Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Derby Theatre - In Good Company - DEparture Lounge

From Thursday I7th to Sunday 20th July Derby Theatre with 'In Good Company' presented DEparture Lounge, an opportunity to sample new and exciting theatre writing and enjoy a host of fantastic fringe performances and enjoy the thought provoking moments of Site Specific Sunday. In this blog post I am not claiming to cover all that was on offer but to speak and think about the things I had the chance to get involved in.

At the DEparture Lounge launch on Thursday evening 17th July at Derby Theatre I gathered with like minded folk and listened as Sarah Brigham outlined the exciting programme ahead. Downstairs in the Studio the Story Scavengers inspired and amused the audience with a presentation of  a loose script based on what had been listened to and observed fresh in Derby's City Centre that very day. They created theatrical stories out of ordinary stories overheard throughout the everyday world of a busy Midlands city. Some of it was quite poetic, other aspects fleeting but revealing. This was directed by Gareth Morgan Literary Associate at CAST Doncaster. Most of the content was humorous, similar to the next presentation 'All The Little Lights' but this had a much darker tone. Commissioners: Fifth Word.

At 7pm the studio was presented with a rehearsed reading of a play by Jane Upton and Fifth Word Theatre. To quote the brochure 'Joanne's had to grow up fast. Lisa's escaping her past and Amy's being bullied. At the local chip shop an unlikely friendship is formed. But where will it lead?

All The Little Lights has been developed as a creative response to recent high profile cases of child sexual exploitation and thorough research carried out at Safe and Sound in Derby.'

From a male perspective I found the short play very moving in my consideration of these young women's exploitation in the dangerous seedy world of porn and nubile/child sex. None of these actions can be excused but what I did find interesting was the complicit nature of the older girls manipulating the youngster Amy and her even younger (spoken of) sister into the ring of depravity through the male  owner of the chip shop. One might naively assume that it is purely the male predator that is to blame yet he is backed up by the actions of previous victims presumably for their own gain coupled with the fright of being revealed and a brutal violence towards themselves. All the Little Lights was intelligent theatre writing with a true depth of circumstance and expression.

The cast was Nadia Clifford as Joanne; Sarah Hoare as Lisa; Abigail Hood as Amy. Each actor has a seasoned pedigree in drama and in some cases hard hitting drama.

Directors: Angharad Jones and Laura Ford.

Dramaturge: Kate Chapman

Sound Design: Adam McCready.

Fifth Word was set up by Angharad |Jones and Laura Ford in 2008 and they exist to spark debate about serous contemporary issues. They produce provocative new plays made in the East Midlands that tour across the country. They specialise in thought provoking and timely scenarios that tell stories in a bold and uncompromising way that speaks to a range of traditional theatre goers and the next generation audience. They work with upcoming and established playwrights from the region through developing new commissions, scratch nights and full productions.

Amongst other productions they have recently worked with local writer Amanda Whittington on Amateur Girl. To condense the Guardian's critique they gave it five stars and said: "Observations of the dehumanising influence of the sex industry do not come much sharper.."

A separate Blog Post about Site Specific Sunday is a work in progress. Available here in the next few days.

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