Announcing Little Deviations: Volume 1

Little Deviations

Little Deviations: Volume 1 is the next work of theatre I’ll be presenting with The Devious Theatre Company, this August bank holiday weekend.

Little Deviations is a showcase of rehearsed works in progress – extracts of full length productions that are by no means the finished product, but give you a look at what the company will potentially be doing over the next few years.

Works include John Kennedy’s Girls In Africa, John Morton’s Tenterhooks, Peter McGann & John Morton’s The Hellfire Squad, Kevin Mooney & John Doran’s Some Flood and Adrian Kavanagh’s The Union.

This is the first stage production for The Devious Theatre Company in almost 12 months, the last being a touring run of John Kennedy’s Phantasm which closed in August 2012. Since then it’s been a whole lot of plotting, planning, twisting, turning, financing and everything else in between.

This is the first production for 2012 but certainly won’t be the last.

Let’s just say I’ll have my work cut out for me over the next few months.

Little Deviations: Volume 1 runs at Cleere’s Theatre, 28 Parliament Street, Kilkenny on August 2 and 3. Tickets are limited to 60 persons per night and Little Deviations will not be restaged. You can buy those limited tickets online now or make a reservation in advance by phoning 056 7762573.

One Hell Of A Bash

While my blogging continues primarily over at AnyGivenFood.com, I’ve been keeping myself busy in the past few weeks with the above – bash:latterday plays by The Devious Theatre Company. It’s been a good year for me so far in terms of theatre, producing three shows with DTC, working with Watergate Productions, bringing shows to festivals in Dublin and Cork and now, moving on to my fifth and final theatrical production of the year.

This year also marked five years on the go for The Devious Theatre Company and has been a massive transition year for us. We spent the first six months of the year working as artists in residence with Kilkenny County Council’s Arts Office on our In The Future When All’s Well residency and having recently gone through the company formation process, we’ve secured a physical home for the theatre for the foreseeable future, allowing us to spend more time developing work and planning and plotting our 2012 and 2013 calendars.

bash, for me, presents a theatrical homecoming of sorts as it’s our first major production to stage in the intimate surrounds of Cleere’s Theatre in Kilkenny since we revisited Heart Shaped Vinyl in 2007 for an updated run of our debut production in 2006. It is, as they say, where the magic happened for us in the first place and we’ll be looking to recreate that from October 17th to 22nd.

What is this ‘bash’ you speak of?

bash was first performed in 1999. It became quickly renowned for its shocking and unflinching portrayals of everyday evil with the New York Times calling it ‘insistently brutal’. Like much of LaBute’s work, it exposes the dark and sinister undercurrents of clean cut middle American life. The play was considered so shocking at the time that LaBute was disfellowshipped by the Church Of Latter Day Saints, of whom the characters in bash are members.

The play consists of 3 stories with a loose basis on Greek mythology, transposed to modern America. Delivered in monologues that are conversational, breezy, natural and ultimately gutwrenching, bash examines the horrific lengths that human beings go to in order to stay in control of their lives.

In iphigenia in orem a young utah businessman recounts a particularly chilling confession to a stranger in a Las Vegas hotel room. It will be performed by John Morton and directed by myself.

a gaggle of saints sees a young couple document the violent events of a romantic weekend away in New York. It will be performed by Amy Dunne and myself and directed by Annette O’Shea.

In medea redux a young woman tells the ultimately tragic tale about a romance with her high school teacher when she was a teenager. It will be performed by Annette O’Shea and directed by John Morton.

Neil LaBute’s plays include The Shape Of Things, The Mercy Seat, Fat Pig, Wrecks and reasons to be pretty. His film work includes In The Company Of Men, Your Friends And Neighbours, Nurse Betty and Possession.

Neil LaBute’s bash: latterday plays runs in Cleere’s Theatre, Kilkenny from October 17th – 22nd at 8pm nightly. Bookings can be made on 056 – 7762573. Tickets are €12 and are available to buy online now (subject to booking fee).

Smitten Opens On Sunday

The fourth theatrical production I’ve worked on (and third that I’ve produced) for this year opens this Sunday night at the Kilkenny Arts Office, 76 John Street Kilkenny. The show opened last week at Solstice in Cork as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival. Here’s the blurb…

Smitten is a play that wants to be a musical.

It marks the third part of Devious Theatre’s ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ residency in Kilkenny Arts Office following on from the success of Scratcher and Shifting. Written by John Morton, it’s a romantic comedy about rain, recession and why dance sequences are harder in real life.

Claire used to be a nurse but then she emigrated. Now she’s returned home from South America with her tail between her legs only to discover that finding her feet on home soil is proving harder than she expected. Especially when everyone else is shaking off their brollies and getting ready to head for greener pastures. As Claire tries to enthuse herself about settling in Ireland, she realises that life is not the Technicolor fantasy that she projected as a teenager and no amount of song or dance is going to help that. If the musicals have taught us one thing, it’s that there’s no place like home. But why does it have to be so black and white?

Smitten opened in Cork on June 16th at Solstice as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival. It then marks the conclusion of Devious Theatre’s Kilkenny Arts Office residency when it plays No. 76 John Street from June 26th – July 2nd.

The cast includes Amy Dunne, Ken McGuire, Kevin Mooney, Lynsey Moran, John Morton, Maria Murray, Suzanne O’Brien, Jack O’Leary, Annette O’Shea and David Thompson. The play is written and directed by John Morton.

Tickets for Kilkenny are €12 can be booked at tickets.devioustheatre.com (tickets booked online carry an additional booking fee), purchased at Kilkenny Arts Office, No. 76 John Street and reserved on 056 – 7794138. For all information please check out DeviousTheatre.com. You can follow progress on the residency at http://no72.wordpress.com.

There’s plenty of teching going on today, tomorrow and Saturday before the curtain goes up on Sunday at 8. Tickets for Sunday night’s opening performance are only €8 and equally can only be called for at the office or collected in person (we’re not selling the Sunday night tickets online). If you want yours, drop down to 76 John Street, Kilkenny (the old Meubles furniture store) any day between now and July 2nd (we’re opening the box office 10am to 6pm daily for the next 10 days or so). Off the back of Scratcher (February) and Shifting (April), I wouldn’t be leaving it too long to get a ticket though, audience will be limited to 70 per night.

Rolling On To Smitten

Smitten

The artwork for the latest Devious Theatre production, Smitten (which I’m using both my acting and producing for) has landed in the Dropbox (a vital tool for theatre companies, has to be said) and made its way to the printer this morning.

The poster is the result of a long day of green screen photography with myself and Paddy Dunne and many hours by Paddy following to get the poster to its final draft. Over the next three weeks there’s going to be a torrent of photos, behind the scenes images, promo images, videos and more hitting the local papers, web and the blogs within our own networks.

Smitten marks the third and final performance piece of an artist residency that I’ve been involved in from the beginning of the year, run out of 76 John Street (Kilkenny Arts Office). The works developed in the residency have allowed the theatre company travel to Dublin (Scratcher, February) and Cork (June, Solstice at Cork Midsummer Festival) so I’ll be spending a few days working from Cork in the fortnight. Smitten itself will open in Kilkenny on Sunday June 26th, running for seven nights.

You can get the full lowdown on the show at DeviousTheatre.com and tickets, priced €12 are available from Kilkenny Arts Office, 76 John Street, Kilkenny or online via tickets.devioustheatre.com.

Looking Back At Scratcher, Shifting

THE DEVIOUS Theatre Company (of which I’m a founder) performed Scratcher by John Morton at Project Arts Centre, Dublin, and 76 John Street, Kilkenny, earlier this year as part of the In The Future When All’s Well residency in partnership with Kilkenny Arts Office and Kilkenny County Council.

Arriving at 76 John Street in February, you would be forgiven for thinking you were walking into a social welfare office, such was the setting for the play. Take seven bodies who are sick with the system and the uncertainty of the future, add some guns, explosions, threats, demands and more and you’ve got a fine recipe for social warfare.

The residency work continues at 76 John Street with the staging of Smitten from June 26th – July 2nd. Corkonians are in for a Devious treat as Smitten arrives to the Cork Midsummer Festival as part of Solstice in the old Fás building on Sullivan’s Quay for a one night only performance on June 16th.

For more on the residency, Scratcher, Shifting (the second piece of the residency) and Smitten, check out DeviousTheatre.com.

How To Vote In 5 Easy Steps

In the last promotional piece for Scratcher, currently ongoing at No. 76 John Street in Kilkenny, here’s the cast of the show using their acting to tell you how to vote.

Scratcher commenced it’s theatrical run in Dublin last week at Project Arts Centre as part of The Theatre Machine Turns You On: Vol II and continues this week, until Saturday, at the Kilkenny Arts Office on John Street (old Meubles furniture store). Tickets for the show are €12 and are limited to 70 per night. For more on the background of the show, visit DeviousTheatre.com.

Scratcher is part of the theatrical residency In The Future When All’s Well, running at Kilkenny Arts Office until the end of June this year.

Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! (With Added WiFi)

Can't Pay? Won't Pay!

CAN’T PAY? WON’T PAY! opened last night at Set Theatre in Kilkenny, the latest offering from The Devious Theatre Company. While I can be seen on stage for the 95 minutes or so of performance, I’ve been working as a producer on the show as well for the past few months so there’s a bit of a bonus feeling of excitement there when you see the fruits of your labour (and those around you of course) take to a stage in full technicolour detail.

(By the way, you can win tickets to Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! here)

As a group this year (and over the last four years) we’ve really tried to grow our online presence, exploring all avenues social. Delighted we are in that people who come to the shows then return their feedback via Twitter, or Facebook. Hell, some people will even email in their thoughts post-show. However the feedback arrives, it’s made all the more possible, accessible, and real time thanks to the embracing of said social tools, tools that have not so much changed how we operate as a theatre company but have certainly shaped how we operate.

On the back of WordCamp, the wifi setup that was created for last weekend’s conference (part of which was held in Set Theatre) is still in place, thus you can access WiFi during the show. No, we wouldn’t want you checking your email or getting lost browsing the web, but with Twitter, Facebook and more at your fingertips (or in your pocket), we’d love to hear the feedback on the night, good or bad, public or private. If you’re sitting in the audience tweeting about the show, why not use the hashtag #cpwp? Feel free to take photos of the performers in action on the stage (just switch the flash off if you don’t mind) and tag them accordingly. Adopting a more open approach last year, we wound up with some fantastic audience photos that were shared via email, Picasa, Facebook and more.

John Morton has been talking about the ingredients of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! over on the DeviousTheatre.com blog, and now it has added WiFi, so if you’re coming along, don’t be shy, let us know what you think.

Order tickets online for Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!

Talking Theatre & Pubs

Little bit of a cross-post redirection play here to and article I’ve penned for Devious Theatre over on the blog. In prepping a series of articles for the group around some of the technologies we use to keep ourselves afloat and assist our daily workloads, an article in today’s Irish Times has me drawn back to pub theatre with fond memories of our first production, Heart Shaped Vinyl, back in August 2006.

The return of pub theatre (by Peter Crawley in The Ticket) and how we too will drink to pub theatre.

Online Ticket Sales For Theatre Companies

Recorded reading of Can't Pay? Won't Pay!
Recorded cast reading of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay this past Saturday. That’ll be me pictured on the right of show, playing the role of Giovanni.

THE DEVIOUS theatre company, one of my other / many hats, have announced details of our first major production in 2010, Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! and I’ll be on KCLR96FM around 4:15pm afternoon chatting about the show. You can tune in via KCLR96FM.com (live stream link).

We do a lot of things online as a company, given we have no physical premises as such (bar sharing each others offices for the odd rehearsal / recording session). We blog, we connect, we share videos, tweet, hold our meetings online, use private forums for staff discussion, provide online resources, scripts and schedules for cast and crew, we advertise (and have completed a few useful Facebook ad campaigns), we podcast, we’ve an online CRM setup for managing contacts and suppliers and a whole lot more besides. The next logical step of course was to start selling tickets online.

I had long thought about it for the group, given the wide variety of venues we’ve performed in, the growing and varying audiences we’re attracting show-on-show, and the difference in management for pre-bookings or box office practice per venue that it would be good to introduce something online that we could manage ourselves, cost effectively as well.

Enter Eventbrite, which within ten minutes of using I had our December performance of Accidental Death of an Anarchist up and running, with five nights of tickets to buy for, connected out to our Facebook profile to plug the event there and (add on another five minutes or so) tickets available via DeviousTheatre.com with their embedding service.

So with a new show on the horizon and tickets gone to the printers, we figured we’d do exactly the same for our production of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! in March.

There were a lot of plusses for using the service. To start with, it opened the door to a potential new revenue stream for the group. We decided that 2010 would be the year we focus on turning the group towards a business, the first step for us in bringing the company “professional” (join the queue for the debate between amateur and professional theatre) and as such, revenue streams have to be looked at. We spend a lot of time, as a group, online in promoting and documenting our shows and we felt that online ticket sales would give us the ability to reach those that are the more serious web users, those au fait with booking online. We also wanted a way to provide ticket sales to people traveling from out of town, those who couldn’t travel to Kilkenny before the box office closed at six, or those who didn’t want to give credit card details over the phone. On both, accounts, it worked.

That was the test – would it work. I would have considered it a success if one person had bought one ticket online, at least we know it worked. But one turned into three, turned into 17 and more as the weekend theatregoers turned up with their pre-printed tickets (made available by Eventbrite), our door staff crossing off the checklist of those who registered and paid for tickets online (also made available by Eventbrite) and as a plus for us, we had immediate access for funds to use online in advance of the production. As the payments go from Eventbrite to our Paypal account, and we’re avid eBay users for sourcing props for shows over the years, we’ve created a stream of income we didn’t quite have before.

For some of those people attending Accidental Death of an Anarchist, who bought their tickets online, it was their first time to see one of our productions – a further success in my eyes. Would they have come to the show or traveled 30 miles to Kilkenny if they hadn’t been able to buy their tickets online? Maybe, maybe not, but they came. And as a bonus, we’ve decided that those who did purchase tickets online for our first show will receive a nice discount on the online purchases if they want to buy tickets for Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! online. A token gesture for us, yes, but at the same time we’re hoping it would encourage people to return again and enjoy another night at the theatre.

The tickets for Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay are on sale. You can pick them up online here and here. There is a booking fee of €1.07 per ticket sold online, something that we’re also able to manage ourselves and it’s how Eventbrite (much like the credit card companies or physical theatres) will make their money from box office sales. When Eventbrite deliver funds per show / ticket sold, those funds include the booking fee. Post-event we’re invoiced from Eventbrite to recoup the booking fee, and again, it’s a straight Paypal transaction. Outside of that, there’s no other cost involved. No membership fee, no setup fee, nothing.

So we add online ticket sales to our bow, and we know that it works. I’m still tempted into doing an online theatre production, or live-streaming one of our own productions but we’ll have to talk to the licensing powers that be about that one.

And yes, I’m sure there are other ticket-selling resources available but we’ve tried Eventbrite, made it work, had it generate revenue and open a whole other realm of online promotion for the group so we’re happy to keep going with it.

Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! runs at the Set Theatre, John Street, Kilkenny from Wednesday March 10th to Sunday March 14th 2010. Tickets available online priced €13 ex booking fee. Keep an eye on DeviousTheatre.com for more details.

Blogging The Arts Festival

Xi and Si

The Kilkenny Arts Festival, now in its 36th year, opened on Friday night and for the duration of the festival I’ll be hiding out over on the festival blog, with myself and John Morton making contributions to the festival content manning the blog / Twitter and video output until Sunday the 16th.

For me personally it’s a fantastic way to see the festival, having missed out on much of last year’s offerings due to our own (via Devious Theatre) commitments to producing Smitten (2008). Friday took in Aleksandar Madzar, Aka Moon and Black Machine opening to a weekend featuring RSAG, Julie Feeney, Amiina and much more. Throughout the week I’ll be attending a myriad of theatre, music, visual arts, crafts and literature events and working on bringing those to the web for the festival.

If you’re attending anything at the Kilkenny Arts Festival or talking about it on Twitter, there’s also the #kaf hashtag that’s currently being used to track festival chatter online. If you do manage to spot me at an event, be sure and say hello.