BADAPPLE Theatre Company can look forward to an autumn harvest of outdoor shows after hitting the Arts Council England deadline to find at least six willing venues for Danny Mellor’s new short play, Suffer Fools Gladly.
Awarded a £14,998 grant, the Green Hammerton purveyors of theatre on your doorstep will perform a Hybrid-Live season of Covid-secure outdoor and filmed shows in the months ahead.
Up to ten open-air performances of Suffer Fools Gladly will be staged at private gardens, campsites and hall car parks across North and East Yorkshire area from September 15.
In addition, the ACE funding will support the “creative filming” of Badapple’s hit 1960s-era comedy Eddie And The Gold Tops for a new film-theatre partnership with small halls and arts centres from November to February.
Furthermore, Badapple can now film their Christmas show The Snow Dancer, first toured last winter, to enable free distribution in Yorkshire schools, and Badapple Youth Theatre activities can resume too.
Thanking Arts Council England, founder and artistic director Kate Bramley says: “We’re bowled over by this continued support from ACE at this difficult time that supports our concept of feel-good and safe small-scale events for the communities we partner with and support for our team of creative artists.
“We’ve always specialised in Theatre On Your Doorstep and now for some garden owners in Yorkshire it’s just got even closer to their front door!
“We had as many as 25 offers of interest in hosting the show, and some wonderful hosts will be throwing open their gardens to audiences to experience this great new play from young Yorkshire writer Danny Mellor.”
Suffer Fools Gladly is a witty short comedy, around an hour in length, that drills down on the perils and perks of always having to tell the truth. “Appealing to young and old alike, this upbeat tale narrates the comic fall from grace of Ozzy, the court jester, who is exiled from the magical kingdom of Marillion,” says Danny.
“It takes an unlikely friendship with a cynical 17-year-old Earth girl called Stevie to bring the joy back to both their worlds.”
Co-directed by Bramley, with costume and puppetry design by Catherine Dawn, the premiere will be performed by Mellor and Anastasia Benham, resuming their stage partnership from The Snow Dancer tour last December.
Watch this space for updates on the Eddie And The Gold Tops film-theatre tour, with dates filling up in the Badapple diary for November, December and February.
Suffer Fools Gladly tour itinerary in September:
15: Stonegate Farm, Whixley, 5pm;
16: Private garden, Stockton on the Forest, York, 2pm and 4pm; 17: The Poplars, Myton on Swale, 6pm; 18: Beech Cottage, Green Hammerton 2pm; 19: Colton Farm, near Tadcaster, 2pm; 20: St. Alban’s Church, Hull, car park, 2pm; 21: Private garden, Driffield, 2pm; 22: Private garden, Gilberdyke, 5pm; 23: To be confirmed.
Details on how to apply for tickets will be updated regularly on the Badapple website, badappletheatre.co.uk
WANTED! Badapple Theatre, the Green Hammerton company that takes shows to your doorstep, needs your urgent help to secure funding for two autumn projects.
Urgent really does mean urgent, as company founder and artistic director Kate Bramley explains: “We’ve just been offered a new grant from Arts Council England to cover our interim work between now and December 2020. They have set a deadline of Monday, August 31 for us to have six outdoor performances and six film events confirmed, so please do get in touch as soon as possible if you would like to be included.”
To put flesh on those bones: “As part of that, we’re looking to find a small number of outdoor spaces that would be willing to host a performance of Danny Mellor’s new play, Suffer Fools Gladly, between September 16 and 23,” says Kate, who commissioned Danny in the spring to write the piece for Badapple’s Lockdown Podcast series.
“It’s an extremely inventive and witty short comedy that at its core simply looks at the perils and perks if you had to tell the truth…all the time!” says Kate.
“Appealing to young and old audiences alike, this upbeat tale narrates the comic fall from grace of Ozzy, the court jester who is exiled from the magical kingdom of Marillion. It takes an unlikely friendship with a cynical 17-year old Earth girl, Stevie, to bring the joy back to both of their worlds.
“Danny’s play has a hint of political comment for the times but is really just meant to be a fun hour of upbeat storytelling to give people a bit of a lift.”
Danny has signed up to perform in next month’s mini-tour with Anastasia Berham, his co-star in last year’s Badapple Christmas show, Bramley’s warming winter play The Snow Dancer.
“They’re two great young actors who’ll be taking on the many voices and parts in a show with costume and puppetry design by Catherine Dawn,” says Kate, who will co-direct next month’s production. “So, I’m now hoping to find a few hosts/ venues – we need six in mid-September – to make it work and we’re moving swiftly to do this.”
Badapple’s second putative autumn project has been prompted by an “overwhelming response from halls” [village and community halls] to a survey, expressing an interest in high-quality filmed versions of theatre shows.
“We’re looking at late October to early November for bookings for film-live screenings of Eddie And The Gold Tops,” reveals Kate. “To this end, we are again seeking a minimum of six venues to take part.
“When we started looking for the ultimate ‘feel-good’ show from the Badapple back catalogue, there was no contest! Eddie And The Gold Tops is our 1960s’ comedy about the unexpected and meteoric rise to stardom of Eddie, the local Bottledale milkman.
“With award-winning design by Charlie Cridlan and catchy and comic 1960s-style songs from our Sony Award-winning resident composer Jez Lowe, this show has delighted our audiences since 2012.”
In the Eddie And The Gold Tops storyline, Eddie inherited the family milk round from his father and has fulfilled his deathbed promise to never miss a delivery to the good people of Bottledale. Suddenly things are on the up: his songs are heading up the charts and if he can turn up by tonight, he will be on Top Of The Pops…so, get ready, Eddie, go! When things take a churn for the worse, however, will he arrive back in time for the morning milk round?
“Arts Council England have accepted our programme to make Eddie And The Gold Tops the first of these live-film featured events,” says Kate. “Our ambition is to create a new style of filmed performance – the ‘hybrid-live’ – that captures the energy, theatricality and immediacy of our live theatre shows while providing a quality of filmed entertainment that modern audiences have come to expect.
“The filmed show will feature a cast of three versatile performers leaping swiftly through a multitude of roles and songs, for audiences of all ages to tap their feet and laugh along to. We’re therefore looking for a small number of organisers to screen these pilot Theatre Film Night performances for socially distanced audiences at indoor venues in late October. Even better, make it a Sixties’ themed night with fancy dress and Bring Your Own.”
Summing up Badapple’s aims in an open letter headlined “Badapple Theatre: To Boldy Go… “, administrator and company director Claire Jeffrey says: “As you all know, the Coronavirus pandemic has meant the closure of all live events for a prolonged period and we are hoping to now work in partnership with Arts Council England to safely deliver a small number of live events between September 2020 and January 2021.
“Our project ambition is simply to offer a series of pure feel-good events that are open to all ages and are just about local people having the confidence to gather safely with friends and neighbours at our ultra-small-scale Theatre On Your Doorstep events.
“We will, of course, be preparing a full Covid-19 risk assessment in line with Government guidelines for both of these projects that have been specifically designed to build audience confidence for live events by offering reduced capacity/ socially distanced showings.”
Claire’s letter concludes: “We would be delighted to answer any questions that you may have about the details, including finances and being Covid-19 safe. I’m working from home at the moment and can be reached on 01423 331304 or by email to email@example.com if you have any questions or wish to talk anything through.”
Hurry, hurry, with that phone call or email as Badapple need six of the best twice over…venues, that is. “We have to get them confirmed for Eddie And The Gold Tops before we can get the money to do the filming,” urges Claire.
YORK Theatre Royal is to receive £196,493 from Arts Council England’s emergency response fund.
Executive director Tom Bird tweeted: “We’re massively grateful for the @ace_national support from their emergency fund. It keeps us going so we can keep supporting & developing creativity in this wondrous city. Thanks @ace_thenorth. Back to it.”
Bird told CharlesHutchPress: “We received the sum we requested, and it was strictly done on the basis of ‘what do you need to get you through to September 30’.
“But I must stress it is only a sum to take us to that point, when the reality is that we’re a venue usually with an annual turnover of £4 million.”
From Arts Council England’s £33 million pot for National Portfolio and Creative People & Places Organisations, York Museums Trust has received £362,000; Harrogate Theatre, £395,000; Leeds Playhouse (Leeds Theatre Trust), £669,326; Northern Ballet, Leeds, £500,000 and Sheffield Theatres Trust, £675,569.