Good Person of Szechwan Biographies

Cast

bernard-brennanBernard Brennan – Originally from the west of Ireland, Bernard Brennan works as an architect in London. Previous acting credits include transvestite dancer Rose in KDC’s 2015 original production of Night, Night, Sleep Tight at The Barons Court Theatre and religious fanatic Dougal in Tower Theatre Company’s 2016 production of Jez Butterworth’s The Night Heron at Theatro Technis. Bernard is very pleased to be back at The Barons Court with KDC for a production of this modern classic by Brecht.

danielle-florenceDanielle Florence – After graduating from drama school, Danielle left the sweet, maple-y embrace of Canada to live in Korea. After teaching some kids English and directing a production of The Vagina Monologues, she moved to London where she was most recently seen in KDC’s The Laboratorium. When she’s not flitting about on a stage, she can be found working at the Natural History Museum.

pippa-gibbPippa Gibb – Funniest performance experience: props stolen by audience members during a Panto tour of care homes. Most bizarre performance: playing a gorilla during an MA in Acting. Highest profile performance: Rehearsed reading of new writing with the National Theatre. Scariest performance: teaching secondary school pupils every day.

leyla-doanyLeyla Doany – Leyla’s acting highlights include playing a 70-year-old woman in a 4-star sell-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 and performing in over 20 productions during her 4-year MA English Literature degree at the University of Edinburgh. When she’s not acting, she can be found working as a media analyst specialized in breaking news.

Juliet Okotie, Theatre Royl Stratford East, Stratford, London, UK.Juliet Okotie – Juliet is an Actress, Singer, Writer/Poet. She is currently in the process of writing and producing a one woman show. Her recent credits include: Chicken Palace (Black Apron Entertainment), Sweet Taboo (Talawa Theatre Company), Chicken Shop (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Gossip (Soho Theatre), One Woman’s Slide: A Blues (Talawa Theatre Company), Meet The Adebanjos (MTA Productions), Home Theatre (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Monologue Slam (Triforce Promotions), STEP (Theatre Royal Stratford East), East End Boys, West End Girls (RichMix).

dalila-mcfarlane-martinDalila McFarlane-Martin – Dalila’s credits include: Woyzeck by Georg Buchner, Be My Baby by Amanda Whittington and A Vampire Story by Moira Buffini at the Arcola theatre. In 2012 she participated in a devised piece at The Battersea Arts Centre entitled The Most Incredible Nothing and in 2013 she participated in an immersive experience at The Bedroom Bar called Miss Mabell. She recently graduated from Falmouth University training in Acting and starred as the leading role Bernarda in the graduate performance The House of Bernarda Alba by Frederico Garica Lorca. She has also explored other mediums including writing two plays, one of which, Love, Death and The Underground, was a collaborated piece and was performed at The Almedia Theatre. Her most recent article, Where Are You Really From, will be published in November in the zine Leksim. During her time training as an actor, she devised a web series entitled The Misrepresentation of Me. This series focused on the unheard stories of black British women trying to make a success of their lives. She is currently working on a second series.

kieron-mieresKieron Meires – Kieron has been acting for 11 years, beginning with a stint in the National Youth Theatre. Since that time he has dabbled in Shakespeare, Brecht and Kitchen Sink dramas and has been fortunate enough to have been praised in county newspapers. He also wrote, directed and produced a short film with funding from The Roundhouse.

Creatives

Brigitte AdelaBrigitte Adela – Brigitte is a freelance director and Artistic Director of Written Foundations Theatre Company (www.writtenfoundations.co.uk). Her previous work includes St Georges Day (Park Theatre), Homo- (Rosemary Branch), Collegiate (Arcola), Gamma (Tristan Bates), What Would Quentin Do (The Bush) and The Heir (Edric Theatre).

veema-sawmynaden-co-producerVeema Sawmynaden – Veema is a theatre maker and frequently works with young people. She recently worked on Old Vic New Voices project on their community project Rise as Assistant Stage Manager. This is her first producer role but will not be her last.

Oscar – Raised from the concrete jungle of London, and inspired by the palm trees of California, BossOLa comes with tunes that reach out from a range of genres and grinds them into forms that talk of love for one and hate for the powers that be. All done in the hope of making the listener bop their head to the beat with tears in their eyes.

Audition Notice for Concrete Island

Our Autumn Season mini-project for new ideas and busy people, Concrete Island – an adaptation of a JG Ballard novel – is a rehearsed reading on 5 November at Barons Court Theatre.

Auditions are on 17 September at St Bride Foundation, with rehearsals on Sundays through to the performance. More details:

Concrete Island Audition Notice

Rabbit Cast Biographies

jenni-headshotBella – Jennifer Stewart

This will be Jenni’s debut performance with KDC and she has loved every minute of it. She would like to say a huge thank you to all the cast, her lovely Director, Hayley Cameron and Assistant Director, Vicky Olusanya. She has always enjoyed being on stage and has been in many productions throughout school and University. Most recently, since moving to London, she has been a part of Singing in the Rain (Mayhem Musical Theatre Company), Made in Dagenham (WLOS) and now Rabbit!

stephen-headshotFather – Stephen Ball

Stephen trained at City Lit in the early nineties. After a 15 year break, he returned to the stage in 2014 in the KDC production Keeping in Touch with Temptation. This was followed by roles in You are the Detective at Theatre Delicetessan, An Audience Investigates at Hampstead Peoples Theatre and several Third Person Theatre co-productions at Bread and Roses Theatre. In 2015 he appeared as Special Agent Christopher Klein in Kingmakers, a British Nollywood series. This year he has appeared in Sci Fi film The Skies of Arcadia as Professor Vergil (Carlo Garibaldi) and as the Addict Phil in Sleepwalkers (Caitlin Adamson).

tasha-headshotEmily – Natasha Rowan

Before moving to London to study acting at The Poor School (short course) Natasha worked with various amateur companies in Norfolk, in association with Sheringham Little Theatre and The Garage Theatre. Some of her favourite roles have been Prospera in The Tempest, Viola in Twelfth Night and Cissy in Punk Rock. Last year Natasha performed in the Croydon Festival, in An Experiment with An Air Pump by Shelagh Stephenson. This is her first time working with KDC and she’s really excited to be a part of Rabbit!

nilesh-headshotTom – Nilesh Pandey

This is Nilesh’s first performance with KDC. Over the past few years he has performed in Calendar Girls as Liam and Swimming with Sharks as Jack. He also studied acting at college where he played the lead role in productions of Dying For It by Moira Buffini and A Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. Nilesh works in Marketing by day, and his claim to fame is appearing on Newsround with Jo from S Club 7 when he was 11.

doug-headshotRichard – Douglas Baker

Douglas is a freelance creative with a passion for theatre, film and travel. He has also researched for many fun and exciting TV, film and commercial directors. He has just returned from an inspiring journey through Tibet, Japan and China. He has enjoyed bringing this part from page to stage and is looking forward to entertaining the audience.

talitha-headshotSandy – Talitha Parker

Representing Australia, this is Talitha’s first KDC production. Having been involved in independent film projects since her stay in London, she is very excited to get back to her roots and immerse in the theatre world once again! She can’t wait to start showing the people of London this exciting project!

hayley-headshotDirector – Hayley Cameron

Good Person of Szechwan Cast List

Thanks to all those that auditioned this season; the successful cast for Good Person of Szechwan:

Layla Doany
Juliet Okotie
Bernard Brennan
Pippa Gibb
Danielle Florence
Dalila McFarlane-Martin
Kieron Mieres

 

Rabbit Cast List

Congratulations to the cast of Rabbit, 25-29 October 2016 at Barons Court Theatre:

(in order of appearance)
Bella – Jennifer Stewart
Father – Stephen Ball
Emily – Natasha Rowan
Tom – Nilesh Pandey
Richard – Douglas Baker
Sandy – Talitha Parker

Autumn Season 2016

The sun may have gone away but there is no need to stop drinking those celebratory cocktails – KDC auditions for our Autumn season are officially on. We have two great plays directed by two super women, with parts for all ages and types. You are sure to find something to float your boat.

When: 6.45-7pm registration, auditions 7pm-9pm, Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 August 2016. Choose whichever date suits you best.

Where: Clean Break Studios, 2 Patshull Road, Kentish Town, NW5 2LB. The nearest tube is Kentish Town.

Recalls: 10am-2pm, Saturday 3 September at Clean Break Studios

You will be called by Friday 2 September if the directors would like to see you again.

The Plays:

Rabbit, written by Nina Raine
Directed by Hayley Cameron
25 – 29 October 2016, Barons Court Theatre
Audition Notice

Good Person of Szechwan, written by Bertolt Brecht
Translated by John Willet
Directed by Brigitte Adela
1 – 5 November 2016, Barons Court Theatre
Audition Notice

Guest Blog: Kate Moore on The Radium Girls

The Radium Girls
The Radium Girls

From Stage to Page: The Journey of Writing The Radium Girls

In the spring of 2014, I had just made my directorial debut, thanks to KDC. I’d taken the helm for a production of Lorca’s Blood Wedding and had been firmly bitten by the directing bug. Just a week after the get-out for BW, I started searching for the next play I wanted to direct, googling ‘Great Plays for Women’. And as soon as I read the opening monologue of These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich, I knew it was ‘the one’. It had fantastic, strong female leads, a beautiful lyricism and, most significantly, it was based on a little-known but powerful true story: that of the Radium Girls, the American women from the 1920s who were poisoned by their work and courageously fought for justice. I pitched it as ‘Erin Brockovich meets Made in Dagenham, starring the Pink Ladies’.

At first, KDC and I got a knockback on the rights, but I felt so passionate about directing the play that I phoned Marnich’s agent in America and pleaded my case. Luckily, the rights were granted, and the show became part of KDC’s Spring 2015 season.

These Shining Lives cast
These Shining Lives cast

From the very start, I felt a responsibility to do justice to the Radium Girls’ real experiences and conducted a lot of background research. By the time of our first rehearsal, I knew enough to give a presentation to the cast about the true story we would be telling onstage. I shared with them the details of the women’s suffering; I showed them photographs of the people they had been entrusted to represent. My ethos as a director and actor is that ‘it’s all about the back story’, so the cast and I spent hours in rehearsals working on the back stories of all the characters, improvising scenes and discussing the imagined details of their lives: what was Tom and Catherine’s wedding like; who was Grossman’s wife; did Pearl have any siblings?

As I researched more about the true story, I realised that Marnich had fictionalised some aspects of her play – for example, in These Shining Lives, Charlotte Purcell is a wise-cracking, unmarried, childless woman, but in real life she was fairly quiet, with three children and a husband called Al. My research also revealed something I found hard to believe: no book existed that focused on the women and told the story from their perspective, in an accessible, readable, narrative account.

By this time, the girls had become precious to me so I thought, If no one else has done it, why don’t I? I pitched my non-fiction book about the women to publishers while we were still rehearsing the play, and invited them to attend our production to learn more. The editor who eventually bought the book, Abigail Bergstrom of Simon & Schuster, was one of those in the audience as KDC staged the play at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town in March 2015.

While publishers considered my pitch, plans were afoot behind the scenes for a second run of that KDC production. The cast and I, sharing a desire to bring the women’s story to as large an audience as possible, self-funded a transfer to the Pleasance, Islington in September 2015. By the time we opened, I had a book deal inked with Simon & Schuster and my flights were booked to America for a research trip. I was to follow in the footsteps of the characters I had directed.

It was an incredible experience. The play had given me names and addresses; and to stand in Ottawa, Illinois at 520 East Superior Street – the home described by Catherine Donohue in that opening monologue which had first captured my attention – was such a powerful moment. I knew, of course, that the play was based on a true story but perhaps that moment, more than any other, cemented the knowledge.

I also tracked down and interviewed relatives who had known and loved the people in the play: I spoke to Grossman’s son; to Catherine’s niece and nephew; to Charlotte’s son and grandchildren; to Pearl’s nephew ~ They showed me childhood photographs and generously shared details of their relatives’ lives, which I wove into the tapestry of my book. In a way, it was the ultimate ‘back story’ exercise – and I found out so much that the cast and I had never touched on; could never have touched on. Tom Donohue was a twin (his birthday was the same day as mine); Tom and Catherine’s wedding had 22 guests and a colour scheme of pink and green; Pearl was one of 13 children; Grossman had a young German wife named Trudel, whom he adored. I found original letters written by the women in a local museum, and held them in my bare hands, tracing Catherine Donohue’s signature, which she herself had written in pencil. It gently indented the paper. It felt so special.

Catherine and Tom
Catherine and Tom

While some of the things I learned were new to me, or contradicted the play, others we had unwittingly got right. I learned that Tom had used to carry Catherine around in his arms when she got sick; I had directed my actor playing Tom (James Barton-Steel) to do exactly that onstage, little knowing that the real man had acted identically. Marnich had written a ‘shopping list’ scene, where Pearl and Frances listed all the groceries they had bought for Catherine to help her, as she was too sick to get to the store; I found details in these letters of the pails of eggs, roast chickens and white nightgowns that Catherine’s real friends had bought for her to help her out. Bit by bit, I learned the women’s true story, and the genuine details of their lives.

And I visited the women’s graves. Watching my actors tell the Radium Girls’ story, I had been moved to tears many times: it is a powerful tale, and they were gifted. But as I stood in that sunlit cemetery, this wasn’t acting, or a cleverly crafted line, or a dramatic climax to a staged tragedy before me. This wasn’t a play.

This was Catherine’s grave – her actual, real grave; her body was beneath it. As her relatives stood respectfully a short distance away, I could not help the tears that tracked my cheeks and I knew in that moment, more than ever before, that I had to bring her story – her real story – to the world.

Radium Girls Book CoverEight months later, my book, The Radium Girls, has just been published. It tells the story not only of the Ottawa women that the play was about, but also of the Radium Girls of New Jersey. It is that narrative account that was previously unpublished: the book that puts the girls centre stage, and gives them a voice. I have used those interviews with the relatives in the book, but I have also embedded the women’s own accounts of their story – those letters I found, and their diaries and court testimonies – to bring them to life, in their own words. ‘Always at the centre of the narrative,’ wrote The Spectator in a review of the book, ‘are the individual dial-painters, so the list of their names at the start becomes a register of familiar, endearing ghosts.’

I hope the Radium Girls will be around to haunt us all for a good while yet.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore is out now, published by Simon & Schuster http://amzn.to/219Olw5

Follow Kate on Twitter @katebooks

Director pitches – Autumn Season 2016

We are looking for two directors to take on a week each at the Barons Court Theatre. The weeks are 25-29 October and 1-5 November. Rehearsals would start in early September.

What’s the deal?

Without our wonderful directors nothing would happen. We rely on those creative geniuses to dream up the ideas and become the enthusiastic, balls of energy that inspire our actors to take those ideas to the stage. We want to hear from all budding and established directors who would be interested in pitching a play to be performed for one week in June.

What kind of thing do we want?

ANYTHING!!! We love theatre in all its dramatic, hilarious, touching and downright avant-garde glory. From Shakespeare to new writing, Ibsen to long-form improv, we’ve done a lot and we are always looking for the next challenge.

Things to consider

KDC prefers play with upwards of 8 roles in order to give our actors plenty of parts. However, don’t let that deter you from pitching other things, we have ways…

The theatres we use are fairly small and our show budgets are limited. If you are picturing a revolve and purpose built ship it probably won’t happen.

KDC have fantastic actors but they aren’t professionals: they have lives, families, jobs, insecurities and are doing theatre because they love it, not because they are paid for it. As a director you need to be sensitive this and create an environment where people feel safe and free to be creative. Please have a think about this because it’s very important and we will ask!

But I haven’t directed before!!

That’s fine, we have to do everything for the first time at some point. Although we do like a bit of experience, we appreciate different backgrounds bring different talent and have plenty of old hands to help you find your feet.

I’m interested, what now?

In the first instance drop the artistic director, Kim Morrison, a quick email briefly explaining what you’d like to pitch by 5pm on Friday 1st July and we can take it from there.

Summer Season 2016

25 – 28 June Breaking the Mould
A festival of brand new work based on well-loved classics, created by you, our fabulous membership

3.30pm matinee 7.30pm evening
25 Alice
The Laboratorium –
A Furrytale
Love, Shakespeare
The Laboratorium –
A Furrytale
26 Love, Shakespeare
The Laboratorium –
A Furrytale
Love, Shakespeare
The Laboratorium –
A Furrytale
27 N/A Love, Shakespeare
Alice
28 N/A Love, Shakespeare
Alice

Taking place at The Rag Factory, 16-18 Heneage Road, E1

28 – 30 June @ 7.30pm
There Has Possibly Been An Incident by Chris Thorpe
The Spread Eagle, Croydon

Would you stop a tank carrying nothing but your groceries? Would you save a child from a crashed plane? Would you save your country from corrupt rulers? How about kill for what you believe in?

There Has Possibly Been An Incident is a play about choices and consequences. Pasts and futures. Questions and answers. Right and wrong. One story about bravery, one about accidental power, one about missed opportunities, and one about conviction in your own beliefs. Plus one more story about the biggest choice of them all.