Liverpool celebrities have expressed their support for Liverpool and the North West’s only festival dedicated to showcasing new stage writing talent.
Actress and Comedienne, Pauline Daniels; Brookside Actor, John McArdle; Corrie Actress, Pauline Flemming; Poet and Playwright, Roger McGough; Actor Joe McGann; Historian, writer and radio presenter Frank Carlysle, have all offered support for Page to Stage festival, while one of the plays is directed by Emma Bird (Casualty’s Maxine Price)
Page To Stage is a festival of new writing for theatre running from 3rd to 17th April. Showcasing eight new plays from non-professional playwrights over two weeks, it gives new and emerging writers valuable experience in producing, casting and staging their own plays under the guidance of the festival director
“I believe in nurturing new talent” explains organiser John McArdle. “A festival like this is the ideal place for new writing and new productions”.
Actress Pauline Daniels added “It is imperative that something as important as Page To Stage Festival happens here.
“Merseyside and the North West are renowned for their wealth of talent”
Each play is performed five times in a variety of venues around the city centre,” giving the writers experience of touring their work in the relatively safety of a festival.”
John launched the festival back in September 2014 as Liverpool’s answer to Manchester’s 24:7 following the demise of the four-year-old Write Now Festival. “It just didn’t feel right leaving such a vacuum” explains John. “Where would be the outlet for new writing in Liverpool? And what about all the missed opportunities for actors, directors and stage crew?”
With 24:7’s recent announcement that they will no longer run as a festival, Page To Stage is left as the only such festival of new writing in the North West.
“Our Gift” is a play about the difficulties of grandparents caring for a severely autistic teenager. “A particularly poignant piece for autism awareness week,” said John. At the other end of the caring spectrum, “Bricks” deals with two sisters’ disagreements about the care of their aging father.
Celebrity culture is covered by “A Role”, when an actor decides to shadow a career criminal to research a part, while a father becomes an internet sensation when his son videos his heart attack in “A Reluctant Celebrity”.
Visions of dystopian futures are provided by the Orwellian “Welcome to Paradise Road” where Neighbourhood Watch really does watch the neighbours and dissidents disappear overnight, while a married couple in “An Everyday Apocalypse” fight for the survival of their relationship from the zombies knocking on the door.
The fantasy dramas, “Chamber of Beheaded Queens” and “Truly Exotic” add an historical element to the festival. Four Queens meet up in an afterlife chamber and discuss their various stories and beheadings while a time travelling trouble maker meets one of Elizabeth’s courtiers recently returned from exotic lands.
“A number of venues are on board,” says John, “Including the Zanzibar, Ship and Mitre, Small Cinema, Quaker Meeting House and The Treasurehouse Theatre in the World Museum; who knew about that one?”
In addition to these, there are four “Scouse and Show” double-bill evenings at Fruit and Fibres Canteen with all-you-can-eat scouse thrown in.
The festival begins on Sunday 4 April with a secret launch event. Further details and ticket information are on the website – http://pagetostage.org.uk/participants
The final words go to John McArdle – “I wish John Mc and his team the best of luck with it and hope it’s a huge success.” – and Pauline Daniels, “please support this festival WE NEED IT!”