Launch of our Southeast Asian Plays collection – 29 September

SE ASIAN PLAYS  front  AUG 16 An Evening At the Opera by Floy QuintosThe first ever collection of Southeast Asian Plays will have its launch at the National Gallery of Singapore on 29 September, 7.30pm. Some of the playwrights will be at the event and there will be staged readings from students at LASALLE College of the Arts in association with the Select Centre.

Southeast Asian Plays is edited by Aubrey Mellor and Cheryl Robson, and is a unique collection of plays by eight playwrights, both new and established, from countries in Southeast Asia including Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Cambodia. Covering topics as diverse as the global financial crisis, religious faith, the sex trade, corruption and exploitation, these plays provide insight into the differing concerns of those living in a part of the world which is experiencing profound change.

The is a FREE event DO BOOK.Nadirah by Alfian Sa’at

In his introduction Aubrey Mellor writes:

This volume is a snapshot of the rich variety of performance work that in many cases is only beginning to be written down. Though now in English, there is little in common in these eight plays from seven very different nations in a region connected mainly by geography. Until the founding of ASEAN, in 1967, Southeast Asia (SEA) was known to the world as the East Indies. Covering 11 nations and 626 million inhabitants, over more than 4.4 million square kilometres, the southeast of the continent plunges into the sea, diversifying into many thousands of islands and languages as it reaches into the Pacific. One of the largest and fastest-growing economies of the world, with a combined annual turnover of 2.8 trillion US dollars, it contains arguably the richest variety of arts, customs, cuisines and landscapes – and distinctively defined peoples. However, this part of the world is under-represented, especially in theatre and dramatic writing, and its vivid diversity deserves to be known beyond its splendid beaches and tourist spots. In collecting a first volume of Southeast Asian playscripts we prioritised material that other countries (including SEA) might be interested in performing, with an aim to introduce not only the writers but also the cultures that produced them.

Publication is not a necessary goal in the performing arts, and theatre scripts are merely blueprints for productions, especially in this region. As elsewhere, second productions and revivals are rare, so publication becomes important to preserving some of this ephemeral art form and to allowing play texts to find a wider international readership. Though some of these works were written and performed in English, a play’s origins are of course defined by language, e.g. a Vietnamese play is written in Vietnamese etc. Consequently the huge majority of new dramatic literature in this flourishing region remains unknown outside of language borders; even within countries plays are not readily circulated, as they are not commonly published in their original (often local) language, and are further neglected in translation. The development of skilled literary translators in the region is happening slowly, but the focus is primarily on poetry and fiction.

It is exciting to discover the other forms of play-making that exist in this region… it is no accident that this collection includes many plays by women, and this is a sign of the equity that has emerged as a feature of these ancient- yet-young nations. Nations that are growing in pride, in industry, investment and in tourism, in innovation and in cultural originality.


Rock n Roll Island Doc showing at major US Film Festivals

Over the next five weeks our documentary Rock n Roll Island is showing at four major Film Festivals in the US, demonstrating that the power of music has no boundaries. A defining moment in British music history has been captured on film by Cheryl Robson and Helen Walker, who produced and directed a new 30 minute documentary ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Island’ as part of a wider series of activities celebrating Eel Pie Island’s place in the history of British rock and blues, including the book The British Beat Explosion.

Narrated by Nigel Planer, film features interviews with key players, fans and club-goers of the Eel Pie Island Hotel Club, who were there in the 50s and 60s including Top Topham from The Yardbirds, Paul Stewart from The Others, Geoff Cole from the Ken Colyer Band, Bob Dwyer from Steve Lane’s Southern Stompers, Don Craine and Keith Grant from The Downliners Sect, Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, Kinks drummer Mick Avory, and Phil May from The Pretty Things, as well as Eelpiland fans and clubgoers. Additional footage was recorded during 2014/2
015, including some with Rod Stewart.

Combining these interviews with original images and footage from the era, including extracts from the well known ‘Look At Life’ International-Family-Film-Festivalfilm made about Eel Pie, Rock n Roll Island explores the history of how this small island in the River Thames became the focus of a R&B and rock ‘n’ roll explosion, and a formative part of the UK and international music scene.

Festival and Award Success

20 – 23 October 2016 Rock n Roll Island screening at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood.

19 – 23 October 2016 Rock n Roll Island shown at the Carmel International Film Festival.

3 October 2016 Rock n Roll Island shown at the Glendale International Film Festival in California at the Pacific Covellite-Film-Fest-MainTheatres at the Americana.

16 – 18 September 2016 Rock n Roll Island selected for Covellite International Film Festival and screened at the Festival in Butte Montana.

April 2016, Rock n Roll Island produced and directed by Cheryl Robson and Helen Walker won the top award (The Gold Remi) for short film documentary at WorldFest, the Houston International Film Festival.

October 2015 Rock n Roll Island had its World Premiere at London’s Raindance Festival.4984bd_f99d53a54f68408fbbee97cbb0dbe042

Read Garth Pearce’s piece in the Daily Express on Rod Stewart and Eel Pie Island and the documentary  ‘Rock n Roll Island’ produced and directed by Cheryl Robson.

All-black production of Hamlet opens tonight in Watford

Hamlet adapted by Mark Norfolk Cover FrontThis first all-black production of Hamlet in Britain makes a striking contribution to the Shakespeare 400 anniversary celebration.

Directed by Jeffery Kissoon and adapted with Shakespeare’s text by Mark Norfolk, Black Theatre Live’s production opens tonight at the Watford Palace, this production will tour across England culminating at the Stratford Circus Arts Centre in November. Full tour details on the Black Theatre Live website.

We’re delighted to be publishing the accompanying playtext which includes Norfolk’s adapted text, interviews with director Jeffery Kissoon and a preface Dr David Linton.

This fast-paced, all-Black, contemporary version of Hamlet has appeal across a range of general, academic, and professional markets: audiences young and old, those studying English and Drama at school, those recently introduced to Hamlet through popular TV adaptations and classic drama audiences.

Shining a spotlight on International Literacy Day

50 Best Plays Young Audiences Vicky Ireland Paul HarmanInternational Literacy Day shines a spotlight on global literacy needs, and is one of the initiatives of the International Association who believe that  “Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, compute, and communicate using visual, audible, and digital materials across disciplines and in any context.”

We publish novels for Young Adults, but we also want to encourage as many young people as possible to get involved in drama by writing and putting on their own plays or by staging one of the many wonderful plays especially written for young children.

Our recent book 50 Best Plays for Young Audiences: theatre-making for children and young people in England: 1965-2015, written and edited by Vicky Ireland and Paul Harman highlights how important drama is as a way for children to communicate, and showcases 50 of the best plays written over the past 50 years.

The Prisoner at 50

not-a-number50 years ago, on 5 September 1966, in the Italianate village of Portmeirion in Wales filming began on an intriguing new adventure TV series starring Patrick McGoohan.

Patrick McGoohan who had played the lead in Danger Man, was now a ‘prisoner’ in this strange village. Known only as No 6 he had, over 17 episodes, to work out where he was and why?

A classic of 1960s television, The Prisoner was a real labour love for its star, whThe-Prisonero also helped shape the show, writing and directing key episodes.

In Not a Number – Patrick McGoohan: A Life, Rupert Booth reveals the true character of a man whose off-screen behaviour was as compelling as his fiery on-screen persona.

An exploration of the man whose declaration ‘I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, de-briefed or numbered’ in The Prisoner continues to resonate with audiences decades after it was first uttered with such conviction.

The+Prisoner+(TV+series)+-+Music+From+The+Prisoner+-+LP+RECORD-441373Rupert Booth is an actor and writer living in London. He co-owns the production company Wildeyes TV and is currently working on several books in his spare time. In 2004 he co-wrote with Jon Blum, the first Powys Media’s series of The Prisoner spin-off novels which was received to critical acclaim and he has been a fan of Patrick McGoohan since he saw the series.

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