PERFORMING ARTS

Tiwalade Ibironba Olulode

Performing Arts Feature, Summer 2019

My name is Tiwalade Ibirogba Olulode.

I'm an emerging artist from Northampton. I trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. From there I moved to Lagos, Nigeria, where my writing sparked interest. One of my plays has been produced  by respected theatres around London including Lyric Hammersmith, Barons Court Theatre and The Space Theatre.

I'm currently with the National Youth Theatre Rep Company. I will perform in three shows from October 2019 through January 2020: Great Expectations, Frankenstein and A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Southwark Playhouse and The Criterion in the West End. It's been deeply rewarding to build a relationship with a company of actors. I'm so excited to channel the incredible energy we've developed in workshops into our rehearsals for the shows.

 

I've always dreamt of a future as a respected artist-- acting, writing and directing. Acting is my first love, and I can't see that fading. I always enjoyed creative writing, but it wasn't until I graduated from drama school that I started my first play Rush. When it was selected for a couple of runs, I decided to put on the director's hat as I had a clear vision of how I wanted my writing to be presented.  For now, I'm going to focus primarily on acting. But in the future, I can't see anything stopping me from being successful in all mediums. The future is bright! 

The Colored Museum, George C. Wolfe 

My friend recommended this play to me whilst I was at drama school. I hadn't read anything like it before. It made me laugh to the point of tears. I also felt the tension build in my stomach, emotions on two extreme ends. I  knew I had to do a monologue from this riveting play. The Colored Museum is a dark comedy that looks into the African American story, spins it on its head and leaves you with a satire that at times can be hard to swallow. 

The Girl with the Brightest Smile, Tiwalade Ibirogba Olulode 

I wrote this poem  shortly after I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. It was therapeutic to write about how I was feeling. I didn't feel ashamed of my inner thoughts. The smile is about the mask we put on for the world. A mask is needed in social settings, but it can be dangerous when you don't get the opportunity to be free. Growing up, my smile was repeatedly praised, something that became part of my core personality. I asked myself:  when I don't have that, who am I? The smile is something that had become automatic, even when I was feeling terrible inside. This poem is an exploration of those feelings.

 

Athena Stevens & Lily McLeish

Performing Arts Feature, Winter 2019

Lily McLeish (left), Athena Stevens (right)

Athena Stevens wrote and stars in Schism,a play about two people finding each other, exploring what they cannot be for one another, powerful as is their twenty year relationship.  Lily McLeish directed the production.

These clips, from the May 2018 north London Park Theatre performance, give a flavour of the connection between Katherine, played by Stevens, and her lover Harrison, played by Jonathan McGuinness. The interviews between director and writer/actor provide an insight into their creative process as individuals and as a team.

See an excerpt from Schism and two video excerpts from an interview with Lily McLeish and Athena Stevens below. 

Lily McLeish and Athena Stevens in conversation about Schism

 
 

Gail Louw,

Performing Arts Feature, Autumn 2018

Multi-award winner Gail Louw's plays have been performed throughout the world.

 

Blonde Poison, (Argus Award for Artistic Excellence), has been performed at the Sydney Opera House and is now on in Berlin.  Duwayne won Best New Play at the Brighton Festival.  Both The Mitfords and Being Brahms have toured to great acclaim.   

 

Gail’s latest play Ice Cream Boys: Zuma and Kasrils explores race and ethnicity, conspiracy, corruption, abuse of women and power. Blonde Poison is published by Oberon Books along with Gail Louw: Collected Plays and Gail Louw: Plays Two. 


The information below describes a current production in the UK, Shackleton's Carpenter.

Gail Louw's Shacketon's Carpenter

Shackleton, together with twenty seven men, sailed out of England in 1914 on the ill-fated Endurance Expedition.  The boat was stranded in ice for nine months until it finally sank, crushed by the ice of the Weddell Sea. All on board were stranded on the Antarctic ice cap.

 

Their subsequent survival and rescue was due in large part to Harry McNish, the ship's carpenter. He ingeniously adapted the three remaining life boats to withstand the extreme rigours of polar sea travel.  Despite this, he was one of only four on the expedition to be denied the prestigious Polar Medal on the specific orders of Shackleton.

 

The play is set in 1930 with McNish, ill and destitute, sleeping in an old lifeboat on a Wellington NZ wharf.  He awakes and re-imagines his Endurance experiences, conjuring up the ghosts of his past.  In his fevered mind he recalls his shipmates, McLeod, Green, the hated Orde-Lees. He remembers his cat, Mrs Chippy, shot by Shackleton. Most tellingly, he re-imagines the Boss himself and their fateful quarrel.

 

Prav MJ, PMJ Productions

Performing Arts Feature, Summer 2018

Prav MJ, PMJ Productions, 

www.pmjproductionsltd.com

VIDEO EXCERPTS FROM FACELESS,

written by Selina Fillinger, produced & directed by Prav MJ.

Claire Fathi as Paige Round in Faceless, produced and directed by Prav MJ

Fiona Gent as Susie Glenn in Faceless, produced and directed by Prav MJ

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