Dare To Know Theatre Invites, which creates a space for local creatives to showcase their work at Oldham Coliseum and gain support on their development, returned for a triumphant third edition. Cultivate captures the essence of Dare to Know Theatre, a theatre company which dedicates their work to the community.
In between each act, scenes from Cultivate, which is on stage in October, were performed with great insight into the characters and energy of the play.
Our first invited act of the night was Libby Hall’s ‘413 Liverpool Street’, directed by Joseph Walsh. It presents a woman carrying her life in 4 bags and telling the story of her cheating boyfriend and their broken-down relationship. The execution of this piece was amazing as Libby takes us on an emotional journey of finding out his unfaithfulness. As she articulates her emotions, we find out that the girl was underage, which is the part she struggled to comprehend. By the end of the piece, the 4 bags that we assumed to be her belongings at the beginning transform into the remains of her cheating boyfriend – which seemed a suitable retribution for him in her torment.
Then we had an act called ‘The Train’, a female-led comedy piece written by Paris Rogers and Grace Mair and directed by Miranda Parker. We follow four girls (played by Jessica Baskind, Bronte Appleby, Rosa Brooks and Lucie Jowett) on their way into Manchester for a 21st birthday. As they are getting boozy on the train, we get a comedic insight into their relationships, the pressures of growing up and their ‘icks’ in their comical bickering.
Up next, we had ‘Making a Myth’, a dark, speculative piece written by Urussa Malik – a former Mancunion writer. This piece explored the psychological realm of committing a crime. With brilliant acting from Imogen Woodward, Nadia Watson and Madison Freeman, the piece raises questions of identity as we find the two protagonists in the process of some form of facial reconstruction, with a great twist at the end highlighting the selfish mind of a criminal.
Blue Balloon Theatre brought to the stage ‘See it, Say It, Sorted?’, a musical storytelling performed by Jas Nisic and directed by Jessica Bowker. This explores the lack of support from national services for sexual assault on public transport. A well-executed piece exposing the realities of such an experience told through original song, dialogue and satirising TFL’s catchphrase to challenge the slogan’s validity for when people actually find the strength to say it in times when an incident needs sorting.
Written by Nick Maynard and directed by Jeff Longmore, ‘Passing Time’ sees Daniel Brennan plays a dame, with a full face of make up, sitting at their dressing table and nostalgically looking back at the past. They reminisce about the days when they were young and life was vibrant, full of partying and debauchery, and the hidden nature of queer relationships compared to the present day. As the dame takes their make up off, they dwell on the loneliness of their life now with no one to spend time with – just the transience of life and time passing. This was a heartfelt piece that touched upon the struggles of queer life.
Dan Costello’s ‘Make- Up’, starring Stacey Coleman and Sue Fulton, presents two mothers waiting for their daughters before they realise that they know each other from a past friendship. The tension from the past fills the stage as we find out that their past activity of shoplifting still haunts one of the mothers, as they received a criminal record, so she does not want her daughter hanging out with her old friend’s daughter. From the female-led group ‘In Parallel’, this piece raises issues of class, nepotism and exploring past mistakes defining an individual.
Former Artistic Director of Oldham Coliseum, Kenneth Alan Taylor, showcased his new work, ‘One Day I’ll Be Famous’, starring George Miller, Kerry Willison Parry, Leslie Davidoff, Ollie Booth, Sam Courtney and Linda McLoughlin. We are brought back in time to the theatrical world before the digital age, where a group of actors discuss the rivalry for new roles, particularly between the two female protagonists competing for the same role. In the end, neither of them gets the role, and it goes to another actress. From mannerisms to costume, the audience are transported back in time with great acting from all the cast to immerse us.
Snippets of ‘Leap of Faith’ are weaved between each of the above acts, before being tied together with the character Danny, who the whole community have been talking about. It is clear that the play is one that tackles the concept of small-town mentality and the effect of this on the individual. It was wonderful to see such a diverse company for the sneak preview of this production; it really heightened the sense of community in this project.
Keep up to date with Dare to Know Theatre to find out more about their upcoming projects