New plays putting female roles first

Rehearsals for the latest shows by C & D Productions
Rehearsals for the latest shows by C & D Productions

A Kettering based theatre company has decided to put its female actors centre stage with a series of specially written one act plays.

C&D Productions, led locally by artistic director Chris Lynch, has a large female contingent of actors among its membership and during the summer made the decision to bring contemporary plays to the local stage, in addition to the literary classics they have become known for.

Chris Lynch and Rachel Colman

Chris Lynch and Rachel Colman

The theatre group has teamed up with Tonic Theatre whose research has shown that there were real concerns expressed by teachers as well as young people themselves about the quality of much writing for girls in the arts. Too often, they said, female characters were pushed to the margins of the action, were less likely to have roles that were challenging, complex, funny, or aspirational.

Tonic’s response is Platform; big cast, mainly or all-female scripts by top writers enthused about the brief of writing a play which gives girls just as much to get their teeth into as the boys.

Rachel Coleman, a sixth-form student at Bishop Stopford School in Kettering joined C&D’s ‘Future-Proof’ scheme in the summer and has not looked back.

She said: “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get involved with such a fantastic, engaging theatre company that genuinely puts people first and is thriving to make a difference locally”.

“Working alongside Chris has been an invaluable experience” said Rachel, adding “what makes This Changes Everything so important is that it highlights how socially aware young people are, and how great an impact they can have.

“We have succeeded in creating something vibrant and intense and entirely extraordinary. A piece of theatre that not only promotes equality, but unity, friendship and the power of change.”

The other play being performed is The Light Burns Blue, based on the true story of the Cottingley Fairies and is being directed by Trisha Lynch.

It tells the story of Elsie Wright who during the First World War fools the world into believing she has photographed fairies in her garden.

An ambitious young reporter seeks to expose Elsie as a fraud, but as she looks at the facts she begins to think there is more to Elsie’s story than a simple hoax.

“We are really keen to ensure performers in our group and indeed locally are given a platform to realise their potential” said Chris, “this led us to explore female heavy material and the response has been fantastic, with many new people, especially teenagers joining our theatre group.

“Kettering doesn’t have a theatre that produces its own material in-house unlike many towns, so it’s vitally important that theatre companies such as ours are given the support to continue offering the opportunities that we do”, added Chris.

“2016 is going to be a landmark year for us and we’ll be bringing new local writing, classics, Shakespeare and more to Kettering”.

The plays are being performed on Saturday November 14 and Sunday November 15 at Carey Memorial Baptist Church on King Street in Kettering.

The productions start at 3pm and 7:15pm with tickets priced at £8 (£6 conc) and can be purchased online or on the door.

Anyone interested in upcoming auditions or getting involved with the theatre company can find further details online or can email Chris directly.