"TheatreFest simply took our breath away this year!"

Photo by

The coming together of local talent to celebrate a particularly Manx inspired festival was something we hadn’t really planned for, but could not be happier about.

It was a stroke of luck that the Playwriting competition was won by none other than local theatre favourite Mike Bonner and the dark majesty of his play ‘Purga Tree’ was a gift to produce. In addition to our wonderful cast, we were able to secure the talents of current Young Actor of Mann, Abbie Williams too, which elevated the piece further.

Purga Tree by Mike Bonner. Photo by Mike Bonner.

Identity was the most powerful devised piece to date with several new faces along with a number of returning community cast members. We were privileged to work with John Young again and we feel that the opportunity that he gives to performers with little or no experience is invaluable. With them, they brought new ideas, experiences and, most importantly, new audience members. Some of whom had never been to the theatre before! This shows how far reaching TheatreFest really is.

Identity by John Young

This was my fourth year working on the devised project for Theatre fest and I was immensely pleased with the thought provoking work the company of actors managed to produce in just six days. As always with Theatre Fest it is a real challenge to create something with a diverse group of strangers in such a short space of time, but this year every single one them truly rose to the occasion. We were given the theme identity and as a group every actor explored what their own identity meant to them in context to the modern world and performed pieces inspired by their own lives and experiences. What Krissy and Lisa do at Stage Door is really important and their dedication to making and producing new work which is inclusive and accessible is always a true pleasure to be part of. I always leave feeling extremely proud to have been involved.

- John Young

In total contrast ‘M is for Manx Cat- the musical’ was a colourful, effervescent sight for all the senses which had the audience belly laughing and cheering for more. Not only did we have several new young cast members but, again, lots of people came from all over the island due to the popularity of the book. We are sure they left the theatre singing, dancing and even knowing a few extra words in Manx Gaelic! We hope to continue the development of this wonderful piece!

It was amazing to see my book ‘M is for Manx Cat! An Isle of Man ABC’ brought to life on stage - just 6 months after I published it with support from Isle of Man Arts Council. My two children (Colby and Aalin) were transfixed throughout the whole performance, which is quite an achievement!

I’m in awe at how Kristene, Lisa and the cast delivered such a wonderfully entertaining, brand new family show within such a short preparation period. 

I really enjoyed listening to several local songs that I hadn’t heard before - especially ‘I’m a Manx Cat!’ - and my favourite part was when the audience really got involved with singing the Laxey Wheel song.

It would be fantastic if we could share the script and song lyrics with local schools/ playschools/ drama groups so that they could stage their own versions of the show... and I would love to see the original cast in a repeat performance, this time as a matinee, in the North of the Island!

My heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all involved!

- Gemma Hjerth, Isle of Man ABC

'M' is for Manx Cat

And what better way to close a weekend of magic that to witness the pure joy and charm of ‘The Mechanic.’ Not only penned by local musical legend Patricia Cullen, but performed beautifully by a local cast of actors (with the youngest making his theatrical debut!) not only was this showcase a celebration of musical and creative talent on the Isle of Man but also set against the backdrop of our beloved TT. We think the audiences reaction spoke for itself.

We couldn’t be prouder of what we at Stage Door Entertainment have created this year, but we could not have done it without the unwavering support of the Isle of Man Arts Council and all the wonderful cast, crew and creatives involved. Here’s to TheatreFest 20!

Words by Krissy and Lisa
Stage Door Entertainment IOM

Facebook: Stage Door Entertainment IOM
Instagram: @sde_iom

Related Reading

Inspired Opportunity For Playwrights at Theatrefest 19

A sponsored body of
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture
Rheynn Ynsee, Spoyrt as Cultoor
Isle of Man Government
Reiltys Ellan Vannin
Isle of man Government