Search Results

Keyword: ‘janice okoh’

Sparks 2009


Sparks was our Hotbed warm-up event, held in January 2009 at our home base, The Junction. Sparks was the opportunity for the writers to see their work on its feet for the first time, working with a director and actors to bring it to life. We heard from over 100 writers and chose 4, all of whom were new to the company – Effie Woods, Benjamin Craib, Alison Falconer and Janice Okoh. All plays were rehearsed and performed before a live and critical audience. Sparks opened up Menagerie to new blood and we are building on those relationships, taking 2 of the plays forward to further development at Hotbed.

More about Sparks

On Thursday 15th January, SPARKS was opened by Patrick Morris directing This is a Family, Effie Woods’ quartet of pieces. Infants, performed by Gary Mackay and Sarah Maguire, began to examine a theme which was to permeate all four playlets; why do we have children? In This Room found its characters in a hospital ward for a tense and ambiguous exchange between father and daughter. Newborn took as its central character the frustrated, confused six-year old Burney, convincingly played by Caroline Rippin, while finally Skylight saw Rowan Wylie and Stephen von Schreiber give a sweet and sensitive rendition of the eight-year-old Nettie and five-year-old Alex.

I found watching the play an emotional experience, with its mundane tragedy and fraught family relationships brought to life by performance. An interested audience questioned whether the four distinct pieces – which deal with separate characters – hung together enough to give a satisfying, complete experience.

The next night, the studio became a Goth club for Ben Craib’s Teenage Love in Twisted Dreamland, performed by the talented ensemble of Kate McGonigle, Robert Thornton and Aleesha Everitt. As director, I found it exciting to work on a really comic piece, by a young writer without too much reverence, and with a great sense of dialogue and timing. The young performers responded well to the script, and the audience seemed to be with it throughout.

Questions raised at the end centred on the target audience; is this a play for 17-year-olds, in which case would there be potential problems surrounding the subject matter, language etc? Or, is this a piece for older audiences, in which case is there a danger of ‘looking down’ on the characters?

Saturday saw the premiere of Prosperity Three, Alison Falconer’s play set on an oil rig in Nigerian waters. This was performed by Michael Thomson as Karl, a British worker whose main objective is to get off the rig as soon as possible. Des Yankson played the educated, exasperated Ekwueme, while Neil Reidman was Achike, the leader of an impromptu workers’ action. Dialogue in this piece really flew off the page, with a lot of energy and danger, as well as moments of humour and reflection.

The response of the audience was also lively, with some people questioning the balance of the play; is it weighted too much towards the British character? Or too heavily against? Alison’s aim – to explore an ‘international’ event from the point of view of ordinary working people – is not an easy task, but it is a brave one.

The final play to be read in SPARKS was Janice Okoh’s Egusi Soup, telling of the relationships, and the individual fears and loves, of a British Nigerian family, a year on from the death of its patriarch. Staged in the round by director Paul Bourne, the piece was animated by well-judged performances from Neil Reidman and Lynette Clarke as the older generation, and Des Yankson and Wunmi Mosaku as the engaging younger couple. Caroline Partridge, meanwhile, got her teeth into the complex motivations of Anne, who has rejoined the family after years of working – and staying – away.

It was great to see the ease with which the performers engaged with their characters, and brought them to life – usually a sign of good writing. The audience response was warm and interested, suggesting that the play could have wide appeal.

We feel very lucky to have found such interesting pieces, but especially to have engaged with four talented new writers with so much to offer. We’d like once again to say thank you to everyone who entered, to those writers who came along to see what was going on, and to our great critical audience.  Cassie Werber, Literary Associate.

After the event we asked our Sparks writers to comment on their experiences and give us some feedback on the process.

Janice Okoh wrote: Because this was the first time I had been involved in a rehearsed reading of a stage play I was filled with trepidation because Egusi Soup still had a way to go. Would the audience boo and hiss me out of the theatre because it wasn’t perfect? I thought. But after Paul Bourne reassured me that this was exactly the right time to get feedback from a wider audience because they could help me decide what parts of the piece to expand or take out, I decided to sit back and leave it to him and the actors.

As soon as the rehearsals started I already began to learn loads about the piece. I already knew that the second act of the play was underwritten but the rehearsals highlighted this as the pace slowed down significantly in the second half. The rehearsals also helped me see that the character of Dele and his relationship with the women in the house needed more work and that I needed to work on the theatricality of a major plot point. Still, the experience was really enjoyable as Paul and the actors were really enthusiastic and came up with loads of ideas and before I knew it, it was time for the real thing.

My nerves came back again and at first found it difficult to listen to the play objectively as I found myself stressing when the audience didn’t laugh at a bit that I thought was funny. They did laugh at some bits, so it wasn’t all bad but it was clear that I needed to sharpen some jokes in the piece and re-write some bits.  The feedback was great and encouraging and it was nice to hear that the varied members of the audience found a character or a situation that they identified with because this was my aim –  to write a piece that was true to me but that would also resonate with a lot of people. The only bit I regret is not having had some questions ready to put to the audience but I’m hoping these might be answered on the feedback forms that the audience were asked to complete.

Alison Falconer wrote: When I submitted my play to Sparks, I had lived with it a long time – written it, put it away, rewritten it. I won’t say that familiarity had bred contempt exactly.. more, confusion.  Being chosen for a Sparks reading was the best thing that could have happened. Cassie Werber, the director, was completely in tune with what I intended the play to be. It was good to hear what I’d written out loud and learn what experienced actors thought about their characters – where my writing had given them a clear picture and where it hadn’t.

The feedback from the audience was useful and I’m looking forward to more from Menagerie. I already have a much clearer idea of what to work on. Seeing all four plays also allowed me to put my work in context with other new writers.

Sparks was a great experience for me. The enthusiasm of those involved has re-ignited my belief in the play and sent me back to work in my normal isolation with a lot of information but also renewed confidence that it is worthwhile.
Ben Craib wrote: Being part of Sparks was a fantastic experience and massively beneficial in the development of my script. After spending so much time writing it  and only ever having heard it read out loud (by myself) in my bedroom I felt I had reached the limit of what I could achieve alone. A day’s rehearsal and reading is a fantastic and ruthless test of the work: what is strong about the show appears very strong and what is weak sticks out massively. To see how the actors engage with or have trouble with understanding and playing your characters is a big indication of how well you have written them and the standard to which you are communicating. To see the piece staged as opposed to read makes it very clear very quickly how your visual thinking was working.  To work with both talented actors and directors is thrilling – they make things alive  thrilling ways you couldn’t imagine and in doing their job well they show very quickly what is redundant in your writing and flawed in your technique (as well as covering it up). This learning is apparent all day long in the rehearsal room but is at it’s strongest in front of an audience. What they loved, what they didn’t like, whether they’re even concentrating, it’s all in right in front of you. You see the story either doing its job or not. After the show I was given sensitive and detailed feedback form Menagerie and overall I felt enough had worked to fill me with the energy to pursue the piece further, and I had a clear  sense of what needed to be addressed for it to realise its potential –  which is exactly what a day’s rehearsal and reading should do.

Share

Egusi Soup National Tour

 

Egusi Soup went on national tour from 20th February-5th April 2014 and visited Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Peterborough Key Theatre, Arts Depot, Hull Truck, Derby Theatre, Birmingham REP, The Albany, and Nottingham Playhouse.

 

Theatre Royal Bury, 20th-22nd FebruaryEgusi-BTR_Leaflet

Peterborough Key Theatre, 25th February

Arts Depot, 5th March

Hull Truck, 7-8th March

Derby Theatre, 14th March

Birmingham REP, 18th-22nd March

The Albany, 25-28th March

Nottingham Playhouse, 4-5th April

***** Everything Theatre

**** What’s On Stage

4.5/5 The Public Reviews

As the Anyias, a British-Nigerian family, pack their suitcases and prepare to head home to Lagos for a memorial service in honour of the late Mr Anyia, they soon realise they will need to get rid of some excess baggage first!

A fast, furious and funny new family drama about inter-generational and cross-cultural relationships.

Janice Okoh is an award winning playwright.  Her play Three Birds won the 2011 Bruntwood Prize and was short-listed for the Verity Bargate Award and the Alfred Fagon Award. 

Read about the Egusi Soup cast here.

Follow our rehearsal blog here.

Click here for the reviews.  

 

Share

Hotbed Theatre Festival

Hotbed is The Cambridge New Writing theatre festival produced by Menagerie Theatre Company, co-produced with the Cambridge Junction 

 

Held since 2002, Festival commissions have included work by Tim Etchells, Naomi Wallace, Steve Waters, Fraser Grace, Ed Harris, Diane Samuels, Jane Upton, Chris O’Connell and Janice Okoh as well as dozens of first-time and up-and-coming writers.

Hotbed 2018

To read about Hotbed 2018 on our dedicated Hotbed website, click HERE

Hotbed 2017

Hotbed 2017 took place on Saturday July 8th at Cambridge Junction.  Featuring exciting new productions from our Young Writers’ Workshop, the latest play from acclaimed writer Janice Okoh, special commissions, a remarkable collaboration with local school students and other Cambridge cultural organisations, and time to drink, eat and chat in between!

Hotbed 2017 - 1

Hotbed 2016

The brochure for 2016 will be uploaded here soon.

 

Hotbed 2015

Hotbed 2015 has come and gone in a blaze of new writing energy.  Thank you to all the artists, audiences and supporters who made it such an exciting and wide-ranging festival.  Highlights were the What’s Up Doc? commissions, led by Craig Baxter and Martina di Simplicio’s collaboration on ‘Pictures of You‘, the international guest artists Na Perone from Slovakia with their production of ‘Fasbuk‘, and the Menagerie Young Writers’ Showcase which closed the festival on a high.

 

Download Hotbed 2015 Festival Programme

Download Hotbed_Schedule

For full show details, click on the links below:

Full Productions:

Fasbuk by Slovakian company Na Perone, Luke Wright in Stay-at-Home Dandy, Luke Wright in What I Learned from Johnny Bevan, A Lie by Francesca Beard, Professional Supervision by Tom Martin and The Sunset Five by DugOut Theatre.

The Sunset Five has now been replaced by Goodbear by DugOut Theatre.

These are completed productions including commissioned and guest work.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

What’s Up Doc? Plays:

Pictures of You by Craig Baxter, How to Cheat…And Be a Winner by Grace Knight, Fifteen by Sarah Davies

These are plays which have been written by a playwright in conversation or correspondence with a ‘Doc’.  The Docs are those who sit as thought leaders in their field (academic, scientific, political).

Special Event:

What’s Up Doc? Breakfast – a chance to discuss the What’s Up Doc? Plays

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Works in Progress and Staged Readings:

Guesthouse by Nicola Werenowska,  Offside by Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish and TRAILER/trash by Mike Elliston.

These are semi-staged performances presenting the early drafts of exciting ideas.  They may be script-in-hand or learned: all exciting and raw.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Cambridge Productions:

Black Cat by Corkscrew Theatre, MaD: New Plays by WRiTEON, Connie and the Suffragettes by Ros Connelly, The Cambridge Monolgues: Voices of the Past by Kay Blayney, Memory Bank devised by Cambridge Community Arts Drama Group, Streets and Dreams by Year 8 students from Coleridge Community College and Patience the Campervan by Kay Blayney, specially for children aged 4-8.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Menagerie Young Writers:

Collection One: Immobile by Daniel Hutchinson, Beached by James McDermott and Violet Night by Rebekah Miron-Clayton

Collection Two: The Tinder Game by Michelle Sewell and Happy Birthday by Lindsay Oldham.

A collection of new one act plays from the Menagerie Young Writers’ Group (16-25), specially commissioned for Hotbed.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Workshops:

Energy-Movement- Space led by Na Perone, Theatre of the People led by Marina Pallares Elias and The Birth of Panda Man led by Fraser Grace and Paul Bourne.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

One Page Play Competition:

We are still accepting entries for our One Page Play Competition. Selected plays will be performed at the Hotbed Festival.  If you are 16 and over you can enter the adult competition.  We also have a young writers category for those aged 15 years and under.

One Page Play Guidelines 2015

One Page Plays Guidelines 2015 – 15 and under

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Hotbed is supported by:

Print

Print

Council Logo

 

Share

Egusi Soup 2012

Ellen Thomas, Nick Oshikanlu, Rhoda Ofori-Attah, Anniwaa Buachie and Lace Akpojaro brought Egusi Soup to life in 2012!

 

 

A fresh and updated version of funny and poignant play from Menagerie Associate Writer and Bruntwood Prize Winner, Janice Okoh had a sell-out run  in London in June this year.

As the Anyias, a British-Nigerian family, pack their suitcases and prepare to head home to Lagos for a memorial service in honour of the late Mr Anyia, they soon realise they will need to get rid of some excess baggage first!  A fast, furious and funny new family drama about intergenerational and cross- cultural relationships. Contains plenty of spicy bits…

Egusi Soup started life with Menagerie with a reading at Sparks; it then premiered as a script-in-hand performance at Hotbed in July 2009 and in October 2009 embarked on tour in a co-production with Eastern Angles. For 2012, Egusi Soup was brought to life once again with a co-production between Menagerie and Soho Theatre and in association with the Mercury Theatre, Colchester.

Reviews

THE PUBLIC REVIEW

A thought-provoking production that was a triumph because of its heartfelt and honest portrayal of ordinary lives…

http://www.thepublicreviews.com/egusi-soup-soho-theatre-london/

 

The Stage

“Okoh’s play is punchy and funny, and generates much laughter of recognition.”

http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/36321/egusi-soup

 

What’s On Stage

http://www.whatsonstage.com/reviews/theatre/london/E8831338198781/Egusi+Soup.html

 

Squeamish Bikini

http://www.squeamishbikini.com/2/post/2012/05/egusi-soup-a-review.html

 

MORE PHOTOS


 



Share

Menagerie Theatre Company

Menagerie Theatre Company is the leading independent new writing theatre company in the East of England. Based in Cambridge, we have been creating theatre for over sixteen years and have a regional, national and international reputation for the development of first class new writing for the stage. We seek out and support talented writers in order to develop and produce innovative new theatre. As well as touring widely, we run workshops, writer development courses and produce the annual Hotbed Festival in Cambridge.

The Great Austerity Debate!

BOOK TICKETS FOR TOUR HERE

This forum theatre piece goes out on national tour in October-November 2018.  It explores and encourages burning questions about the effects of austerity.

We’ll be playing in a mix of community and theatre venues, partnering with local organisations to involve audiences in the vibrant experience of forum theatre.  Project and tour details HERE 

HERE’s a short film about the project and HERE’s a blog from one of our shows.

Also, go to our Ideas Stage page.

Trumpington Voices

A Public Art project featuring theatre!  A verbatim play drawn from ongoing interviews with residents old and new in the ever-changing Trumpington area of Cambridge.  

Visit the project website here.

Bloom gets FIVE STARS in Edinburgh!

bloominauschwitz, our epic odyssey about Leopold Bloom’s escape from ‘Ulysses’ heads to the Edinburgh Fringe Aug 3-25th.  Here’s our first great review – 5*

Full details here. 

‘bloominauschwitz’ previews in Cambridge, for one performance only.  Full details here.

Community Project   

Our 2018 community project is a collaboration with Abbey People, here in Cambridge.  It’s “A Piece of Cake”, a weekly drama workshop for young mums in Abbey.  Led by Caroline Rippin, the workshops run throughout the year with performance and participation opportunities at different points along the way. For more information please email Patrick Morris on patrick@menagerie.uk.com.

Made possible with funding from Arts for Everyone, and Cambridge City Council.

 

The Ideas Stage

The Ideas Stage is an initiative from Menagerie to develop creative partnerships with universities. Projects use theatre to explore the scientific, historical, political and cultural ideas which shape our world. More information

Contact Menagerie

Tel: 01223 403361

office@menagerie.uk.com

Sign up for our newsletter

Please join us on:

 

Channel Four Playwright In Residence 2018

We are delighted to be working with Janice Okoh  on a new full length play – SLEEPER  supported by Channel Four Television. In addition to writing this new piece, Janice is working alongside our Young Writers in supporting the development of their new work.  Many Thanks to the Team at Channel Four for their support.  Read about award Channel 4 Playwrights Scheme PRESS RELEASE . 

Corporate Arts Based Training

NEW: Trailer for our Arts Based Training Programme- The EPIC System. Click here.

Menagerie provides training and support for businesses.

Menagerie has joined forces with Arts and Business to offer some of the most powerful training workshops in the marketplace.  Click the link for more information:
Read Paul’s Blog on Theatre and Training HERE
 
We work directly using creativity in business with partner organisations internationally including iNTG in Russia and Creative Kosice in Slovakia.

 

 

 

Share

Writer Opportunities

We are committed to working with writers from the East & South East of England, and beyond.

Mentoring Young Writers June-July 2017

The second phase of our development work with the Young Writers will take place in June and July 2017.  This will involve mentoring, feedback and dramaturgical input, as we proceed towards producing two pieces for Hotbed on July 8th.  Each produced piece will receive two performances as part of an intensive day of new writing activity at Cambridge Junction.  More details to follow once the full programme is ready.

Young Writers’ Workshop 2017 – Conclusions

Photo 2 - web Photo 3 - webPhoto 4. - webWe’ve now completed the first phase of this year’s Young Writers’ Workshop, with a weekend intensive at Cambridge Junction.  Our writers were Rayna Haralambieva, Rachel Tookey, Tom Field, Philip Webb Gregg and Samantha Mann.  The guest writers inspired and challenged them in equal measures, starting off with Chris Thorpe leading a fantastic discussion on Tim Crouch’s The Author.   The following week, Fraser Grace brought in Zinnie Harris’ Further Than The Furthest Thing, followed by  Jane Upton looking at Al Smith’s Harrogate.  Our final guest was our good friend and colleague, Claire MacDonald, who brought along Kennedy’s Children by Robert Patrick.  Following the final weekend intensive on the 18th-19th March, the writers now have the opportunity to respond to our theme, ‘What country, friends, is this?‘   We have immersed them in other writers’ worlds; we have exposed them to critical evaluation of their work;  we have challenged them to dig deep into themselves to explore the theme.  Now, with all of this absorbed and distilled, we wait to see what they bring forth!   

Writer Development

Menagerie’s Writer Development work has intrinsically been linked to Hotbed and our production cycle.   More than anything, our chief aim has been about evolving relationships with writers and allowing new plays to emerge in the process.

We aim towards excellence and are proud to have worked with some of the best writers in the country – Steve Waters, Naomi Wallace, Janice Okoh, Fraser Grace, Jane Upton, Ranjit Bolt, Claire MacDonald, Craig Baxter, Tim Etchells, to name but a few.

Menagerie is currently reviewing its Writer Development process and, following the conclusion of the 2017 Young Writers’ Workshop, we not planning any future programmes until this review is complete.  However, if you have a general enquiry about Menagerie’s work with writers, please contact Patrick Morris, on patrick@menagerie.uk.com

Share

Associate Playwrights


The following writers are Menagerie Associate Playwrights who have been commissioned by us and work with us on a regular basis, support other Menagerie writers in development and regularly workshop new ideas with us:


Craig Baxter: Hard Sell 2003, RE: Design USA 2008, Let Newton Be! USA 2011

Clare Bayley: At Sea, Hotbed 2009

Ranjit Bolt: Potty Time Hotbed 2009

Samantha Ellis; A Sudden Visitaion of Calamity ; Hotbed 2008, BBC 2009)

Kenny Emson: Invisible MIce, Hotbed 2008

Tim Etchells: MFI Hotbed 2002

Alison Falconer: Prosperity 3; Hotbed 2009

Jennifer Framer: Stutter; Hotbed 2008

Richard Fredman: Four For Jerhico 2010

Pam Gien: Syringa Tree; Edinburgh 2008

Fraser Grace: Gifts of War National Tour 2002, Frobisher’s Gold London 2008, Events Hotbed 2009, Tongues Tour 2010

Danusia Iswasko: Oran’s Message; Hotbed 2008

Claire Macdonald : Correspondence; National Tour 2007

Andrew Muir: Gaugleprixtown; Hotbed, Edinburgh 2006

Janice Okoh : Egusi Soup; Hotbed 2009

Anna Reynolds : Stand By Your Van, Edinburgh 2010

Diane Samuels : Seeds, Hotbed 2004

Judy Upton : Push the Button Hotbed 2008, Flick to Kick Hotbed 2009, BBC Radio 2010

Naomi Wallace; The Retreating World, National Tour 2002, Between this Breath and You Hotbed 2008

Steve Waters: The Cull, Regional tour 2000, Out Of Your Knowledge national Tour 2008

Polly Wiseman: Stormin’ Jack Norman, Hotbed 2004, The Latchmere 2004

Supported/Produced Playwrights:
The following writers have all been produced by Menagerie. Most have been through one of our writer development schemes such as The Pipeline, Escalator and Sparks. They  have all gone onto be produced at Hotbed and beyond;

Dan Allum (Escalator 2007)
Andrew Burton (Waterlog: Pulse 2010)
Michael Dennis (Hotbed 2004)
Tom Marty (Hotbed 2004)
Phillip Meeks (Hotbed 2004)
Neil Monagahan (Hotbed 2004. The Latchmere 2009)
Anna Rowntree (Hotbed 2008/2009)
Jennifer Tucket (Hotbed 2008/2009)
Helen Mort: (Escalator/ Hotbed 2009)


Share

The Team

Menagerie work with a variety of writers, actors, directors and other partners to help us achieve our aims (thanks to all of you by the way!); the following are people who work with the company on a day to day basis.

Paul Bourne, Artistic Director

Paul Bourne

Freelance Director, Artistic Director of Menagerie and The Hotbed Festival, Paul has directed and produced over sixty professional productions in ten different countries. His work has ranged from productions on the fringe through to major international touring. Highlights include Guignol (Tennessee Williams) in New York and The UK, The world touring production of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (out of Washington DC), and the European premieres Oleanna and The Secret Garden. Previously Artistic Director at the Frankfurt Playhouse and Center Stage New York, his focus is on creating and developing new work for the stage, offering appropriate productions that entertain, challenge and inspire. Paul also runs the corporate training for menagerie and has delivered training and support for companies at all levels including Liverpool F.C and the BBC. Contact: paul@menagerie.uk.com

Patrick Morris, Co-Artistic Director

 

Patrick Morris is co-founder and Associate Artistic Director of Menagerie, for whom he has directed The Great Austerity Debate (upcoming national tour Autumn 2018),  Four For Jericho, Correspondence, Let Newton Be!, The Retreating World and Between This Breath and You.  Patrick works closely with writers, with a strong leadership role in Menagerie’s Young Writers Workshop.  As an actor, his work for Menagerie includes bloominauschwitz (Edinburgh Fringe 2018), Out of Your Knowledge, Re:Design, Frobisher’s Gold, Hard Sell and The Cull.  Other acting credits include Foursight Theatre, Wrights and Sites, New York’s Public Theatre, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Theatre for the New City, San Francisco’s Magic Theatre.  Patrick also directs Menagerie’s academic engagement programme, The Ideas Stage, through which he is currently working with the University of Cambridge Geography Department on The Great Austerity Debate, and THIS Institute on a health research project.

Contact: patrick@menagerie.uk.com

Clare Green, Board Member

 

 

 

Clare brings a wealth of experience in commercial, creative industries and charitable organisations and has a keen eye to developing the business, building excellent commercial relationships and generating income.Since 2011, she has managed the Creative Front network (www.creativefront.org) and has worked to increase the profile of the creative industries in the region as well as managing highly successful events. These include the pan-European Brains Eden gaming festival and curating Cambridgeshire’s first-ever design exhibition, Design Icons. She has worked with Caper to develop Culture Hack East in the region and encourages collaborative working and new business opportunities. Previous roles include: Regional Manager for Arts & Business (www.artsandbusiness.bitc.org.uk), where she developed sponsorship packages, arts and business partnerships and secured corporate professionals on to arts boards and Service Development at London Chamber of Commerce (www.londonchamber.co.uk), managing a suite of services for 3,000 members and Business Support Manager at Cockpit Arts (www.cockpitarts.com), handling training and professional development courses for 170 designer-makers.

Alison Pearn, Board Member

Alison Pearn

Alison Pearn is Associate Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project, University of Cambridge, with experience in research, educational outreach, public engagement with science, management, and fundraising. With her colleagues she is researching and publishing all letters written by or to the naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882), and has jointly edited eleven volumes of the award-winning definitive edition The Correspondence of Charles Darwin (F. Burkhardt, et al. eds, Cambridge University Press, 1985-). Alison also writes for the popular press, and has appeared in radio interviews and programmes, including In Our Time, and Woman’s Hour. She has also collaborated with the playwright, Craig Baxter, and with Menagerie, to create the highly successful dramatisation of Darwin’s letters, Re:Design. www.darwinproject.ac.uk

James Barlow, Board Member

 

James qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Grant Thornton working mainly in the audit division in both the UK and Australia. More recently he has worked for small fast growing companies with particular focus on raising funds and cash management along with developing and implementing the necessary controls and systems as the companies have grown.

 Mhari Gallagher, Producer

Mhari is a freelance Producer, Director and Workshop Leader. Recent work as Producer includes: 2 national tours of Mansfield Park, adapted by Tim Luscombe and 2 pantomimes for Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds; Hotbed Festival 2014, 2013 and 2012; 2 tours of Egusi Soup by Janice Okoh (all for Menagerie Theatre).  Recent Directing and Education Work includes: the devising and direction of a play for Suffolk Arts Link; the design and delivery of the education programme for Scamp Theatre; the co-producing and co-directing of a ‘Fall in Love with Theatre’ event at the Mumford Theatre. Previously, Mhari worked as the Associate Producer for Cambridge Arts Theatre, as well as in the Marketing and Education Departments. She has taught Drama in a variety of school and theatre contexts in the UK and The Netherlands, and she has an MA in Theatre Direction: Text and Production from the University of East Anglia.

 

 

Share

Productions

Click on the links to read more about our latest productions: The Great Austerity Debate and bloominauschwitz

Menagerie’s core focus is getting plays performed. That’s what we love to do.

From major performances in international venues to local festivals we strive to produce the best plays by the best playwrights.

Through commissions, writer development workshops and our Hotbed festival, writers find their way to getting produced with us – as long as it engages we will strive to produce it! Work has been seen on stages across the world from India to the USA but is mainly produced with a keen eye on engaging, challenging and connecting with UK audiences. Here work has been produced in theatres across the country including Soho, The Shaw, Theatre 503, The Colchester Mercury, Cambridge Junction, Manchester Royal Exchange, Birmingham Rep, Nottingham Playhouse, Bury Theatre Royal, Plymouth Drum and The Bristol Old Vic.

Our rich history of work has seen an extraordinary canon being established from first time writers such as Janice Okoh (Egusi Soup), through  to major international artists such as Naomi Wallace (Retreating World). We are proud to include writers such as Fraser Grace (Gifts of War and Frobisher’s Gold) , Steve Waters (The Cull and Out of Your Knowledge), Craig Baxter (Hard Sell and Let Newton Be!)  as Associates of the company, following productions of two or more of their plays.

Our work has been directed by core company members and supported by directors such as Josie Rourke, Fiona Kelcher, Karen Kholhaas and Jacqui Honness Martin.

Actors in Menagerie productions have included  Roger Sloman, Janet Suzman, Anna Maxwell Martin, Gin Hammond, Darren Strange, Shuna Snow, Ellen Thomas and  Jasmine Hyde.

But most of all our history of work has been about embracing new ideas, new stories and new people as we aim to fulfill our motto: Rare Theatre, Well Done.

Share