Photo by Andrew Barton

In May 2015 the Arts Council, in partnership with the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, announced that October 2015 would see the beginning of the Island of Culture legacy project, TheatreFest.

TheatreFest 17

There are exciting new features to the festival, which is in its third year.
The Isle of Man Arts Council event, curated and produced by Stage Door Entertainment, will showcase new work, including musical theatre, dance, devised performances, workshops and film.

Geoff Corkish MBE MLC, Chairman of the Arts Council, Said: 'After the success of the inaugural and 2016 TheatreFest, this year's festival is more varied than ever and offers the theatregoing public the chance to see something new.'

Musical Theatre will be provided by Jenna Donnelly and Ethan Lewis Maltby with The Battle of Boat, Featuring a cast of local, young performers, on Friday 6th October. This exhilarating and captivating show is written specifically for children and teenagers. It is set during World War One and centres around rival gangs of children who engage in the war effort while defending their home territory from bullies. Filled with stunning songs and witty dialogue, its performance at Theatrefest 17 will be only its second after its premiere by the National Youth Theatre in London.

John Young returns to the Island to create a piece of theatre from scratch that will be performed on the same bill on Friday 6th October. John devised a hard-hitting drama, depicting the struggle of refugees, for last year's festival but this year tackles a comedy looking at peculiar traits of Manx life, chips, Cheese and Gravy.

Through workshops in schools and the community in the week leading up to the event, he will recruit local performers. Casting is open to all and no experience is necessary: just a passion to perform, learn and create.
To register your interest, email

Saturday 7th October will see another exciting double bill, beggining with a new dance piece created by Pippa Salter of The Academy of Dance and Ludus Youth dance Company. The piece will be based on the Manx Legend of Lhiannan Shee - a Beautiful fairy who preys on artistic people - and has been composed for TheatreFest 17 by Charlotte Marlow. Charlotte is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music and has written for artist such as the Manchester Camerata, the Shion Duo and the award-winning A4 Brass.

The second half of the evening will be the world premiere of Three Mothers by Matilda Valevitch, the winner of the Arts Council's playwriting competition held to mark TheatreFest 16. This gritty piece of drama focuses on the lives of three women whose stories involuntarily intertwine. Stage Door Entertainment joins forces with DAM Productions to present Three Mothers as a documentary-style film.

Tickets for TheatreFest 17 are available from, the Isle of Man Government Welcome Centre and by ringing 01624 600555. Tickets are £10 for each evening, concessions £8, with a ticket for both evenings £15.

Theatrefest 17 Competition

In conjunction with Theatrefest 17, the Arts Councilis running its annual competition to create a new, one-act play.
The winner will have the work performed as part of TheatreFest 18 and the deadline for entries is December 31st 2017.

For details, visit, submit entries to or post them to Isle of Man Arts Council, Hamilton House, Peel Road, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 5EZ.

A New Festival for New Theatre

TheatreFest aims to encourage and support writers and composers to try out their new pieces of theatre on the Isle of Man, whilst simultaneously giving local residents a chance to attend world-class performances in iconic Manx venues, such as the Gaiety Theatre. It is hoped that this project will also raise the Isle of Man's reputation in the world of theatre as one of the leading theatre destinations.

TheatreFest will have a different theme each year with TheatreFest 16's being 'Journeys'. This theme is incorporated into the TheatreFest 16 writing initiative which is open not only to writers on the island but also writers from around the world. Selected pieces from this writing initiative will be produced in 2017 for TheatreFest '17. The deadline for entries to this competition is 31st December 2016.

Entries can be sent via email to or posted to the following address:
IOM Arts Council
Hamilton House
Peel Road
Isle of Man

Application Process / Rules / Terms and Conditions

TheatreFest '16

Taking place over the weekend of the 23rd/24th/25th September' TheatreFest was back with three brand new performances at the Studio Theatre at Ballakermeen.

On the 23rd September the winner of the TheatreFest '15 playwriting competition Stephen Harper debuted his winning play 'Morning Star'. A period play based around the slave trade in 1848 the piece captures an authentic atmosphere of the time and the harsh reality of slavery but still engages with the audience.

'Megan and Me' a new piece of musical theatre written by David Holland, Kristene Sutcliffe and Lisa Kriesky was performed on the 24th September as part of a double bill with an original devised piece of theatre 'Journeys'. Megan and Me explores the friendship between two women through their entire lives and Journeys was be directed by John Young with the aim of creating an original piece of contemporary work in just one week!

A scene from 'Journeys' directed by John Young

TheatreFest '15

   Left to right: Composers Spencer Williams, Stuart Brayson and Director Bev Clark

Local team Stage Door Productions also produced a piece of devised theatre that was based around the theme of slavery. This work was directed by Bev Clark and performed entirely by a Manx cast.

Jimmy Mac World Premiere

TheatreFest 15 also featured the world premiere of Jimmy Mac, a musical comedy by renowned composer Stuart Brayson who, with Sir Tim Rice, composed From Here to Eternity. Jimmy Mac saw a notorious womaniser being put on trial by four former lovers through a combination of music, comedy and dance.

For Tonight Wows Crowd

The festival was also host to new, original musical, For Tonight, written by American composers Shanelle Williams and Spencer Williams along with Whitney Rhodes. For Tonight, an indie-rock/folk musical based in the 1830's, follows Haydon, one of three siblings, as he heads from his small Welsh village to Liverpool following the death of his parents, to find out what he's been missing.

Puppeteer Corina Inspires Youngsters With Workshop

TheatreFest 15 also hosted a puppetry workshop aimed at schoolchildren aged 5 to 12 years. This workshop was run by professional puppeteer and puppetmaker Corina Bona and involved the attendees creating puppets out of newspaper and masking tape, with some outstanding results.

TheatreFest 15 Puppetry Workshop lead by Corina Bona
   Youngsters enjoy TheatreFest 15 Puppetry Workshop lead by Corina Bona

A sponsored body of
The Department of Education and Children
Rheynn Ynsee
Isle of Man Government
Reiltys Ellan Vannin
Isle of man Government