Blog

Slackline Stories- Our Fabulous Directors!

 Introducing the directors of Slackline Stories, six short new-writing plays being performed at Southwark Playhouse on 26th May…

 

Megan Stewart

Megan is directing Vitesse by Laura Jayne Ayres.

Megan is a Scottish director, producer and actor, who has operated across New York and London. Her time in NYC included work with the Kraine Theatre, the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival, and the Scranton Shakespeare Festival. Former productions across the UK include Scrooge; Jesus Christ Superstar; Joseph; and S’Warm. In 2018, she directed Martin McDonaugh’s The Pillowman in London, and wrote and directed black comedy Nine Lives at the Edinburgh Fringe,in association with The Kings Players. Additionally, she is co-founder of These People Make Pictures, most recently producing The Sea starring Anna Friel and Russell Tovey. In 2019 we will see her working as Assistant to the Live Performance Directors, on dotdotdot’s immersive theatrical production of, The War of the Worlds.  

 

Júlia Lévai

Júlia is directing Final Proof by Alina Rios

Júlia is a theatre director from Hungary currently training on the MA Directing course at LAMDA. Julia has recently directed a revival of Chris Thorpe’s There has possibly been an incident which premiered in York and later been invited to be part of a festival at Blue Elephant Theatre in London. She is passionate about finding the possibilities of texts which are complex, confusing, and have the ability to reflect with on the world around us.

Callie Nestleroth

Callie is directing Bats by Rebekah King

Callie is a theatre maker, director, and script  reader from the Washington DC, now based in London. She is Artistic Director of The Heroine Chronicles, where she has directed Social Media Suicide (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018), Oh Heroine How I Love You! (touring London and NYC Libraries), and currently developing new projects Dreaming Real and Why We Love Dead Women.  She is a member of the 2018/2019 SDCF Observership Class and assisted on Diana, A New Musical directed by Christopher Ashley at La Jolla Playhouse. Training: MFA Royal Central School of Speech and Drama; Advanced Directing at the National Theater Institute.

 

Lou Corben

Lou is directing Edge by Emily Brauer Rogers

Lou studied Drama at the University of Lincoln, graduating in 2010. In 2015 she founded Marvellous Machine Theatre Company, which specialises in inventive, homegrown ensemble-devised theatre. Marvellous Machine’s first production, The Tiger’s Bride was described as “a plush and captivating take on one of Angela Carter’s famously subversive fairy tale retellings [with] luxury enough to sink into” (Daily Info), “atmospheric, beautifully choreographed”, “Magical, amazing, full of joy” and “Gaspingly good. So, so tender” (audience comments). She has recently completed the first run of an adaptation of Orlando by Virginia Woolf alongside a diverse company of LGBTQIA+ performers and creatives. The production included live music and foley, shadow puppetry, dance and movement. The company also hosted discussions with LGBTQIA+ academics from Oxford University and the show also raised over £450 for Say It Loud Club, which supports LGBTQIA+ refugees. As well as producing and directing shows for Marvellous Machine, Louise also creates props, puppets and costumes, and designs graphics for marketing. Audience comments about Orlando include “Witty, inspiring, moving, musically smashing” and “I’m uplifted by the whole experience – buzzing in fact!”. Newbury Weekly News said that ORLANDO “succeeds in teasing out provocations within Woolf’s story… [an] intriguing, thoughtful production.”

 

Ruby Etches

Ruby is directing Not Real Sausages by Hannah Sowerby

Ruby is a Director, Actor and Theatre Maker from Bristol and based in London. She trained as an actor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and since then formed her company; Theatre63. She directed their show Cockroached which toured around several fringe venues across the country and at The Pleasance Courtyard at the fringe. It was nominated for the NSDF Edinburgh Award. Most recently she Assistant Directed at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

 

Franciska Ery

Franciska is directing Chick. by Elle van Lil

Franciska is a Hungarian theatre and opera director and performance maker with a First Class BA in English and Drama from Queen Mary University of London and a Distinction MA in Performance Making from Goldsmiths University of London. Her solo work investigates the connections between accent and national identity, and she often works with surtitling and live captioning. Recently she has worked with the National Opera Studio, Fulham Opera and the Royal Academy of Music. She is looking forward to working with Longborough Festival Opera.

Credits as director include: Chick (Southwark Playhouse), Asking For A Raise (Space Theatre), Reboot: Shorts (Bunker Theatre), Calenture (Above The Arts), Trapped (Cockpit Theatre), SE1 (Young Vic Platform)

Slackline Stories Playwright Bio #6

Slackline Stories Playwright, Laura Jayne Ayres

Last but not least, this is Laura Jayne Ayres!

JLaura is an actor and playwright from Leeds, based in London. Her short plays have been performed at the Southwark Playhouse, The Pleasance and The Lion and Unicorn Theatre. She is currently expanding her short play Consolea into a full-length piece about young widowhood.

We are so ecited to see Laura’s beautiful play, Vitesse, one of six plays chosen from over 140 entries to be performed at Slackline Stories on 26th May at the Southwark Playhouse, London!

Tickets available here: https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/events/slackline-stories/

Slackline Stories Playwright Bio #5

Slackline Stories Playwright, Emily Brauer Rogers

 

EMILY BRAUER ROGERS’ credits include two full-length plays that were produced at Hunger Artists Theatre Company as well as two collaborations produced as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Her screenplay, Romeo, Juliet and Rosaline, was optioned by Amazon Studios. She has been published in a Smith and Kraus anthology, 161 Monologues from Literature and in Kids’ Comedic Monologues that are Actually Funny. Emily has had short plays read and produced in Australia, San Diego, New York, Colorado, Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana, Los Angeles and Orange County. She’s currently a member of the Dramatists Guild and Writers Guild of America.

Excited to announce that Emily’s play, Edge, is one of six plays chosen from over 140 entries to be performed at Slackline Stories on 26th May at the Southwark Playhouse, London!

Tickets available here: https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/events/slackline-stories/

Slackline Stories Playwright Bio #4

Slackline Stories Playwright Elle van Lil

Elle van Lil is a Belgian/Dutch writer and actor, trained at Mountview and the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. She’s had work on at Theatre503, Tabard Theatre and The Bunker Theatre, as well as abroad in Belgium, the US and Canada. She created work for the Institute for the Blind in Antwerp, and is currently working on a production for the National Haemophilia Society in Belgium.

What happens when the stage is shared by two slightly deranged women and a raw chicken?

Come see when Elle’s play, Chick., is performed as one of six plays chosen from over 140 entries at Slackline Stories on 26th May at the Southwark Playhouse, London.

Slackline Stories Playwright Bio #3

Slackline Stories Playwright, Alina Rios

Alina Rios spent the first part of her life in St. Petersburg, Russia, and now lives in Seattle.  She is a published author and the Editor-in-Chief of Bracken Magazine.  She discovered playwriting in 2017 and had her first short production in 2018, in London with the Founding Fall Theater. Her short plays have since been produced on both sides of the Atlantic.  She has also studied writing for theater with Simon Stephens. More at alinarios.com.

Come see Alina’s play Final Proof, one of six plays chosen from over 140 entries to be performed at Slackline Stories on 26th May at the Southwark Playhouse, London.

Tickets available here: https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/events/slackline-stories/

Slackline Stories Playwright Bio #2

Slackline Stories Playwright, Rebekah King

 

Rebekah King is an emerging writer whose plays have been produced in Scotland, Italy, and across England. She recently received a scholarship to study an MA taught in conjunction with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and is currently co-writing a script for The Other Place theatre.

We can’t wait to see Rebekah’s play Bats, one of six plays chosen from over 140 entries to be performed at Slackline Stories on 26th May at the Southwark Playhouse, London.

Tickets available here: https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/events/slackline-stories/

Slackline Stories Playwright Bio #1

Slackline Stories Playwright, Hannah Sowerby

Hannah is a writer and performer from Cumbria. She’s had several plays staged in various places in Cumbria, as well as the Union Theatre and the Southwark Playhouse (Full Disclosure Theatre and Director’s Cut Theatre Company) in London, Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle and a sixteen-night run at the Edinburgh Fringe. She also regularly writes and performs for BBC Newcastle’s comedy sketch show It’s Grin Up North.

Hannah’s play Not Real Sausages is one of six plays chosen from over 140 entries to be performed at Slackline Stories on 26th May at the Southwark Playhouse, London.

Tickets available here: https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/events/slackline-stories/

Slackline Stories- Call for New Writing Night Submissions!!

Slackline Productions is now accepting submissions for Slackline Stories, a new writing night to be held in London (at an exciting location soon to be announced!!) on 26th May, 2019. 

Slackline wants to redress the balance in the stories being told and who’s telling them- working with female-identifying writers to offer new-writing plays that have female characters at their heart, focusing most specifically on stories of women aged 35+.

What we are looking for:

  • Playwrights who identify as female
  • 10-15 minute plays or excerpts of plays
  • 2-3 handers
  • At least one strong female character aged 35+
  • Should not have been professionally performed or published
  • Great stories- the plays don’t have to be political, nor do they have to be female-only. We love an uplifting story, even if the content is sad/dramatic/difficult. We also love things a bit edgy!

 

What you get:

  • Time in a rehearsal room with actors and a director
  • Your script performed for an audience (with the chance to ask for audience feedback on the night if you choose)
  • Written audience feedback to be collected by Slackline on the evening
  • An established industry mentor (we have some amazing ones on board and will announce them soon!)

 

Deadline:

We will accept submissions until 31st March or until we have 150 scripts, whichever comes first, so don’t delay! 

Submissions:

Please send submissions to submissions@slacklineproductions.co.uk. Subject: Slackline Stories Submission with your name, but please leave your name off of the actual script. 

We can’t wait to read your work! 

Why “female-led” theatre?

Female-led Theatre and the Representation of Women in Theatre by Ivy Lamont

 

Are you tired of seeing the same female characters on stage and time and time again? Of persistently auditioning for the role of ‘the girlfriend’, ‘the mother’, or ‘the victim’? Let’s face it, we would all like to see some more dynamic and three-dimensional female characters we could really get our teeth into. It’s shocking that 65% of audience members are women yet most of the time, the full wealth and complexity of our being has yet to be translated to the stage.

Why is this?

It seems our female writers have gotten a handle on exploring the depths and flaws of the female psyche, having experienced it first hand for themselves. Then why is there a lack of this in our theatres?

The first thing to consider would be that female playwrights just aren’t being given enough access to our major platforms. In the year spanning from 2017-2018 only 28% of the plays performed at The National Theatre were written by women, despite the fact that the organisation aims to achieve a 50/50 gender balance by the year 2021. This isn’t helped by the fact that ultimately the decisions regarding programming are left to those in higher positions which are – you guessed it – predominantly male. This being said, The National Theatre is one of the few well-recognised organisations taking big steps towards gender (income) parity, paying their female employees 3% more than their male counterparts in 2017. Whilst their neighbours at the Southbank Centre have yet to settle their 18.3% disparity in favour of men… 

#redressthebalance

But let’s get back to topic.

Where do we go from here? 

Ideally, we’d like to see more women in top managerial roles in established theatres, as they so often pave the way for smaller institutions. In other words, we need female-led theatre! While we are seeing increasingly more women in these positions, there continues to be slow evolvement in this area. 

Secondly – and it’s great that this is already taking a strong root in our industry – it is so important to keep creating female-led work. In doing so we are taking a proactive approach towards bringing the female voices and characters we want to see on stage… working from the ground up in order to change the quota on what is being offered in theatre. 

Finally, keep spreading the word! In order to address this imbalance we must first acknowledge the full weight of it. There can be a tendency to limit the conversation to specifically gender-oriented platforms. This reduces the issue to reach only audiences who actively participate in these platforms and isolates the problem. The more we can keep the conversation alive and circulating, the more we can bring it out of the shadows and into the light. 

The whispers are catching and the winds are changing – let’s create a storm!

5 Steps to Positive Empowerment Before Auditions

5 Steps to Positive Empowerment Before Auditions by Ivy Lamont

So it’s the day of your audition. You’ve done your job and learnt your lines like a good actor, and you’re ready to go!… And then the nerves creep in. Like an unwanted visitor, overshadowing you with self-doubt and worry. But do not fear! This is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way and can be really positive if you learn to shift your perspective slightly. The good news is – the power to do so is entirely yours! 

Here are five things that have helped us to feel empowered before and during auditions. 

you got this!

1. Observe. 

The first thing is to notice how you are feeling on this particular day. Be it excited, nervous, happy, sad, relaxed, angry, frustrated – just observe. And do so with an acceptance of that state, tell yourself you are only human and it’s OK to feel whatever you are feeling. By doing this you make way for that emotion to pass through you and change. Have you noticed that when you punish yourself for something it only leads to more of that thing…? It’s ridiculous but we all do it!

2. Self talk.

As you observe, notice the nature of the thoughts entering your head. Ask yourself: are you being kind to yourself? Are you speaking to yourself as though you were speaking to a dear friend? If not, STOP! Not the easiest thing we know, but instead of thinking about things you don’t like about yourself (for they are rarely ever true), gently replace those thoughts with things you DO like. Maybe you have a talent for making people laugh and spreading joy, maybe you’re a fantastic singer or even a talented actor (imagine!!) Whatever it may be, it is SO important to start channelling this positive energy from as early on in your day as possible. Remember to remain grateful for what you have- no-one likes a big ego. 

3. Rituals.

What do you do before auditions? Do you have a pre-audition ritual? If not, find one! It can be anything that brings you joy and/or makes you feel centred and grounded. Dancing to your favourite song, doing some yoga or voice work, or just being plain old silly. The key to nailing that audition is entering the room with a light heart and openness to play. Forget about the outcome-that’s out of your control. The most important thing is that you feel good about yourself when you leave the space. (Top tip: if your head is feeling extra muddled, maybe try some free-writing, all it takes is a pen, paper and whatever is in your head – no judgement necessary!)

4. Retain

As you make your way to your audition and while you wait, be careful not to let all your wonderful preparation slip! Keep conversation in the waiting room to a minimum and respect that other actors may need quiet for their own preparation. If you really need to chat to expend some energy, find a receptionist or someone who has a moment to engage. Otherwise, keep observing your thoughts and remember that you are awesome! Maybe you’d like to listen to your good vibes playlist on your way? Whatever you need to do to maintain a state of positivity. 

5. Breathe 

Before and as you enter the room – breathe! Check in to see if your breath is connected to your centre. If you find your breathing is high and shallow just bring your attention down to your belly. Remember: if you relax and enjoy, so will the panel! 

Now go! Unleash your newfound power and have fun!