TheatreFest16's second evening of new works for the theatre will be a double bill: Megan and Me ('True friendships last for ever') and Journeys ('Where will your next path take you?')
Showing at the Studio Theatre, Ballakermeen High School on Saturday September 24, the double bill forms part of the Isle of Man Arts Council's TheatreFest16 three-day programme.
Megan and Me is a new musical review written by well-known Manx musician David Holland together with Lisa Kreisky and Kristene Sutcliffe of Stage Door Entertainment, curators of TheatreFest16, who also take the adult roles of Megan (Kristene Sutcliffe) and Melissa (Lisa Kreisky).
The play - a' black box' style performance - explores the relationship between the two women, tracing their friendship through the years and is very loosely based on the characters of Mimi and Musetta in Puccini's La Bohème, but brought right up to date. The young Megan is played by Rhona Wilson, the teenager by Ali Waters, while Tara Kneen is the young Melissa and Alexandra Slater takes the teenage role.
Lisa Kreisky explained: 'This is a show all about the girls. We watch snapshots of their lives and how their friendship has developed and blossomed over the years: from humble beginnings, through teenage tantrums to enduring friendship.'
Kristene Sutcliffe added: 'Megan and Me has proved a fantastic vehicle for David Holland's talent which absolutely shines through. He's achieved his ambition to write a musical review in which we're thrilled to be performing his brilliant songs and which is a show that will delight the audience with its compelling mix of comedy and pathos.'
Alongside Megan and Me is Journeys, a piece of devised theatre with a community company of actors directed by theatre director John Young who was brought up in the Isle of Man.
Mr Young, who will be holding school and community workshops in the island on September 17 and 18 in the run-up to Journeys, explained that the content of the devised piece would be discovered though what would be 'intensive' rehearsals on the evenings leading up to the performance.
Kristene Sutcliffe added: 'We're looking for just a one-week commitment from the cast and we're encouraging both non-experienced and experienced performers to register for the workshops. In essence, you come to the workshop and you're in the show. Minimum age is 11 but there's no maximum age. To register, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.'
Mr Young continued: 'I'm so excited to be returning to the island and to be part of the brilliant TheatreFest16. At the moment the project is still in the early stages of development so it's hard to pin down exactly what it will consist of. My aim, however, is to create a piece of contemporary theatre that is as much about the process of creating the work as it is the final performance. I'm keen to work with both experienced and non-experienced performers, exploring exciting new voices. The challenge is that we only have a week to make the show, but that's the exciting part! I'm really looking forward to coming home and working with the huge amount of talent that our island has to offer.'
Mr Young is a former resident assistant director at the leading off-West End theatre, the Finborough Theatre, and emerging trainee director with Clwyd Theatr. He is currently involved in a new play, To Dream Again, by Toby Hulse for Theatr Clwyd which opened in June and transfers to London for a five-week run in February 2017.
Isle of Man Arts Council Arts Ambassador Michelle Jamieson was a cast member of last year's devised work Invisible Chains. Reflecting on her experience she said: 'For me, TheatreFest 15 was the beginning of something very special for the Isle of Man. There is a powerhouse of talent here, and being able to showcase it in a way that will bring more people to love theatre the way I do is a magical thing. I'm excited to see this year's programme.'
Georgia Maddocks, who performed in TheatreFest15's new musical For Tonight, played Mary Magdalene in the Douglas Choral Union's production of Jesus Christ Superstar and appeared as Nancy in Taylorian Productions' Oliver! added: 'I'm proud to live on an Island where its arts council supports the creation and performance of new work and new writing, a current rarity in theatre, but something that is pivotal in keeping the arts alive.'
Supplementing the festival weekend Danielle Bridson, from the Arts Hub and who recently played Deloris Van Cartier in the Douglas Choral Union production of Sister Act, will be holding two 'Journey into Theatre'-themed workshops on Sunday September 18, sponsored by the Isle of Man Arts Council: one for three to seven-year-olds, the other for eight to 12-year-olds. She said: 'The Arts Hub is delighted to be offering these two workshops as part of TheatreFest16. They'll offer students the opportunity to explore strange lands beyond their wildest imaginations. We will use singing, dance, drama and craft activities to tell the story of "Buzz" a young man who travels into space to explore new worlds and the aliens that live there.'
Danielle Bridson's Journey into Theatre workshops will have spaces for a maximum of 25 per session. Sessions are three hours and priced £10. To register visit www.theartshub.im.
Isle of Man Arts Council vice-chairman Michael Lees said: 'Once again we're offering an exciting double bill. Last year saw the premiere of the engaging new musical For Tonight - which clearly delighted the audience and showcased the talents of a good number of accomplished local artists - and the devised piece Invisible Chains.
'TheatreFest15 demonstrated to great effect how a devised work is very much the sum of its parts, reflecting the input from everyone involved, on stage and behind the scenes. It's the very essence of community theatre, providing opportunities for people who have never acted before, and for more established performers to be challenged and take their acting skills into new directions...a new "journey" as it were for the entire cast, the director and the audience.'
The Megan and Me and Journeys double bill is on Saturday September 24, starting at 7.30pm at the Studio Theatre, Ballakermeen High School.
Tickets, £10 or £8 for senior citizens and under-16s are on sale at the Welcome Centre in the Sea Terminal, 686801 and from the Gaiety Theatre and Villa Marina box office, 600555, villagaiety.com.
Festival tickets covering all three evenings' performances are £15.