Thursday, 4 September 2014

Women: Do You Know What You Are Angry About?

When theatre legend Joan Littlewood directed Shelagh Delaney's first play, A Taste of Honey, critics disgruntedly said Delaney was just like the angry young men dominating British theatre. But Littlewood said no: Delaney was different because she knew what she was angry about. 

We at Agent 160 think this is still a valid question. Do you know what you are angry about? Do we? 

As part of our Fun Palace, we're going to have what we hope will be a fierce, fun conversation about anger, feminism and activism, not just in theatre but in our lives. We hope you'll come and join in.



Thursday, 28 August 2014

Double announcement klaxon!


Well what a day. Not only have we confirmed our brilliant directors...

We've also hit our Kickstarter goal! 

We are:
chuffed
excited
happy
feeling fuzzy
jumping for joy
whooping for joy
ecstatic
thrilled
mega-mega-excited
overwhelmed
many more things

And it's all down to YOU.


We could not make our Fun Palace happen without generous good people like you. Thank you for your pledges, your whispers, your shouts, and your sharing. We're in an extremely fortunate (and very lucky!) position in that we have a week left before our campaign ends. This means we have the opportunity to raise more which would be a massive help, so if there are people out there still wanting to pledge, please do!

Now on to our directors. We welcome Angharad Lee and Julia Thomas on to our Fun Palaces team, so let's hear more about them...
Angharad was born and bred in Porth in the Rhondda Valley. Having trained as an actress at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, she then won a scholarship to train as a singer at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Having worked as a performer for over 10 years, the directing bug took hold. She turned her hand to directing with a short film; ‘Know your Enemy’, for Tornado Films, which was shown at Cineworld in Cardiff.


Some directing credits include The Magician’s Cat (WNO Max), The Elixir Project (Acting Out/Sherman Cymru/WNO Max), Bang Project (Hijinx Theatre), Read a Million Words (Arad Goch), The Calling of Maisy Day (Assistant Director) for WNYO, Script Slam (Sherman Cymru), Cwrw Chips a Darlith Deg (Arad Goch), We Need Bees (script development for Theatr na n’Og), The Journey (WNO MAX), SXTO/SEXTING (Arad Goch), Al ac Ant a’r Cler Hudol (Arad Goch), Nine Stories High (WNO), Gair ar Gnawd (WNO MAX), Dirty Protest, ABCDAD (BBC Wales/It’s My Shout), Jac a’r Goeden Ffa (RCT Theatres/Cwmni MG), Tan (Urdd Youth Theatre), Sinderela (RCT Theatres/Cwmni MG), Staff director for WNO’s Madam Butterfly in 2013, To Kill a Machine (Scriptography Productions), The Little Sweep (St George’s Bristol), Rasputin, Ripples to Revolution (in development).


Julia trained in Acting at Drama Centre London. Recent directing credits include blue/orange (Canoe Theatre, Sherman Theatre) On this Ground (Sherman Cymru, Young Writers) Sonata (WMC) and Marsha (Capital Fringe Festival, Washington DC). Julia has directed several projects for young people including Running Free (Pamplona), and A Bridge to the Stars (Llanelli Youth Theatre, NT Connections Festival). As assistant director, Julia has worked on Say It with Flowers and Peter Pan (Sherman Cymru), A Provincial Life (National Theatre Wales Emerging Director Opportunity) High Society (Music and Lyrics National Tour), and Diary of a Madman (Living Pictures). Julia is also a facilitator for the Night Out Young Promoters Project and leads educational tours throughout Europe, specialising in Italy for the American Council of International Studies. Julia set up Canoe Theatre in 2012 with the aim of bringing theatre from around the World to Wales.

We're off to have a well earned sit down (jumping for joy can take its toll) and a cup of tea. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Women of theatre unite!

We love the LA FPI (LA Female Playwrights' Initiative), who work to ensure that women playwrights are fairly represented on local stages and beyond. They do good counting on the number of plays produced by women, connect female playwrights and try to raise awareness. And they've created this logo which they want theatre companies who are working for gender parity to use as a badge of honour and a signal of change. Of course when we heard about them, we wanted a badge. And now we have one! We're really thrilled. (Even though Cardiff is not, strictly speaking, the Greater Los Angeles area...!)

Another amazing women playwrights' organisation we've connected with is The Kilroys. Also based in LA, they are "done talking about gender parity and are ready to act". Among their actions is The List, a list of plays by women, made to give producers brilliant ideas about plays they can put on. To make the list, they got nominations of 300 plays by women, and whittled them down to the 46 most-recommended plays.

Over here, we've had great support from 17percent, who campaign and produce plays by women.

And we were really pleased to connect with Wendy Richardson of Springboard Arts who is making a documentary about Joan Littlewood. When she heard what we were up to, she said (and we blush to repeat it): "WONDERFUL! You are amazing! What you're doing is making Joan's work right NOW!...Joan's spirit lives in you all!"

And there have been so many lovely messages and tweets from individual women playwrights too, that we're really feeling part of a community of women theatremakers. Thank you all...it means a lot.

Friday, 22 August 2014

We went to Wales


Founding playwrights Lisa Parry, Samantha Ellis, and our designer Anna Bliss Scully were in Cardiff to scout out locations within our venue: the fabulous Wales Millennium Centre.

At the moment the place is a-buzz with the summer holidays and there's even an outside beach that's appeared! No time to frolic in the sand though, our team were on a mission. It was also a little bit windy...

While we were in Wales, we had a surge in pledges from you lovely people. And as of right now we're at 90% of our goal. Stunning! Amazing! Beautiful news. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Announcing our last six Fun Palaces playwrights


And here's the last six of our amazing SIXTEEN playwrights. Each one of our playwrights are busy scribbling their play they've been commissioned by us, for our Fun Palaces event in Wales. We are excited beyond belief to have every single one of them involved, and to share their work. Read some more about the last six here...
Sharon Morgan
After graduating in History from University College Cardiff in 1970, Sharon joined Cwmni Theatr Cymru's training scheme in Bangor. Since then she has become a familiar presence on television, film, radio and theatre in Welsh, English and sometimes French, mostly in Wales, but also in England from time to time. Sharon is a founder member of four theatre companies: Theatr Bara Caws (1977), Hwyl a Fflag (Sgwar Un) 1982, Fiction Factory (Y Cwmni) 1988, Rhosys Cochion 1997
Sharon has won three BAFTA Cymru awards for best actress; Mary, an alcoholic, Tair Chwaer, Gaucho Films S4C 1998, Martha, a farmer, Martha Jac a Sianco, Apollo Films, S4C 2008, and Maggie Jones, matriarch, Resistance, Big Rich Films 2011, and was nominated for Rebecca, a valleys woman, in Utah Bride, 1.618 theatre company, at the inaugural Young Critics Awards 2013.
Sharon began writing in 1994, when she adapted Simone De Beauvoir's Monologue, which she performed as Gobeithion Gorffwyll. Her trilogy of identity, three one-women plays- Ede Hud 1997, Holl Liwie'r Enfys 2006, and Trafaelu ar Y Tren Glas 2008, followed. Dreaming Amelia, inspired by Amelia Earhart's landing on the West Wales Coast in 1928 toured England and Wales in 2002 (Hi-jinx Theatre). Shinani'n Siarad her translation of the Vagina Monologues won the Theatre In Wales award for best production in 2004. Gwaun Cwm Garw her adaptation of The Laramie Project was toured by Theatr Bara Caws and Gwlad Yr Addewid her adaptation of House of America was toured by Theatr Genedlaethol 2011. Myfanwy yn y Moorlands was presented by the Sherman Cymru as part of Amrwd/Raw in 2013.
Sharon has also worked on television- on the period drama Palmant Aur (Opus Films S4C), as well as adapting Cowbois ac Injans (Rondo S4C), Caerdydd, Y Pris, Y Gwyll/Hinterland (Fiction Factory S4C) and Y Syrcas (FFatti Films S4C)
Her radio work includes episodes of the Radio Cymru daily soap -Ponty, the Trilogy of Identity, Alltud Calon, based on the life of the actress Rachel Roberts, and Ar Lan Aberalaw about the women of the Mabinogion.
Sharon has two children, Steffan and Saran and lives in Cardiff.
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Ar ol cwblhau gradd mewn Hanes o Brifysgol Cymru Caerdydd yn 1970, ymunodd Sharon a cwrs hyfforddi Cwmni Theatr Cymru ym Mangor. Ers hynny mae hi wedi bod yn bresenoldeb cyfarwydd ar deledu ffilm radio a theatr yn Gymraeg, Saesneg a weithiau Ffrangeg, yng Nghymru rhan fwya, ond hefyd yn Lloegr o bryd i'w gilydd. Mae Sharon yn aelod gwreiddiol o bedair cwmni theatr. Theatr Bara Caws 1977 Hwyl a Fflag(Sgwar Un) 1982 Fiction Factory(Y Cwmni) 1988 Rhosys Cochion 1997.
Mae Sharon wedi ennill tair gwobr actores orau BAFTA Cymru ; Mary- alcoholic,yn Tair Chwaer, Gaucho Films S4C 1998, Martha, ffarmwraig, yn Martha Jac a Sianco, Apollo, S4C 2008, a Maggie Jones, matriarch, Resistance, Big Rich Films 2011; cafodd ei henwebu am ei pherfformiad fel Rebecca, menyw o'r cymoedd yn Utah Bride, cwmni theatr1.618, yng ngwobrwyon cynta'r Beirniaid Ifanc 2013.
Dechreuodd Sharon ysgrifennu yn 1994, pan addasodd hi Monologue gan Simone De Beauvoir, a'i berfformio o dan y teitl Gobeithion Gorffwyll. Dilynwyd hyn gan All That You Have Is Your Soul, fel rhan o Dangerous Women of The Mabinogi i'r Sherman 1997 a gan ei thrioleg hunaniaeth, tair sioe un-menyw- Ede Hud 1997, Holl Liwie'r Enfys 2006, a Trafaelu ar Y Tren Glas 2008. Teithiodd ei drama, Dreaming Amelia, wedi ei ysbrydoli gan laniad Amelia Earhart's landing ar arfordir gorllewin Cymru ym Mhwll, Shir Gar, trwy Cymru a Lloegr yn 2002(Theatr Hi-jinx ). Enillodd Shinani'n Siarad, ei chyfieithiad o'r Vagina Monologues, gwobr Theatr yng Nghymru am y cynhyrchiad gore yn 2004. Teithiwyd Gwaun Cwm Garw, ei addasiad o The Laramie Project gan Theatr Bara Caws yn 2009 a teithiwyd Gwlad Yr Addewid, ei addasiad o House of America gan y Theatr Genedlaethol yn 2011. Cyflwynwyd Myfanwy yn y Moorlands gan Sherman Cymru fel rhan o Amrwd/Raw yn 2013.
Mae Sharon hefyd wedi gweithio ar y teledu- ar y ddrama gyfnod Palmant Aur(Opus Films S4C), ac addasiadau o Cowbois ac Injans (Rondo S4C), Caerdydd, Y Pris, Y Gwyll/Hinterland(Fiction FactoryS4C) a Y Syrcas(FFatti Films S4C)
Mae ei gwaith radio yn cynnwys pennodau o sebon ddyddiol Radio Cymru -Ponty,(1999) y Trioleg Hunaniaeth, Alltud Calon 2008, wedi seilio ar fywyd yr actores Rachel Roberts, ac Ar Lan 2011 am fenywod y Mabinogion.
Mae gan Sharon ddau o blant , Steffan a Saran ac mae'n byw yng Nghaerdydd.

Kaite O'Reilly
Kaite O'Reilly has won many awards for her work including the Peggy Ramsay Award, M.E.N. best play of the year and the Ted Hughes Award for New Works in Poetry for her version of Aeschylus’s ‘Persians’ for National Theatre Wales. In 2012 she received two Cultural Olympiad Commissions for ‘In Water I’m Weightless,’ produced by National Theatre Wales/South Bank Centre as part of the official festival celebrating the London Olympics/Paralympics. In 2014 she has productions in translation in Estonia, Belgium, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and a UK tour of ‘Woman of Flowers’, her retelling of the Mabinogion’s Blodeuwydd for Forest Forge. The premiere of Playing the Maids with Theatre P’Yut (Korea), Gaitkrash (Ireland) and The Llanarth Group (Wales) will premiere in Cardiff in early 2015. She has written extensively for radio and is now completing her first novel, A Sky Without Stars. She will begin work on her second novel in 2015, thanks to a Literature Wales bursary. Further information can be found at www.kaiteoreilly.com She blogs about creativity and process at www.kaiteoreilly.wordpress.com
Lisa Parry
Lisa  is a freelance writer based in Cardiff. Her plays have been performed across the UK and also in New York and she has worked with leading new writing theatre companies including Dirty Protest, the Miniaturists and PopUp Theatrics. Play credits include: Untitled (Sherman Swingers 2013), Dark Frequencies (TACT Studio, Broadway, NYC), Butterfly Fugue (Sherman Cymru as part of Egin: Springboard), Not A Death Knock (Dirty Protest), March SW3 (Arcola, as part of Miniaturists 23), Waterbaby (Martin E. Segal, NYC). Lisa completed Sherman Cymru’s writing course and advanced writing course, led by Alan Harris. She was also selected for Travelling Light II in Aberystwyth where she was mentored by Kaite O’Reilly. Prize credits include: winner of the MokitaGrit playwriting competition; finalist in The Internationalists' playwriting competition; finalist in The King's Cross Award; finalist in The Ronald Duncan Award; finalist in Stellar Network's international plays in progress competition. Lisa’s poetry and prose has also been widely published in leading magazines, including Magma, Orbis and The Haiku Quarterly. In 2013, she was awarded a financial award from Literature Wales to work towards her first poetry collection.
Marged Parry
Marged’s plays include: Y Parti Olaf (Dirty Protest, Tafwyl, 2014), Holes in the Drama (Sherman Swingers, 2013), Traed Bach Concrit (Sherman Cymru, Trwy’r Ddinas hon, 2013; translates as “Little Concrete Feet"), The Welsh Atlantis (Undeb Theatre, Latitude, 2012), Megaffon (Dirty Protest, Gwyl Tafwyl, 2012; translates as “Megaphone”, The Sweet Shop Standoff (Agent 160, Agent 160 presents… 2012), Yr Ystafell Gyfweld (Sherman Cymru, Sgript Slam, 2011; translates as “The Interview Room”) and The Demise of Photocopy Boy (Dirty Protest, Dirty Protest's Christmas Party, 2011). Her poems have been read on Radio Cymru and her work published in the Welsh literary magazine Tu Chwith. She recently had two short stories published in a horror publication The Ghastling. Marged was Assistant Director on the Sherman's new writing project, Cityscape in 2010. She worked as an Assistant Producer on Mosgito - a Welsh language magazine programme for teenagers before moving on to work as a Marketing and Communications Officer for BBC Cymru Wales' flagship soap opera, Pobol y Cwm. She then worked on Pobol y Cwm as an Assistant Script Editor for a year before she secured her current role as Story Editor.
Lindsay Rodden
Lindsay Rodden is a writer and dramaturg. Recent writing work has included Letters (The Miniaturists / Cornerstone Festival), The Almond Tree (State of Wonder / Everyword), and Endz (a verbatim play created with dramaturg Suzanne Bell for Liverpool Everyman Theatre which toured Liverpool in 2011). Recent dramaturgy includes My Life in Dresses (Project Arts Centre, Dublin / national tour), and Why Do All Catherines Call Themselves Kate? (One Small Step / Edinburgh Fringe). She founded Almanac in 2009 with playwright / songwriter Lizzie Nunnery, producing, directing and writing adventurous collaborations with writers, musicians and other artists and theatre makers. Their most recent shows include bringing together over thirty artists to make Radical City: A Happening on Hope Street (Everyman, April 2011); and Stories in the Walls, a site-specific commission for Un-convention Tyneside in the thirteenth century Morden Tower, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (June 2011). Lindsay was born in Edinburgh . She has mainly lived in Buncrana, Co. Donegal, where her family are from, and in Liverpool, where she currently works for the Everyman and Playhouse Theatres.  
Shannon Yee
Shannon Yee is a biracial writer who’s been living in Belfast since 2004. While in NI, she has had the pleasure to work with Replay Productions, Accidental Theatre, Assault Events, skewiff theatre company, TheatreofplucK, 25Belfast, Hanna Sl├Ąttne (Tinderbox), and Paul Stapleton (SARC). She has received awards from the Arts Council NI, Arts & Disability Forum, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and the James Baldwin Playwriting Award. Earlier this year, Shannon secured a Wellcome Trust Small Arts Award to complete her theatrical sonic arts-based trip for a headphone-wearing audience in hospital beds about her experience of nearly dying and recovering with an acquired brain injury. She was on the Royal Court Theatre’s National Playwriting Group (London), Fishamble/Pavilion Theatre’s Playwriting Mentoring Program (Dun Laoghaire), and is currently a HATCH artist at The MAC in 2014/15

So there we have it, now you know our playwrights a bit better! 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Five more of our Fun Palaces playwrights


We bring to you the second installment of our fantastic playwrights who are currently poring over their scripts for our Fun Palace in Wales. So without further ado, here we go...

Abigail Docherty
Abigail is currently Pearson Playwright in residence at the Tron in Glasgow. Her play Sea and Land and Sky won the Tron's OPEN STAGE award and is published by Methuen Drama. Other work includes Four Parts Broken (National Theatre of Scotland), One Thousand Paper Cranes (Tron / Imaginate International Children’s Festival) and Room (Tron). BBC Radio 4 plays include Ursula and Boy and Goblin Market.

Clare Duffy
Clare is a playwright and director. She teaches at Glasgow University and is a co-director of Unlimited Theatre. Clare is currently Artist In Residence at Summerhall Arts Centre, Edinburgh, an Associate Playwright at Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland and has just been announced as the new ISAH/Traverse Theatre Fellow.
She will be bringing Play Dough, a ‘re-mix’ of Money: The Game Show to the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 as part of the Made In Scotland showcase.
Clare wrote and directed Money: The Game Show, in 2013 which was a co-production between Unlimited Theatre and The Bush. 'This playful, thoughtful and riotously entertaining piece is right on the money'. ****The Guardian ‘clever and remarkably understandable’ ‘ingenious’. New York Times. ****Financial Times & Scotsman. The play is published by Oberon Books and is scheduled to be remounted in Seoul, South Korea 2014. 
Clare won a Pearson Award for her first full-length play, Crossings in 2003, which was published and toured the UK in 2005. (**** The Scotsman) This led to her being Writer In Residence at the West Yorkshire Playhouse 2004. Clare has also written drama for Radio 4 and co-wrote ANA, a bi-lingual play for Stella Quines and Imago Theatre, with Pierre-Yves Lemieux, which opened in Montreal in November 2011 and toured Scotland in Spring 2012 (**** Scotsman & Herald). She wrote The Cbeebies Christmas Carol 2013 and is very much looking forward to Magnetic North’s production of her play Some Other Stars in the autumn of 2014 about a man with ‘locked-in’ syndrome.
Clare has lived in Tollcross, Edinburgh for 10 years and helps out in her partner’s wine shop when it’s busy.
Samantha Ellis
Samantha is a playwright and journalist and her first non-fiction book, How To Be A Heroine, is published by Chatto & Windus; Nigella Lawson said it was “All the books I love, remembered”, the Observer called it “fantastically inspirational”, and the Scotsman called it “a life-affirming feminist text".
Her previous plays include Cling To Me Like Ivy (Birmingham Rep and on tour), The Thousand and Second Night (LAMDA), Startle Response (Young Vic workshop production), Martin’s Wedding (Blind Summit/BAC), Patching Havoc (Theatre 503) and Sugar and Snow (Radio 4 and Hampstead Theatre showcase). The Guardian called Cling To Me Like Ivy, “funny, sad and compassionate...that genuinely rare beast, a popular comedy with heart, brains and the stomach to make some difficult choices”. She has also written short plays for Menagerie Theatre, The Miniaturists, Liverpool Everyman, Agent 160, Pursued by a Bear and Floodtide.
She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and has been in residence at Metal, and on attachment at the Soho Theatre, Birmingham Rep, Hampstead Theatre and the Unicorn Theatre. Her play Anatomical Venus, an immersive thriller set in 1850s London, will be produced by Goat and Monkey Theatre in 2015. This September, Urgent Theatre is producing her Starlore for Beginners and other short plays at Theatre 503.

Sarah Grochala
Sarah studied on the MPhil in Playwriting Studies at Birmingham University and has been recognised as one of the course’s most distinguished graduates. Before turning to writing, she worked as an actress for many years, playing roles in the West End and in television drama. Her play S-27 (published by Oberon) won the 2007 Protect the Human Playwriting Competition and was also shortlisted for The King’s Cross Award and the Leah Ryan Prize for Emerging Women Writers. S-27 premiered at the Finborough Theatre in June 2009 and was a Time Out Critics Choice. The play was revived at the Griffin Theatre in Sydney in March 2010 (Time Out Sydney Critics Choice) and at the Annex Theatre in Toronto in 2012. Sarah was the winner of the 2011 OffWestEnd.Com Adopt a Playwright Award for her play Smolensk, which is currently in production with Snapdragon Productions
Her writing has been supported by the RSC, the National Theatre Studio and the Peggy Ramsay Foundation. Sarah is currently an associate artist with Headlong and Lecturer in Writing for Theatre at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Of her short play for Agent 160 in 2012, The Red Shoes, the Guardian wrote “Director Abigail Graham and performer Jennifer Jackson make the most of Sarah Grochala's The Red Shoes, an astonishingly direct yet poetic piece of writing, a perfect miniature that explores desire and madness in London's Westfield shopping centre.”  

Katie McCullough
Katie McCullough is a graduate of Bournemouth Media School and the Royal Court Theatre, London. She's a playwright, screenwriter and founder of Festival Formula; a consultancy company focusing on filmmakers that covers film festival strategy, social media presence, and crowdfunding consultancy. Her plays have been performed at: the ICA, Theatre503, Southwark Playhouse, Old Vic Tunnels, Arcola, the BAC, and more. She’s received funding from Arvon Foundation and support from the ICA Lab as well as mentoring from the Blaine Brothers, Leo Butler, Polly Clark and Simon Stephens. Katie has worked with several companies to create one-on-one theatrical experiences and also site specific narratives. Her plays include Ella_OMalley_Audition.mov (Miniaturists, Arcola, 2014), Dropped Sequins (UK Centre for Carnival Arts, 2013), London Pride (Wandsworth Arts Festival, 2013) and The Story Project (Ugly Sister Productions, Arcola/Southwark Playhouse/Theatre503, 2012). See her website for more information. 


So there's the second wave of playwrights for you, and STILL we have six more to delight you with. And we can also shout that we're now at 73% of our goal. AMAZING! We still have a bit to go, and we're happy that we have time left on the Kickstarter clock to make it happen. So thank you for helping to make it happen if you've already pledged... And if you haven't pledged yet, there's still time!