Some photos you never tire of. This is one of my favourites taken by Jim Rolt during a rehearsal by Conquest Youth Theatre for Darkness in the Night, one of Rob Hockley’s most popular plays. Performed all over the place, home and abroad, with success in One Act Competitions in the UK (Sodbury Players Youth Section – we still love you for that!), it just oozes daftness, darkness, Rob’s trademark witty, sharp humour and astute observations regarding teenage relationships. Four characters, an empty house, a cupboard, an egg whisk, many personal issues, romance, a few snacks … and the darkness of the underworld.
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News from the lovely Offbeat Folks!
Showcasing THE DREAM MAKERS this week!
This is a glorious dream-based adventure in a ‘Dream Palace’ – a place where dreams are created and acted out for your benefit (or not) during sleep. Large cast (age 9-14 ish), music (create your own dream soundscapes), heaps of costumes and props if desired, optional messiness (we like messy stuff) and a plot to rival any mission that may (or may not) be possible. See more on the Dream Makers page!
The lovely pic shows a heated moment between members of the ‘Grounders’ (the ‘clean up’ team – told you it could be messy), and features the Conquest Youth Theatre in Bromyard.
SPY SCHOOL is a one act musical – runs 50-60 minutes. Just right for the end of year production for your 10 – 13 year olds (ok, I know a few bigger kids who would love spy school as well!). It was written for a Year 6 Leaver’s Gala originally, but don’t let that stop you performing it whenever you wish!
Our favourite comment from a teacher? “Wow! Our big problem now is how to follow it!”
It’s funny, clever, silly, amazingly good fun, has many wonderful parts – mostly with silly names and the music is fantastic (even if we say so ourselves). From the big Bondesque opening number ‘Spies’, to the heartbreakingly beautiful ‘In Too Deep’ it just rocks. We supply backing tracks and practise tracks with guide vocals.
You can read more about it, listen to demos of the songs, download a preview of the first part and get more info on the SPY SCHOOL PAGE!
Which is just as well as it’s booked out in February!
A sneak preview of some of the costumes that made it onto the stage last year in a lovely production by St Richard’s School, Bredenbury.
You can see more wonderfulness on the Offbeat Wonderland page
Yep .. we’re expanding.
Currently Offbeat Theatre produces plays with the adult company, publishes plays by Barbara & Rob, hires out costumes, that sort of thing. We’re pretty busy doing all that, but NOT BUSY ENOUGH. Nope, sometimes I have free time. I’d like to spend some of that time running Arts Awards, maybe preparing folk for LAMDA examinations and definitely directing with a Youth Group. All of this sounds like a great way to spend time to me. After years of directing and writing for schools and youth theatre, I find I need more.
So .. what are Arts Awards?
This is from the Arts Award site, where you can explore everything you could possibly wish to know (about Arts Award, not much else to be honest):
Supporting young people to develop as artists and arts leaders
Our mission is to support young people who want to deepen their engagement with the arts, build creative and leadership skills, and to achieve a national qualification.
Through Arts Award’s five levels, children and young people aged up to 25 can explore any art form including performing arts, visual arts, literature, media and multimedia. The award builds confidence, helps young people to enjoy cultural activities, and prepares them for further education or employment.
OFFBEAT THEATRE is an Arts Award centre and Barbara, as an Arts Award Adviser, can deliver and assess Arts Awards up to, and including, Silver (Gold soon). We are planning the offer sessions and programmes that will support this exciting development. What we offer will not just limited to theatre, we’ll be including other arts professionals in the team as well. Arts Award is managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England. Interested? Continue Reading…
Last night SPYS (Sodbury Players Youth Section) won the Best Youth award for their production of Rob Hockley’s “Darkness in the night” at the Bristol One-act drama festival!!!!
Congratulations from all at OffbeatTheatre – especially a delighted playwright. We’re proud and delighted to have been a part of what must have been a fab production!
Roll on the next round ….
The latest Offbeat show – in Bromyard & Bredenbury (Herefordshire) in Feb.
It’s been a long time in the pipeline (as has a blog post), but everything comes to fruition eventually. The strange play that I started in the summer of last year has emerged and is almost ready to be seen.
This is a brief synopsis ..
A fading actor, reduced to bit parts in variety shows, can only relive his glory days of performing Shakespeare inside his own head, albeit aided by a troupe of talented voices from the past. But even in these private theatrical moments, he finds himself lacking, forgetting and losing interest. The Voices inside his head are losing him and the situation is getting worse. On a chance hearing of an Edgar Allan Poe story being narrated, the Actor is seduced into the gloomy, gothic, macabre and ultimately tragic world that Poe characters inhabit. If the ‘Voices of Shakespeare’ want to survive, they must get rid of Poe and his grey, gloomy, bleak horror stories . But the Narrator of Poe fights back .. and his material is good.
Plus, he has a raven.
Surreal, dark and funny (ish)
I’ll write more soon. Honest I will.
I have a lot to write and ‘Poe’ is a strange beast indeed.
But we all hear voices .. don’t we?
Embrace the darkness .. before it sneaks up on you
Saturday Feb 6th, The Falcon Hotel, Bromyard, 7.30pm
Tuesday 16th & Wednesday 17th Feb, St Richard’s School, Bredenbury, 7.30pm.
TICKETS from our POE PAGE on the website.
This week, among many other things, we have been going a little bit crazy about SPY SCHOOL our fab musical for 9-11 year olds. We’ve been getting songs on Soundcloud and plays on Treepress (see link below). Artwork has been pouring in from Emma and our Bugsy hire business has gone into orbit. All of this makes for a super busy week and many excellent excuses (sorry, ‘reasons’) not to finish of the end of year accounts (yuck).
SPY SCHOOL – THE MUSIC
Click on the Soundcloud thing and you can listen to music whilst reading…. what more could you want? Words by me and music by Greg Swinford. If you lisen to the tracks on soundcloud you’ll hear the voice of Greg pretending to be a host of 10 year old spies! More info on our Offbeat Plays site soon – or on Treepress (link below).
SPY SCHOOL – THE PLOT
Spy School is a comedy musical for children. So far, so good. Orginally written for a Year 6 (age 10-11) Leavers Gala, but great for slightly younger or older groups. It has heaps of larger-than-life parts (mostly spies) and four BIG musical numbers as well as a rap number for a solo character.
The plot concerns three Rookie Spies arriving at Spy School on their first day of training. For absolutely no good reason at all, one of them spontaneously announces to the assembled Spies, and worse, Head of Spy School, that they are ready to show their worth by completing a mission on their first day. After a brief (and fairly silly) training session they are absolutely totally unprepared to discover the whereabouts of the mysterious ‘Seventh Department’ (their assigned ‘mission’) by noon. From this point on it really does get a little bonkers. The kids absolutely loved it – even the ones that had to perform the parts of ‘Agent Prowls-like-a-pigeon’, or Agent Lurks-like-a-Lizard’ from the Department of ‘Sneaking-like-a-sheep’. Actually, I know they had heaps of fun, I was there. The gadget prizes went to the Agents in the ‘Department of Geeky Gadgets’ and Agents ‘The Jelly Has Set’ and ‘The Toast Has Landed’ were a couple of my favourites (from the ‘Department of The Cookie Crumbles at Noon’). Most of the characters had names like that! If I’m honest, making up the names of the characters was almost my favourite bit of the whole process.
TREEPRESS is a brand new initiative and we love them. Currently they are setting up a really great website to market plays to schools and youth groups. I have been regularly searching the UK for a publisher of youth/schoolplays without luck for ages! Treepress don’t act as ‘publishers’ exactly, but they are acting as a dedicated marketplace and that’s the next best thing I reckon. So do whizz over there and have a look!
You’ll find a few Offbeat plays on there (and more to come) – including the musical for 9 – 11 year olds – SPY SCHOOL.
TAKE ME TO TREEPRESSLAND