Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Melancholy and The Angels...

As you may have guessed by now, there is at times, a little more to this blog than what I/We are up to in the world of Paradise Heights.  I feel safe enough to let out the some of the intensely personal feelings and moods that sometimes swallow me whole.  I got to bed around 2.30 this morning, tossed and turned and managed to get off to sleep but awoke at 5.30 this morning with an overwhelming feeling of melancholy. 

It could be overspill from the rehearsals for RANK (I'm acting in it this time) and rehearsals are going extremely well, I'm sharing most of my scenes with the Power House that is JENI HOWARTH WILLIAMS and I'm having the time of my life.  But the play is changing, morphing into something else and the emotional intensity around it is really quite over powering...seeing my friend CLYVE BONELLE in this role before me has been a HUGE HELP and he has defintely carved out the path for me to follow - his presence around us is missed but HUGELY FELT, I've already said he was Giant in that role and that I won't let him, the cast, myself or the audience down.  If you've seen the play before then if you come this time you will see how words on a page are merely clay until an actor gets hold of them...Clyve's art is different to mine - as would any other actors be different to ours, and that is the joy of Theatre.  This is growing, maturing into something that I think will be really quite spectacular and if you are coming you are really, really in for a ride - a real roller coaster ride through Paradise Heights on Halloween - riding on the backs of broken winged Angels that are still haunting the streets there. One is walking the streets and the other runs her business that sends cars onto the streets...the play is alive again, crackling, vibrant, tense and yes, beautiful...from me it was just words on a page, it's the actors that are creating this now and it's flying...I'm really not over selling it when I say you will see something special.  

My recent past is going to catch up with me a little today, I'm crossing a bridge, at least I think it is today - an old life is closing and a new one awaits, that does not make leaving the old life any less painful, so yes I'm going to feel that Melancholy, embrace it, THANK YOU FOR THE DAYS will spell that one out, but in turn a new life awaits...so after today it's on with the new...and I really can't wait, look hard enough and there is always an Angel looking out for you.

No apologies, heart on my sleeve as usual and I wouldn't shift it - the longer it's there the more I will feel...the more I feel the more ALIVE I am. 

Better book those tickets! 

Come and join us on the 12th June at The Lowry and have an experience you will never forget...it would be lovely to see you there.

Joe xx

Saturday, 28 May 2011


Whatever your Art, FEAR is your Mortal Enemy...

Fear of starting...
Fear of rejection...
Fear of failure...

We will never achieve our Artistic ambitions unless we overcome it...overcoming FEAR is achieving FREEDOM.


Luck has nothing to do with it.  Luck is intangible, invisible and therefore inconsequential.  You can't make luck.  Luck is hard work and the harder you work the luckier you get.  FREEDOM to EXPRESS is your goal, and the only obstacle to FREEDOM is FEAR.  Attack it, overcome it, destroy it, obliterate it and you will liberate yourself.  Then think BIG, think EPIC...and CREATE.


My Art is a collaborative one, I've said it before but without the incredible efforts of the extremely talented people I work with - the work stays on the page.  The key here is that once that person is on board - it's not my work - it's theirs - their contribution, their heart and soul...then when mixed with everybody's contribution it beomes ours.  However, once you've explored it, created it, expressed it, achieved it, let it go...it belongs to your audience.  It is the Audience that all Artistic endeavour is created for...don't let them down, don't let yourself down..conquer your fear and be free to EXPRESS and INSPIRE.

Our time here is too short...I ain't got time for fear anymore.  My only fear was of DEATH - and not death itself - no, death without having achieved all I have wanted to achieve...hmm, death...that was a tough one to overcome, so I've decided it's best to worry about that when it happens.  So as I've put that fear to bed I'm gonna EXPRESS...

And to qoute Bachman Turner Overdrive


Joe xx


Friday, 27 May 2011

Premiere Dates for STRAWBERRY JACK

Hi all

Well, it's been a long road for STRAWBERRY JACK so far.  I completed the script some 6 months ago and have been in negotiation with two theatres in the region for the last 6 months about the possiblity of premiering the play with them.  CONTACT Theatre was one of the theatres, the other is BOLTON OCTAGON (Studio Theatre) and they are currently still deep in rehearsals for SWEENEY TODD so can't give me a decision yet...however CONTACT Theatre have given me a decision...and that decision on this occasion is no...it does not sit well with their current program or philosophy, and in short - the play is too violent for them. 

I was initially a little taken aback by that reason - yes, there is violence in STRAWBERRY JACK - but I do not write violence for the sake of it, it is something that goes hand in hand with the world of a doorman treading the more dangerous paths of Paradise Heights, and I have seen far more violent productions in my time.   STRAWBERRY JACK is also shot through with an incredible compassion, along with humour, love and regret and loss; it has some interesting twists and turns - that said it is punctuated with a couple of quite violent incidents.  

However I have absolutely no quarrel with CONTACT.  Far from it, I fully respect their decision.  I love the whole positive vibe of creativity that centres and emanates itself from there through its people and productions.  They have a fantastic program of events coming up over the year and I'm pretty much gonna be living there attending them all.  I'm sure Tales from Paradise Heights will have a production premiering there at some point in the future...but the Exploitational Devil in me is very tempted to put 'TOO VIOLENT FOR CONTACT THEATRE' on the poster...that would help shift tickets eh?  I'm tussling with my wicked self over that one...;)  

I'm not one for letting the grass grow under my feet and I can now officially annouce that STRAWBERRY JACK will premiere at the SIR ROBERT POWELL THEATRE at SALFORD UNIVERSITY.  It's a fantastic theatre space.  It's really quite poignant and some how very appropriate to bring it there. 

SALFORD UNIVERSITY is where Tales from Paradise Heights was born, the initial hopes and dreams I had for a series of tales was born there when I was a student back in the late nineties and I wrote I'M FRANK MORGAN and LOOKIN' FOR LUCKY whilst I was still studying there.  Indeed the short film I'M FRANK MORGAN was produced and shot whilst I was still studying there with a cast and crew of then Salford University Students and tutors.  So Tales from Paradise Heights is coming home with STRAWBERRY JACK. 

The play will run from August 23rd to August 27th...more details to follow - all I can add is this play will really rock your world, show you more of Paradise Heights places and characters, and introduce you to Frank Morgan's club THE ACE OF SPADES...a club like no other...

STRAWBERRY JACK (Teaser Trailer)

Oh, and keep watching for THE WATCHER...premiere date 12/06/11 - rehearsals for RANK are now FULL ON and this time I'm in it so my work is really cut out for me, good job I'm surrounded by so many feckin talented genius's that are helping me keep the ball up in the air...;) - tickets are now selling FAST so book yours here...



Joe xx


Monday, 23 May 2011

Hannah Green & THE WATCHER, and a Doco on THE MAKING OF RANK

Hi all

Friday night presented more challenges on the making of THE WATCHER - challenges conquered by the superb team working on the production.  Tonight was a special night as HANNAH GREEN joined us for the first time, HANNAH was one of the many talented young girls auditioned for the part of STACEY TYLER in THE WATCHER, and the talented little gem won the role.  This was HANNAH's first ever film, and for a girl so young she really left everybody gob-smacked, she was absolutely SUPERB! 

HANNAH GREEN as Stacey Tyler (Photo: Chris Lane)

She was a proper bright little bundle of energy, she had a lot of fun with the cast and crew and proved to be quite a little character behind the scenes, even entertaining us with funny little songs and ryhmes, she was fun, cheeky and really bonded with the cast and crew.

Getting into character (Photo: Chris Lane)

 - but once it came to the serious stuff for camera and the film?  BOY DID SHE DELIVER!  She very quickly absorbed the technicalities of what we were doing, responded brilliantly to direction, threw in suggestions of her own and gave a truly brilliant performance - I can't wait to work with her again. 

Is this THE WATCHER?  Hannah on set (Photo: Chris Lane)

If any director out there is looking for a child actor that won't let you down?  Look no further, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND her - this girl has a future.

Frank Morgan and the very strange Tyler Family (HANNAH GREEN, STE MYOTT and SARAH MEADOWS) Photo: Chris Lane

TEDDY JACK: Stacey's favourite toy - and a nod to the next
Tale from Paradise Heights: STRAWBERRY JACK - coming soon!  (Photo: Chris Lane)

STAN the Garden Gnome (a 'familiar figure' on the Manchester film scene) visits THE WATCHER set and chats with TEDDY JACK between takes, comparing their film careers thus far - right pair of luvvies.
(Photo: Chris Lane)

The Making of RANK: A Tale from Paradise Heights
Three Part Documentary

Two years ago RANK premiered at The Lowry, below are links to a three part doco I made on the making of the production, can't believe how porky I am here! Wow! I'm almost half the man I used to be...;) Althoiugh we are currenly reshooting a lot of what we shot here, I think you'll find this interesting as you get a background on the production and also on some of the other tales in the series.  Please feel free to leave any comments...RANK is of course on at The Lowry on 12/06/11 at 3pm and 8pm. 




I'M FRANK MORGAN, RANK and the Premiere of THE WATCHER - Sunday 12th June 2011 @ 3pm and 8pm.  A Unique Paradise Heights Trilogy and a one off for TWO PERFORMANCES ONLY AT THE LOWRY.

It might be an idea to BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW as sales thus far are going really well!  You can BOOK here:

Keep watching for THE WATCHER...

Joe xx

Sponsored by LUCKY CABS of Paradise Heights

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

DRIVING WITH NO BRAKES...When The Road Needs To Be Long...


OK, it's the wee small hours of the morning...and it's the time of night when Demons come out to play, to taunt and to haunt...

Much is happening for me right now in terms of creativity.  THE WATCHER is looking gorgeous, there is still much to be done but the talent I am surrounded by is as fully immersed in it as I am, bringing their very special talents to it.  RANK goes into rehearsal next week, and this time I'm acting in it as well, the role I'm taking is a very sizeable one, a role once played by a very close friend of mine, a ferocious and precocious talented man named Clyve Bonelle.  I could have recast, brought in a new face, and indeed I know many talented actors out there that I could have brought in, but I'll hope to work with them in the future instead.  I feel it wouldn't have been right for this production to bring a new face in, it's all way too, too personal and sensitive.  He lit the stage up in that role, I am in no doubt I have very big shoes to fill, but I won't let him or indeed my fellow cast members down.  It's a mountain to climb, but I already know he's urging me on.  Clyve ain't here at the mo, but he'll be back in Paradise Heights when he is good and ready, he's been with us all the way so far, he still is in spirit and will be in person when the time is right.  So...much to look forward to...

...but it's that time of night. 

It's the time of night when I'm pacing the Fortress of Solitude here and over analysing what I think I do and have done WRONG.  The enormous personal cost this obsession with story telling has had on me, and indeed those that have once been, and those that remain, close to me.  Those thoughts are far from comforting.  I dislike myself for that intensely, but I can't stop what I'm doing - if I did I genuinely think I'd end up dead.  Don't get me wrong I don't hate myself all the time - just a significant portion of it - the true cost of being a genuine Gemini Man.  This blog helps offload some of that - I don't think it burdens anyone 'out there', I think it just tips it a little out of me and into some grave on the internet, a half filled grave that I can visit now and again and top up some more - get it nice and comfortable looking before I 'rest' in it. 

But that rest is a long time off, even if I don't get done what I want to get done whilst I'm here, I'll come back and haunt until it's done ;)  Such is the obsession - no - Love - for what I am doing.  As much as the drug cost me - it also saved me; if I didn't have this I would have gone under some time these last few months.  The loss still hovers over me like a persistent cloud - the memory will always be there but that cloud is diminishing, I can see some stars in the night sky now - the dawn is still some way off but it's inching closer, I'll put what I have learned to good use, I don't want to be 'there' again. 

I am more driven now than I have ever been before in my entire life.  That drive has brought me into contact with some amazingly talented people, many of whom are as driven as me, many with surely golden futures and it is an absolute pleasure and honour to be working with them all. I am a very lucky man and I count my blessings that I had my work, that I am STILL here, and that I am working with them. 

The brakes have gone, the engine is fully gunned, the machine is going faster...thank God, the road is long. 

Joe xxx

Monday, 16 May 2011

THE WATCHER: Time for some more TIME LAPSES...To Camera People and DOP's - your chance to get involved in THE WATCHER

Hi All

Short update as things are getting MAD BUSY in PARADISE HEIGHTS...

Joe on one of THE WATCHER sets

The edit of THE WATCHER is really coming on a treat.

COLIN WARHURST has turned Vampire for most of the weekend and hasn't seen daylight as he feverishly works away on the footage, there have been some rough assemblys of scenes and I can safely say - this looks SPECTACULAR and it's going to knock your socks off.  BARRY THOMPSON is composing a wonderful score and HOLLY WYATT is doing some fantastic work on post sound.

Now - if you're a camera person or DOP perhaps you'd like a chance to get involved, get one of your shots featured in the film and  a credit on what will be a very memorable film indeed - up for it?  The READ THIS LINK and get involved - this could truly be an INTERNATIONAL Production...;)


Keep watching for THE WATCHER...Joe x



Sponsored by:

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The BATMAN shoot, BBC Radio Manchester, Manchester Gossip and exclusive news on THE BENCH

Hi All

Trick or Treat?

Thursday night saw a small crew of Colin Warhurst, Leo Worne, Chris Lane, Ian Curley as Marek and myself over at Blackfriars Court where we got what was christened as out BATMAN shot, among other things...what's the BATMAN shot?  Find out on June 12th...;)

With mounting horror Joe realised Col had put superglue on his fingers

Friday evening I took part in the 'five record review' on WES BUTTERS show on BBC Radio Manchester.  For the Paradise Heights Trivia fans out there Wes was - Wes was? Was that a Saturday morning TV show? No? Ah well - anyay Wes was the first voice to be heard in the feature film Tale from Paradise Heights LOOKIN' FOR LUCKY.  I got to meet Comedian Lewis 'BIG LOU' Jones and local music promotor Steve O'Mara, two top lads - three including Wes - power to your creative elbows.  I managed to get a couple of plugs in about DIGIT Fest and Tales from Paradise Heights, but it was also a good little chat, chill, laugh and listen to music sesh - special mention to MICHELE HUSSEY the fab producer on Wes' show and a good mate, ta Michelle ;)

You can hear it here from 37 minutes in...I love the BBC - and MICHELE HUSSEY the fab producer on Wes' show and a good mate, ta Michelle ;)


Pop Quiz! Red wire or Blue?  Tick - Tock - Tick - Tock - Boom!

MANCHESTER GOSSIP have been big fans thus far of the Tales from Paradise Heights series, BIG THANKS to editor CRAIG NELSON for this article...

EXCLUSIVE NEWS:  The Bench: A Tale from Paradise Heights

...and finally great news as THE BENCH will be returning to the North West in July...LANCASTER this time, details to follow...

Ste Myott and Stella Grundy in THE BENCH

Keep watching for ThE WATCHER...Joe x

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

DIGIT Fest Launches - and at Tales from Paradise Heights we DIG IT...

Hi all

Ian Curley, Chris Lane and myself were at the DIGIT Festival Press Launch this morning. 

The Lowry's STEVE COWTON (Senior Theatre's Programmer) set the ball rolling with a terrific opening speech about the spirit of the festival, and how it is all running as part of a series of events supporting next years OLYMPICS and PARALYMPICS.   JONATHAN LEWIS (DIGIT Fest Project Manager) was next covering what the festival was about and the fact that the programming has all been done by the young volunteers who are running the festival. 

And then came some of the volunteers themselves; they each gave very lively, enthusiastic and professional presentations covering the different days and different experiences that each day has to offer the public, and you could feel the enthusiasm coming off them in waves. 

There will be some truly ground breaking stuff on over these three days across a wide range of creative practioners/artists right at the cutting edge of performance and digital technology.  Tales from Paradise Heights is delighted to be in such talented and prestigious company.  The video presentations from the artists involved were truly breath taking, there will be some tremendously exciting events over the three days and I'd strongly advise booking well in advance on the website to ensure you aren't disappointed. 

I'm very pleased to say that our trailer for THE WATCHER was very well recieved - it's FANTASTIC that the film gets to premiere as part of this amazing festival, along with of course RANK (the multi media play) and I'M FRANK MORGAN (short film) three complete story's on their own in Paradise Heights but also a unique trilogy with events and places that ripple through all three tales, a great opportunity to get a taste of Tales from Paradise Heights.   

For more details about the festival visit click this link...


This event is SURE TO SELL OUT!  So book your tickets NOW at the link below...


See you down there...and keep watching for THE WATCHER...Joe x



Monday, 9 May 2011

THE WATCHER: Press Launch - The Countdown Begins...and YOUR CHANCE to get involved...

Hi All

Pearl and Dean Time...for those too young to remember? That's TRAILER TIME...first taste of...

THE WATCHER: A Tale from Paradise Heights TRAILER    http://vimeo.com/23509251

Fantastic job done here by the TRAILER TEAM of CHRIS LANE, COLIN WARHURST, BARRY THOMPSON, HOLLY KIM WYATT and MICHAEL O'HANLON...feel free to share it.

And here is MICHAEL O'HANLON's fantastic work on the poster...

Wednesday see's the press launch at THE LOWRY of DIGIT Fest, which Tales from Paradise Heights is very proud to be involved with, I'll post more this week on here about this fabulous three day festival coming in June. 

The launch of DIGITfest is on Wed 11 May at 11.30am. Email vicki.hughes@thelowry.com for an invite.


We're still trying to find a house, office, anywhere really with a window that looks out on a location like this...

Know anywhere like it?  Please get in touch on here, fb, Twitter or 07525 092514 if you do...

So the countdown has begun, Halloween is five months early as Tales from Paradise Heights hits THE LOWRY - more details later this week.

Keep watching for THE WATCHER...Jx

Monday, 2 May 2011

Who Is THE WATCHER? The Debate Begins...

Hi all

Joe WATCHing the action on set

Just over halfway through a fantastic shoot and already - even among the cast and crew - the debate has begun...WHO IS THE WATCHER?  Well I'm not going to give much away here am I? 

Ian Curley (MAREK) disturbed by something outside the Lucky Cabs Rank

We're currently on a short break between shoots - but we're over halfway there and get back together later in the week to complete shooting.  That doesn't mean the work has stopped though - much behind the scenes work is going on - there is still time to join our clan of Halloween Hoodies if you want to become part of this as there is still the new footage to shoot for the revamped multi media play RANK - message me for details if you're interested...and mark the 12th of June in your diaries for a chance to check out just some of the screen and stage TALES FROM PARADISE HEIGHTS at THE LOWRY. 

In the meantime check some more stunning production stills from DANIEL WARHURST.

Joe xx

DOP Colin Warhurst lines up another shot

Trouble in The Hood

Ben Mottershead, second camera, sound and photography

Paul Anderton (Lighting) and a WATCHER..?

Emma Willcox (Make Up) follows the action with Col and Joe

Jeni Howarth Williams (Lisa - RANK & THE WATCHER) And is THAT The Watcher?

Producer Chris Lane feels the light

Jeni NOIR Femme Fatalle Extraordinaire

Keep watching for THE WATCHER...

Strawberry Jack

Strawberry Jack
Designed by Joe O'Byrne