Writer Presents Newly Published Play to Dolman Theatre Library

November 18, 2014

Newport writer Phil Mansell, who has recently had plays published, presented the first copy off the presses to the library at the Dolman Theatre where the play was first performed.

Phil Mansell presents a copy of his play ‘According to Claudia’ to Chris Burrows who runs the library at the Dolman Theatre.

Phil Mansell presents a copy of his play ‘According to Claudia’ to Chris Burrows who runs the library at the Dolman Theatre.

Phil handed over his play ‘According to Claudia’ to Chris Burrows who runs the library, which houses hundreds of plays, for Newport Playgoers.

“It was my way of saying thankyou to Newport Playgoers for having the faith to select this play to open the latest season back in September,” said Phil.

Phil and his wife Caroline, who directed the play, receive the Award for Theatre Show of the Year

Phil and his wife Caroline, who directed the play, receive the Award for Theatre Show of the Year

Since being produced at the Dolman the play has gone on to win the award for Theatre Show of the Year in Newport’s lively entertainment and lifestyle magazine Voice. Phil and his wife, Caroline, who directed the play, went to the presentation evening at the Celtic Manor Resort to receive the award.

Recently, Phil has had two more plays published. ‘Poor Yorick’ was a winning entry in a competition run as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project and was performed at both the 400-seat Dolman Theatre and Blackwood Little Theatre. Another of Phil’s plays, ‘Bunkered’, was one of the winning entries in a competition judged by Welsh playwright Frank Vickery.

Phil's three published plays

Phil’s three published plays

All three plays are now available on Amazon and Silvermoon Publishing, which specialises in plays aimed at the huge market among drama companies in the UK, America and Australia, will be promoting Phil’s work to thousands of potential performers worldwide.

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Newport Actors All Set for Gwent Drama Festival

April 21, 2012

Stand-up comedy, spooks and suspicion are all part of the madcap mix when three of Newport’s leading amateur theatre groups take part in the Gwent Festival of One Act Plays at Blackwood Little Theatre on Friday 27th  and Saturday 28th  April.

'Poor Yorick' by Phil Mansell

Chris Powell (Hamlet) and Will Smith-Haddon (Yorick) in 'Poor Yorick' by Phil Mansell (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

First on the bill is ‘Poor Yorick’ by local writer Phil Mansell. One of the plays featured in the recent highly successful No Holds Bard festival, this innovative comedy tells how Hamlet’s jester attempts to pioneer stand-up comedy but instead becomes embroiled in plans for revenge.

'Poor Yorick' by Phil Mansell

Will Smith-Haddon in the title role of 'Poor Yorick' by Phil Mansell (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“It’s really great being able to take my play to another theatre and to compete in this prestigious drama competition,” said Phil.

“My play opens the festival on the Friday night and we’re hoping for as good a response as when we performed it at the Dolman Theatre last month.

“The festival features six great plays, and with tickets priced at two for just £7 it offers a great night out for anyone who loves fresh and exciting new theatre.”

Following Phil’s play is another Newport drama group, Playgoers New Generation (PNG) who present ‘In the Spirit of Things’ by Steven Quantick.

'In The Spirit of Things' by Steve Quantick

PNG’s three witches: Charlotte Webb, Sian Elizabeth Pope and Clare Davies in ‘In The Spirit of Things’ (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

This is another comedy about “business unusual” at Incorporeal Incorporated, where the witches from Macbeth provide supernatural guidance to the mortal realm.

'Bottoms Dream' by Alan Poole

‘Bottom’s Dream’ features James Thomas, Emma Radmilovic, Ellie Tappin and Dana Symonds who are members of Dolman Youth Theatre. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

On Saturday Dolman Youth Theatre present ‘Bottom’s Dream’ by Alan Poole, which explores who really dreamt the Midsummer Night’s Dream – and what were the reactions of the mechanicals’ wives and mothers to their play-acting?

Other plays are being presented by Ad Hoc Theatre from Cwmbran and  Blackwood Little Theatre. All the plays will be adjudicated with the chance of going through to the Welsh finals in June.

The Gwent Festival of One Act Plays is at Blackwood Little Theatre from 27th – 28thth April.  To book tickets – which are just £7 with a special buy one get one free offer – phone  07930 599317  or online at  http://www.blackwoodlt.org.uk/


Great opening night for No Holds Bard!

March 16, 2012

The No Holds Bard festival of new one act plays enjoyed a very good opening night – with above average audience numbers for a Thursday.  The plays combine stand-up comedy, bloody sword fights and romantic mix-ups to give a modern take on Shakespeare’s plots and turn them into plays for today.

The festival showcases four plays that won a competition run by Newport Playgoers as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project. Sponsored by our local newspaper, the South Wales Argus, the ‘No Holds Bard’ festival is at the Dolman Theatre from 15th – 17th March. For a taste of the plays check out the photos below:

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Argus Sponsors Festival of New Plays at the Dolman Theatre

March 2, 2012

The South Wales Argus is sponsoring a festival of new one act plays that combine stand-up comedy, bloody sword fights and romantic mix-ups to give a modern take on Shakespeare. The ‘No Holds Bard’ festival at the Dolman Theatre from 15th – 17th March, promises to be an evening of lively entertainment that makes Shakespeare totally accessible for today’s audiences and turns his plots into plays for today.

A scene from 'Roman and Julia' by gary Dooley

A tender moment between two people (Rose Bissex and Daniel Penfold) who meet in 'Roman and Julia' by Gary Dooley

The festival showcases four plays that won a competition run by Newport Playgoers as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project. One play will go on to be staged at Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre – and possibly to Stratford as part of the World Shakespeare Year celebrations.

Two of the plays – ‘Poor Yorick’ by Phil Mansell from Newport, and ‘Only Words Remain’ by Kevin Myers of Cardiff– are by writers who are no strangers to having plays staged at the Dolman. Kevin’s play ‘Surviving the Century’ and Phil’s play ‘Bunkered’ were two of the four winners of a highly successful golf-themed writing competition organised to tie in with the Ryder Cup coming to Newport.

A scene from 'Poor Yorick' by Phil Mansell

Yorick (Will Smith-Haddon) and Hamlet (Chris Powell) plot revenge and job opportunities while Queen Gertrude (Sue Morgan) looks on in ‘Poor Yorick’ by Phil Mansell.

The other two winning plays to be performed as part of the festival are ‘To Sleep Perchance to Die’ by Russell Walker and ‘Roman and Julia’ by Gary Dooley.

“The aim of the competition was to give a new twist on Shakespeare and create plays that today’s audiences will enjoy and connect with,” said Playgoers’ President Richard Dymond, “I hope the people of south Wales will come along and enjoy an evening that looks set to be full of fun and surprises.

A scene from 'Only Words remain' by Kevin Myers

A mysterious elderly man (Chris Bissex) meets a woman from his past (Lillian Hynes) in ‘Only Words Remain’ by Kevin Myers.

”We are particularly pleased and proud that our local newspaper, the Argus, has kindly sponsored the three night festival of one act plays,” he added.

A scene from 'To Sleep Perchance to Die' by Russell Walker

The Dreamer (Luke Bowkett) faces another scary moment as he lives the actor’s nightmare over and over again in ‘To Sleep Perchance to Die’ by Russell Walker.

Tickets for the ‘No Holds Bard’ festival, which is at the Dolman Theatre from 15 – 17 March, can be booked by phoning the box office on 01633 263670 or visiting dolmantheatre.co.uk.

 


Welsh Writers’ Plays Selected for Royal Shakespeare Company Project

January 12, 2012

Plays by two writers from Wales have won a competition to be staged at Newport’s 400-seat Dolman Theatre – with the possibility of going on to be performed at Stratford as part of the World Shakespeare Year celebrations.

Winning Playwrights

Winning playwrights Russell Walker, Phil Mansell and Kevin Myers

‘Poor Yorick’ by Phil Mansell, who lives in Newport, and ‘Only Words Remain by Kevin Myers of Cardiff, are two of four one act plays that won a competition organised by Playgoers as their contribution to the nationwide Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project which has over 260 amateur dramatic companies from all over the UK taking part. Both plays will feature in the ‘No Holds Bard’ festival which will be staged at the Dolman Theatre from 15 – 17 March.

Phil Mansell’s play ‘Poor Yorick’ tells how Hamlet’s jester tries to pioneer stand-up comedy but fails and is forced to return to Elsinore to get his old job back, only to become embroiled in Hamlet’s plans for revenge. Complete with busty tavern wenches, domineering mothers, ghosts and the invention of the exploding whoopee cushion, it promises to be a laughter-packed production.

“I was really pleased that my play was chosen for this prestigious event,” said Phil. “The aim of the competition, which had entries from as far away as America, was to give a modern take on Shakespeare and create something that today’s audiences will enjoy and find totally accessible. I hope the people of southWaleswill come along and enjoy an evening that looks set to be full of fun and surprises.”

No Holds Bard One Act Play FestivalKevin Myer’s play ‘Only Words Remain’ is a story about love, loss and the persistence of language, exploring what happens when staff at a nursing home are faced with the puzzle of an elderly man with no name who is placed in their care.

He said, “I am thrilled to have had my play selected for the No Holds Bard festival. There are so few opportunities around for new playwrights, so all credit to Newport Playgoers for having the vision and courage to promote new work.”

Neither are strangers to having work performed at the 400-seat Dolman Theatre – Kevin’s play ‘Surviving the Century’ and Phil’s play ‘Bunkered’ were two of the four winners of a golf-themed writing competition organised to tie in with the Ryder Cup coming to Newport last October.

The other two winning plays to be performed as part of the festival are To Sleep Perchance to Die’ by Russell Walker, who lives in Bristol but works at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, and ‘Roman and Julia’ by Gary Dooley from Northants. Tickets for the ‘No Holds Bard festival, which is at Dolman Theatre from 15 – 17 March, can be booked by phoning the box office on 01633 263670 or visiting www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.


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.


Top Stars and Writers Support Premiere of New Plays at Dolman Theatre

October 7, 2010

Michael Sheen, Alan Ayckbourn, Helena Bonham Carter and Dame Judi Dench are just a few of the famous names who have sent messages of support for a festival of one act plays taking place at the Dolman Theatre next week (12th – 16th  October).

Phil Mansell with messages from celebrities

Phil Mansell with some of the signed photos of support from writers and stars.

The Hole in One Act Play Festival, inspired by the Ryder Cup being held in Newport, features four brand new plays chosen by Wales’s top playwright Frank Vickery from over 40 entered in a competition to find new writing talent. Taking an innovative and quirky look at golf, the plays include a couch potato who is given a free virtual reality golf session, the tale of how a down-at-heel crazy golf course attempts to revive its flagging fortunes, and a Pinteresque look at life, golf and everything.

“As the plays were the winners of a competition designed to encourage new writing for the theatre, I decided to contact prominent people in the arts to lend their support to the festival,” explained Phil Mansell, whose play ‘Bunkered’ is one of the plays featured.

“To my delight we’ve had a great response, including a message from Sir Alan Ayckbourn, signed greetings from Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Ben Kingsley, Prunella Scales and James Bolam – and a postcard from Alan Bennett apologising that he has no photos but sending his best wishes and hopes everyone has a grand time.

”West End star Connie Fisher wrote to say she might even pop in to see the plays as she lives in the area and her husband loves golf.”

'Bunkered' photo

Businessman Bulstrode (Alex Wilson) shows his secretary Poppy (Sam Jones) how to play crazy golf in 'Bunkered by Phil Mansell

Phil’s play is about the owner of a crazy golf course which is in dire straits because it’s at the downmarket end of a recently revamped seafront and unable to compete with the exciting and glitzy new attractions at the other end of the bay.

“I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember,” said Phil, who as a student at the London Film School, wrote and directed movies and has since worked in  a variety of creative roles in advertising and PR. “Seeing my play brought to life by  some of the best local acting talent has been amazing. I’m now determined to have more of my plays staged at the Dolman, and am currently writing a novel and working on ideas for a TV sitcom.”

Playgoers President, Bruce Campbell, said, “The standard of entries for the competition, which was organised to tie in with the Ryder Cup coming to Newport, was extremely high, and selecting four for this festival of one act plays was no easy task. Luckily we were able to call upon the considerable skills of playwright Frank Vickery as a judge, and the result is a fascinating mixture of plays which promises to provide a real theatrical treat.

“Having good luck messages from such prominent actors and writers is the icing on the cake,” he added.

The Hole in One Act Play Festival is at the Dolman Theatre from 12 – 16 October. For more information and to book tickets, phone (01633) 263670. More information is available online at www.dolman-theatre.co.uk and www.newportplaygoers.wordpress.com.