<![CDATA[LIONESS THEATRE & MUSIC. - Blog]]>Thu, 18 Oct 2018 15:33:08 +0100Weebly<![CDATA[its time to talk: 'clarissa']]>Mon, 16 Jul 2018 13:20:09 GMThttp://lionesstheatre.uk/blog/its-time-to-talk-clarissaHoll: It shows just how deeply sexism is ingrained in our society that when two feminists create a musical that fails the Bechdel test, some will pounce; assuming it was down to ignorance.

Liz: How sadly ironic that in 2018, in order for our work to be appropriately analysed, the female makers are required to defend their intelligent, original & innovative approaches, less the end product remain invalid in its central message.

Holl: For the record: one of our first (long) conversations as Lioness co-founders was centred on the Bechdel Test & the fact that our début show 'The Black Stuff' fails it. After lots of discussion, a conscious decision was made. We intended to highlight our female protagonist's very real plight.

Liz: For we identify her as such; while Charles' place is one of either un-likable protagonist or straight-up antagonist, depending on each audience members' individual response & perspective.

Holl: Clarissa was surrounded by men who weren't listening to her. Nevertheless, she stood up against them and pro-actively made decisions that limited the damage they were doing.

Liz: Both to herself, and more importantly, those around her.

Holl: It seems strange that on the one hand we are charged with historical inaccuracy (as though it weren't a deliberate choice) but on the other, criticized for making Clarissa into a victim.
Well, she was a victim.

Liz: And a survivor.

Holl: To make her into anything else would have completely rewritten history. But we do show Clarissa standing up for herself - speaking forthrightly to her husband, retaining her morals when indecently propositioned, and risking imprisonment to enter the library and learn skills that will keep her children alive. 

​Clarissa is our hero. She does everything on her own without the help of one single man. Moreover, it is her input that helps Charles to make his big discovery. Unfortunately, some seem to assume that this is a historical detail that we've overlooked the importance of, rather than an ironic, fictitious addition. It was written to make a point. 

Liz: The process of development, in Lioness’ view, is most invigorating and exciting when approached collaboratively, opening doors to varied artistic practices. We feel our unique fusion of Theatre, Text, Art, Humour & Song gives 'The Black Stuff' an authenticity: insight into our decision making, development & process are on exhibit at our shows. Not as 'filler' or 'extras', but as creative documentation of who we are and what we have to say about the world in which we work.

Holl: You see, we never said that this was a history lesson. It's based on true events, yes. But truth is messy. To tell a good story (particularly with very few resources) it is necessary to consolidate characters, simplify story-lines, and often simply invent details.

Liz: We have chosen to capitalise on the shameful reality that airbrushed Clarissa in history - see previously referred to 'exhibition boards' - to make our point.

We have no idea who Clarissa was.

Now that we have the opportunity to honour her existence as a person on this planet - why not make her a feminist?

Why not use this opportunity to present the argument? That women have always been, and still are, stimulants of change & growth for society as a whole? Both practically (childbearing) and socially; womens' insight, unique intelligence, the ability to empathise & their pre-disposition to talk first & fight later have all contributed to the world in which we live now. Women's roles in the 19th cen were to support: even then it was known the immense capacity women had to change the world. Fearing it, men capitalised on these traits and truncated them - suppressing women as 'merely' 'home-makers'.

This conscious decision - to make Clarissa the real hero of the story, who is immediately disregarded and dismissed once she 'discovers' the elusive formula for Charles - is how we convey the central point that so many men - then and now - simply don't listen to women or value their opinions. 

The assumed ignorance on our part, as female-led theatre-makers striving to have our voice heard in this male-dominated environment, only demonstrates the inherent sexism unfortunately still prevalent in the arts today. 

Lioness are grateful beyond measure to the women that have come before us, that in 2018, we do not, and will not, face any legal retribution for simply making our voice heard.

The task it seems now is to sing our song louder than any simple misogynists who miss the point:
we are singing for them too. 
#hearusroar ]]>
<![CDATA[gm fringe success!]]>Sun, 15 Jul 2018 16:46:53 GMThttp://lionesstheatre.uk/blog/gm-fringe-successLioness Theatre has officially opened its debut show, "The Black Stuff" at GM Fringe. We did two dates in two venues: Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, and The Kings Arms.

These were very different venues, but both super helpful and they gave us a warm welcome. The Unitarian chapel is a beautiful building, set in the round, and its central location on Cross Street near the Royal Exchange is handy for attracting foot traffic. We did so with our huge roller banner and flyers - though the half-page listing in the Fringe brochure may have helped too :)

The chapel has an unusual history, having been an active supporter of the Suffragette movement, and it's now known for its friendliness towards the LGBT+ community.  Being LGBT, Unitarian, and a feminist myself, I couldn't be happier that we chose this particular venue.

Pre-sales weren't great at first, and I feared we'd be playing to four people. Luckily numbers turned out to be healthy, and after changing the setup from in-the-round to thrust, we were able to make good use of the space. The acoustics of any perfectly round room such as this will direct all sound back to the centre spot, which was also brightly illuminated. This of course meant in rehearsals we all took our turn shouting at the walls and marvelling at the strange effect. It was like being miked up.
The audience was enthusiastic  and responsive, clearly enjoying the humorous aspects of the piece. We had a fair few tweets afterwards. My favourite was simply the word "MELTED!" from a fellow GM Fringer - a reference you'll only understand if you come to see the show!

The following morning a review was posted by MCR Fringe Review which was largely positive: "catchy tunes, sound story-telling and some incredible vocals".

Next up was our second performance at Kings Arms Theatre - the hub of GM Fringe. As it was an afternoon show with no-one on before us, we had a generous amount of time to set up, though not enough time for a full run. With our usual selection of CDs, glossy programmes, and keyrings available, we took a fair amount in merch and on-the-door ticket sales.

The second performance was even better, thanks to the extravagances made available to us at this venue, for instance: an actual lighting rig! We were pleased to welcome Manchester Theatre Awards at this event, and you can read their review here.

Certain things jump out at you when you perform a piece in front of an audience for the first time, so we'll be tightening up the script a bit before our next performance at DN Festival in 2 weeks' time.

After that we have our London performance to look forward to, and hopefully some other theatres. Onwards & upwards!

Hollie Morrell - writer/composer
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<![CDATA[PRESS RELEASE: CAST ANNOUNCEMENT!]]>Wed, 13 Jun 2018 11:44:15 GMThttp://lionesstheatre.uk/blog/press-release-cast-announcementDanny dixon
​joins the lioness pride as
charles goodyear
Danny is thrilled to be joining Lioness Theatre as Charles Goodyear in “The Black Stuff”. He’s excited to be working with such a strong cast and crew on a show that is guaranteed to be a lot of fun!

Danny spends most of his time working across the UK as both a vocalist for live events and performing musical theatre.

Alongside performing, Danny is also trained in video & audio production and enjoys working within the technical aspect of stage and screen.   

Theatre credits include: 
The Wind Road Boys (Regional Tour 2018, Edinburgh Fringe 2014)
, When Yesterday Was Young (Enter CIC Theatre 2017)Scrooge (Sunderland Empire 2015), Jesus Christ Superstar (Durham Cathedral 2015)

Recordings include:
 Tell Me What It’s Like: A Solider’s Tale - Charity Single (Help For Heroes)


Television includes:
 Doctors (BBC)


Other work includes:
 Lead Vocalist (Elite - UK Function Band) Solo Vocalist (Elite Entertainment Group, DXN Productions)
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<![CDATA[The divas of lioness go nose to nose...]]>Sat, 05 May 2018 17:49:24 GMThttp://lionesstheatre.uk/blog/the-divas-of-lioness-go-nose-to-nose
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<![CDATA[press release: a celebration of theatre, art, music & history]]>Wed, 28 Mar 2018 14:25:24 GMThttp://lionesstheatre.uk/blog/press-release-a-celebration-of-theatre-art-music-historyBROUGHT TO YOU BY LIONESS THEATRE & DONCASTER HERITAGE FESTIVAL
LIONESS THEATRE & MUSIC will be taking over the upstairs room of Doncaster Brewery & Tap on 28.4.18. 
This special preview performance celebrates 100 years of women activists and artists, and includes an exhibition element. 

EXHIBITION ELEMENT:
19:30 onwards

Artwork from Doncaster Artist Helen Hardman inspired by this true story

Doncaster-specific Suffrage stories
(provided by Doncaster Archive Library)

PREVIEW PERFORMANCE of 'THE BLACK STUFF':
20:15
Lioness are presenting a special preview of our debut show, which will be premiered in full in Doncaster at DN Festival

Rubber - a miraculous substance! But until Charles Goodyear came along, it was sticky and useless. He turned it into a product that revolutionised the world – but his journey was far from easy. Through theatre, art, humour, and song, “The Black Stuff” tells the dark true tale of how a bankrupt button-maker became one of the most important inventors of all time - and the terrible price he and his family paid for it.

This performance will be followed by a Q&A
with discussion steered by our 'Pride' regarding women's journey over the past 100 years, and the role women play in the arts today.


FREE ENTRY: A Pay As You Decide Event. 
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<![CDATA[Press Release: Theatre Takeover at Brewery & Tap]]>Tue, 09 Jan 2018 08:47:07 GMThttp://lionesstheatre.uk/blog/press-release-theatre-takeover-at-brewery-tapOn the 27th January, local theatre-makers will turn the Upper Room at Doncaster Brewery & Tap into a miniature theatre, showcasing a sneak peek of their upcoming work.

A Doncastrian and a Mancunian have teamed up to create a piece of new theatre that they hope to stage later this year. “We need to get more actors on board,” says Doncaster writer and composer Holl Morrell, “but for now we want to just give the audience a little taste of the show.”

It’s not their first time treading the boards - Morrell composed “Boris - the Musical!” which came to Cast last summer, and as part of the same show, actress Liz Kearney was described as “scarily accurate” in her portrayal of Michael Gove. This new show, directed by Kearney, is a different kettle of fish. Based on the true story of an inventor who becomes a little too obsessed with his work; “it’s not as slapstick as Boris”, muses Morrell, “but it’s still laced with gentle humour. We like to break the fourth wall”.

The play tells the story behind the invention of modern rubber. Today, we associate Charles Goodyear with the tyre company that was named in his honour, but actually he discovered the vulcanisation process. His life’s work turned the sticky sludge of natural rubber into a useful product that has revolutionised industries around the world. But his journey was far from easy. Through theatre, humour, and song, "The Black Stuff" tells the story of how a bankrupt button-maker became one of the most important inventors of all time - and the terrible price he paid for it.

“The real strength of this show is the music”, says Kearney, “so we’re going to perform the songs, along with a bit of the narrative arc. You’ll get a taste of what’s to come, but it’s not the full show yet”.

The work-in-progress sharing takes place on Saturday 27th January at 7.30pm in the Upper Room at Doncaster Brewery & Tap. Entry is free, with a voluntary cash collection at the end, and audience members are warmly invited to contribute ideas and feedback.

Seats are limited, so to guarantee a place, please RSVP at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/songs-from-the-show-tickets-41184879082?aff=es2
Find out more at the website, www.lionesstheatre.uk, or watch a video about the project here.]]>
<![CDATA[What does it mean to be a dramaturg?]]>Sun, 03 Dec 2017 20:08:51 GMThttp://lionesstheatre.uk/blog/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-dramaturgBlog post authored by Liz Kearney, director and dramaturg.

As a dramaturg, I am fundamentally interested in the processes of creating art. For Lioness, I am taking on the roles of director and dramaturg.
What does that mean?

The director role is simple enough some may say, and is well documented. That of dramaturg however seems less so. Allow me to share my interpretation of what it means, and how I intend to embody it.

Well, in a nutshell, it means 'jack of all trades'. Editing scripts, adding to music, spearheading set design, being a cast member, being the 'go-to' person in all matters creative. These roles can and are embodied by directors regularly, however it is the business of the dramaturg to research, document and theorise the practice along the way. It's an immersive role that requires the big picture thinking of director, but simultaneously allows a special kind of creativity to thrive. Adding pinches of unique perspective and insight; drawn from reflective, internal, ongoing research which will (hopefully) lend to the project a heightened sense of self and worth.

Ultimately creative responsibility boils down to an awareness of connection and unity. Having a dramaturg on board frees up the writer, musicians and actors to flex creative muscles in new and exciting ways. A dramaturg should strive to ask questions of cast and creatives that pushes them out of comfort zones and requests may seem bizarre at first, but will yield innovative approaches. Work produced this way therefore has an urgency; an element of purity and hopefully, a more demonstrable impact upon audiences.

Taking a project from initial conception through to completion is a long and stressful road. In my role as dramaturg for lioness I will strive to ease this inevitable stress through a genuine connection with colleagues and audiences. Our subject matters are universal: those age-old conflicts between ambition and responsibility; loyalty and independence. However, being female led, it is inevitable that our work will reflect the minority opinion in more cases than not. Those voices that have throughout history been silenced will have a place with us, be it as member of the creative team or as active audience member.
We will strive to make work that is urgent, important, and has something to say. Failing that, we will make work that poses of our audiences’ questions that we consider to be a vital component towards building a more equal society.
I hope that you will join us in our journey; be it by offering moral support, offering feedback on our work, taking part in our work, inspiring us, or by simply reading along here on our blog of our progress and our interpretations of our processes.

For my part; I am beyond excited to start this journey, to explore what it means to be a creative in the 21st century, what it means to be a female creative, and more broadly, how art impacts its surroundings today. I hope to contribute to conversations surrounding these issues through my work with Lioness. And I will also strive to bring people together; which, at its very core, is (in my opinion) the point of the creative arts in the first place.
Delving into the Unknown is always a risky business, but to do so with like-minded individuals by your side makes it that bit easier. I will throw my all at this work; with an understanding that what we create will be true to ourselves. I will close this blog post, my first, by deviating to that comic & literary genius, Oscar Wilde:

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Why thank you, Mr Wilde.
We are Lioness.
Bring. It. On. 😊
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<![CDATA[A taste of Lioness!]]>Sat, 04 Nov 2017 14:53:27 GMThttp://lionesstheatre.uk/blog/a-taste-of-lionessWhile we're busy whipping up the ingredients for our new show, here's a little taste of what's to come.
This is part of  our opening song and there's lots more where that came from. We're brimming with ideas and super excited to be working on this project!
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<![CDATA[The Best Laid Plans.]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 20:16:16 GMThttp://lionesstheatre.uk/blog/the-best-laid-plansThe start of a venture: who can tell what it may bring?

This time last year, Liz and I had recently opened "Boris - the Musical" in Sheffield with Blowfish Theatre. What an intense year it was: Sheffield, Doncaster, Manchester, London, Edinburgh Fringe, and Camden Fringe. Not to mention writing, composing, and rehearsing a musical in only two months, then recording the album in another two. Blowfish certainly kept us on our toes, and we learned quite a few lessons along the way.

Now we're creating something totally new: A theatre company led by women, with music and technology at its heart. Here's the poster for our first project: The Black Stuff:
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