Once This Was A Poet: June & October 2008

This is a largely autobiographical play described as a play with poetry.

It tell the story about what happens when Angie a performance poet meets Pete another performance poet. and the one year they had together before he dies. Surprisingly perhaps, given the subject matter, this is a very amusing if ultimately poignant play. Its form is similar to a musical where the dialogue tells the story but instead of a big song and dance number to express the characters’ emotions they take you quietly to one side and express their thoughts in a poem. A poem that was actually written by their character at about that time in the narrative.

The play was performed at the GDA One Act Play Festival at the Kings Theatre, Gloucester on Thursday 5 June 2008.

It won:
Best Play
Best Original Play
Best Actress (Paula Fancini-Hooper)
Best Actor (Ian Bishop)
Best Performance in a Supporting Role (Pam Jell & Joe Durrant)

The GDA play writing competition

After the success at the GDA One Act Play Festival, TADS were invited to perform it again at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. The cast and crew was the same as for the performance at Gloucester.

Brenda, that was a stunningly wonderful theatrical experience last night! Your play was all the things drama should be – insightful, challenging, moving and very funny. There was a rhythm and a pace, driven by your voice and the quality of your verse. We loved it. Well done – it was very beautiful and life affirming.

Paul McKee, Cheltenham’s Arts Development Officer

As part of the Festival, BBC Radio Gloucestershire broadcast three 5 minute pieces about the background to the play.

All England Theatre Festival:
Western Area preliminary round – Mercia division – March 2009
This performance at The Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham was for the first round of the knock-out One Act Play competition.

The cast was slightly different from before:
Angie: Paula Fancini-Hooper
Pete: Ian Bishop
Woman: Pam Jell
Man: Greg Aston

The performance won:
Best Play (and thus went through to the next round of the competition)
Best Gloucestershire Play
Best Actress (Paula Fancini-Hooper)

It was also nominated for:
Best Original Play
Best Director
Best Actor

All England Theatre Festival:
Western Area Quarter Final – April 2009
This performance was at the Bouvery Hall, Pewsey The cast was the same as for the preliminary round at Cheltenham. The play was eliminated at this round.

Ledbury Poetry Festival – July 2009
This performance was at the Market Theatre, Ledbury.
It was rather fitting that it should be performed here in front of an audience many of whom knew Pete. It was also notable for how the cast continued in the gloom when a power cut hit the theatre half way through the performance.

Watch extracts from the play here.
Watch the full play here.