After Shirley

Tackling some pretty massive challenges in a very tight space of time appears to be a habit of ours! Shirley may just have been our most ambitious project yet.

full cast serious.JPG

Shirley – the first ever performance adaptation of the Charlotte Brontë novel – has been in the company’s repertoire since we presented a very successful reading of it at the Morley Arts Festival last year – but this time was different. We’d been invited by Carol Nelson of Farfield Mill in the picturesque village of Sedbergh, Cumbria, to bring it to the wonderful industrial-base-turned-arts centre in the form of a promenade. The action would be woven throughout the building; around looms, underneath the building itself in the turbine room and even spread along the walkways leading up to the entrance – so, over an intense few months, the original piece was adapted to fit the new formula and the actors, director and stage manager set to work, creating a whole new show! The themes connected the tribulations of the “Luddites”, and their employers during the industrial revolution, with the general populace of the UK today.

Joe Scott
Sam Redway as Joe Scott in the turbine room at Farfield Mill

In the piece, struggling to compete in the market with all trade frozen by the Napoleonic war, half-Belgian Robert Moore sets about automating his mill in readiness. Already dogged by others’ xenophobia and suspicion, his swift replacement of trained millworkers with modern machinery is quickly making him the most hated man in Stillborough. Even the loving efforts of his sister’s pupil, Caroline, and his unusual new landlady, Shirley, may fail to rescue him from assassination – as his machinery is vandalised and strange men stalk him in the shadows.

Shirley and Robert
Caroline Lamb as Shirley and Mark Roberts as Robert Moore in the Dover Gallery

Tapping into the history of Farfield really made the place come alive for us. Over just two days, we enjoyed performing the piece five times to lovely audiences, and received great feedback. Audience comments included:

“It was very professional and authentic. The cast captured the sense of the time and portrayed it beautifully.”

“Acting and entire performance wonderful. Felt myself transported back in time.”

“It was original, deftly adapted, excellent use of space and actors’ adaptability to character. Altogether a surprising, engaging production.”

“Very moving. It was superb in every respect.”

Mrs Barraclough
Jo Gerard as Mrs Barraclough at the mill entrance

We want to express our hearty thanks to all who attended and supported us, as well as the officials at the Yorkshire Dales Sustainable Development Fund and the Sedbergh & District Charitable Incorporated Organisation Community Fund for their generosity, and the staff, board and volunteers of Farfield Mill for their wonderful help. Big plans are afoot for Shirley, so watch this space! You can also follow us on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DangerousToKnow or on Twitter via @DTKManc.

Advertisements
After Shirley

Shirley Programme

Take a look at the lovely programme for our presentation of Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley at Farfield Mill in Sedbergh, Cumbria!

It’s the first time ever that the novel has been adapted for performance – so we really are making history! See the full cast and crew for this unprecedented production in order of appearance below:

 

  Seán Fitton

Michael Barraclough / Reverend Helstone / Mr Sympson

IMG_3127

An award winning child actor, Seán returned to the theatre later in life after a short thirty year break.  Shirley is his second project with Dangerous To Know and he is very pleased and proud to be back with the team.  He particularly enjoys learning about the historical context and feminist politics of DTK’s shows, and the challenge of playing multiple roles convincingly.

In addition to professional acting work, Seán is also a mature student at Salford University – studying for a BA in Theatre and Performance Practice – an author and an occasional musician.

 

Jo Gerard

Mrs Barraclough / Hortense / Mrs Pryor

Jo Headshot

Jo lives in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.  She trained at the Arden School of Theatre, Manchester.

Her theatre credits include work with Northern Broadsides, Dark Horse Theatre and  Manchester 24/7 festival. She has appeared on screen in Emmerdale, The Royal Today and Victoria Wood’s That Day We Sang, and also has a couple of commercials under her belt.

A Jazz vocalist, music teacher and lover of yoga, Jo was involved in the original rehearsed reading of Caroline Lamb’s adaptation of Shirley last year and is delighted to be performing it at Farfield Mill this year. 

 

Mark Roberts

Robert Moore

Mark Headshot

Mark trained at the Arts Educational School of Acting in London. He is native to the Peak District in Derbyshire and is now based in Manchester. As an Actor and Theatre Maker he regularly works on new writing and rehearsed readings.

He is an associate artist with the Babbling Vagabonds Theatre Company.

Recent stage credits include Freddy Frith in Derby Live & Babbling Vagabonds’ Captain Sprout and the Christmas Pirates, Detective Caminada for Pagelight Productions’ A Very Victorian ScandalSam Philips in Rock and Roll Productions’ Memphis SonMartin in Blind Faith’s Fool for Love, Mr Hardcastle & Luther Gascoigne in The Library Theatre Company’s Playing Up North, Jacob Grimm in the Babbling Vagabonds’ The Brothers Grimm, Will Derby in Cotton Grass Theatre’s Thin Air and Bottom, Oberon & Demetrius in Sheffield Crucible’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Behind the CurtainRecent film roles have included DCI Anthony Roberts for Green Pen Productions’ Bad Blood and Sheep Dawg in Lesta-Botheration’s 8Acre.

He is pleased to be working with Dangerous To Know for the first time on what has been a fascinating production to be in.

 

Elka Lee Green

Caroline Helstone

Elka Headshot 1

Elka graduated from the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts North in 2014. Some of her favourite credits include the devised verbatim piece Vent (the Royal Exchange’s Co:Lab festival), the role of Chelsea in two tours of the hard-hitting play Chelsea’s Choice (Alter Ego Creative Solutions) a speaking role in the opera Intermezzo (Garsington Opera) and Danny the Champion of the World (Brentwood Theatre). She has also appeared in short films with Dustfarm, Little Joy Productions and Quickfoot Media. It’s a Dangerous To Know double bill for Elka this month as she will be playing Ellen Turner in their next exciting commission, Theft of a Girl, a live monologue blended with stop motion film for Lyme Park’s “Live at Lyme” event.

 

Sam Redway

Joe Scott / Louis Moore

Sam Headshot

Sam Redway is an award-winning Manchester-based actor, theatre-maker and co-Artistic Director of Knaïve Theatre. He trained at RADA on the MA Theatre Lab (2014). He has toured nationally and internationally as Osama Bin Laden in Knaïve Theatre’s multi-international award-winning Bin Laden: The One Man Show. His directing includes Mike Bartlett’s Contractions, A Dead Tree Gives No Shelter (ACE Funded) and OSA. His writing includes co-writing Bin Laden: The One Man Show; a Modern Mystery Play, The Fall; and a libretto for Size Zero Opera, Women Conduct. 

He has performed and devised with many companies nationally and internationally, including: Theatre Ad Infititum, Familia De La Noche, Dangerous to Know, Manchester Camerata, Smoking Apples, Hiccup Theatre and Engine House Productions.

 

Caroline Lamb

Shirley

Caroline Headshot.png

Caroline graduated from the Lincoln School of Performing Arts in 2012 and works as a writer, producer and actor. Her performance credits include Gwendolen in the Houldsworth Rep’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Emily Brontë in Dangerous To Know’s The Dissolution of Percy and Jane in Haddon Hall’s Jane Eyre. Writing credits include Dangerous To Know’s The Dissolution of Percy, Theft of a Girl and Shirley.

Caroline is thrilled to be returning to her home town with Shirley!

 

Joe Colgan

Stage Manager

Joseph Colgan is a North West based freelance Company Stage Manager. Alongside working on TV and film projects, he has provided technical support for corporate entertainment events, festivals, theatre and education. In addition to this CSM’ing for national touring productions at venues across the UK and Ireland, recent engagements include OMTC Festival 2017 and filming on City and The City for BBC/Mammoth Films and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Feelgood Theatre Company.

 

Helen Parry

Director

Helen is a freelance theatre director who originally trained as an actor. She has an extensive body of work ranging from classical plays to new writing with several site-specific projects along the way. She will be teaching at ALRA this term and then is off to Copenhagen in January to direct Caryl Churchill’s A Number for That Theatre Company. Her continued collaboration with Caroline Lamb’s company, Dangerous to Know, excites and inspires!

Shirley Programme

Shirley at Farfield Mill

Shirley Farfield Poster Rough

Hello everyone!

We have some big news. After months of development, Shirley is back in fully-fledged, promenade style at a wonderful ex-cotton mill in Sedbergh, a gloriously picturesque town in the Yorkshire Dales!

Farfield Mill is a restored Victorian building that now houses artists’ studios and exhibition rooms, a tantalising gift shop, a superb café and a great deal more beside, and now Dangerous To Know has the honour of presenting our latest piece as an unmissable dramatised tour of this historic and fascinating building.

The event runs over multiple instances during Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September, repeating on the 16th at 1pm and 3pm, then again at 7pm as part and parcel of a deal where you can bag yourself a spot in the audience and a place at the lovely wine and cheese evening that follows for just £15 a head! On 17th you can catch it at 11.30am, 2pm and 4pm.

Charlotte Brontë’s 1849 novel has never before been adapted for performance, so we’re thrilled to be presenting this gritty version. The work was a period piece even at the time of its conception, harking back to the Napoleonic wars, when trade was tough and mill work was even tougher. Struggling to compete in the market with all trade frozen by the conflict, half-Belgian Robert Moore sets about automating his mill in readiness. Already dogged by the xenophobia and superstition of the locals, his swift replacement of trained millworkers with modern machinery is quickly making him the most hated man in Stillborough. Even the loving efforts of his sister’s pupil, Caroline, and his unusual new landlady, Shirley, may fail to rescue him from assassination – as his machinery is vandalised and strange men stalk him in the shadows.

Call 015396 21958 to book tickets – numbers are limited, so get them while you can!

Shirley at Farfield Mill

Jane Eyre at Haddon Hall

A date has been added due popular demand to the June promenade run of Jane Eyre, which takes place at the beautiful Haddon Hall in Derbyshire and stars Dangerous to Know’s Caroline Lamb as Jane!

Haddon_Hall

Tickets are now available for Saturday 24th June, as performances from 21st-23rd have sold out.

Hurry – get tickets here before they’re gone!

Haddon Hall is a beautiful Tudor Manor with extensions and additions from various later periods, located just outside lovely Bakewell.

Haddon Map

For more information on how to get to Haddon Hall, or for more information, just click here or call the estate office on 01629 812 855.

Jane Eyre at Haddon Hall

Events During Our Hiatus

We’ve been quiet for a little while, but never fear! Dangerous To Know is bubbling away in the background, gradually brewing up our next theatrical offering. In the meantime, however, Caroline has being enjoying involvement in a number of other Northern projects that we’d encourage you all to get behind.

  1. Northern Rep’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Rep is back in Manchester after half a century, and this particular company pulls no punches with its inaugural production. This thrilling re-imagining of Shakespeare’s classic fairy-filled-fantasy is unlike anything else. For a taster of what lies in store, take a peak at this write-up in the Manchester Evening News. It’s running in the Great Northern Warehouse for another fortnight, so there’s still time to snap up a ticket if you’re quick.

BOOK FOR A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM HERE

 

  1. Jane Eyre at Haddon Hall

A location for the stunning 2011 Jane Eyre starring Michael Fassbender, Haddon Hall is a grand and glorious property near Bakewell in Derbyshire. This summer, the hall is playing host to a wonderful promenade theatre adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, and Caroline is thrilled to be playing Jane on 20th, 21st and 22nd June 2017! These performances are preceded by a glass of Prosecco per person, and the evening is rounded off with a gorgeous three-course meal.

BOOK FOR JANE EYRE HERE

 

  1. Exploring the Brontës

Caroline will continue her collaboration with poet and fellow Brontë enthusiast Simon Zonenblick of Caterpillar Poetry with evening events later in the year. In equal parts an enlightening talk on the area’s connections with the Brontë family and a lively reading of extracts of the family’s work, followed by an intimate theatrical performance entitled The Cold Plunge, Caroline and Simon will be joining forces with local artists and musicians in various locations throughout the North. Keep checking our website, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook for further information about the next event.

 

Events During Our Hiatus

Shirley Readings – September 2016

To quote the great American composer Leonard Bernstein:

To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.

We gave ourselves only three days to prepare the first ever stage adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley to be performed script-in-hand to audiences at the Lass O’Gowrie in Manchester and the Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Woodkirk, Leeds (as part of the Morley Arts Festival), and, even then – due to prior commitments and a last-minute recast – we were missing a third of the company for our first rehearsal!

Three days may seem a reasonable amount of time to rehearse for a reading, but given the length and complexity of the text (still a lot to get to grips with even having been whittled down from Charlotte’s hefty and dense work!), our approach of editing as we went, the necessity of working out travel logistics and other technicalities, AND the influence of DTK’s characteristic attention to detail, we were flying by the seats of our pants and no mistake!

The result was extremely rewarding. Wonderful moments of great depth, pathos and comedy were discovered on the fly, sometimes even during the performances themselves. The performers often played by instinct, lending everything a fresh and energetic feel. Director Helen Parry prioritised perfectly, knowing which moments to guide and shape, and understanding which would fall into place “on the night”. I must say that I absolutely cannot imagine how everything would have come together without Helen’s intuitive and discerning direction!

We were lucky enough to play to two very different but equally excellent audiences. The lovely intimate space above the Lass O’Gowrie pub felt full – but not uncomfortably so – and the concentration of the attendees was palpable. The room seemed to buzz! In the larger space at St Mary’s the next day there was a fantastic sense of community and support, and the comedic moments in the text were bolstered by some really rewarding laugh-out-loud responses! I’d really like to take a moment to thank Vicky – the manager at the Lass O’Gowrie who opened the space to us so enthusiastically, Ella Wild, who arranged the slot in the Morley Arts Festival for us, and the vicar at Saint Mary’s, Rev’d Sharon Wilkinson, and her team for making us feel really at home and providing the beautiful venue. The most disappointing thing about the evening was that – as the performance had run over very slightly – the company had to absolutely leg it for the exits after the “curtain call” and summing-up, randomly shaking hands and shouting thanks as we went. Having travelled in from all over – Todmorden, Macclesfield, Salford, Didsbury, Wigan, et al – many cast members were banking on catching the last trains of the day and were likely to be stranded! Luckily everyone made it on time, but that regrettably meant cutting very interesting conversations short. With any luck, we might welcome some returning audience members to the next incarnation of the piece (watch this space!) and find ourselves with a little more time to discuss everything!

shirley-cast
The hard-working cast of Shirley

DTK’s involvement in the Morley Arts Festival is far from complete, however. On 8th October, the company’s founder and resident playwright Caroline Lamb will join local poet and fellow Brontë enthusiast Simon Zonenblick at Morley Library to deliver an event entitled Exploring the Brontës; an evening consisting of readings of work and letters by the famous literary family itself as well as pieces inspired by them. For more details and to book, simply follow the link below:

EXPLORING THE BRONTËS

All in all, the positive responses over the last few days have really helped us to feel like we’ve hit the ground running, so do watch out for future updates about Shirley and other projects!

Shirley Readings – September 2016

Book now for Shirley!

Shirley image 2

Grab your tickets for the first ever airing of our new production – Shirley – while you can, as numbers are limited!

AVAILABLE HERE

Shirley is an unapologetic, all-guns-blazing conception of Charlotte Brontë’s 1849 novel of the same name.

Set during the perfect storm of British workforce rebellion and violent international unrest, the piece reveals that the politics of work, war and love will not change while we are short of powerful, unified and positive calls to action. An eerie pre-echo of the UK’s current zeitgeist, this adaptation moulds Brontë’s hyperactive, multilinear plot into a slick, eloquent but vociferous appeal for reason and alliance.

This performance will be script in hand – the perfect opportunity to see Dangerous To Know’s latest work-in-progress!

DATE: 27/09/2016

TIME: Doors @ 7 to begin at 7.30

The Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Woodkirk, Dewsbury Rd, Leeds WF12 7JL

St Mary's

Book now for Shirley!