Tread The Boards With Some Community Theatre

Blackpool’s one woman theatrical powerhouse Melanie Whitehead is back again to get the towns creative juices flowing and giving a chance for people to tread the boards.

Melanie has a proven track record of surprising, challenging high quality projects that are always a pleasure to watch but more importantly look like a real blast to be part of.

Whether it’s the varied mix of performers in the highly popular Scratch nights or shaping intense focused performances such as in the brilliant Gouch, Melanie has a way of drawing the best from any of the participants involved in her projects. So, if you want to be challenged and to create a piece of theatre that both you the town can be proud of then get on board.

Interested? then join Blackpool’s new Community Theatre Company starting this September. Open to anyone over the age of 18, living or working in Blackpool and designed to bring together a new community of people who are interested in plays, drama and different styles of theatre.

The Electric Sunshine Project is (TESP); a new Company based in South Shore who provide high-quality workshops, events, projects and performances, primarily produced in Blackpool, that seek to engage those who are least connected to the arts.

TESP hope to support the development of emerging artists whatever their age or interest areas may be and link up with other creative organisations to help redefine how Blackpool’s cultural offer can be seen by the rest of the world.

Artistic Director, Melanie Whitehead moved to Blackpool after working for the Royal Shakespeare Company for over 8-years and continues to work for the National Theatre on a part-time basis, managing participation programmes for high-profile shows such as War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time as well as previously for Matilda, The Musical. She directs Blackpool Grand Theatre’s youth theatre and the adult company at The Lowry, Salford as well as managing several projects on a freelance basis.

She set up the company under this name in response to hearing about how in 1879, Blackpool became the first town in the world to have electric street lighting; they called it ‘electric sunshine’. The Electric Sunshine Project aims to capture this spirit of aspiration, innovation and creative solution and, through arts projects, to reinvent perceptions of what Britain’s best loved seaside town can offer the rest of the world.

Melanie says of the Community Theatre Company initiative: “I really hope that people will want to come along and be part of something at the very first stages, that over time we’ll be able to develop skills of individuals as well as build in confidence as a group.

“Being in front of an audience is an important part of any theatre company’s development, and while the initial focus will be on personal creative development, it is hoped that, over time we can aim to produce some brilliant, beautiful and thought-provoking performances that audiences of all ages can enjoy.

“I’m looking forward to being inspired by the brilliant folk of Blackpool and developing some new stories that the town can tell about itself.”

There is no need for any previous experience or perceived skill level – just an interest in being part of a new way of making theatre in Blackpool and in building a stronger creative community in the area. Together the group will explore different texts, practitioners and performance styles and practically try out new approaches.

They will aim to have informal sharing events for friends and family in December but the organisers hope that there will be thirst for more of the same and that in 2017 they can consider a full-length production and maybe even taking that work out of Blackpool for audiences outside of the town to enjoy.

The first course runs Wednesday 14 September to 7 December with no session during half-term holiday week (2 November) and costs £75 or £6.50 per session. Sessions will take place in the Back Room at The Star, part of the Big Blue Pleasure Beach complex, Promenade, Blackpool, FY4 1EZ.

To find out more, contact Melanie on 07940 502 450 or via email on [email protected]. You can also
visit her website www.melaniewhitehead.co.uk and like the Electric Sunshine Project on Facebook.

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