With four separate productions being showcased over a weekend, producers Lisa Kreisky and Kristene Sutcliffe, of Stage Door Entertainment, are pulling out all the stops to carry on the exciting legacy that started two years ago with TheatreFest 15.
TheatreFest 17 takes place on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th October at the The Studio Theatre and is again in association with the Isle of Man Arts Council.
Starting the festival on Friday 6th October will be the new musical ‘The Battle of Boat’ by Ethan Lewis Maltby and Jenna Donnelly. The challenge of taking on new work has not fazed the young cast, made up of 23 local young people ranging in age from seven to 18.
Leading man, former Young Singer of Mann Christian Cooper, said: ‘Being involved in a new work is a completely different process to anything I’ve done before and I love it. Kristene and Lisa are helping me reach into new layers of performance that I’ve not experienced before.’
Set during World War One, with a charming and thought-provoking storyline, ‘The Battle of Boat’ is a tale of bravery and plain fun.
‘The music, choreography and captivating performances of these fine young actors will have the audience laughing, crying and probably singing the songs after its finished,’ said Lisa, who is co-directing with Kristene.
The second half of Friday evening introduces another new creation, ‘Chips, Cheese and Gravy (and all other things Manx)’. It’s a comedic look at the quirks and eccentricities of Manx life. The cast comprises members of the local community and will be created during a week of intensive workshops and rehearsal starting on Saturday 30thSeptember.
The production will be developed by the cast, directed by John Young, an ex-pupil of St Ninian’s High School, who is enjoying directorial success in the UK.
Emma Callin, Arts Development Manager with the Arts Council, said: ‘This is a really exciting opportunity to work with, and learn from, a hugely talented director, whether you are an experienced performer or not.’
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Saturday 7th October looks to be equally exciting, with the first ever performance of ‘Lhiannan Shee’. This scintillating piece of music and dance has been commissioned specifically for TheatreFest 17. It tells the Manx legend of a seductive nymph who feeds off artists’ creativity with disastrous effects.
With Manx language narration by Phil Gawne, music by Charlotte Marlow of the Royal Northern College of Music and choreography by Pippa Salter (The Academy of Dance, Isle of Man) and Sarah Lockwood (Ludus Dance Company, UK), it sees a strong bond between the UK and IOM dance and music communities.
Four male dancers from Ludus will join local dancers to create an evocative and haunting piece of theatre.
Pippa said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for me and local dancers to work with those from the UK. We are gaining lots of experience.’
The grand finale of TheatreFest 17, will be the premier of ‘Three Mothers’ by Matilda Velevitch, starring Vivian Boateng, Jacqui Hawkes, Lisa Creighton and Stephanie Gray.
The winner of TheatreFest 16’s playwriting competition, it’s being presented as a film directed by Stage Door Entertainment in collaboration with Dave Armstrong of DAM Productions.
Lisa said: ‘Kristene and I were so taken with the emotional content of the characters’ stories that we decided, with Matilda, that it would make a gripping yet sensitive film, highlighting the refugee crisis.
‘The documentary-style piece is a great platform for these four fine actresses to create their characters.’
In conjunction with TheatreFest 17, the Arts Council is again running a playwriting competition.
Writers are invited to submit a new, one-act play, which will be performed as part of TheatreFest 18 and the deadline for entries is December 31st 2017.
For terms and conditions, visit www.iomarts.com and submit entries by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Isle of Man Arts Council, Hamilton House, Peel Road, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 5EZ.
TheatreFest 17 is held In Association with Manx Radio and is sponsored by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.