On the 27th January, local theatre-makers will turn the Upper Room at Doncaster Brewery & Tap into a miniature theatre, showcasing a sneak peak 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.
Blog 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. 😊
While 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!
The 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: