Megan and Deborah live alone on their farm in the Yorkshire Dales. What was once their home has now become their only refuge from an increasingly dangerous outside world. They have their farm, their food and each other. But when their fragile harmony is sent into a dark, downward spiral, the cost of survival is chillingly laid bare. Kitchen-sink drama meets post-apocalyptic horror, the sell-out original production about morality and motherhood at the end of the world makes it's Fringe debut following a successful Northern tour.
Assembly George Square Studios, Studio 4. Aug 2-14, 16-28 @ 1:10pm.
“Profound and devastating….powerfully chilling.” - The Indiependent, Em Whitehouse, 2021.
In April 2020, Maddie came to Helen with a script she had been working on over lockdown. They had previously expressed to each other their dissatisfaction with the many lackluster female roles in theatre, and their desire to see contemporary plays that placed complex, compelling women at the forefront. This desire wedded with Maddie’s interest in horror, post-apocalypticism and regional stories birthed the full-length duologue 'The Hunger'.
One year later, the pair had created a team of other Sheffield-based, freelance artists ravenous to make theatre again, and together they produced 'The Hunger' for a sold out, three night run at DINA venue. The show was marked for its originality, characters and environmentalist commentary by audiences and critics. Not only did this reception bolster our faith in our work, but also in ourselves as early-career, female artists.
We simply could not just leave it there!
“A fine showcase of horror…” ChrisonTheatre, Chris Neville-Smith, 2022.
Zooming forward to August 2021, Maddie and Helen put their heads together once more to create a theatre company: Black Bright. Named after the Yorkshire idiom meaning “filthy”, it lent itself as the perfect name for the work we produce. We wanted to write women, regions and contemporary issues in a distinct and subversive style. We wanted to diversify the UK arts scene with nuanced and authentic representation of people and places, and we wanted to bring theatre to those we were representing. So under our new name, we took our play on tour around the North of England in a single van and a team of just four people.
Here's a whistle stop tour of our Northern Tour! We began our journey back in the basement at DINA in Sheffield….
We then packed into the van with our set and selves, and traveled to The Kings Arms in Salford….
Before trundling on to Pyramid Theatre in Leeds…
Then The Hope Street Theatre in Liverpool…
And to Laurels in Whitley Bay…
…before finally ending our two week tour at Theatre@41 in Maddie’s hometown, York.
And on top of all of THAT, we managed to squeeze in a feature in a documentary produced by Sheffield Hallam Journalism Students! Take a peek for lots of Helen talking about independent theatre, and even a couple of clips from the show itself...
In spite of every challenge thrown our way, the play was very well received by our audiences, critics and venues across the North. We knew we had something special to share with Northern audiences, and our passion fueled us to the finish line. Exhausted, yes. But we were far from done…
March, 2023. Just about recovered and ready to go again, we optimistically apply for a slot at Assembly venues for a full month run at this years Fringe. Our dream venue at our dream slot in an ideal space, we accept that our small, independent theatre company may not be selected into their prestigious programming...
And yet! Within two weeks, we received an offer for Studio Four for the whole month at Assembly George Square Studios. Maddie’s screaming, Helen’s agape - we cannot believe it. Suddenly, we must switch into third gear.
That’s where you lovely lot come in! Edinburgh is an expensive gig, but we know that with a fiercely talented team, a reputed venue and Helen’s knack for marketing it is a risk well worth taking. This fundraiser is one of the many avenues we are setting up to give us the best chance possible of making this venture happen.
An important question. Ultimately we hope to establish Black Bright Theatre as an unflinching, female-led theatre company telling regional stories with widespread relevance, and we believe we can spark this buzz at Fringe 2023 through the power of word of mouth. With intelligent storytelling, compelling female characters and vital environmentalist commentary, we know that The Hunger can make a meaningful impact audiences will want to experience for themselves. Then after that, who knows? National touring, a theatre residency, another festival debut: the Fringe could be the catalyst for our work to go far.
You can help us make this happen.
Your contributions will go directly towards accommodation, travel, set creation and all the other assets necessary to keep the show on the road and in Edinburgh. It's not easy funding an independent theatre company between the two of us, and so sadly without it, it is likely we will have to let this extraordinary opportunity go.
We hope this isn’t the case. We hope we can continue to make the UK arts scene more regional, more female and more visceral. Help us complete this leg of our journey by donating to our fundraiser, and get us up to Scotland.
From our little team in Sheffield: thank you.
Black Bright x