Protect and Survive at VAULT Festival 2016

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Protect and Survive from Michael Ross on Vimeo.

Tickets are now on sale for my new play from the VAULT Festival website here. Tickets are £8 and performances are at 6.15pm from Wednesday the 2nd of March until Sunday the 6th of March with a matinee on Saturday the 5th at 3.15pm.

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Above: Karl Mercer as Jack and Carla Rose as Kirsty. Photo: Andrew Pritchard

Protect and Survive is a tense drama set in rural England, 1984, against the backdrop of the Cold War. Kirsty has recently moved to the village with her brother Charlie and their widowed father. Out walking one day, she meets local boy Jack who tells her about a government nuclear bunker hidden beneath his family’s farm. At first she doesn’t believe him, but Jack promises to take her, and her brother Charlie, down into the bunker. As dark secrets and repressed desires come to the surface, not everyone will emerge alive.

Below: Josh Husselbee as Charlie. Photo by Patricia Oliveira.

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Above: Carla Rose as Kirsty and Karl Mercer as Jack. Photo by Patricia Oliveira.

A Shout In The Dark Production, directed by Andrew Pritchard with Carla Rose as Kirsty, Karl Mercer as Jack and Josh Husselbee as Charlie.

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Happy To Help Kickstarter successfully funded!

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Look how delighted Katherine Kotz is! All must have chips and Smash!

The Kickstarter for my play Happy To Help reached its goal of £5,000 (actually exceeding it by 70 pounds) just minutes before the 5pm deadline on Friday the 31st of July. To have raised over £5,000 in just 2 weeks is an incredible achievement, but it’s all down to you kind and lovely backers (all 139 of you!) who came forward and pledged.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed- your generosity and support is astounding and hugely appreciated. We now have enough for our Park Theatre deposit, plus a successful crowd-funding campaign behind us which should put us in good standing going forwards as we seek further funding and investment.

But we couldn’t have done with you, so hearty thanks from myself and Katherine Kotz go out to (in chronological order of pledges placed); Sally Bunker, James Greveson Hickie, Saskia Lortz, Toby Strutt, Rachel Salisbury, Barbara Cala-Lesina, Amy Draper, Magda Koc, Laura Wyatt, Adrian Weston, Olivier Tunmero, Duncan Lloyd, Izzy Smith, John Rodgers, Dorota Kotz, Harry Mackrill, Stephanie, Jay Hannaford, Marysia Koc, Douglas Walker, Jane Collingwood, Pete, Carl Harrison, Jackie Ramsay, Nick Diakanastasis, Lou Stephens, Adwoa Alexsis Mintah, Liis Mikk, Martin Prendergast, Helen Bauer, Cassie-Jo Sims, Will Columbine, Miran Hadzic, Arthur McBain, Sofie Mason, Michas Kotz, Zofia Williams, Hannah Wilde, Tom Ross-Steen, Andrew Walters, Victoria Carlin, Daniel Turner, Emer Duffy, Angela Clarke, Liz McCarthy, Charly Fraser Annand, Tommy Doyle, Saul Reid, Rob Fahy, Emily Horn, Morag Small, Marek Bublik, Hamble Wallace, Nick Payne, Kate Johnson, Ash Parker, Crisp Wotsit-Pringle, Kate Darach, Paul Murphy, Helen Franklin, Ashley Young, Tom Spencer, Bruce Ross, Carol Ross, Crusoe Weston, The Underground Clown Club (Andrew Skipper & Katie Overstall), Lucinda Westcar, Colette Flanagan, Ceri Williams, Daniel Strutt, Matt West, Carrie Hill, Alex Middleton, Thomas Dykes, Stef Ross-Steen, Christopher Roberts, Sarah Giles, Bryony Mills, Edward Yelland, Liliana Colombo, Mr Davy Tyler, Rachel Clarke, Ruth Naylor, Kitty Craske, Ben Ellis, Becca Melhuish, Marilii Saar, David Gray, Jake Strutt, Maria LoCastro, Rachel Tookey, John & Sonia Foster, Ellie Marshall, Daisy Watford, Ella Wiggans, Ricci, Jess, Cicely Taylor, Abbie Lucas, Hal Thompson, Ty Paul Read, Elke Wiebalck, Lucy Hagan-Walker, Pippa Mawbey, Hannah Hooper, Luca Ponzetta, Susan Allen, Adam Howe, Dominique Trotter, Mike Francis, Stacey Williams, Kit Greveson, Karl Mercer, Dean Jones, Lydia Koshiw, Angus Kemp, Laurie Harrington, Steph Lodge, Gabriella Shimeld-Fenn, Eleanor Crosswell, Alex Reynolds, John Handscombe, Blaine Tookey, Elliot Richards, Sarah Pitard, Andrew Pritchard, Jo Royce, Holly Welham, Janis Handscombe, Patricia Oliveira, Victoria Murray, Emma Digby, Robyn Holmes, Tricia Kelly, Cameron McLeod, Joe Dennis, Sophie Quin.

Happy To Help on Kickstarter

Above: short video filmed by our producer Hannah Tookey, featuring Katherine-Ellen Kotz, myself, and Stephen Mangan being a very good sport.

My play Happy To Help has been offered a slot at the Park Theatre next year following a successful showcase performance as part of their Script Accelerator Programme last Summer, but we need  your support to help us get there in 2016.

Happy To Help is set in a supermarket and it explores the absurd and far-reaching powers of these multinational corporations, but its not just about that; it’s also a play about having to do that job you hate instead of pursuing that thing you love, about joining a union, about unrequited love in the workplace, and about the tragic burden of keeping secrets. It’s a funny play, but also a bit sad and a bit scary.

Putting on a professional theatre production in London is very expensive and we want to put on the best production we can and pay everyone a decent wage. This £5,000 Kickstarter goal is just one part of the total final budget we will need, but we hope to get the rest through arts funding, foundations, private investors and other sources, but the reality is that no funding body will give us everything we need- they will expect us to have other sources of funding. But we hope that with a successful Kickstarter behind us we will stand a better chance of securing further funding. Our Kickstarter finishes on Friday the 31st of July at 5pm and if we don’t reach our goal then we don’t get anything.

If you decide to pledge, we have a range of rewards on offer. We want to involve you as part of our team, with regular updates as the production progresses and (depending on what you choose to pledge) invitations to attend dress rehearsals, tickets to performances and even supermarket props named in your honour. Full details here.

Shortlisted for Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize

15-wi-MichaelRoss-award-2015I have been shortlisted for the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize for Happy To Help. My play is one of ten selected from over 200 entries, judged by a panel including Kathy Burke, John Godber and Frank Cottrell Boyce. The winning play will be considered for production at the Royal Court Liverpool and the winning writer will receive £10,000. More details in the Liverpool Echo here.

Script Accelerator 2014 at the Park Theatre

Park Script AccMy play Happy To Help has been selected by the Park Theatre as part of their Script Accelerator Programme 2014, in which five pieces (supported by and developed in association with the Park) will be presented as works in progress in front of an audience in the theatre’s main Park200 space.

There will be 30 minute excerpts from Happy To Help performed on Wednesday the 25th and Friday the 27th of June, 7.30pm (alongside two other plays, Full Of Bees by Rick Bland and Broken by Upstanding Productions).

Happy To Help is set in the branch of a giant multinational supermarket chain and tells the story of managing director Tony Manning, who decides to spend a week working undercover at one of his stores to see what life is really like on the shop floor, and ends up getting a far more authentic experience than he’d have ever wished for. The cast are Keith Hill, Katherine-Ellen Kotz, Edward Yelland, Joe Dennis, Helen Reuben and Charlie Allen, the director is Gemma Kerr and the assistant producer is Katerina Elliott.

Tickets are £6 and can be booked via the website (click on the screenshot above to take you there)

Australian premieres of ‘Nothing But Mammals’ & ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ 14th April.

Reading Gauge

I’m delighted to announce the first Australian performances of my work. Melbourne based theatre company innãtum are presenting a performance of two of my short plays next Monday the 14th of April as part of their ‘Reading Gauge’ series of staged readings.

The plays Nothing But Mammals and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell are being directed by Tammie Kite, innãtum’s artistic director, (who also directed the original production of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell at Theatre 503 in 2012).

Nothing But Mammals is a Darwinian dark comedy telling the nightmarish tale of a young married couple whose baby daughter isn’t exactly what they’d expected. It was originally staged at the Old Red Lion, London, as part of ‘REDfest 2012: The Off West End New Writing Awards’, where it was a finalist and won Best Cast and Best Director, and has also been made into a short film.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a fictionalised account of US army intelligence whistle-blower Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning on leave in Boston in early 2010. As well as its premiere at Theatre 503 (as part of their Rapid Writes Response nights), it was also staged as part of the Love, Hate & Human Rights show in 2013.

‘Reading Gauge: Michael Ross’ is on at the Loop Project Space, 23 Meyers Place, Melbourne, VIC 3000, 7pm, Monday the 14th of April. Tickets are $10 and available here.

Work Makes You Free, the Park Theatre, Jan 2014.

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Coming up next is my short play ‘Work Makes You Free’, part of Paradigm Theatre’s new writing festival ‘A Bad Case of the Mondays’ on Monday evenings in January at the Park Theatre. It is being directed by Cat Robey and the cast are Antonia Reid and Gemma Rook.

‘Work Makes You Free’ is a play about workfare, hatred of the unemployed, the modern menace of anonymous online abuse, and how work has become the new religion. It tells the story of two very different women; Willow, an unemployed actor who takes legal action against the government after she is made to work unpaid at Poundland, and Jane, who works for a credit rating agency and who, like George Osborne, is incensed at the sight of closed blinds in her neighbours windows as she leaves for work every morning.

Performances are on Monday the 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th of January in the Morris Space at the Park Theatre. Tickets available here.

Upcoming: Love, Hate & Human Rights/The Band Plays On/Fresh Off The Boat

Love, Hate and Human Rights

I have a very busy few weeks ahead. First up is my short play ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ about US army whistle-blower Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning which is to be performed at the Barons Court Theatre from the 17th to 22nd September as part of Kibo Production’s ‘Love, Hate and Human Rights’ festival. It is one of 8 plays, all tackling human rights concerns. Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions) and can be reserved via email at londontheatre@gmail.com or by calling 0208 932 4747. 10% of the box office will be donated to Amnesty International.

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Then, the following week, my full length play ‘Saving Souls In Soho’ opens ‘The Band Plays On‘ festival of gay-themed plays at Greenwich Theatre on Tuesday the 24th of September at 7.30pm. The first festival of its kind in London, it is being presented by Greenwich Theatre in partnership with award winning writer and director Patrick Wilde (What’s Wrong With Angry?) ‘Saving Souls In Soho’ continues the story of my ‘Dawn Rescue’ short film and accompanying website, and is a darkly comic look at how religion corrupts the innocent. Tickets are £5, available from the Greenwich Theatre website here.

Lastly, I’ve also written a play for Paradigm Theatre’s ‘Fresh Off The Boat,‘ a double bill of plays about immigration to be performed at the Hen and Chickens Theatre from the 8th to the 12th of October. My play ‘The Utility People’ is about a middle-class liberal couple who discover immigrants living inside their utility cupboard, but decide to let them stay in return for doing the cleaning, cooking, and so much more. Directed by Cat Robey, it is paired with Sarah Pitard’s ‘A Border Story’ an autobiographical retelling of her own visa nightmare. Tickets available here.

Hungry Heart: Rehearsed reading, 20th March 2013

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There will be a rehearsed reading of my play ‘Hungry Heart’ at RADA on Wednesday the 20th March at 7.30pm.

This American-set play tells the story of a man, Connor Hamilton, who at age 17 almost goes home with a serial killer, this brief encounter having a devastating effect on the course of the rest of his life. An epic journey spanning over 30 years of American history, projecting into the future and leading all the way to the White House.

‘Hungry Heart’ was selected by the Writers Guild and RADA for their ‘Plays of Innocence and Experience’ development scheme last year. I wrote an article about the process for the Writers Guild website here. This event is free and is being held at RADA Studios, Chenies Street, London, WC1E 7PA.

UPDATE 24/3/2013:  The reading played to a packed house and was followed by a lively audience discussion. It was directed by Owen Horsley (associate director, Cheek By Jowl) and the cast were Alistair Toovey, Sam Redford, Oliver Johnstone, Catherine Cusack, James Clyde, Rose O’Loughlin, Alex Robertson, Jamie Doyle and Hester Arden. It was organised by Lloyd Trott, RADA’s dramaturge.

 

Miniaturists 39 at the Arcola, Sunday 3rd of February

imagesCA146CMUI’m thrilled to report that my play ‘Armed Forces Day’ is being performed on Sunday the 3rd of February at the Arcola Theatre as part of the latest show by the highly regarded Miniaturists.

Curated by playwrights Stephen Sharkey and Declan Feenan, the Miniaturists have been running regular events since 2005 showcasing short plays from a host of top playwrights, including David Eldridge, Nick Payne, Moira Buffini, Stacey Gregg, Joel Horwood and Adam Brace amongst countless others.

My play is being directed by the excellent Nadia Papachronopoulou and the superb cast are Tony Bell, Kate Collison, Robin Crouch and Jessica Sichel.  Tickets can be booked from the Arcola website here The other playwrights are Glynn Maxwell, Poppy Corbett, Vanessa Wilkins and Gemma Langford. (There are two shows, at 5pm and 8pm.)

UPDATE:  The Miniaturists 39 (myself included) get a nice mention in the Guardian, in Lyn Gardner’s blog on what to see at the theatre this week.

(Below; production photos of Robin Crouch and Tony Bell in Armed Forces Day)

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