FEAST THEATRE. TEN YEARS ON.
Ten years ago, when Mandy McKenna and Rob John first discussed the idea of creating a professional theatre company based in rural Norfolk, the idea seemed far-fetched. The two former Paston College drama tutors wanted to start a company committed to presenting new plays performed by professional actors from our region, telling stories from and about Norfolk. But would they be able to find that new writing? Were there actors out there who could give their characters authentic Norfolk voices? And, most importantly, even if they could make this new ‘theatre from the East’ would anyone want to come and see it? In 2010 they decided to find out. Mandy and Rob formed fEAST Theatre and took their first show out on the road.
In the past decade the company has staged seven new plays and undertaken eight regional tours. fEAST has travelled thousands of miles and has performed in theatres, schools, dozens of village halls and once in a world famous mustard factory. And yes those audiences did come. The company has slowly won a loyal and enthusiastic following and many of their recent shows have been sell-outs. In addition to touring and performing fEAST is proud of the work they have done in helping writers new develop new work, in mentoring young actors at the start of their careers and in running educational workshops with students in schools and colleges across the region. The company has recently completed its first residency, a Christmas show which ran for 18 performances at the newly refurbished Maltings theatre at Wells. In 2019 the company were nominated for the Norfolk Arts Award for theatre.
In 2018 Mandy and Rob stepped down as co-directors of the company and handed over the reins to Artistic Director Dawn Finnerty and Associate Director Robin McLoughlin. Plans were developed for an ambitious programme of productions in 2020 to mark fEAST’s first ten years.
In March and April Rob John’s much loved play The Canada Boys returns with its original cast – including Nimmo Twins star Owen Evans- for a sixteen show tour of the region. This ‘sad comedy’, set in Norwich in 1912, resonates with Norfolk voices and locations and is based on a true story of a group of workers at Colman’s mustard factory at Carrow. The Canada Boys opens on March the 19th at the Garage theatre in Norwich.
fEAST’s anniversary season continues in the summer with a tour featuring a double bill of two shorter plays commissioned by the company. Catherine Herman, London-based actor and writer was born in Norfolk and grew up on a farm near Great Yarmouth. She has made use of childhood memories in writing Dulcie and Walter ; a poignant but hilarious study of an aging couple in rural Norfolk in the 1970’s. Artistic Director Dawn Finnerty says ‘Catherine’s script perfectly captures that distinctive dour Norfolk wit which we know local audiences will recognise and enjoy.’
On the same bill will be Henhouse by Holt writer James McDermott. James is a rapidly emerging young talent whose work has already been nominated for several major awards. Henhouse is a comedy set at the time of mad cow disease, the Spice Girls, and New Labour. fEAST Associate Director Robin McLoughlin says ‘It’s exciting to expand fEAST’s roster of collaborators and James is a young writer with a great future ahead of him.’
The 2020 season finishes with Rob John’s new play Rosa Mendoza . Set in a Cromer guest house this story of an explosive triangular relationship begins in Spring 2016 and will carry the action forward right up to the moment the show opens at Wells Maltings on October 16th. Dawn Finnerty says ‘This is a brilliantly dark comedy for our times and like the fast-moving events of the past three years we have no idea how things will turn out.’
‘It’s an exciting time for fEAST Theatre,’ says Dawn. ‘Rehearsals are already under way and if you live in Norfolk or Suffolk we’ll be performing at some point at a venue near you. Please come and see us!’
10th Anniversary Season – Rosa Mendoza by Rob John
Friday 19th March – Wells Maltings
Saturday 20th March – Wells Maltings
Thursday 25th March – Sheringham Little Theatre
Saturday 27th March – The Cut
Saturday 3rd April – Southwold Arts Centre
Thursday 8th April – Beccles Public Hall
Friday 9th April – Aylsham Town Hall
Saturday 10th April – Aylsham Town Hall
Saturday 17th April – Sedgefield Village Hal
Friday 23rd April – Seagull Theatre
Saturday 24h April – Westacre Theatre
Thursday 29th April – Garage Theatre
Friday 30th April – Garage Theatre
10th Anniversary Season – Dulcie & Walter & Hen House, double bill by Catherine Herman and James McDermott
Friday 18th June – Wells Maltings
Saturday 19th June – Wells Maltings
Wednesday 23rd June – Aylsham Town Hall
Thursday 24th June – Aylsham Town Hall
Friday 25th June – The Seagull Theatre
Saturday 26th June – The Cut
Tuesday 29th June – Beccles Public Hall
Wednesday 30th June – The Garage
Thursday 1st July – The Garage
Friday 2nd July – Sheringham Little Theatre
Saturday 3rd July – Southwold Arts Centre
Wednesday 7th July– St Georges, Great Yarmouth
Thursday 8th July – Corn Hall Diss
Friday 9th July – Sedgefield Village Hall
Saturday 10th July – Westacre Theatre
CAST ANNOUNCED FOR TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Twas the Night Before Christmas has now been cast and we’re delighted in introduce two newcomers to fEAST:
Marcus Churchill who will be playing the villain of the piece – Elderberry Yacht.
Amy Lunn who will be playing our heroine Emily.
Marcus trained at The School of The Arts, University of Northampton. Theatre credits include The Monkeys Paw (Bread & Roses Theatre), Area Belle (Bacchae Theatre Company), Peter Pan (Camberley Theatre, Bouncers (BlackBox Theatre Company), There Be Migrants Here (Minty Fresh Productions), TRIBE (London Theatre Workshop), Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles & The Railway Children UK & China Tour (Chapterhouse Theatre Company), D!CK the Adult Panto (Guildford Fringe Theatre Company), Sell-By-Date (Marbleglass Theatre Company), The Crucible (Looking Glass Theatre), The Bacchae (Royal & Derngate), The Fall of the House of Usher (Alias Theatre).
Film and Radio credits include Mordecai’s Girl (Jace Pictures), Wuthering Heights (Three Pigs Films), Nature’s Way (John Pictures), Wasteland (Crow for the Masses), Madame X (Okai Collier Company), Pathfinder Legends (Big Finish), Endurance (Word of Mouth Productions).
Marcus is also passionate about working with children and has been involved in several Youth Theatre groups in the East and South of England, promoting and encouraging life skills, self-confidence and teamwork with young people.
Amy grew up in West Norfolk, before training at Drama Studio, London. Since graduating in 2018, Amy’s theatre credits include: Nellie in The Lurking Fearat The Olde Red Lion Theatre (London); Ka in Strange Fascination’s summer tour of The Jungle Book (UK Tour); and the verbatim piece, Street Life (Norwich Theatre Royal, as part of their Creative Matters season). She has also become a series regular on the radio series Devine Comedy, directed by Jo Malone and Paul Schlesinger.
Theatre Award nomination for fEAST
fEAST are thrilled to have been nominated for The Theatre Award 2019 by Norfolk Arts – an annual awards event that celebrates creative talent in Norfolk. The awards ceremony takes place at St Georges Theatre in Great Yarmouth where the winners will be announced.
Follow this link to the EDP page that details the nominees for the Norfolk Arts Awards: Norfolk Arts Awards Nominees.
Wells Maltings Serves Up a Christmas fEAST
This festive period Wells Maltings is teaming up with much loved local theatre company fEAST to produce a family show, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by Nick Lane, to be staged at the recently transformed North Norfolk venue throughout December.
The story of plucky young Emily and a Christmas showdown with her nemesis, the villainous Elderberry Yacht, was previously staged at Hull Truck in 2004 and is being reworked by the writer and fEAST to reflect a new setting in Norfolk.
Since its creation in 2010 fEAST theatre has brought to life an array of locally-set stories and has gained a loyal following with a deft mix of humour, pathos and genuine Norfolk voices.
Their most recent tour was ‘Into Thin Air’, the heartbreaking story of the decades-long impact of the disappearance of a Norfolk schoolgirl which performed at Wells Maltings in 2018 to a sell-our audience.
This new collaboration between fEAST and Wells Maltings brings the very best of each of them together, to delight family audiences and school parties at Christmas.
fEAST director Dawn Finnerty says ‘Our previous shows have dealt mainly with adult themes so we’re incredibly keen to extend our reach by presenting a theatrical experience that will be hugely entertaining and fun for the whole family. We are working with Nick Lane to tweak the original script to put fEAST’s Norfolk spin on what is already an original and inventive piece. The story is universal, but it’s important for it to resonate with our local audience who are at the very heart of what we do. We promise it will be a Christmas show with a difference – short, punchy and peppered with humour for all ages. We very much hope that regulars and newcomers to fEAST shows will come along and bring their children or grandchildren with them! The Maltings is a unique and vibrant cultural Landmark in North Norfolk and we have a shared commitment to deliver high quality, accessible theatre. We are very proud to be working together to produce theatre for locals and visitors alike in their newly restored, dynamic and intimate venue.’
Director of Wells Maltings Simon Daykin is also enthusiastic about the collaboration: ‘We are really excited to be working with fEAST theatre in bringing some festive family fun to Wells this Christmas, and reaching out to everyone across the county and beyond to be part of something really special. It’s a real first for us both- and who can resist the chance to save Christmas in the company of some fabulous characters?’
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas will run at Wells Maltings from the 5th to the 28th of December 2019.
Simon Daykin, Director, Wells Maltings,
0787 999 8859, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dawn Finnerty, Director, fEAST theatre,
07713 153 124, email@example.com
Calling all Playwrights!
We are looking for an unperformed small cast play to be a part of our tenth anniversary season next year. Some link to Norfolk or the East of England (you or the play) preferred. If successful this will be a paid gig. If you have submitted before we may have missed it so please send again. Submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org