Fundraising Campaign opens on Thursday

On Thursday at 10am we will be launching our fundraising campaign to take Stars on tour. We need to raise £1,200 to get our show off the ground. So the most important question – Why should you hand over your hard earned cash to us?

Why is this work important?

Because it breaks down the stereotype that people on benefits are lazy and looking for a handout that is constantly reinforced by the media. Adam and Bev each tell the story from their own very different perspectives. It isn’t a self-pitying tale of woe, but a play about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. It is a story which needs to be told and we want as many people as possible to see it.

What will happen to your money?

£5 – you have printed the scripts to use in rehearsal
£10 – you have booked an hour of rehearsal space
£25 – you have transported the actors to Preston
£50 – you have paid an actors wage for a performance
£100 – you have printed our marketing materials
£200 – you have hired The Lantern Theatre for one performance

Why do we need it?

This is a Fringe Theatre Production with five actors, all of whom will be working very hard for very little financial reward.  If we can take care of as many of these pre-production costs as possible, the more we are able to market the show. The more people who come to see it the higher the box office split for the actors.

I can’t wait to launch this campaign and share this journey with as many people as possible. See you Thursday!

Stars to be performed in Liverpool

As part of our north-west tour The Stars are Made of Concrete will be performed:

Thursday 12th and Friday 13th May
The Lantern Theatre, Liverpool
7:30pm. Tickets available here. £10 Full / £8 Concs.

“Lantern Theatre Liverpool is an intimate, family run venue, nestled in the heart of Liverpool’s creative playground – The Baltic Triangle. A converted warehouse on the edge of Liverpool One, Lantern Theatre Liverpool emanates a bohemian contemporaneity that makes it the perfect location for unique, ground-breaking theatre.” 
Read more on the Lantern Theatre Home page.

Photo by Shay Rowan
Photo by Shay Rowan

Tickets are also available for our dates at the Continental in Preston and Salford Arts Theatre.

Book Salford Tickets          Book Preston Tickets          Book Liverpool Tickets

 

 

 

Stars returning to the stage

Tickets are now on sale for two of the venues in our mini-tour of the Northwest.

The Stars are Made of Concrete will be performed at:

Salford Arts Theatre, Salford
Wednesday 18th – Saturday 21st May 7:30pm
£10 Full Price £8 Concessions. As part of Salford Arts Theatre’s early bird scheme, there are a limited number of tickets available for just £5! Click here to book.

The New Continental, Preston
Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th June 8:00pm
£10 Full Price £8 Concessions. Click here to book.

the-stars-are-made-of-concrete-matthews_zoe-jarreaubenjamin-26-27-july-kingssalford-shayster57_19941358366_oProduction photography by Shay Rowan

About the show:

Adam has never had a job. At the age of twenty-four he is deemed lazy and useless by everyone around him: but when his mum, Bev, is made redundant after over a decade of working in the NHS the tables are turned. As Adam struggles to set up a life for himself and his new family, Bev is left wondering – “If we’re all in this together, why do I feel so alone?”

Nominated for Best Drama and Best New Writing at the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, The Stars Are Made of Concrete shows the people behind the statistics and how they try to carry on with grace, humour… and ladyboys.

Book Salford Tickets                    Book Preston Tickets

Casting announcement

We are very sad to announce that due to health reason Jane Bancroft will no longer be part of the cast of The Stars are Made of Concrete. However, every cloud has a silver lining as we can now reveal that the role of Bev will be played by Zoe Matthews.

Zoe Matthews6291col

Zoe’s theatre credits include: Midnight by Russell T Davies, JB Shorts 9. Firestarter @ 24:7, & solo show 1st Rule of Comedy. TV credits include: Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and most recently Zoe could be heard voicing the ad ‘Shirley from Weightstoppers’ on Peter Kays’ sitcom Car Share. She is represented by Una Evans O’Connell at EOC Management. and her full CV is available on Spotlight.

We wish Jane all the best and the feeling is mutual.

F161201

Jane says: ‘I’m incredibly disappointed not to be reprising the role of Bev, this is a great script by a very passionate new writer and fantastic director. I know that Zoe will do an excellent job in my place though and am in no doubt that the production will be one of the highlights of the GM Fringe this year.’

The Stars are Made of concrete will be performed at the Kings Arms, Salford as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival 2015

Sun 26 Jul 3:00pm & 7:30pm
Mon 27 Jul 7:30pm
Tickets on sale now £8.00 (£6.00 concs)

So what are you up to at the moment?

This is the question that so many of us in the arts absolutely dread. The question in itself is meant in all innocence. People on the outside are genuinely interested, and people on the inside inflict it on each other when they can’t think of anything to talk about except work – myself included.

Of course it is not the question that fills us with dread, but the lack of an answer.

For the last couple of years I have been able to answer free from anxiety. I’ve been very blessed in that I have made my living almost entirely from acting, and when I wasn’t acting I was teaching English in China (which makes me sound much more interesting than I actually am). But then this January happened. The thing I swore I never wanted to do again in my life.

I had to sign on.

I was of course not thrilled at the prospect of being unemployed, but when I was asked the dreaded “So what are you up to at the moment?” I decided I would be honest.

“Nothing. I’m on the dole, but it’s OK” I tell them. “It’s research.”

For a large section of 2012 I was unemployed. I had naively quit my day job in the hope that I would be more available for acting work and could pick up flexible promo work in between.

I picked up very little promo work, and even less paid acting work.

After four months of hardly any work, there wasn’t much left of my savings. So I decided to take a trip down to the job centre. Each hoop I had to jump through to get my paltry £52.60 a week was more humiliating than the last. Filling in irrelevant information about my personal life (they wanted my housemate’s date of birth!) Having them scour through my little booklet every two weeks, being sent to a jobs fair for apprentice schemes – most of which you can’t apply for if you have a degree. The result of this became my third play – The Stars are Made of Concrete. I wrote the bulk of it between April and July 2012 and now that I am finally getting it on the stage it needs a drastic rewrite.

“So it’s ok” I tell myself. “I can apply for Universal Credit and then I’ll find out how that works and I can update the play, right?”

Wrong. My application was rejected, yet I was still eligible to receive Job Seeker’s Allowance. It seems that Universal Credit is not so Universal.

With this in mind I would love to hear from anybody who has applied for or is receiving Universal Credit. The internet is very vague about what you have to do to receive the payments (deliberately so no doubt) What barriers have been put in place? Have you been sanctioned and for what reason? Any information on how the thing actually works would be more than welcome! You can contact me on facebook, twitter or via email: michelle@messydress.co.uk

I am now happy to say that I only spent six weeks out of work. I was very lucky. I want to get this story out there because some people are not.

It’s official! We are part of the GM Fringe

The Stars are made of Concrete will be performed on 26th and 27th of July at the Kings Arms, Salford as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival. We are very excited to announce that we have a fantastic cast on board and unveil the poster.

The stars are made of concrete poster A4

Adam has never had a job. At the age of twenty-two he is deemed lazy and useless by everyone around him: but when his mum, Bev, is made redundant after over a decade of working in the NHS the tables are turned. As Adam struggles to set up a life for himself and his new family, Bev is left wondering – “If we’re all in this together, why do I feel so alone?”

Written by Forever Manchester Award winner Michelle Ashton (Good Hidings, FINE) and directed by MTA nominated Colin Connor (The Best, Len Johnson Fighter) The Stars Are Made of Concrete shows the people behind the statistics and how they try to carry on with grace, humour… and ladyboys.

For more details on the cast and crew, you can view their Spotlight Profiles by clicking their names below. We only ever work with actors whose names begin with J. 😛

Adam – Jarreau Benjamin

Bev – Jane Bancroft

Sinead – Jenny Jordan-O’Neill

Carol – Jo Dakin

Gaz – John Bulwich

Directed by Colin Connor

Written by Michelle Ashton