Six Characters In Search Of A Handout Going To Edinburgh Fringe

Hull-based Theatre on the Edge are taking their smash hit production to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016 after its success in Hull this month.

The production, written and directed by Barrie Wheatley, is a gutsy, well paced, utterly realistic story of the hot brick subject of the large increase in use of food banks in Britain in recent years.

However, despite the massively political subject, it isn’t used as a hammer to bash the government over the head about what has led to the explosion of new food banks opening, or what is driving people to use them, instead it explains why they are being used in such vast quantities more subtly and apportions no blame apart from real situations which we all know about.

The show has moved between three nights at Kardomah 94, one night at Holy Trinity Church and finally one performance at the Northern Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) and, all the while, has collected money and food to be given to the organisations who fight daily against food poverty to feed the needy that are being created every day.

After the last show at NAPA the cast said it had all been a great experience for them, this super talented cast of Sara Featherstone, Maxwell Smales, Stan Haywood, Jackie Rogers, Chris Gruca, Molly Robinson, Clare Crowther, Dave Bush, Kirsty Old, Jamie Wilks, Ella Straub and Katy Burgess, who have handled this controversial subject with absolute mastery, explained how they have pulled it off.

Katy Burgess who played the controversial character Katie said that, because of the nature of the character, playing her in the surrounds of Holy Trinity Church was very interesting for her, and Stan Haywood who played the intense but very well meaning Arnold explained they had to change some of the dialogue when they were in the church.

Maxwell Smales said walking down the aisle there “Felt very powerful” and Sara Featherstone said that “Being able to see all the audience in the church was very different.”

Another highlight for the whole cast is that audiences seem to have all really identified with the characters and Sara also exclaimed that Katy had told her “No matter how much we don’t like it, there’s a Katie in all of us somewhere.”

Doing a Q&A after each show also seems to have been something of a masterstroke which has generally been very well received by audiences and participants alike.

This show deserves great praise for its unflinching quality and guts, it is a piece of theatre that everybody can absolutely identify with on different levels and, although tragedy doesn’t put bums on seats, this reality production hits the cause of it squarely between the eyes without being too one sided.

Six Characters

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Dave Windass Talks About Heads Up Festival And It’s Future

Hull playwright Dave Windass has spoken about the upcoming Heads Up Festival which will start on Saturday 5th September as part of Freedom Festival for the third time.

“We’ve been delighted to start Heads Up as part of Freedom Festival which has allowed us to take some really good shows to Freedom, but the festival is going to be restructured from next year,” he said.

Heads Up Festival has always been a twice yearly event every March and September but from next year it will be an annual event with it taking place in March although this doesn’t mean that Heads Up won’t have a bond with Freedom Festival.

“We hope that Heads Up Festival, as a brand, will be able to contribute theatre to Freedom Festival,” he continued.

Talking about the changes coming due to the involvement of Battersea Arts Centre coming to an end as well he said: “We’re in ongoing conversation with Battersea Arts Centre to make sure that Heads Up has got a future so it’s part of a thing called the collaborative touring network.”

Speaking next of future plans for the festival moving forward to 2017 with a purposeful look about him he says, “We’re seeing it as maybe a bit of an international festival, kind of like maybe the Edinburgh Fringe, although that’s a really big ambition.

“The festival was already going before we won City of Culture so Heads Up was a sign of Hull’s ambition, but now we want it to grow and go to other parts of Hull other than just in the city centre.”

We then spoke about what shows that are coming up in September for this Heads Up Festival and the first one that gets mentioned is one written by Mr Windass called Revolutions which has been in development for about two years and is being shown by Ensemble 52 at Freedom Festival first before moving on to a short run at Hull Truck Theatre.

“For me as one of Ensemble 52’s team, and the writer of that show, it’s very exciting to present that show as part of Freedom Festival and at Hull Truck.

“We’ve also got a show at Freedom Festival called At The End of Everything Else which is going to be in the big top and it’s powered by pedal power with the actors actually on bikes to provide the power for the show.

“Wot? No Fish!! Is also a great show that will be on at Kardomah 94 on the 2nd weekend of the Festival.

“The whole festival has some really innovative work that’s really human to the core that people will be really able to identify with.”

Talking about companies that Heads Up would like to forge partnerships with names like Middle Child, Silent Uproar and Pony Express Theatre Company are mentioned along with many others.

“Hull’s theatre ecology is really exciting and I think Heads Up is a really good umbrella for them to present their work.”

ChristopherBrettBailey_THISISHOWWEDIE_2_Credit Claire Haigh

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revolutions poster