Calling all budding playwrights!

May 31, 2011

No Holds Bard Play-Writing CompetitionWrite a One Act play with a Shakespeare-related theme

  • Prizes of £25 for the Writers of the Best Plays
  • Best Plays performed at the 400-seat Dolman Theatre
  • Entry into RSC Open Stages Regional Showcase – with a chance of being selected for performance inStratford-upon-Avonas part of World Shakespeare Festival 2012
  • Click here to download an entry form

RSC Open Stages

RSC Open Stages is an exciting national project co-ordinated by the world famous Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Its aim is to embrace, develop and celebrate amateur theatre and re-forge the bond with the world of professional theatre.

Newport Playgoers Society is proud to be part of this scheme which will culminate in a national showcase of amateur performances at the RSC’s home inStratford-upon-Avon, to coincide with the World Shakespeare Festival in 2012. Visit the RSC website for more information: http://www.rsc.org.uk.


Newport Playgoers in RSC Open Stages Project

April 26, 2011

Newport Playgoers Society is pleased to announce it has been accepted to take part in RSC Open Stages, which is being co-ordinated by the world famous Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Described as the UK’s biggest amateur theatre project, its aim is to embrace, develop and celebrate amateur theatre, re-forging the bond with the world of professional theatre. 

Following the success of NPS’s Ryder Cup inspired play-writing festival, there are plans to hold another one act play-writing competition – on a Shakespeare-related theme. The best plays will be produced on the main stage of the 400-seat Dolman Theatre in March 2012. This will be part of a national programme of skills-sharing events and showcases, with amateur societies from across the UK invited to produce their own RSC branded Shakespeare themed production.

A number of productions from across the UK will be invited to perform at the World Shakespeare Festival in Stratford in 2012,  alongside professional Shakespeare productions at the RSC. 

For more information about RSC Open Stages visit www.rsc.org.uk


Mamma mia! Playgoers serve up a spicy success

March 11, 2011

Newport playgoers seize a rare opportunity to mix drama with gastronomy in their April production of ‘Saturday, Sunday, Monday’ by Eduardo de Filippo.

A scene from rehearsing 'Saturday, Sunday, Monday' by Eduardo Filippo

Dinner time for Antonio (Richard Dymond), his daughter Rosa (Claudia Barnes) and her husband Peppino (Alex Wilson) (Photo: Phil Mansell)

Employing a full-bodied and well-seasoned cast, the play is steeped in a rich Neopolitan blend of of pathos and humour. Invited into the apartment of Peppino and Rosa Priore to share the hallowed ritual of Sunday dinner, we are bombarded with a surprising variety of odd-ball characters in their extended and eccentric family. Meet Antonio, the Michaelangelo of miillinary; Raffaele, the actor with ego (is there any other kind?) and Michelle, the drop-of-a-hat pugilist.

In this crowded familial atmosphere ferments a complew brew of jealousies and recriminations, coming to a head during dinner itself. 

Rosa (Claudia Barnes) prides herself on being a good cook. Her daughter Giulianella (Sam Jones), helps her sample the pasta. (Photo: Phil Mansell)

As director Ruth Ferguson declares, “Food is very important in this play. We watch Rosa preparing and cooking her famous ragu on Saturday, then the family tuck in and eat it on Sunday and even finish it off for breakfast on Monday. Doing all this on stage is challenging but lots of fun and we hope the audience will feel that they have almost smelt and tasted the food themselves.”

Cue mass salivation and an urge to hum the theme from ‘The Godfather’ on the way home.

‘Saturday, Sunday, Monday’ is at the Dolman Theatre at 7.15 pm from 5 – 9 April, with an extra matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or 656757 or try our new website at www.dolman-theatre.co.uk.


West End Star Caroline Sheen to Top Bill at Gala Night of Entertainment

February 22, 2011
West End star Caroline Sheen

Top West End musical star Caroline Sheen, who is currently touring America as Mary Poppins, is returning to Wales to top the bill at a gala night of entertainment at the Dolman Theatre on Saturday 19th March.

Mary Poppins will be coming to Newport– in the shape of top West End musical star Caroline Sheen, who is returning to Wales to top the bill at a gala night of entertainment at the Dolman Theatre on Saturday 19th March.

 Caroline, who is currently touring America as the lead in the hit musical ‘Mary Poppins’, will join of host of talent from local musical societies, dance schools and Newport Playgoers Society (NPS), for an evening which promises to be packed with music and mirth. As well as singing a host of familiar favourites, Caroline will be performing songs from her debut album, ‘Raise The Curtain’.

A former pupil at Caerleon Comprehensive School, Caroline gained invaluable experience performing with Gwent Young People’s Theatre and the National Youth Theatre of Wales before going on to study at Guildford School of Acting where she graduated with first class honours. Her West End roles include Marty in ‘Grease’, Eponine in ‘Les Miserables’ and Truly Scrumptious in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.

“This gala event has been organised as a fund-raiser for Newport Playgoers Society which owns and runs the 400-seat Dolman Theatre,” explained NPS spokesperson Phil Mansell. “We’re really pleased to have such a talented and well-known performer as Caroline to headline a feast of entertainment that will include something for everyone.”

Tickets for the event, on Saturday 19th March are £15 – and include a glass of bubbly and canapés before the curtain goes up. To book, contact the Dolman Theatre box office on 01633 263670.


Drama as Ex-Cop Becomes a Criminal!

February 10, 2011

Former policeman Bob Brown plays retired villain Ray who argues with his old partner-in-crime from 1960s London, Michael, played by Will Smith-Haddon.

A former policeman has gone crooked to become a murderous gangster in the latest production from Newport Playgoers Society.

 Bob Brown plays ruthless killer Ray, one of two 1960s villains who try to retire to the Costa Del Crime, in ‘Going Straight’ by Richard Harris, which is at the Dolman Theatre from 15th to 19th February.

“It’s a real challenge playing a crook who is perversely proud of his criminal past in 1960s gangland London,” said 55-year-old Bob, who was in the police force for 30 years before retiring.

 “I’ve done a lot of musicals with various local societies over the years – so many that I was nick-named ‘The Singing Detective’! I joined Playgoers to try my hand at more straight drama. Playing villains is always more interesting. Having been the good guy in real life, when I was on the beat in Caldicot, Cwmbran and Monmouthshire, it’s nice to play the part of a crook and experience life on the dark side!”

The past comes back to haunt former villain Ray (Bob Brown) when he visits a villa on the Costa del Crime with his wife Brenda (Clare Drewett) (Photo: Phil Mansell)

In ‘Going Straight’, Bob’s character takes his wife to visit his old partner-in-crime who is living in style in his luxury villa in Spain. Their trip coincides with a visit from a TV researcher who is making a film about the1960s underworld. Her questions puts a strain on the gangsters’ friendship as the past comes back to haunt them.

 The play’s director, Catherine Cook, said, “This is a very taut, and often funny drama with a real air of tension and suspense. It will offer audiences an opportunity to work out the twisting plot and guess the outcome. As it is about tough London gangsters I should point out that it contains some strong language as well as flash lighting and gunshots.”

 The Mayor of Newport, Councillor Bill Langsford, has shown a keen interest in local amateur theatre and will be joining the audience at the 400-seat Dolman Theatre, where ‘Going Straight” by Richard Harris will be on from 15th to 19th February. Performances begin at 7.15 pm with an extra matinee on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. For tickets ring the Dolman box office on 01633 263360 or 01633 656757. More information about this and other Playgoers’ productions can be found at www.dolman-theatre.co.uk and www.newportplaygoers.wordpress.com


Playgoers to take part in RSC’s pro/am project

February 3, 2011

Newport Playgoers Society are planning to take part in the UK’s biggest pro/am theatre project and produce our own RSC Shakespeare themed production.

RSC Open Stages is a new project that aims to embrace, develop and celebrate amateur theatre, re-forging the bond with the world of professional theatre. 

Over 2011/2012 the RSC, in partnership with a number of regional theatres and amateur theatre associations, will run a national programme of skills sharing events and showcases, with amateur societies from across the UK invited to produce their own RSC branded Shakespeare themed production.

A number of productions from across the UK will be invited to perform at the World Shakespeare Festival in Stratford in 2012,  alongside professional Shakespeare productions at the RSC.  NPS  have decided that our production will be performed at the Dolman Theatre in March 2012 and will involve both NPS and PLaygoers New Generation (PNG) members.

To find out more, come along to the RSC Open Stages meeting at the Dolman Theatre at 6pm on Tuesday 22nd February. For more information, email Judith Lindwall on judithlindwall@hotmail.co.uk.


Secrets uncovered at down-at-heel hotel

November 10, 2010

This month’s production by Newport Playgoers is ‘Separate Tables’, thought by many to be Terence Rattigan’s finest work and one which beautifully demonstrates his art of characterisation.

It consists of two plays set in the dining-room and lounge of a private hotel in Bournemouth which has seen better days. The residents are obliged to take meals at individual tables, symbolising the isolation of the individuals.

In the first half, a down-at-heel journalist is confronted by his ex-wife, a former model, who provoked him to a violent act that sent him to prison and ruined him. 

In the second half, a bogus army Major without the background and education he claims, and a neurotic girl with a ruthless domineering mother are attracted to each other.  A sordid scandal threatens to drive them apart, but when all seems lost the hotel’s manager Miss Cooper comes to the rescue.

‘Separate Tables’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 9th – 13th November.

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