Festival VOILA Europe 2017 Cockpit Theatre London

The Cockpit theatre is excited to announce the OPEN CALL for this year's festival. Calling all multilingual troubadours, travelling minstrels, intercultural creatives, linguistic explorers, juggling polyglots, translated artists, cross-nation activists, and European theatre companies!

For its 5th years VOILA! Festival becomes VOILA! Europe and will be bigger and bolder than ever. VOILA! Europe is a non Brexit-fearing festival whose mission is to bust the barriers of language and showcase plays from around Europe & the UK to the multi-national audiences of London. 

From new writing from emerging artists to classics revisited by well-loved companies, VOILA! celebrates diversity in performing arts, multiple languages and fearless creatives. No passport required. Broadening out from being a francophone festival to include more languages spoken on the European continent, and spending from one theatre to other venues in the city, VOILA! will program more work and provide additional platforms for exchange in the arts.

They are looking for shows in multiple languages, or translated/adapted from plays originally in a European language, as well as new writing with cast and creatives from the European continent. They accept all genres of shows (music, theatre, performance art, dance), provided they are less than 60 minutes long. 

VOILA! Europe will take place in London 8-18 November 2017 at the Cockpit, Etcetera Theatre Camden and more venues to be announced. The festival will provide 2 or 3 performance slots in one of the festival venues with production and technical assistance, printed brochures, a professional PR and online marketing in exchange for a 50% box office split and a £70 admin fee.



Apples and Snakes Performance Poetry

Performance poetry means reading or declaiming poetry in a way that acknowledges the presence of an audience. This can be anything from eye-contact to fully blown histrionics. Open mics are the bedrock of the poetry scene. They are the testing ground for new material.

Voice is an active, physical thing in oral poetry. It needs a speaker and a listener, a performer and an audience. As poetry is a vocal art, the speaker brings their own experience to it, changing it according to their own sensibilities and intonations. Controlled through pitch and stress, poems are full of invisible italicised contrasts. Reading poetry aloud also makes clear the pause as an element of poetry.

Apples and Snakes is England's leading organisation for performance poetry and spoken words, with a national reputation for producing exciting, engaging and transformative work in performance and participation. Their vision is to lead the poetry revolution, creating artistic and social changes through the power of the spoken word.

They create groundbreaking, diverse work including live performance, artist development, participation and digital content that help to broaden people's understanding of what spoken word is and can be. They facilitate cross-artform collaborations that push performance poetry into new directions and develop work online as well as internationally.



Impersonation versus Acting - What's the difference?

For people who make a living as an impersonator, like Frank Caliendo and Rich Little, capturing the unique identifying characteristics, tics and vocal peculiarities of well-known personalities and casting them in a humorous light is much more important than creating a completely believable character. They are comedians, not actors. Believable isn't the point for them. Recognisable and accurate is.

Anytime you play a real, historical person on stage, particularly people we've seen and heard on video or film, you risk becoming an impersonator rather than an actor. It is easy to be so concerned about being faithful to their external nature that you forget to do the extra work required to find the inner person who manifests those externals.

Playing real people on stage is very challenging, just as talking directly to the audience is. Combine those two things in a one-person show, and you've got your work cut-out for you. Line reading becomes a very strong temptation is those situations. After all it's unnatural to speak to people who never talk back, who don't respond "in character", because they aren't character, they're audience.

There's an on-going debate among actors as to it's better to start with internals and move to externals, or vice-versa. It doesn't really matter where you start as long as you approach the internal aspects in an "organic" way. Whatever triggers that for you is fine, if it works. 

Jermyn Street Theatre London

During the 1930's the basement of the 16b Jermyn Street was home to the glamorous Monseigneur restaurant and club. The space was converted into a theatre by Howard Jameson and Penny Horner in the early 1990's, and Jermyn Street theatre staged its first production in August 1994. Over the last twenty years the theatre has established itself as one of London's leading Off-West End studio theatre.

Gene David Kurk became artistic director in 2009. With his associated director Anthony Biggs he was instrumental in transforming the theatre's creative output with critically acclaimed revivals of rarely performed plays including Charles Morgan's post-war classic the River Line, the UK premiere of Ibsen's first performed play Saint John's Night starring Oliver winning actress Sarah Crowe, and another Ibsen: his rarely performed late play Little Eyolf with Imogen Stubbs and Doreen Mantle.

Anthony Biggs became artistic director in 2013 and has continued the policy of staging rediscovered classic plays alongside new plays and musicals, with a renewed focus on emerging artists, and writers from outside the UK. Jermyn Street theatre was nominated for the Peter Brook Empty Space Award in 2011 and won the Stage 100 Best Fringe Theatre in 2012.


Kully Thiarai and the National Theatre of Wales

National Theatre of Wales is the English language national theatre company of Wales, founded by a community of theatre makers and practitioners in May 2009 with the launch of an online community social network website. The company proposed a national theatre with no permanent theatre building, but instead based on an accumulated body of practice, commissioning a series of new works, each initially located within a different site.

the company focuses on the production of work in the English language, rooted in Wales, with an international reach, and aims to build strong relationships with theatre makers, creative talents, participants and audiences in and beyond Wales.

in 2016, Kully Thiarai was announced the new artistic director of the national theatre of Wales. Earlier this month, her first season was unveiled. It will set out to reflex the experiences of the millions of ordinary people whose lives have been touched by the NHS. NHS 70, an ambitious seven-trend, multi-platform celebration will take place across Wales and online in 2018.

More immediately, Thiarai is preparing We're Still Here, a piece created with Common Wealth Theatre company about the Tata Steel works and the future of those who work there. The show will find NWT returning to Port Talbot, the site of one of its greatest hits, The Passion, which starred Michael Sheen, and played out across the streets of the town in Easter 2011, a year after the company was formed. 

For all information and booking https://nationaltheatrewales.org

New Drama From Shore to Shore tells the stories of UK Chinese communities

Three stories, three lives, three journeys to find a place to call home. Cheung Wing is escaping from war, Mei Lan's had enough of the potato peeler and Yi Di wants the impossible: her parent's approval.

Taking place in Chinese restaurants across UK, Piao Yang Guo Hai From Shore to Shore, blends English, Mandarin and Cantonese to tell the stories of Chinese communities living in the UK today. 

Award-winning author Mary Cooper, with multi-lingual collaborator M.W. Sun, draws on real life stories from Chinese interviewees to create a powerful new drama of love and loss, struggle and survival, performed along side live music and great food.

More than a play, From Shore to Shore is described as a theatre event. Poems and stories, personal perspectives on chinese identity created during the workshop program are shared online. From Shore to Shore will be touring nationally from 16 May to 10 June 2017 to Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Oxford.


National Youth Theatre of Great Britain

The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain is a world-leading youth arts organisation. Established in 1956 as the world's first youth theatre, they have nurtured the talent of hundreds of thousands of young people over 60 years. They inspire, nurture and showcase exceptional performers and theatre technicians from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commissioning brave and relevant new writing and reinterpreting classic stories for our time.

They are ambitious as the young people they serve, platforming young talent on West-End stages, in stadiums world-wide and at iconic sites both homes and abroad. Their world renown alumni include: Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Colin Firth, Rosamund Pike, Daniel Day-Lewis, Orlando Bloom..

National Youth Theatre gives young people the opportunity to learn as much about themselves and how to relate to others, as they do about acting and technical theatre. Whilst some of their members go on to become well-known faces of stage and screen, many others go on to be great lawyers, journalists, doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, CEO's and much more.

Last year, NYT awarded £140,000 of bursaries to young people in need to ensure that financial barriers do not prevent young people from reaching their full potential. 

English Playwright Philip Ridley's The Beast of Blue Wonder at ArtsEd

Philipe Ridley is an English storyteller working in a wide range of artistic media. As a playwright, he has been cited as a pioneer of 'In-yer-face theatre' with his debut play The Pitchfork Disney, considered by many to be a seminal work in the development of the style, with one critic even dubbing it the 'key play' of the 1990's.

A great number of his plays for adults have been perceived as controversial, met with both condemnation and high acclaimed upon their initial reception. As a writer for the stage, he's also recognised for creating a ongoing series of plays for young people (The Storyteller Sequence) and has written theatrical work for children and family audiences.

In the world of cinema, Ridley is perhaps best known for his award winning screenplay for the 1990 film The Krays, a biopic about the Kray twins which was directed by Peter Medak. As a film maker in his own right he created a loose trilogy of horror films for which he has acquired a cult following. 

This month, his latest play, The Beast of Blue Wonder, commissioned by ArtsEd, will be directed by Russell Bolam and performed by this year's graduating BA acting students. The play presents three different stories from three different times, all hurtling towards the same thing. The thing everyone fears the most.. The Beast of Blue Wonder! To book your tickets https://artsed.co.uk/whats-on/the-beast-of-blue-yonder

Jonathan Demme film director, producer and screen writer

Jonathan Demme was one of the most eclectic, delightful and original film makers in Hollywood. He also happened to be one of the nicest: the compassionate sensibility that lent his work his warmth and musicality was no put-on. Plainly put, he loved people. 

He rose to prominence in the 1980's with his comedy films Melvin and Howard (1980), Swing Shift (1984), Something Wild (1986) and Married to the Mob (1988). He became best known for directing The Silence of the Lambs (1991), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director. He later directed the acclaimed films Philadelphia (1993) and Rachel Getting Married (2008).

Throughout 1986-2004, Demme was known for his dramatic close-ups in films. This style of close-ups involves the actor looking directly into the camera during crucial moments, particularly in the 'Quid pro quo' scene in The Silence of the Lambs. According to Demme, this was done to put the audience into the character's shoes. Beginning with Rachel getting married, Demme then adopted a documentary style of filmmaking.

Jonathan Demme died on Wednesday 26 April aged 73. In 2008 Ryan Gilbey asked him whether he had anything to add to the formula he gave in 1986 for making a decent movie 'you get a good script, good actors and try not to screw it up'. He let out a joyful laugh 'That's the formula, baby!'.



Emphasis on New Writing at The Bridge Theatre London

London Theatre Company was founded by Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr on leaving the National Theatre after 12 years. It will focus on the commissioning and production of new shows, as well as staging the occasion classic.

The Bridge is its home, a new 900-seat adaptable auditorium designed to answer the needs of contemporary audiences and theatre makers that it capable of responding to shows with different formats (end-stage, thrust-stage and promenade). It is the first wholly new theatre of scale to be added to London's commercial theatre sector in 80 years. 

What is immediately striking about the first season announced this month is the emphasis on new writing. Of the first eight productions, all but Julius Caesar are new works. Equally noticeable is that four of the premieres are by women and that there is a nod to gender-fluid casting by having Cassius played by Michelle Fairley.

Balancing Act, Hytner's memoirs out this week, reminds the reader of the astonishing success the National Theatre enjoyed during the period he ran it. Hytner transformed its box-office, he oversaw the staging of hit after hit, productions such as War Horse.. The book reveals that we the audience take for magic is often technical expertise, and that nevertheless it is impossible to guarantee a success. 

However, at a time when the West End is increasingly a Broadway like shop window for musicals and spectacular diversions, the existence of a new independent theatre devoted to plays is to be welcome.

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