SWINGE BLOG

sff-2017

Hello all and welcome. The Friday blogs are starting up again. We have a lot of announcements to make and our biggest one is the Swindon Fringe Festival will once again return next year from 1st – 9th April! We’re extremely lucky to be able to run it again and we’re already off to get a great start.

Firstly, we want to say a huge, HUGE THANK YOU to those who have helped us out on Kickstarter already. You may have seen us in the Swindon Advertiser or Swindon Link magazine mentioning that we need the public’s help to raise some funds for Swindon Fringe Festival. It’s not a cheap event to run and as we constantly face more budget cuts from the Arts Council, we do need your support to help us put on a fantastic festival to remember in 2017. We’re only asking for £500 to help print out our brochures which will have the programme listed and will be distributed across Swindon. We’ve got some fun rewards available to those who donate and these range from an Entry to the Platinum Ticket Draw to being a headline Sponsor for an evening. (This will include your name headlining the event, your favourite drink behind the bar, reserved comfy seating for you and your friends and a personal thank you from the performers for you generosity)

It’s only a small click away. Have a look and help us out. Even if it’s as little as £1, it makes a huge difference to us.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1437547231/swindon-fringe-festival-2017

We have also launched a brand spanking new website for the Swindon Fringe Festival! Dressed in the Swindon Fringe Festival colour of the year, it will have all the information you need. Venues, Performances, Tickets, Schedules and more will be available as we get closer to 1st – 9th April 2017. Right now, it does look a little empty but that’s because we’re waiting for our applications to come in.

http://www.swindonfringefestival.com/

Which brings us onto the next point…did you know our performance applications are open? We’ve been open for 2 weeks now and with well over 30 performers already responding this year! Last year we had a record of 50 different performances apply and it looks like we’re going surpass that greatly. We want absolutely everyone to apply: Jugglers, singers, writers, actors, animal handlers, sound designers, acrobats, musicians, clowns, workshop leaders, painters, filmmakers and any other artistic title you can think of. We have no joining up fee and you get 90% of the ticket sales. Apply here

https://madamrenards.wordpress.com/

We are also on the lookout for any local businesses that want to be a part of the Swindon Fringe Festival. If you make a beverage and would like for us to serve it at the bar, please get in contact. If you have a venue and would like to us to us it, please get in contact. If you want your advert in the brochure, your company to Sponsor a night, if you want to offer discounts to those who attend a Swindon Fringe Festival, then get in contact! We want to promote Swindon as much as possible and get you involved too. Our contact details can be found on our website. Oh and don’t forget to find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

We are just at the beginning stages of next year’s festival but here are some dates you need to keep an eye on…

13th November 2016 – Application for Swindon Fringe Festival closes

1st December 2016 – Swindon Fringe Festival Programme Announced

3rd December 2016 – Kickstarter Fundraiser closes

3rd January 2017 – Tickets on sale at The Wyvern

1st April  – 9th April – THE SWINDON FRINGE FESTIVAL OPENS!

Have a lovely weekend Swinge Fans. We’ll speak again next week!

The Swindon Fringe blog…Tonight’s Opening plus two new plays are in the spotlight!

This is it. The Swindon Fringe Festival officially starts today. It all feels so long ago that we were looking through all the applicants and picking out this year’s programme. We’re each looking forward to seeing the ones we’ve picked and those that are going to change our view of live theatre. We’re just as nervous as the performers but we couldn’t be more excited.

For the next 10 days, puppeteers, comedians, actors, improvisers and artists will be making you laugh, cry and gasp. You will still be able to buy the cheaper tickets online. Then up to an hour and a half before the performance starts tickets will be available on the door. Each ticket gives you free access to the Closing Night on Sunday 10th April where we will be celebrating the arts and handing out awards. There will be Swindon’s Choice Award where you, the public, get to vote for your favourite show at the festival. You can vote as many times as you like!

http://goo.gl/LI2QSn

Tonight, we open in the classiest way we can at STEAM with champagne, films and music for the Swindon 175 Heritage Evening. We hope to see you there.

 

In The Spotlight

Saturday 2nd April, 2pm

Shoebox Theatre

The Quiet Zone by Michelle Marsiglia

The Quiet Zone is a short, one woman play which details the daily routine of a library assistant. The play explores themes of alienation and identity as well as the pressures that the library services undergo in the age of austerity. The library assistant carries out the daily tasks of shelving, looking for book requests and checking emails. When the squeaky automatic door of the library opens, she gets excited, but no one appears. When the phone rings, she answers with anticipation, encountered only with an answer machine message. But meanwhile she has been chipping away at something, which should intrigue the audience until the final reveal.

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The Life We Lived by Trick of Light Theatre Company

The Life We Lived by award winning Swindon playwright Matt Fox follows the relationship between a funeral director and the woman who will eventually become a corpse in his parlour. An old fashioned love story in many ways; but with a strong helping of gallows humour. Two people find themselves together and live out a life of joy and tragedy, which will speak to the romantic and cynic in all of us.

The Life We Lived examines life & death, love & hate, potential & disappointment, through gripping story which is both real and imagined. The gift that life brings, as well as the certainty that this gift will be wasted are the crux of a piece which juggles morbid humour and gut wrenching poignancy.

The Life We Lived

Who are they?

Trick of Light is back for a second time at the Swindon Fringe Festival. They are a theatre performance company based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Trick of Light are particularly passionate about exploring new writing in a bid to make theatre accessible for new writers, graduates and of course any audience. Whilst always striving to challenge an audience Trick of Light believe that by encouraging every person, from many varied backgrounds to experience theatre at affordable prices, then the future of all forms of theatre could be more secure in the long term. They have worked very closely in the past with our very own Matt Fox, performing his plays around the UK and as far away as Australia. They are doing yet another of Matt Fox’s plays: The Life We Lived.

Michelle Marsiglia is another local Swindon artist. The Quiet Zone is her debut into theatre writing. Originally from Virginia Beach in the US, Michelle is using the Swindon Fringe Festival as an opportunity to explore theatre with a little help from her friends. She has a keen eye for the little details that really do bring the story to life. She transforms the mundane everyday into something fun and excitable.

What’s special about them?

Both plays are topical. With the recent announcements of cuts to the Libraries in Swindon, The Quiet Zone, builds a picture how the public currently treat their Libraries. The Life We Lived explores the relationship between a young woman and older gentlemen fighting to be together in a modern world. They are both hitting the facts hard in their own way and will certainly have you wanting to discuss it all afterwards.

The Quiet Zone is set in a little neighbourhood Library familiar to all communities of the UK. The script is bare of any words spoken out loud and looks like a long list of stage directions, but I assure you it’s won’t be as deathly quiet as you’d might expect a library to be. This silly and fun short play will give you a giggle as you get a little insight into Michelle Marsiglia’s own professional experiences. A one women short play that depicts the everyday life of a lonely Librarian.

The Life We Lived is a cruel and hilarious performance and in true Matt Fox style, it plays with the audience’s perception of reality, morals and personal opinions. The piece opens to a man preparing a woman for her funeral and begins to tell us what it’s like to be around death. Morbid as that sounds, the rest of the story is a complete whirlwind of drama and sensations that will knock you dead. The talented duo from Trick of Light have been taking this on tour since the beginning of the year and the reviews are brilliant!

The Saturday afternoon is going to be a good champagne hangover cure from the night before at STEAM. These two new pieces of writing will ease you into the Swindon Fringe mood and set the tone for the rest of the week.

What they had to say…

Describe your company in three words.

ToL: Love new writers!

What’s special / unique about your show?

MM: It’s an unusual depiction on loneliness in a library setting and it’s the first play I have put on.

ToL: It’s new, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions and just when you feel comfortable with it, something happens or is said to change that!

What kind of audiences do you appeal to?

MM: Those who are a little more open minded. It’s going to be a strange experience

ToL: People who perhaps like a challenge, like something contemporary. People who are up for something new and people who like a good chat.

Who inspires your work?

MM: Samuel Beckett in this case.

If you would like to see these two great performances on the Saturday 2nd April, book your tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=90499E4A-8ACB-4B4A-89DF-6D2CCCACBF41

 

The Swindon Fringe blog…Jessie discusses the 175 Heritage Night!

Happy Easter Weekend Theatre Lovers!

To celebrate, we have decided to give you the special treat of a Jessie blog! It will be as innocent as a little lamb skipping round a field and as pretty as a decorated egg!

Here at the Swindon Fringe headquarters we are celebrating because it’s one week to go till the opening night…(by ‘celebrating’ I mean stressing, swearing and crying). Our first event at the Fringe is The Swindon 175 Heritage Night on the 1st April. This is a chance to dress up and come and drink some champagne with us.

175-Heritage-Night final-page-001

“What does the Swindon Fringe have to do with trains?” I hear you ask. Well… I’ll have you know that Swindon 175 isn’t just about trains. It is about all the awesome things that have happened in Swindon in the last 175 years. It’s about celebrating what Swindon has and what Swindon will become, because of the efforts of people now. As we’re now officially the Swindon Fringe Festival we want to play a major part of promoting the brilliant arts and culture made in the town; much of which is often then exported all over the UK. Swindon 175 and Swindon Fringe are about the past present and future of Swindon culture and achievement.

The Swindon Fringe 175 Heritage event will be celebrating expressive arts in Swindon. To do this we have got local singing teacher Janice Thompson to talk about Swindon: The Opera. This was produced in 2012, written by Matt Fox and Betty Roe, and tells the story of Swindon history from the 1960’s till 2012. (You must all remember this event. Matt was on national radio a lot talking about how Swindon definitely does have culture). Janice has put together a talk about producing this. I can tell you now that Swindon: The Opera was a massive and epic undertaking and those of us who were part of it carry it with us in our hearts.

To compliment this we have Swindon Film Network who have been busily working away to provide you with a tribute to Swindon through film. This will be a great chance to see what Swindon has to offer in the way of film. I was lucky enough to see some of their work at the last fringe and I know that we have some fantastically creative people making films locally.

Representing the future of performing arts in Swindon we have performers from the Pauline Quirke Academy. We have to say an enormous thank you to PQA. Here at the Swindon Fringe we are all about giving as much back to the fringe acts as we can, but we need money to pay for the boring stuff like publicity and insurance, etc, etc… We have had some amazing sponsorship from PQA. It’s great that a national company can support local community events like this. We are thrilled that we can offer these talented youngsters opportunities to perform!

To finish the evening off we have Charlotte Johnson singing. Charlotte is a Madam Renards star. She was the Best Man in The Bridal Ballad, and most recently she played Ria in our latest tour of Nights… but then she got inconveniently pregnant. We are looking forward to Charlotte singing jazz standards with her gorgeous voice.

I recommend you get there for the beginning of the evening to see teenage classical soprano, Matilda Wale. I have known that Tilly would be a star since she was 6 years old. She will be singing a selection of classical and musical theatre pieces. She is worth the ticket price by herself!  And she’s named after a robot wars robot… which is awesome!

So… come on down to STEAM next Friday night! Facebook says dress in your fancy pants… I won’t be letting anyone in who is just in their pants, call me a prude if you like. Fancy pants and fancy clothes please!

Love to all

Jessie Thompson: Co-Director : Madam Renards
Tickets: £10.00 (advanced, will be £12 on door)
Student: £5.00
Platinum Ticket: £50.00 (Includes entry to every Swindon Fringe Festival event)

The Swindon Fringe Friday blog – comedy, comedy, comedy!

Before you dive into this Friday’s blog (and it’s a good’un this week). First we just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has already bought their tickets. Your support for the arts in Swindon is tremendous and we really do hope you make the most of what this Swindon Fringe Festival has to offer. With such a wide diverse set of acts there really is a little something for everyone.

If you haven’t quite booked your tickets yet, what are you waiting for? There is only a handful of Platinum Tickets left (which is equal to about £2 a show!) and standard tickets are £2 cheaper if you buy them in advance. Pick your favourite or take a punt at something you’d never usually see. Support your local arts and show some love to those who have travelled from Bristol to Brazil to entertain you.

www.swindontheatres.co.uk

We are really looking forward to seeing you there.

In The Spotlight

The Comedians

Monday 5th April, 7pm

Tuesday 6th April, 7pm

The Victoria

 

Joy Carter – Spot The Difference

Inventive TV comedian Joy Carter presents her new stand-up comedy show about her differences.
Who are we? Who are you? Brilliant storytelling is her trademark as she explores her own adoption and surrounding issues. Adoption is tragic, it’s sad, but it can be unbelievably hilarious! Joy explains this stuff even using her beloved flute ‘Bertie’ and is the only UK comic to play the flute angrily. Expect the bravery and brilliance of FUNNY.

“So Brilliant” – Jo Brand

“Warmed and wowed me” – Arthur Smith

“Her comic style makes her one to watch out for” – Daily Mail, John James Anisiobi

Joy Carter

Matt Hoss – Vegetari-Man!

Matt’s turn to vegetarianism has agitated everyone: from his overly-masculine flatmates to his northern Beef-Farming family.

This pioneering stand-up comedy show reveals the positive side of vegetarianism, as well as featuring historically famous vegetarians, unforgiving meat-eating parents and uncomfortable encounters in restaurants. Matt’s new found lifestyle also questions modern masculinity: Can Matt be a vegetarian AND manly at the same time? I doubt it.

Matt Hoss

Justin Panks – Joy Is The Enemy Of Progress

Are you happy? No, of course not. You’re not supposed to be. The only human beings who are truly happy sit around the war memorial drinking shoe polish.

Forget trying to be being happy, embrace the misery and try to enjoy the simple things in life, such as an hour of unpretentious, brutally honest stand-up comedy that’s way better than you think it’s going to be.

“He sees that thin line, and he runs towards it at full speed, but stops in just time to avoid seriously getting anyone’s nose out of joint” – ★★★★ ViewsFromTheGods.co.uk

Justin Panks

Charmian Hughes – When Comedy Was Alternative (The Laughs and Loves Of A She Comic)

The 1980’s! That’s when comedy was alternative! Packed with jokes and stories, Charmian tells the tale of the notorious Tunnel Club, death-threat heckling, Frank Skinner’s avocado, steaming hot cuppas with Eddie Izzard, a doomed love for Tinky Winky, and a compulsory drugs hell and how if alternative comedy didn’t save the world, it still saved the girl.

A stripped-back and delightful tale of alternative comedy’s heyday” – The List

“Clowning skills, storytelling, rhetoric and good old style ‘set up and punch’ ..Well-crafted 50 minute show. Warm fuzziness” – ★★★★ Funny Women

“One for comedy fans” – Bruce Dessau

Charmian Hughes

Who are they?

Joy Carter

Joy Carter was born in Nigeria. She was adopted by a white couple and grew up as the only black person in Scunthorpe, which was not relaxing. After a spell as a showgirl, which sat easily with her Christian beliefs, she turned to comedy. Joy is a successful established musical comedian on the flute and piano. She has worked in the UK and abroad for over 12 years. In 2015 she went to Edinburgh with her debut musical comedy show ‘Aspects of Joy’ which was well received.

Matt Hoss

A one man company. Matt Hoss from North Yorkshire is bringing his pioneering show as it features elements of vegetarianism but talking about it in a positive way. The show isn’t a vegan rant, but just a funny look at vegetarianism and how it has recently affected his life.

Justin Panks

Justin Panks with his skewed observational eye and the ability to approach seemingly ordinary subjects from extraordinary angles, Justin strikes the perfect balance between the relatable and the outrageous. His tales of relationship, parenthood and life in general are raw, honest and above all funny.

Charmian Hughes

Comedian Charmian Hughes studied clowning under Philippe Gaulier and Theatre de Complicite, but unable to uphold the mime vow of silence, ran away to play stand-up comedy clubs throughout the nation entertaining everyone from members of the House of Commons to ‘Lifers’ in prison (not to be confused). Charmian has stalked Chris Huhne and gave Frank Skinner his first avocado.

 

What’s special about them?

Swindon Fringe Festival would not be a Fringe Festival without a good set of top notch, side splitting, brilliant comedians. Each comedian will be performing a one hour solo comedy stand up storytelling show at The Victoria in Old Town where buying drinks at the bar is deeply encouraged.

Charmian Hughes – When Comedy Was Alternative (The Laughs and Loves of a She Comic) talks about 1980’s Alternative Comedy…and her part in its Clownfall. It’s packed with good jokes and true stories – death-threat heckling, steaming hot cuppas with Eddie Izzard and a doomed love affair with Tinky Winky. Matt Hoss – Vegetari-Man! looks at his life in the last year from being a vegetarian and the comical hardships received from boyish lads, aggressive flatmates and beef-farming family members. Joy Carter – Spot The Difference was created in response to audiences in Edinburgh wanting to know more about her adoption story. So in November 2015 she started to research and writer her new show and already it has been well received at the Leicester Comedy Festival. And Justin Panks – Joy is the Enemy of Progress is a straight shooting comedian. Throwing truth bombs at society where needed and overall making sure everyone in the room gets a chance to laugh at him as well as themselves.

I suggest if you want to get to know them better then have a look (and chuckle) at their answers below.

 

What they had to say…

What are your show’s unique / special / selling point?

JC: It is the first show in the UK to tackle the concept of adoption and fostering.

I would be happy if my performance at the Swindon Fringe Festival…?

JC: …encouraged someone to adopt or foster a child one day.

MH: …had a cheerleading team before I went onstage.

JP: …had an audience.

If your show was a superhero, who would it be?

MH: I think Vegetari-Man already sounds like the worst superhero ever.

What will the public like about your performance?

JC: The truth, outlandish creative storytelling and relentless joyfulness.

MH: I think they will like my charming nature and will like the show as a whole because it is a silly but fun show with a nice message to it. At the very base of it – it will be a funny hour.

JP: The jokes.

Describe your show in 3 words:

JC: Innovative. Pioneering. True.

MH: Awkward family dispositions. I bet you were expecting me to say vegetables. Well I didn’t.

JP: Clever dick jokes.

What’s the weirdest feedback you’ve ever received?

JC: ‘Did you make up the adoption story just for the show?’

MH: Someone once told me I needed to go and get a girlfriend.

JP: ‘I liked it, it was funny, but I would have liked it more if it was different.’

 

If you would like to see Joy Carter and Matt Hoss on the Monday 4th April, book your tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=50767DEC-EB57-4A18-9BC2-635BDCC3A900

 

If you would like to see Justin Panks and Charmian Hughes on the Monday 4th April, book your tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=5E77A288-B9A6-4D50-960C-3A2322FDAD27

 

The Swindon Fringe Friday blog…the spotlight is on…

In The Spotlight

Sunday 10th April, 2pm

Town Hall Theatre: Swindon Dance

The Glummer Twins

Stand-up poetry, comedy and music for the beat generation. Thirty years after they first appeared together with the legendary Circus of Poets, David Harmer and Ray Globe are back as the irrepressible Glummer Twins to put the 21st century to rights. Two old blokes. One guitar. Rock and rhyme and poetry.

Middle aged men in lycra, trainspotters, funeral etiquette, ageing mods, seventies nightclubs, turning 60 (and taking it badly), buying a car from a dodgy dealer in Doncaster, middle class elderly rappers, foreign holidays and much more. Coach parties welcome.

“Genuinely funny” – Saga Magazine

Glummer Twins

CJ Cabaret

Charlotte Johnson’s School of Dance presents the dark and beautiful story of Little Red Riding Hood.

The Senior students of the school will take you on a dance journey back to rural England in 1950, introducing you to the precocious Red Riding Hood who is spoiled by the gift of a brand new red cape and is sent on a journey through the village and woodland to visit her grandmother by her work-worn mother.

Will she reach her Grandmother safe and well? And what will greet her when she reaches the lonely cottage in the wood?

CJ Cabaret

Who are they?

David Harmer and Ray Globe were once part of a comedy poetry group Circus Of Poets which also included Ian McMillan and John Turner. Circus of Poets toured Europe and appeared on TV reading out their words – angry, funny, politically angsty verse – to anyone who’d listen. One reviewer called them “the Four Tops of Poetry”. Then they grew older, got respectable jobs and decided living out of a van in the name of art was a younger man’s game. Now, some 30 years after they first appeared on stage together as idealistic pups, the duo has formed the wizened Glummer Twins (the grumpier version of The Glimmer Twins) to put the 21st century to rights.

Charlotte Johnson is the principal of the CJ School of Dance. It started out as one afterschool dance club for kids in Peatmoor, Swindon. 9 years later, Charlotte Johnson’s school has grown and now they teach classes and disciplines in ballet, tap, modern jazz, street, character, national, lyrical, drama and singing! She teaches most of the classes and organises all the events, shows, exams and festivals that the students of the school take part in.

Charlotte started dancing at the age of 4 at the Tanwood school of dancing and has now performed all over the country including in shows in London’s finest venues: Peacock Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre and the Queen Elizabeth Hall . This year she brings her best and brightest senior students to the Swindon Fringe for CJ Cabaret

What’s special about them?

The Glummer Twins is a fast paced, rhythmic two handed stand-up comedy poetry based [very] loosely around the theme of getting older. They digitally loop vocal harmonies, countermelodies and guitar riffs with the grumbly ramblings of two older gentlemen. They come to Swindon on the back of some great feedback from a run at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival of 2015. It’s funny, laid back, musical and nostalgic. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon!

CJ Cabaret are a fun and inspiring dance company that will entertain you like no other. Performing an alternative version of Red Riding Hood this hauntingly entertaining piece will make you want to get your dancing shoes back on. There isn’t much more I can say about them apart from you HAVE to watch it.

This afternoon session is a perfect place to end the Swindon Fringe Festival. Finishing as it started, two shows from completely different ends of the arts spectrum combining to create a wonderful mismatch of unadulterated fun and entertainment. If you can’t make it to the first 9 days of the Swindon Fringe Festival, make sure you come on Sunday 10th April at 2pm to see it off!

What they had to say…

What’s special / unique about your show?

GT: It’s a unique format blending comedy poetry and music around a loose narrative.

CJ: Something a little different from the other shows at the fringe as it is all dance based.

If your show was a superhero, who would it be?

GT: An ageing Batman and Robin

CJ: Probably Wonder Woman as it’s an all female cast!

What was your first starring role?

GT: Amazingly I performed with David in a South Yorkshire Theatre for Youth production of Teahouse of the Audist Moon in Rotherham in 1969. Yes, 1969! After that we went our separate ways and didn’t meet up again until 1985.

CJ: Anita in West Side Story but before this I did a revue style short cabaret act playing Sally Bowles from Cabaret and Velma Kelly from Chicago.

Who inspires your work?

GT: Dylan, the beat poets, the Liverpool poets, Marx Brothers, Morecambe and Wise, John Cooper Clarke, Duane Eddy

CJ: Bob Fosse, Gillian Lynne, Matthew Bourne, Savion Glover to name a few!!!

What kind of audiences do you appeal to?

GT: Everyone. We wrote the show with the saga generation in mind and it does go down especially well with the over 50s. However, we’ve been delighted at how well it’s been received by younger people, especially students.

CJ: Those that are interested in and enjoy Dance.

 

If you would like to see these two great performances on the Sunday 10th March, book your tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=DE096B64-5470-48E2-8371-C3A93DFD9C66

 

 

 

 

Swindon Fringe Festival blog – And the spotlight shines on…

In The Spotlight

Friday 8th April, 7pm

M.E.C.A

The Ladykillers by TS Theatre

Three female killers, three monologues.

The Ladykillers by award winning Swindon playwright Matt Fox is not based on the Ealing Comedy Film of 1955 nor the 2004 USA adaptation with Tom Hanks. This original piece is dark & stark in three vignettes: Listen up as a cold-blooded assassin, a victim seeking the ultimate revenge and a mother forced into an agonising decision bare their souls and ‘fess up. As The Ladykillers speak their mind, the audience will be forced to reconsider society’s views on crime and punishment, and what it really means to end a life.

This uncensored piece of theatre has been presented throughout the UK and US, and left a distinct chill in the spines of everyone in its path.

_The Ladykillers (2)

Dominion by TheatreHub

Dominion – a new play by Max Brandt – tells the delicate, intense and ultimately tender story of two people caught in a situation that neither had planned for or wanted.

Siobhan Lock has a problem…apart from having cancer that is. She has to find her husband, Eddie, a new partner before her time finally comes. Then, of course, there’s The Man.

Only Siobhan can see him and he seems to have her best interests at heart.

When your love is all you have, how do you say goodbye?

“Dominion will quite literally take your breathe away”

“Poignant and magnificent”

Dominion

Who are they?

TS Theatre was created in 2010 in Swindon. What the does the TS stand for? Only those in the company get to find out. What does TS Theatre do? They make you laugh, gag, cry and above all entertain the pants off of you. They perform modern (and often original) works that reflect society and it’s ugly humour.

With successful runs at the Swindon Arts Centre with Game Face and their sell-out performance of A Clockwork Orange at The MECA, this group are showing off their feminine side with The Ladykillers on the 8th April.

Theatre Hub are a professional theatre company based in Dartmouth. They delight in bringing both the traditional and the new to audiences in the South West. Utilising as much home-grown talent as they can their productions are always vibrant, exciting and thought-provoking. Active in the community they also involve themselves in educational programmes taking Shakespeare into schools whilst also offering corporate training in presentation and communication skills. Dominion is written by the Artistic Director of Theatre Hub, Max Brandt.

What’s special about them?

This is not an evening for the light hearted It is laced with sinful admissions, tragic endings and dark humour. For those who love to be pushed emotionally by live performances, this is the night for you.

The Ladykillers written by Swindon’s own Matt Fox is comprised of three female monologues, wherein each explains how they have committed a murder. Each voice encapsulates the unique but unforgivable situations they found themselves and what drove them to commit the most unlawful of acts. This performance is yet another example of unique and original writing, for anyone out there that thinks that Shakespeare is the only thing you’re likely to see in a Theatre and that ‘new writing’ means waiting for Game of Thrones Season 6 then I implore you to come and see The Ladykillers. It is fresh, thrilling and frightfully good.

Dominion is a play that broaches a sensitive subject, and one that many will be able to relate to. Siobhan is terminal. However, this play is not about her physical battle with cancer, it is far more harrowing. Instead it focuses on how the disease affects the ones she holds dearest. Dominion is an unconventional love story about a woman trying to organise the lives of those around her for when she is no longer with them.

Balancing grief and despair with gentle humour, you will be moved, enthralled and above all entertained by the delicate dialogue and open honesty of this story of saying goodbye.

Don’t forget to pack the tissues…

What they had to say…

What your show’s selling point / highlight?

TS: Three female killers. What’s not to like?

Describe your company in 3 words:

TS: Brave. Dedicated. Fun

TH: Fun. Informative. Entertaining

I would be happy if my performance at the Swindon Fringe Festival…?

TH: …made people look at their partners/loved ones and value them for who they are.

What is the weirdest feedback you’ve ever received?

TS: We were once asked to take a show to fetish clubs around the UK.

What kind of audiences do you appeal to?

TH: Anyone who is in love, who has suffered a loss, who wants real live theatre that doesn’t preach or demand they support a cause.

 

If you would like to see these two great performances on the Friday 8th March, book your tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=3EEC409F-3A41-4D24-A17D-BD08BB2FF4A9

 

 

 

Swindon Fringe Friday blog – Who’s in the spotlight today?

In The Spotlight

Saturday 9rth April, 2pm & 7pm

Shoebox Theatre & Town Hall

Banging Fun Stuff by The Cutlery Crew

The Cutlery Crew want everyone to have fun, feel uplifted and prance joyfully about the place. But a crime has been committed and all hope rests upon PC Pauline, a worrisome Policewoman searching for suspects. Don’t let her gangliness fool you. There is a cunning mind buried deep … deep down inside her; stored next to her sexy siren. She solves crime. She can twirl and jump through a hoop. She was shortlisted for the Policewoman of the Year 1999. But her fate is in your hands…

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A Number written by Caryl Churchill. Produced by Madam Renards

You get called into the doctor’s for a chat. He tells you you are not unique. You are not the only one of you that exists. He tells you that you are simply a number.

Bernard always thought he was an only child – but at the age of 35 he learns the shocking truth. Set in the near future, this play addresses human identity and nature vs nurture.

A Number is a fast paced, dark and twisted play that will have you questioning your very own upbringing. It was first performed at the Royal Court in in 2002 with Michael Gambon and Daniel Craig.

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Gatecrash Improv Night by Gatecrash Theatre Company

Who knows what will happen? Trained improvisers from Gatecrash Theatre bring you a tasty comedy feast made-up of audience suggestions and the wonder of the imagination. You choose the story, they create the action!

Once things have warmed up we will open the stage up and with the support of the crew we invite the audience to give it a go… If you are game enough. If not, sit back and watch what unfolds. Laughter guaranteed.

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Murder She Didn’t Write by Degrees of Error

Move over, Sherlock! YOU are the detective in this original and hilarious improvised murder mystery comedy! Each night Degrees of Error present a brand new murder mystery play based on your suggestions.

YOU decided who lives and who dies! The motives are mounting and the evidence is everywhere… but will you guess whodunnit before the suspects are called to the drawing room?

Unrestrained bursts of joy ★★★★★ BristolTheatreReview.com

★★★ FringeReview.co.uk

★★★★ ThreeWeeks

★★★★ BroadwayBaby.com

★★★★ FringeGuru.com

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Who are they?

Amanda: She’s the lead performer, comic genius, founder of the Cutlery Crew

Josh: He’s from Norwich

Together, this dynamic duo comprises The Cutlery Crew. They’ve been working together for 2 years and Banging Fun Stuff represents their latest foray into weird, energetic, comedy.

Madam Renards are a well-established performing arts company with a mission to produce, promote, and support local art for the audiences of Swindon. This is the first time they are supporting an established piece of writing in the form of A Number under the direction of Molly Campbell. Founded by Matt Fox and Jessie Thompson they have grown in size and stature in recent years. They currently have 3 shows on tour around England as well as creating and running the Swindon Fringe Festival from its inception 4 years ago.

Gatecrash Theatre Company were formed in 2015 in a reaction to a lack of developmental theatre opportunities in Swindon for people post 18. Although there are plenty of options for youngsters looking to tread the boards, similar possibilities for adults are limited. Gatecrash offers a way for adults to break back into the arts with quality professional practitioners and several developmental opportunities. Improvisational comedy is just one of the key areas they train in, Gatecrash Improv Night is a prime example of their craft.

Back in the day, Degrees of Error primarily performed comedy gigs but as their work expanded and diversified they found themselves being drawn into the limitless world of Improvisation. The majority of the company met at Bristol University and as with most graduates they are currently NOT working in the field they spent three to four years training in (hence the name). Murder She Didn’t Write was created at the first ever Bristol Improv Theatre Festival in 2013 and has been highly commended from reviewers all over the UK.

What’s special about them?

Saturday 9th April is another fantastic day of performing arts that offers the chance to once again see contrasting pieces that sit at opposite ends of the creative spectrum. The 9th of April showcases traditional theatre juxtaposed against its contemporary counterpart.

We start with A Number by Caryl Churchill (Top Girls, Love and Information). It is an intense two hander that’s quick, funny and dark in all the right places. It’s about a man who finds out that he was never born. Instead cloned, he seeks out his father as he goes looking for answers surrounding his upbringing. You will like the intensity of this naturalistic piece brought out by the two talented performers. This is a challenging play that touches on several big themes: Identity, nature vs nurture, descent and conception. The script is as tortuous and barbed as it is riddled with sincerity and dark humour. Then Banging Fun Stuff brought to you by The Cutlery Crew. This is an electro-character comedy duo. Merging live and sampled electronic music and sound effects on stage with larger than life physical comedy, the Crew bring a fresh and engaging new take on storytelling. The companies couldn’t be further apart in style but both pledge a brilliant afternoon of theatre.

If you love ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway”, stand-up comedy or fancy a night out with a difference, then come and see Gatecrash Improv Night and Murder She Didn’t Write. 2 hours of fun, hilarity and crime solving. You’ll experience improv in its more traditional form with ‘scenes we’d like to see’ and ‘prop play’ and then we turn to a more recent improv direction where the performers groups take on the task of creating original narratives with suggestions from the audience. There isn’t much else we can tell you about this evening as even the performers won’t know what they are doing until the night itself. Such is the magic of spontaneous theatre. So if originality is your thing, you really can’t get much fresher than a full night of improv!

What they had to say…

Describe your company in 3 words:

MR: Fresh. Artisan. Challenging

DOE: Band without instruments!

What your show’s selling point / highlight?

TCC: Either a bit with an airplane safety vest or the bit with the spoons. I’m not going to spoil it by going into any more detail though.

GTC: That the audience will affect what happens.

I would be happy if my performance at the Swindon Fringe Festival…?

MR: Forced the audience to feel empathy towards Dolly the Sheep.

DOE: …makes people see more improv shows. It’s a beautiful art and rapidly growing in the UK.

What kind of audiences do you appeal to?

MR: If you liked Humans on Channel 4, you’ll like this. It’ll have you calling your mum after an existential crisis.

GTC: Anyone who fancies a fun, no commitment, good night out with a chance to influence what happens on stage.

What is the weirdest feedback you’ve ever received?

TCC: ‘I don’t understand why I find you funny’ or ‘It’s about time you got married or did something sensible’ (my Dad)

DOE: We asked the audience for an occasion to base the story around once, and a man said “Putting your cat in a bin.” Without hesitation we started the first scene at a cat sanctuary where we were all guests at a feline funeral. Mr. Gold, playing the Vicar, quite ceremoniously said a few words, then DUMPED a cat in a bin while the rest of us wailed and howled in sadness. Turned into a brilliant murder mystery with a mixture of animal activists and wealthy benefactors.

If your show was a superhero, who would it be?

MR: The Hulk. The play is an unwanted symptom of a science experiment that has gone completely out of hand.

TCC: A cross between Batman and Bananas in Pyjamas.

DOE: Catwoman – classy, conniving, maybe a Russian accent.

What will the public like about your performance?

GTC: The spontaneity and reactive nature of the group.

DOE: I think people coming to Swindon’s Fringe will love the bespoke, interactive elements of the show. The story is completely different each time, plus one lucky audience member will get to choose our villainous murderer!

What was the first live performance you ever saw?

TCC: An ape playing the flute and then throwing sponge bananas at the audience. It was mesmerising and terrifying. I was 6 at the time and I decided then and there that I wanted to throw fake fruit at people for a job and marry George Michael. 1 out of 2 isn’t bad!

MR: It was Batman on Ice in Thailand. My brother was all dressed up as batman ready to watch his hero skate to music but as soon as the Penguin, Catwoman and The Joker came out, he freaked, wailed and we had to leave early…

What was your first starring role?

TCC: The shepherd. I was robbed. I should have been Mary but stupid Mary O Leary got the part and she was rubbish and do not get me started on Imelda Marshall’s farce of an innkeeper

DOE: Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist (aged 8). Nailed it.

 

If you would like to see these two great performances on the Saturday 9th April matinee, book your tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=C294856B-150D-4512-AFD0-EA426AE369DF

And book Saturday 9th April evening tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=7D7A217A-91B7-438F-9FFB-95646C614CCE

Swindon Fringe Festival blog – Spotlight on….

In The Spotlight

Tuesday 5th April, 7pm

Phoenix Theatre, Swindon College

 

The Escapists – by The Space Opera Theatre Company

A man turns to time travel to escape a relationship – and his landlord.

A pair of lovers share a tryst on the eve of a murder.

An estranged couple search for reconciliation through meditation.

A superhero prepares to destroy the world to save one life.

The Escapists – four stories about people who – by mistake or design – substitute dreams for reality. And then reality rushes in… sometimes a happy ending can be salvaged. Sometimes.

Written by Karoline Kew and Andrzej Wawrowski

Directed by June Trask

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Scheherazade’s Shed by Chloë Of The Midnight Storytellers

A one woman riot of luscious language, giggles and unexpected endings.

Chloë of The Midnight Storytellers performs unique spoken word cabaret for grown-ups. Literary short stories and horror, true life tales and magical realism – this is real, live, hot off the tongue verbal jazz. They say every man needs his shed, but where does a 21st century Scheherazade go to kick off her sparkly slippers and play with new kinds of story? Come to the virtual boudoir of Scheherazade’s Shed!

Sheharzade's Shed

Who are they?

Karolina Kew and Andrzej Wawrowski are writers and co-founders of The Space Opera Theatre Company. They have produced The Escapists to perform four of their short plays, two debut pieces and two that were highly received in Bristol and Southville. With director June Trask (Panning For Gold Edinburgh Fringe, Loose Tongues – Barnstaple Fringe) The Space Opera Theatre Company bring surreal cosmic travel stories out of their minds and onto the stage.

Chloë, has enchanted adults and children across the UK and beyond, reaching new audiences with her pioneering Story Cabaret shows. Chloë Of the Midnight Storytellers is bringing the maturer side of her storytelling to Swindon with Scheherazade’s Shed to mark her 15th anniversary as a one woman roadshow.

What’s special about them?

Great Stories. Fantastical, hilarious, scary, uplifting, twisting, gripping, genuine and surreal stories. Bring your marshmallows! on the 5th of April at the Phoenix Theatre, we promise you a night of storytelling that you won’t forget.

The four stories that make up The Escapists catch their respective heroes in moments of their lives when they’re forced to acknowledge the shortcomings they’ve been desperately trying to avoid. These tales are surreal on the surface but their foundations lie in themes that are much closer to home. Ever considered murdering your wife? Still putting the finishing touches on the time machine in the shed? Do you follow the Pope on twitter? You’ll either be entertained or worried that The Space Opera Theatre Company have been reading your blog! Either way, it’s a Comedy Horror Sci-Fi mix that is bound to keep you engrossed all evening.

Scheherazade’s Shed (try saying that after a couple of drinks) is a solo show of Spoken Word: Storytelling for Adults. An intimate and emotionally powerful show featuring contemporary themes and pieces devised from literary short stories and specially written new fiction. A master storyteller regaling real life tales fused with fantasy and mystery, delivered beautifully with wicked humour and bundles of personality.

 

What they had to say…

Describe your show in 3 words:

TE: Twisted. Dark. Funny

SS: Intriguing. Original. Sharp.

What will the public like about your performance?

TE: Expect to be surprised. There’ll be plot twists, fights with dangerous weapons, props out of this world…

SS: Audiences enjoy the mix of moods, unusual stories with unexpected endings and quite wicked humour – really dark in places!

I would be happy if my performance at the Swindon Fringe Festival…?

TE: made you laugh and think.

SS: reaches people who’ve never experienced live storytelling before.

Who inspires your work?

TE: Storytellers! Whether successful professionals or aspiring beginners working on their first play. The amazing atmosphere of the writer’s room where stories are conjured out of thin air and become real.

SS: Mainly stand-up comedians, especially Eddie Izzard and Bill Bailey, for their mixing of real life and fantastical craziness.

What’s your shows’ selling point / highlight?

TE: A time machine. And a steak knife.

 

If you would like to see these two great performances on the Tuesday 5th April, book your tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=628B01C3-0D99-4B50-B018-07D543AFD6AC

 

 

The Swindon Fringe Friday Blog…and it’s a big one this week

Week three of the Swindon Fringe Blog. Tickets are selling well, including the sought after Platinum Tickets. As an added extra to the Swindon Fringe Festival this year, every ticket you buy gives you access to the Swindon Fringe Closing Night on Sunday 10th April for free! This evening will have great music from local bands such as Sweet Nightingale. Dancing will be encouraged and an award presentation will take place for the performances at the Fringe.

Book now at https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/whatson-april2016 or at the Wyvern Box Office 01793 524481.

This week is a big blog with 4 shows in the spotlight. If you fancy getting to know how fun and giggly a Sunday in Swindon can get, read on!

In The Spotlight

Sunday 3rd April, 2pm & 7pm

M.E.C.A & The Place – Wyvern Theatre

 

Dog Show by Sylvia Hunt Presents

“Keep your beady eye on this seriously funny and talented performer!” Chris Pirie – Green Ginger

Coiffed and teased to perfection, clipped and trimmed in all the right places Sylvia Hunt’s Dog Show is a fabulous 50 minutes of canine hijinks and biscuit slobbering joy!

Comedienne and puppeteer Sylvia Hunt explores the complex co-dependant relationship we share with our canine companions via a series of doggy vignettes. Humorous, hilarious and painfully poignant, Dog Show will prove once and for all that it is impossible not to smile at a four legged sausage as it scampers down the road!

Dog Show is a cabaret of tail wagging comedy and ingenuity featuring animated creatures and stage trickery by puppet maestro Mr Marc Parrett.

Beware of low flying squirrels!

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Cinco Coisas by Bianca Bertalott

Cinco Coisas is a solo show structured around the five basic needs of a child – Place, Love, Support, Protection and Limitation. Through dance, play, clowning and improvisation it proposes to lead the audience on a purely human experience.

A playful, poignant and inspiring show where two opposing viewpoints, but also complementary, are presented by a single actress, who covers the polarities through the staging of two clowns and a narrator.

The show aims to highlight the human vulnerability of the spectator existent since childhood, but doing so in a playful and entertaining way, as is characteristic of the clown.

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Tales From A Jam Jar by Peter Mawson

Steve is a laid back garden fly who likes nothing more than pi**ing off the bees and sleeping on fox fur. But when he sees that a new creature lives in a shelter made of bricks, and likes to walk on two feet he can’t help but be fascinated. So he decides to move in with them to take a closer look.  Steve knows that these creatures are large and don’t take too kindly to those around them, but in his eyes some things are just too sweet to resist…

Tales from a Jam Jar

Guerilla Aspies by Paul Wady

Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Dublin for the AsIAm charity, numerous venues for National Autistic Societies supporter events such as Newcastle, Nottingham and Stargate.  Lots of London venues.  The world’s first, unique autism conversion show started in 2015 & continues on.

Paul Wady works for the NAS, was diagnosed in 2004 and published his book Guerilla Aspies – a neurotypical society infiltration manual in 2014.  Know nothing about neurodiversity and could not care less about autism?  Good.  This show is for you.

Come join the new normal.  It’s what Saga Noren, Alan (the autistic) Gardener and Temple Graundin want you to do.

Guerilla Aspies

Who are they?

Sylvia Hunt Presents Dog Show which is touring across the UK at various comedy festivals such as Bath and Barnstaple. An accomplished performer and producer, Sylvia Hunt’s high energy shows have amused, amazed and delighted adult audiences across the UK. She is a physical performer that specialised in comedy, comedic dance and puppetry. Based in Bath, Sylvia’s style is eccentric and eclectic, somewhere between Spike Milligan and Paul O’Grady.

Bianca Bertalott studied theatre, dance and clowning in her home country of Brazil. She has trained with Nose to Nose, Franki Anderson, Gerry Flanagan and UK’s own contemporary circus and physical theatre company, Circomedia. Her other hobby is psychology. In Cinco Coisas Bianca combines clowning and psychology into a playful performance that is built from her own experiences.

Peter Mawson is a returning Swindon Fringe performer. With last year’s successful run of Quills and Crosses, he is back with Tales From A Jam Jar. Peter came to perform solo shows simply because there were stories out there he wanted to tell. He writes and performs pieces that observe the isolated beauty in overlooked events.

Paul Wady was diagnosed with High-functioning Autism, or Aspergers, in 2004 at the age of 41. He met his wife a few months after and found they were both at the same age and had the same diagnosis. His inspiration for Guerilla Aspies comes from personal experience and that of every autistic person he’s ever met. He wants you to know that Autism does not make you a victim of your own behaviour and so he uses his performance and theatre skills to simulate the condition and to bring people into his world.
What’s special about them?

Sunday the 3rd of April is a big day with 4 shows performing across two venues in Swindon. What’s special about them? They all stare conventional theatre in the face and laugh. They are unique and novel takes on modern theatre. They all offer an alternative perspective on the human experience. But make no mistake, they are very distinctive from each other and that is what’s so great about this full day of Fringe Theatre.

At 2pm in M.E.C.A, Dog Show and Cinco Coisas are two shows that give us a look into human interaction with those we hold dear to us. Dog Show by Sylvia Hunt is a light hearted comedy which examines the relationship between man and man’s best friend. She performs with 15 different puppets of varying shapes and dog sizes that will make you laugh and coo. Brilliant Brazilian Bianca Bertalott’s Cinco Coisas is a piece of physical theatre that fuses clowning and psychology to explore the partnership between parent and child.

And as the sun sets, the Fringe gets more experimental. Tales From A Jam Jar is a fly-on-the-wall story. Literally. Narrated by a fly (complete with fly costume) Peter Mawson brings us a new viewpoint into the life of a dysfunctional family. This one act comedy is an intriguing take on a subject we can all relate to. And last but most certainly not least. The first of its kind, Guerilla Aspies by Paul Wady offers an unparalleled insight into the world of Autism. Guerilla Aspies aims to remove the stigma surrounding this neurodiverse group of people by giving audience members a first-hand experience of what it’s like to be autistic. A cross between a comedy and an interactive lecture, don’t be afraid to put your hand up! This show is big on audience participation and is bound to leave you with a smile on your face and a brand new outlook.

If you want the Fringe experience, to broaden your horizons and see some truly alternative theatre then Sunday the 3rd of April is for you.

What they had to say…

What are your show’s unique / special / selling point?

SH: It’s got lots of dogs in it!

BB: It bridges psychology and performing arts.

PM: I’m a giant fly in a large world.

PW: I convert audiences into autistics. It’s funny and entertaining and it does not portray us as victims of our own nature.

I would be happy if my performance at the Swindon Fringe Festival…?

BB: touched the hearts of many and allowed people to share their own stories

PW: wasn’t struck by lightning

If your show was a superhero, who would it be?

BB: Professor X because he knows a bit of everything and he takes care of people who don’t know how to take care of themselves.

PW: The one who goes around making a lot of sense and uniting people. It would be Buddha.

What will the public like about your performance?

SH: The dogs, the comedy, the squirrel, the music, the technical trickery, and the puppet waggling.

PM: They’ll like its intimacy and its perspective

Describe your show in 3 words:

SH: Dogs, dogs, me!

BB: Poignant, funny, informative.

PM: Tiny, gigantic, cosy.

What kind of audiences do you appeal to?

BB: Caregivers of the world. Anyone who is looking after someone growing up or those who have grown up themselves and have been looked after.

PW: Any. Particularly people who never go near autism. I want to find audiences who haven’t a clue and who aren’t interested in it.

If your show was commissioned for TV, what channel and time would it be on?

SH: ITV Saturday at 6pm and then on Channel 5 several years later…

BB: BBC 2 6pm

PM: Channel 4 about 9pm

PW: Channel 4 9pm because of the adult content…

If you would like to see these two great performances on the Sunday 3rd April matinee, book your tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=C294856B-150D-4512-AFD0-EA426AE369DF

And book Sunday 3rd April evening tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=7D7A217A-91B7-438F-9FFB-95646C614CCE

Swindon Fringe Festival Friday blog…and the spotlight is on….

Week three of the Swindon Fringe Blog. Tickets are selling well, including the sought after Platinum Tickets. As an added extra to the Swindon Fringe Festival this year, every ticket you buy gives you access to the Swindon Fringe Closing Night on Sunday 10th April for free! This evening will have great music from local bands such as Sweet Nightingale. Dancing will be encouraged and an award presentation will take place for the performances at the Fringe.

Book now at https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/whatson-april2016 or at the Wyvern Box Office 01793 524481.

In The Spotlight

Wednesday 6th April, 7pm

The Ocelot Stage! The Victoria, Victoria Road

Do You Mind? by BearDog

Joni has just met someone special, but how can she tell him she has a long term mental illness? And is it really the best thing to talk about on a second date? Everyone has had a moment when they’ve struggled to tell something important to someone they care about. Using storytelling, puppetry and an old-school overhead projector, ‘Do You Mind?’ considers how we talk about the most vulnerable parts of ourselves and how open we can allow ourselves to be in a new relationship.

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Forget Me Not – The Alzheimer’s Whodunit by Rob Gee

Jim’s wife, who is a patient on a dementia ward, has just died from what appears to be natural causes. Jim is a retired police detective and he smells a rat. Even though he also has dementia, he’s determined to solve one last murder. It’s a case worthy of the greatest detective mind, but his will have to do.

Written and performed by an ex-psychiatric nurse Rob Gee (“A witty, skillful storyteller” – Chortle), Forget Me Not has just completed a sold out run across Canada.

★★★★★ “Hilarious and heartbreaking” – Victoria Times

★★★★★ “Remarkable Edmonton” – Sun

★★★★★ “Smart, witty and razor-sharp” – CBC

Forget Me Not

Who are they?

BearDog is a collaborative performance company formed by improviser- director Calum Anderson and puppeteer-performer Joni-Rae Carrack. Heavily inspired by the works of Blind Summit (The Table) and Handspring Puppet Company (War Horse), Do You Mind? is partly the story of how they got together. Calum is an improviser, musician and director. Calum has performed across the country as both an improviser and a musician, regularly performing at the Brighton, Camden and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. Joni has performed at the Barbican Pit Theatre, the Little Angel Theatre, Waterloo East and the Space, mostly as a puppeteer. Together their work is interdisciplinary and focuses on realism and collaboration and uses those to create truly honest pieces.

Rob Gee uses a heady combination of poetry, comedy, storytelling and theatre to explore the world of chaos and adventure that lurks behind the veneer of everyday life. He started writing poetry when fronting punk rock bands as a teenager. Based in Leicester, UK, he’s performed over two thousand shows, regularly appears on BBC Radio, and is sometimes sent into schools as a warning to children. Rob has also performed The Glastonbury Festival, The Sydney International Poetry Festival, The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and The Austin International Poetry Festival. He performed at the Edinburgh Fringe for seven consecutive years. He’s shared stages with numerous personalities, including Harold Pinter, Jo Brand, Kate Tempest cand John Cooper Clark. Forget Me Not – The Alzheimer’s Whodunit has won multiple awards and is a favourite with the critics.

 

What’s special about them?

Both shows have strong themes regarding mental health, but both shows are also enormously funny and entertaining. Yes, we have been inundated with numerous Mental Health Awareness Campaigns over the last couple of years but when was the last time you actually got a real life insight into these issues? This double bill of shows touches on this very real and relevant subject with honesty, sensitivity and humour. Do You Mind? and Forget Me Not – The Alzheimer’s Whodunit are two informative pieces that come straight from the heart. They are not here to teach you, they are here to tell you stories that happen to have people with mental illnesses in them.

Joni uses her skills as a trained puppeteer to create beautiful visuals that illuminate the science and stories in which they weave between. Her mixture of hand crafted puppets, object manipulation and use of an over-head projector will have you in awe of the imagery she creates. Do You Mind? very much gives you a chance to laugh at the absurdities of anxiety.

With his one man spoken word comedy theatre show, Rob Gee has a lot to say about how we treat and perceive people with dementia. Forget Me Not – The Alzheimer’s Whodunit is hilarious and a multiple award winning murder mystery set in an Alzheimer’s ward with all the tropes you’d want from the genre.

This is a special opportunity for Swindon Fringe Goers to experience the funny side to Mental Health. They may even be a chance at the end the night for you to share a drink with BearDog and Rob Gee afterwards at the bar in The Victoria on the 6th April.

What they had to say…

Describe your show in 3 words:

BD: Honest, funny, informative.

RGP: The Alzheimer’s Whodunit.

What is your show’s selling point?

BD: It’s one of the only shows that combines puppetry, mental illness and true stories and still manages to be entertaining.

RGP: It’s only an hour.

I would be happy if my performance at the Swindon Fringe Festival…

RGP: …somehow caused the ripple effect that led to the spontaneous combustion of Donald Trump.

If your show was a superhero, who would it be?

BD: Deadpool, just because it’s self-aware and always talking to the audience.

RGP: He can’t remember.

What is your favourite performance in most recent memory?

BD: Probably a show called Möglich by Dougie Walker. A one man sketch show which was really entertaining, thoroughly funny and which had one of the best endings I’ve ever seen!

RGP: It was a show called Dog Powered Robot at the Orlando Fringe. I can’t really explain it, but it had a big cardboard robot that was actually powered by a dog.

What was your first starring role?

RGP: King Herod in the school nativity. I’m not proud of it.

BD: When I was little, I used to do shows for my Dad when he would come home from being abroad for work. I used to make programmes and tickets. Then he would sit down for half an hour as I rambled through some story I had made up the day before.

What’s the weirdest feedback you’ve ever received?

RGP: “He’s a performance poet, but don’t worry – he’s not sh*t” Jimmy Carr

If you would like to see these two great performances at the Ocelot Stage (The Vic) on the Wednesday 6th April, book your tickets here:

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=30248B2B-4FFF-4388-B926-77A36FC92EE2