Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Goodbye to The Bench...hello Strawberry Jack

Hi all

Last run in the North West...

Well it's been an enormously emotional roller coaster ride for the play THE BENCH, for all kinds of reasons - some much more profound than others.  It's a play that will live long in the mind for audiences and will always owe a huge debt to the incredibly talented cast that have performed over the years in and around that bench in a park in Paradise Heights. 

It was born out of my wish to perform in a different play.  Ste Myott, a member of The Bench cast had approached me to play Frank in Willy Russells EDUCATING RITA - (still want to do that) and Ste had booked a slot at STUDIO SALFORD for us to do it with Ste directing.  Unfortunately we couldn't get the rights.  I persuaded Ste not to cancel the slot, we'd do something else.  What?  'I'll write something' I told him.  Three weeks later The Bench was written, I'd been looing for an excuse to introduce more characters to Paradise Heights - and here we had sixteen - some of these have been revisited in tales since then. 

It's certainly had a glorious run around the North West - critics and audiences really responding fantastically to it.  This is the last time up here for a while and I'm delighted to end that NW run at my hometown's premiere theatre - at THE OCTAGON in  The Bill Naughton Studio.  It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid to have something on there, it would be great to give it a good send off - come down and I promise you a show and cast you will never forget.  I've loved doing it - but I'm itching to move on to something new...STRAWBERRY JACK is about to make his first appearance...

Along with Strawberry Jack you'll get to at last meet Deaf Freddie - a character referred to in THE BENCH and RANK and for those that saw LOOKIN' FOR LUCKY you'll find out who killed CHALKIE...as with all the other tales it's a self contained story of it's own, you won't have to have seen the others to enjoy the production - again it will be a huge task bringing this to the stage but we're all up for it, several of the cast are from THE BENCH. 

This one is A Christmas Tale from Paradise Heights so it's appropriate that it premieres in December - 7th through to 10th - and even more appropriate that it will be at THE ROBERT POWELL THEATRE in Salford, where Tales from Paradise Heights was born, it will be good to return there - and there will also be a Tales from Paradise Heights Christmas Shin Dig on the closing night - a few surprises for that night...details to follow...

A HUGE AND HEARTY THANKYOU to those of you who have seen the play, I know many of you have seen it several times.  Come and join us for a last run of THE BENCH at THE OCTAGON this Thursday and Friday, 7.30 pm, I'll be giving a post show talk with ELIZABETH NEWMAN of The Octagon on Friday evening talking all things Paradise Heights - it's gonna be one helluva future for the series with three more plays planned for the next year following existing and new characters...join us and give this Powerhouse Cast a great send off...and I'm gonna have a drink on Friday night - the first I have had in over 12 months, I'll need it...;) 

Joe xx

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Bench's, Doormen and Cafe's...

Hi all

I hope you're all well, a short update to let you know what's going down in The Heights...

THE BENCH hits The Octagon Theatre, Bill Naughton Studio on the 29th and 30th of this month.  I'm absolutley delighted that I've finally got in the doors of The Octagon, my home towns premiere theatre, big thanks to ELIZABETH NEWMAN for that, it would obviously be fantastic if you can make it - and there are some subtle changes that have improved the show. 

Due to some cast members being overwhelmingly busy STRAWBERRY JACK has been put back twice from this month and October, I'm still awaiting confirmation to get us into The Robert Powell to premiere this Doorman's Tale from Paradise Heights in late November.  I am also on the lookout for venues to host the play in December as well, so if you know of a venue that would be interested give me a shout or post on here.  

Poseter Design by DARREN McGINN

Not one to let the grass grow I am also still beavering away on the latest script DIANE's DELI - set in Paradise Heights where this cafe is ran by a quiet, play writing Irish man who's already upside down world is about to be further shaken - some existing characters will of course be seen in the cafe, I'll keep you posted.

And finally I can now sypathise and empathise with those who live life on a daily basis, looking perfectly normal on the outside but suffering - I have managed to seriously damage my left shoulder.  Did this some ten weeks back.  The NHS are next to useless - still don't really know what it is but the pain is incredible, relentless and working 24 hour shifts to keep me awake.  I feel like I have a gremlin on my shoulder plunging a knife repeatedly through my shoulder blade - maybe someone out there has an effigy?  Yes, it's a huge distraction - but shouldering and soldiering on - it will be another 12 weeks before the NHS make their mind up whether I need surgery or not...there - a problem shared...still smiling though :) 


As the film is set on Halloween we'll be looking for venues to show the film that night...a fingers on the pulse film...written in April, shot in May that turned out to be something of a prophecy in certain circles after certain incidents nationwide during August...

So if you're coming to The Octagon book those tickets fast, it's already selling quite well, you can book yuor tickets here...

Be well and catch you on the next update, to keep up to date with updates click the  'FOLLOW' button in the blog.

Joe x

Strawberry Jack

Strawberry Jack
Designed by Joe O'Byrne