Who we are:
One Word Productions are a new, not-for-profit, amateur theatre production company based in the Oxfordshire area, with links across the UK. Our aim is to produce quality theatrical performances that showcase the talents of students and recent graduates looking to get involved in the performance industry. We endeavour to make theatre more accessible and to use it as a tool to promote social cohesion by engaging with local communities and educational institutions to create shows and deliver workshops. We hope our work will increase the qualifications, skills and overall employability of the students we work with and give them an accessible platform to show the world what they can do.
What we do:
Our current project involves bringing together a small team of students from Oxford University and recent graduates from Tring Park School for Performing Arts. We plan to take a production of Aleksei Arbuzov’s The Promise to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a one week run between 4th-10th August, with rehearsals running from May to August. If successful, we aim to repeat these projects annually, engaging new students and new plays each time.
Our crew is made up of current Oxford University students with a keen interest in working in the production side of the performance industry. They are looking to expand their experiences beyond the university drama scene into a more diverse and realistic setting and will be entirely responsible for the organisation, running and promotion of the production.
Our cast is made up of three students recently graduated from Tring Park School for Performing Arts. All are looking for much needed experience in the acting world before applying for degree courses at accredited drama schools. This can be hard for young students to achieve without expensive training, agents and in-depth knowledge of the industry.
Professional actor, Ian Reddington, has volunteered to act as Artistic Director of our project, overseeing the direction of the play. We hope that the opportunity to work with a veteran of the industry will prove especially valuable to our student team.
With an enthusiastic, hard working team and expert guidance this project will provide vital, first-hand experience of the industry and an opportunity to exhibit our work at one of the largest theatre marketplaces in the world.
About ‘The Promise’:
Love, youth and the devastating effects of war. The Promise explores these powerful, enduring themes in the context of one of the most deadly, yet often disregarded, events of World War II. The Siege of Leningrad claimed almost 1 million civilian lives in 872 days. The Russian people were left to defend the city against the German forces alone, with most of the cities inhabitants dying from starvation, hypothermia and shelling before the Nazis were eventually forced to retreat.
An episodic play set in the heart of Leningrad between 1942 and 1960, The Promise depicts the lives of three teenagers - Lika, Leonidik and Marat - seeking shelter in a derelict house during the siege. Through their sufferings, a powerful bond of love is forged. They make a vow to stay true to each other and to their younger selves, even though their lives might change. The war in which they lost everything but each other shadows their lives decades later, and the trio find themselves linked together in a symbiotic yet troubled triangle, unable to rid themselves of their irreconcilable love, or their unbreakable allegiance to each other. With its suggestion that the wartime siege emotionally devastated an entire generation, Aleksei Arbuzov's 1965 play depicts a daring preview of the disillusionment that finally tore apart the Soviet Union.
It is a seemingly simple, sentimental romance written towards the end of the genre of socialist realism, an artistic style full of contradictions, that appears to have never quite resonated with Western audiences. The unusual style of the piece, and the challenge of updating it to a modern (or rather postmodern) audience is something that we are very interested in exploring during the rehearsal process. We want to explore the underlying themes of truth behind the veneer of history and the issues of nationalistic ideologies.
It is hard to approach a play like this without feeling it's strong resonance to the conflicts currently underway in the Middle East. Seventy years later and there are children exactly like Lika, Marat and Leonidik, struggling to survive amidst the conflict in Syria. At One Word Productions, our aim is to produce plays with powerful messages at their heart. We believe it is vital to bring to life the stories of survivors of war and conflict. Only by seeing the human lives behind the headlines and being forced to confront the past can we truly begin to empathise and enact change. This is also why we have decided that any profits generated by our production will be donated to Save the Children with their Syria Crisis Appeal. The war in Syria has been raging for seven years now, and the humanitarian situation is dire. Nearly 3 million children living in Syria have lost or been forced from their homes. Save the Children UK are working to protect children whose lives have been uprooted and torn apart by the conflict.
Why we need your help:
Arts festivals are the perfect place to meet other artists, see their shows, and be able to discuss the wide range of theatre on offer with both amateurs and professionals alike. Edinburgh attracts the attention of all kinds of people within the theatre world. Performing there can help a show and its cast members get noticed in a way it never would at other festivals.
Unfortunately, the immense popularity of the Fringe means that it is now harder than ever for amateur production companies to raise the funds required to attend the festival. Our projected budget for a 1-week (7 show) run at the fringe is £4111. This will cover registration fees, venue hire, accommodation, marketing costs and production expenditure (set/props/costumes). We are a non-profit company so this figure includes potential ticket revenue into the budget. Any money that we do make will be donated to charitable causes relevant to our current project. We will will be relying entirely on crowdfunding and donations to achieve this. Any donors will receive thanks from the team and regular updates on how our production is going. Larger donations will receive complimentary tickets to the show.
All of us are working hard to make this production the best it can be, but we can’t do it without your support. Please consider donating to this project, it would mean the world to us. And for those thinking of watching us at the Fringe, we promise you won’t be disappointed!