday
Waterloo East Theatre, London, SE1 8TG
Monday 27th & Tuesday 28th April 2015, 7.30pm
Tickets on sale now: £10 in advance (£12 on the door)
Box office: 020 7928 0060 / www.waterlooeast.co.uk

OOs

  innovation   •   entertainment   •   social justice

Here it is: The line-up for the third Represents… showcase!

Mayday - Banner

We wish to extend our thanks to all the writers from across the UK who have sent us their work in response to the theme of Mayday. It has truly been a pleasure to read such a broad range of plays, all of which include significant female characters and in doing so bring theatre in the UK closer to achieving realistic gender representation.

We are excited to be able to announce the line up for the third Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents… returning to Waterloo East Theatre on 27th & 28th April 2015:

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Mayday

The Clearing by Paul Howard, directed by Alice Bonifacio

The Shipping Forecast by Lizzie Bourne, directed by James Callas Ball

The M Word by Brian Redmond, directed by Georgie Weedon

Madjesty by Ali Kemp & Deborah Klayman, directed by Paul Taylor

Resting by William Patterson, directed by Janet L Palmer

Grit by Sarah Davies, directed by Marc Kelly

Congratulations to all the successful playwrights, and we look forward to seeing your work on stage at the end of April!

We are welcoming Lizzie Bourne back to Represents… as she has performed in the previous two showcases and is now sharing her talent as a writer. Alice Bonifacio and Paul Taylor are also returning as directors for Team Represents…; and we are delighted that James Callas Ball, Georgie Weedon, Janet L Palmer and Marc Kelly will be joining them for the first time.

Our playwrights have been put in touch with their directors and casting is well underway.

All there is to do now is for you to book your tickets! Remember there is a £2 discount if you book in advance – plus you don’t want to be one of those people who we’ve had to turn away when the performances have sold out!

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents…Mayday
Waterloo East Theatre, London, SE1 8TG
Monday 27th & Tuesday 28th April 2015, 7.30pm
Tickets on sale now: £10 in advance (£12 on the door)
Box office: 020 7928 0060 / www.waterlooeast.co.uk

Approximate running time: 2 hours 15 including interval.

OOs

  innovation   •   entertainment   •   social justice