unitytheatre


Genies, Giants and Gold Mountains
December 16, 2011, 10:50 am
Filed under: Marketing Desk

Hello everyone,

It’s been a few months since the last marketing blog so there’s loads of news to catch up with.

We’re currently deep into our Christmas programme with The Voyages Of Sinbad The Sailor in Unity 1 and Terry Titter’s Cosy Chrimbo! in Unity 2. Sinbad has been a new and exciting evolution of of Christmas show. Unlike 2010/11’s show Sinbad has been scripted (usually the show is devised) by Jeff Young and directed by unity’s Artistic Director Graeme Phillips. The show they have created is probably the best I’ve seen at Unity, it’s clever, funny, perfect for kids but with enough for adults to enjoy as well. During the first night (when traditionally everyone who’s worked on the show goes along with family and friends) I was thrilled to hear kids laughing, pointing and smiling, but also adults genuinely appreciating the wit of the play. It embodies everything the Unity stands for, it’s original, clever, witty, uses a range of theatrical techniques, shadow puppetry, puppets, song, dance, sword fights, but it has a message, it has direction, focus and a soul. Check out the brilliant video to see more!

We’ve had a great Autumn season at Unity with more sell-out shows than ever before, but we never focus on the past and are looking to the Spring Season to make sure it’s a sterling success. There are loads of great shows in the season but there are two stand out events for me, the return of Gold Mountain and our exciting  fuelfest. Gold Mountain, returning after a successful run in 2010, is a co-production with Canadian company Les Deux Mondes and features Liverpool’s own David Yip. The show is with us for a week before embarking on tour to London, Sweden and then Canada! Fuelfest sees innovative producers Fuel curate part of the season with four exciting shows: they’ll be exciting, quirky and something completely different to our usual programme. Expect shows in the dark, participative interaction and moving storytelling!

Hope to see you there!

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Tales from the Marketing Desk
September 9, 2011, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Marketing Desk

Hello and welcome back!

There’s been a long summer since our last blog post so, as our Autumn season bursts into life we thought it’d be a good thing to tell you about what’s been going on!

We’ve kicked off the season with the hugely successful Down Our Street which saw the Active Drama company bring tales of the Cammell Laird workers and life in Birkenhead brought to our stage. This was closely followed by the Gary Millar led Happy Daze The Musical with a range of stars raising money for Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice. And tonight we open our Making Art Showcase which features five of the best upcoming new companies in the region bringing new work to our stage supported by our experienced technicians and staff!

In marketing news (always the highlight of this blog) we’ve been incredibly busy this summer doing, well, loads of things!

  • Booking Tickets: Our new box office system is in and working and is a pleasure to use! It’s faster and more efficient for us working in Box Office, and means that we no longer have the slightly hideous £2.50 charge when booking online (although we do have a 50p card charge per transaction), you can now have your tickets posted out, we can have online offers and tickets deals available online AND (as if all that wasn’t enough), you can select your seat when booking for LIPA productions!
  • We’re looking into getting a new Wi-Fi system for the building to make it a better place to hang out and use!
  • We’ve put loads and loads of information online about lots of our shows as well as collected all the reviewers stars from Edinburgh! Check our Translunar Paradise for the vast amount of critical accalim (and stars) they received!
  • We’ll be selling tickets for a few other venues: LIPA, The Kazimier and Croxteth Hall!
  • I’m looking at bits of comedy for Spring 2012 including Robin Ince, Daniel Bye and Joanna Neary – Waiting and see who we manage to get!


Ever wondered what the Executive Director of a theatre does?
July 11, 2011, 3:50 pm
Filed under: Staff

Sue Williams, Executive Director

Meet Sue Williams, Executive Director at Unity!

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Sue Williams, Executive Director.

I do a bit of everything – look after people, write business plans, apply for funding, set budgets, attend meetings (lots of meetings!), help to make programmes and projects happen, encourage people to have a go and drive everyone in the office mad with my inability to master anything relating to computers and new technology!

How did you come to be at Unity?

I took the long way round!  I set out to be an actor, but found more work doing stage management, tour booking and house management, and one day I realised I was working more backstage than fore.  I’ve worked at the Everyman, Bluecoat and Hope Street Ltd.  Eventually I landed up at the Arts Council, stayed put for a while and then a job at the Unity came up.  I thought it would be great to focus on the development of just one company, applied, crossed my fingers and here I am……lovin’ it!

What’s the best thing about Unity?

People and programme.  Everybody involved with unity gives 110%.  Our staff team are great;

dedicated and real pro’s.  The programme is so unique and surprising, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been blown away by something and amazed by how creative artists can be.  We do take a measured level of risk though and so sometimes you think “what was that?” – but it’s always worth it, as risks are when the moments of wonder appear.

Best show you’ve seen at Unity?

I’ve been here 16 years, so there’s no way I can name a best show!   I’m really proud of our productions of Angels in America and Gold Mountain and I’ve loved all the Tmesis shows we’ve had here.  Despite being an Evertonian, I thought Beating Berlusconi was great and really enjoyed Ovid’s Metamorphoses by Pants on Fire.  Some of my favourite shows have been from our Children’s programme –productions by Fevered Sleep, Lyngo and TPO create such magic that you become completely engulfed by them.

Best show you’ve seen elsewhere?

Best show?  Sorry, it has to be shows and I’d still be leaving loads out!  My first Robert Lepage show Needles & Opium and Complicite’s Street of Crocodiles both left me stunned.  I’m a complete sucker for musicals – all and any, and if pushed, I’d say West Side Story is my favourite, and anything by Sondheim.  More recently War Horse made me cry and It Felt Like A Kiss, a site specific piece for the Manchester Festival last year, had me screaming and running down darkened corridors.  Exhilarating!

What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in theatre?

Well it ain’t easy, that much I do know, but if it’s what you want, you’ll make it happen.

Take every opportunity you can to get a foot in the door, learn your craft, whatever you’re doing.

It doesn’t always have to be formal study, but learn from everyone you work with. Do it with gusto, commitment and a sense of humour.  Enjoy it, soak it up, keep trying.  It’s a pretty insecure world, but also such a good place to be.

Keep checking back to our wonderful blog to meet and greet more of the Unity staff!



Keeping up appearances!
June 4, 2011, 5:33 pm
Filed under: Marketing Desk

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last ‘Marketing Desk’ post, so I thought it might be time to update you all about what’s been going on in our corner of Unity Theatre!

The long awaited new box office system has an implementation date at last, yes we will be teched up to the max (maximum tecchin’), with the brilliant Spektrix system from Mon 25th July! The system will be a huge leap forward for us, no more booking fees online, online offers, as well as much faster and more efficient service at the box office AND much more targeted marketing (meaning we’ll be able to really send people the right amount of information rather than things they mightn’t necessarily be interested in!). We’re also looking at doing some of the ticketing for Liverpool’s 2nd coolest venue (after Unity of course) The Kazimier in the autumn as well as our good friends at LIPA which we’re all really excited about! For more information about our external ticketing then add a comment at the bottom of this post and I’ll get back to you!

Our next brochure is well underway and I can reveal that it will be pink! Not a gentle pink either, a startling bright pink! Rachael and Paul (Marketing Officers) are working hard to make sure this is our best ever brochure – no pressure! Keep a look out for it! The new season should be going online and onsale around 27 June (and we’ve got some brilliant shows) so if you’d like to order an advance e-copy from us just add a comment to the bottom of this page and we’ll get you on the mailing list asap!

The annual Christmas show now has a title, unfortunately I cannot reveal the details until a couple of weeks time, but it’s going to be a big change for us with the welcome return of a brilliant director to create the most magical production Unity has seen (fingers-crossed!). We’ve commissioned some beautiful artwork from a lovely designer Jessica Woodhouse so we’ll keep you informed of how that’s coming along as sketches and images start arriving with us!

Blind Faith

Blind Faith

This week we’ve been showing: Double Bill, Fest Live and Blind Faith. Feedback for all the shows has been fantastic, particularly Fest Live where 5 up-and-coming new physical theatre companies performed new pieces for the bargain price of just £6 – several 10 out of 10 ratings on the comment cards!! We also got chance to see the quirkily wonderful Blind Faith presented by the Madhatters. Set at T-In-The-Park in 2010 it’s a raucous energetic show with some extremely talented young actors – imagine Skins but more sweary and funnier!!  And I almost forgot the beautiful performance by the Splatt’s kids on friday, the best show about pants saving the world there has ever been – well done all involved!

Anyway, enough from the marketing desk for now – we’re currently looking for advertisers for our brochure (for more information check out this page http://unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/support/corporateangels.html ) so much work to be done!

Hope to see you at Unity soon!

Best, Sam (Marketing Manager)



Meet Madhatters (Blind Faith)
June 1, 2011, 10:50 am
Filed under: Meet The Company | Tags: , , , , , ,

Who are you and what do you do?

Rebecca Hill or Madhatters Dance and Drama Academy

Tell us a bit more about the show you’re performing at Unity?

It’s a story of a group of friends at a festival, dealing with life i guess and the complexities that come with it like the lost hope, trust, breakdowns of relationships, it’s just a story and a journey of a group of friends where the dynamic has changed and how people react to this, it’s a show trying to make theatre for all backgrounds and ages dealing with issues we can all relate to, the show is aiming to make theatre contemporary, exciting and engaging.

 

Blind Faith

Blind FaithAny interesting stories from rehearsal?

They’ve been entertaining to say the least, is it sad to say they’ve been the highlight of my week, we ended up recording them because too much comedy was happening, but gossip wise we’ve had romances blossom LOL, a masterclass from Jo Hartley that was interesting to say the least (hence some of the one liners in the play) but talk about an inspirational woman, our rehearsals have just been a whole lot of fun if i’m being honest, i can’t really pick out any single moments but we did go to the beach for a rehearsal and have people stop and watch us as we rapped Empire State of Mind 😉 they were highly entertained and obviously thought we were Jay Z LOL

What’s the best thing about Unity?

The fact that there not afraid, they take a chance to put on theatre for different audiences, the unity is a theatre providing the opportunities for local people and new talent to do the thing they love and to do it well, The Unity unites people, creating a place where people have the chance to shine.

Best show you’ve seen at Unity?

I’m going to be biased and say Wishful Thinking 😉 but to be fair Christine Tremarco did say it was Inspiring and Nicky Alt called it Brilliant, so yeah Wishful Thinking because on the last night it did feel like electricity in the room, I’ll never forget that play

Best show you’ve seen elsewhere?

I’d have to say Ghost Boy because of it’s style, the lighting was incredible and Tachia Newall was amazing in it and came straight onto our play from it, i went to see that play twice and it still had me hooked- the beatboxer was was unreal

What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in theatre?

I don’t think i’m in any position to give advice on careers; but i just think it’s finding that thing you love and doing it as best you can, i think whatever career you want do, do it because you love it, because it inspires you, for me and writing i guess it’s about not being afraid and trusting what you do- be yourself, if you believe; sometimes it shines through



Meet Donna Lesley Price (Playwright)
May 27, 2011, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Meet The Company

Hi Donna, welcome to the Unity Theatre Blog!

Hello!

So tell us a bit about your company Boom Boom Baby!

Boom Boom Baby is an ideas factory created by myselfe and Richie Grice, whose purpose is to create and perform new and entertaining Populist theatre. If the Shoe Fits is our first production which has been successfuly performed to sell out audiences in the past. Like good bottle of wine this comedy has matured to it’s full flavour. We look forward to bringing new projects to the stage.

If The Shoe Fits

So how did If the Shoe Fits come into existance?

If the Shoe Fits was first performed at the JH Makin Theatre and then went on the road to the Gladstone Theatre, the Little Theatre, Liverpool Actor’s Studio and Unity Theatre. This much loved comedy is being made into a feature film due for release in 2012.

How are rehearsals going?

Rehearsals are a lot of fun and laughs. We’ve never had so much fun with our clothes on!!

What’s your favourite thing about Unity?

The Unity is very effienctly run and the staff are very helpfull and provide a lot of support that is sadly lacking in other theatres.

What’s the best show you’ve seen at Unity?

Best show at the Unity is Blackberry Trout Face (Editor’s Note: returning this Autumn!!) 

And the best show you’ve seen away from Unity?

Very hard one this but I’m going to name a few……Lost Monsters, Canary, Hansel and Gretel, and the 39 Steps.

What advice would you give someone wanting a career in theatre?

Do everything, never give up, be disciplined, listen, learn, be dedicated, be a team player, no role is too small, be strong. You have to be prepared to work very hard in this career and realise that it is not easy and can be very frustrating.

Donna, thank you very much!

Thank you!



Meet the staff! Graeme (Artistic Director)
May 13, 2011, 4:44 pm
Filed under: Staff | Tags: , , , , , ,

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Graeme Phillips and I am the Artistic Director of Unity Theatre!

How did you come to be at Unity?

I was one of a small group of people who set up a lunchtime theatre company in the early 1980’s.  Unity had not been open long, and we often rehearsed there or borrowed from their props and costume store.  I was returning something one day when I heard that Unity was looking for a part time drama worker.  I applied and got the job!  Fast forward, two refurbishments and thousands of shows later and Unity is still here!

What’s the best thing about Unity?

Despite the fact that I book the programme, there is still the tingle caused by never quite knowing what is going to end up on the stage – there have been some great discoveries as well as a fair share of “whoops – how did that get there!” moments.  I work with a great team of people who really focus on presenting the work and the venue in the best possible light.  Also, all the local young artists and companies who have had, and continue to have contact with Unity at some stage in their careers.

Interiors

Interiors

Best show you’ve seen at Unity?

Difficult to choose just one as there are a few that are quite important to me.  The original, mint-fresh production of “Bouncers” where Unity was transformed into a disco for one night, and the place was packed. Lumiere & Son’s production of “Paradise” where I sat transfixed for two nights excited by how thrilling theatre can be and in retrospect the cast were a veritable who’s who of contemporary theatre. The first night of “Fall From Grace” – a one-off, really special piece of epic theatre.

Gold Mountain

Gold Mountain

Bringing off, to great acclaim, seven hours of total theatre in the shape of “Angels in America”. More recently “Gold Mountain” our first international co-production, and Vanishing Point’s “Interiors”, where the concept of telling a series of stories through body language, should have failed but in fact worked magnificently

Best show you’ve seen elsewhere?

Anything directed by Robert Lepage from work at the Royal National Theatre to shows with Cirque du Soleil – when working at full steam he really knows how to create theatre that gets to your core.

What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in theatre?

Be prepared to put in the graft – probably for little reward at the beginning.  Keep open minded – never stop learning your craft