"The Withering" is a ghostly play that has been evolving over many years. Essentially it is about two writers, both with something to hide, who go on a roller coaster ride into the middle of nowhere in winter, to write about the essence of fear. It is now on its 18th draft and in a really good place. During its development I’ve paid for professional actors to read it out loud so I could hear what works and what doesn’t and re-write it accordingly. (All professional actors have been paid out of my own pocket, as I believe in people being paid for their professional services).
The next vital step in the development of “The Withering” is to workshop it for a week with professional actors and other creatives, in order to see what the piece is truly capable of and we need significant funding to do this. I say we because an amazing team of creatives is being assembled (please see below) and the list is being added to all the time. The reason we are ultimately workshopping it is so that we can show it to producers who will want to fund a full-scale production. But we are doing so much more with this workshop, details of which are below. Without workshopping the play and having something to show to producers it is highly unlikely that they will want to fund a full production.
In order for this workshop to take place we need just over £15,500 in total. We have put together a strong bid for The Arts Council funding but they do expect us to get money from other sources, hence this funding page.
Key to what we are doing is to hold the workshop at The Everyman, Liverpool, who have generously given us their rehearsal room for free for the week. It is this sort of kindness that is going to help us get over the line in terms of applying for funding as this would have been a massive part of the budget, so thank you Everyman. The plan subject to all the current uncertainties, is to hold the workshop towards the end of June/beginning of July 2021
The pandemic has hit the creative industry hard especially the theatre. If you contribute to this event not only will you be enabling this workshop to go ahead as a bridge to getting the play fully funded on the stage, you will also be allowing us to employ creatives at this crucial time and make it as accessible to as many people as possible, so you will also be enabling the following:
- 40 days of employment for actors in the north-west
- 61 days of employment for other creatives in the north-west – from the director and casting director to the writer and the composer
- 14 days of employment for shadow creatives in the north-west (these are essentially young people who would not otherwise have a chance to have access to the creative world – they will shadow the main creatives)
- 48 people from disadvantaged backgrounds to come and watch some of the play being performed for free and to have a Q&A with the creatives and actors
- 15 people from disadvantaged backgrounds coming to see the final showing for free, who would not normally get to see something like this
- Open auditions for the first round for anyone who wants to do so from anywhere in the country. Every single audition tape will be reviewed.
- You will help me realise a dream of getting this play onto the next stage of its development.
(Photograph Copyright of MAD Photography)
This is Matthew’s 1st professional play. He originally trained as an actor but then qualified as a solicitor and practiced for 10 years. After surviving leukaemia he decided to go back into acting. Things were going really well but sadly he contracted a serious vocal virus requiring six operations under general anaesthetic. He’s also nearly died of coronavirus and had severe anxiety and depression. But he’s not a quitter and without being able to act due to the vocal issues, he’s turned his attention to writing. If he had a tagline it would be: “He is an actor, writer, and communication skills expert with a passion for collaborating and supporting everyone he meets so they can be the best they can be". Other writing projects coming up include a play about death row in the US and a novel loosely based on his leukaemia experiences. He is fascinated by the human condition in all its frailties, complexities and instabilities and this helps him to write deeply dark and yet humorous stories. This is “The Withering” to a tee.
Nick trained at the Guildhall as an actor and has worked extensively in most major theatres in the country. He was formerly joint artistic director of The Milton Rooms. Nick was the Associate Director of the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse between 2014 and 2019. Recent productions include: Our Lady of Blundellsands, Sweeny Todd, The Conquest of the South Pole, Romeo & Juliet, A Clockwork Orange and The Big I Am – a reimagining of Peer Gynt, all at the Liverpool Everyman; and Edward II at Shakespeare’s Globe. Along with Matthew and James, Nick is at the forefront of ensuring as many people as possible have access to this project. He is fascinated by the possibilities this play holds and can’t wait to open up the script and see what falls out and given he directs big, epic theatre, “The Withering” is looking forward to having him take it on.
Dynamic husband and wife team, James and Rosie, run Pearson Casting out of bases in Liverpool and London and have over 15 years experience in the business running an international independent casting agency. They cast across all genres of entertainment and they are both members of the Casting Directors Association and The Casting Society of America. Most recently they have cast the wonderful musical “Six – The Musical” and “Rent” but they have countless credits to their name. In 2020 they launched a free 30 hour a week industry platform for the arts – in response to the Covid-19 crisis. This is important as it shows how committed he and his wife are to the pastoral side of life and helping others, which is central to what we want to achieve with this project and beyond.
If you have got this far thanks so much. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe you have come to this page and want to know more about possibly backing the project or you just want to know more about the play or the social engagement side of what we are doing. I’d love to hear from you.