It’s 1964 and brilliant young writer Dennis Potter (future author of Pennies From Heaven and The Singing Detective) becomes entangled in the life of a troubled young woman when they meet in the waiting room of a London hospital.
Both possess terrible secrets. And both must face their terrifying consequences.
This dark new play is both a tribute to the genius of much-loved playwright Dennis Potter and a testament to the remarkable power of the human imagination.
1979. Adam, 18 fulfills his childhood dream by landing a traineeship on Doctor Who. Although he gets to make coffee for the Doctor himself, Tom Baker, Adam is mostly tasked with lugging not-so-robot dog K-9 about. And then K-9 starts talking – but only Adam can hear him.
When Michael, Adam’s lifelong friend gets cast as a monster and starts dating beautiful actress Clarissa, Adam realises it’s time to grow up. But is confiding in K-9 really the best route into adulthood? Or is Adam ready to face the awful truth – that there’s more to life than Doctor Who?
1985, Hull. Famed poet and librarian Philip Larkin has been unexpectedly selected by Margaret Thatcher for a vital espionage mission, serving Queen and country during a state visit by Soviet Premiere Mikhail Gorbachev. Can our budding masterspy restore the balance of power in the arms race AND be home in time for the late library returns? The clock is ticking.
A premiere of a brand new script by Mark Griffiths, author of the acclaimed play about Douglas Adams, “We Apologise For The Inconvenience”.
1986. Sir Clive Sinclair’s electronics empire is collapsing around him – the Sinclair C5 becoming the latest disaster. Facing bankruptcy, Sinclair’s last throw of the dice is to broker a deal over dinner with his arch rival – rising star Alan Sugar. It’s a dinner where there can only be one winner…
Cast: Daniel Thackeray as Sir Clive Sinclair Matthew O’Neill / Steve Cain as Alan Sugar Naomi Sumner / Jess Lee as Waitress
Crew: Written and Directed by Daniel Thackeray from an idea by Gareth Kavanagh Produced by Gareth Kavanagh Assistant Director Peter M George Show Photography by Shay Rowan
A Scytheplays and Room 5064 Co-Production.
Press and Reviews:
Nominated for New Writing at the Buxton Fringe Awards 2015
Manchester Evening News interview with Writer Daniel Thackeray
The Public Reviews: “A brilliant sense of fun and intrigue.”
Manchester Evening News: “The dialogue was slick and quick, and brought many a nostalgic laugh.”
Manchester Salon: “‘Together in Electric Dreams’ is a good blend of comedy and serious, real issues.”
Behind the Scenes:
A chapter in Alan Sugar’s autobiography regarding a crunch dinner meeting between Sugar and Sir Clive Sinclair and the subsequent gladiatorial battle between their business empires provided a starting point for Producer Gareth Kavanagh.
“I was particularly drawn to the idea of the well-mannered Sinclair, frantically treading water as his business was haemorrhaging money and the bold, brash new kid on the block in Alan Sugar,” says Gareth, “Especially as there were a number of nostalgic touchpoints: the ZX Spectrum, the 1980’s, and Alan Sugar’s ongoing success in The Apprentice provided an interesting modern day touchstone.”
Gareth mentioned the idea to regular collaborator Dan Thackeray, who Gareth thought bore a resemblance to Sinclair. Dan was fascinated by the idea and agreed to play the part – if he could write the script.
Researching the lives of both Sugar and Sinclair, Dan was fascinated with the contrast between them – especially given the play’s setting – a Japanese karaoke restaurant. “Sugar naturally conducted a lot of his business in Japan, and karaoke is a key part of that culture. But for Sinclair, he’s a fish out of water in that setting.”
A smash hit for the Greater Manchester Fringe, the play returned to several North West venues including the Buxton Fringe as well as computer events including PlayExpo and Eurocon. The enduring theme of the play, and continued affection for the ZX Spectrum mean we might not have seen the last of this battle of the electronics titans…
2015, Three Minute Theatre and Salford Arts Theatre
The fiftieth anniversary of the death of matinee idol James Dean proves to be the catalyst for more than one rebel without a cause. In the lonely confines of a northern village hall, the glamour of the silver screen and realities of modern life collide for our dwindling band of apostles to the cult of James Dean.
Cast: David Slack as Vince Wendy McCormack as Bel Pete Gibson as Walter Roisin McCusker as Sarah
Crew: Written by Philip Martin Produced by Gareth Kavanagh Directed by Michael Whittaker Photography by Elspeth Moore
The Public Reviews: “East Of Heysham has a clever mix of light and shade, with the gentle, morphine drip of Last Of The Summer Wine mixed with the spice of a J B Priestly morality play.”
Manchester Theatre Awards: “Pete Gibson plays the timid Walter with so much self-effacement as to be positively creepy.”
Behind the Scenes:
Arising from conversations between Producer Gareth Kavanagh and writer Philip Martin, this previously unproduced script came from a number of James Dean related incidents for Philip Martin: “I noticed a poster advertising a programme about him and realised it must be a long time since he was killed. Then, I saw a man who was dressed in a way I thought might have been inspired by James Dean and I wondered if he was a fan.
“Not long after that I was watching Mastermind and someone was answering questions about James Dean. These things all collided and I started to wonder what would happen if his fans met and kept his name alive.”
Exploring themes of lost youth and keeping the past alive, along with a rare on-stage appearance from David Slack meant that East of Heysham was well-received on it’s stage debut.
Producer Gareth Kavanagh comments: “James Dean arguably invents the modern teenager with Rebel Without a Cause and it is the subsequent cult of youth and the yearning to stay forever young that Philip brilliantly explores in this amazing unproduced script. Philip’s work in Gangsters and Doctor Who did so much to shape my own tastes as a teenager and we’re delighted to have worked with him on this fantastic script.”
Originally presented as a Screen Two in 1989, Virtuoso is the moving story of one of Manchester’s most celebrated classical musicians, John Ogdon, when success piled upon success and of the distressing years of mental illness with John and his wife Brenda’s long search for effective treatment.
John Ogdon – Simeon Truby Brenda Lucas Ogdon – Kerry Willison-Parry Gerard/US Psychiatrist – Martin Wenner Carolyn – Morag Peacock Howard/Bernard – Peter Gibson UK Psychiatrist – Matt Seber Martin – Lloyd Peters Waitress/Woman – Katie Smith
Directed by Sue Jenkins Written by William Humble Produced by Philip Hinchcliffe and Gareth Kavanagh Stage Manager Ann Brown Sound and Lighting Tech John Topliff PR and Media Pete Gibson Media Print and Design Simeon Truby and Will Brooks
Press and Reviews:
Local Sound Focus: “There are plays that leave you thinking for days afterward – and Virtuoso at the Three Minute Theatre, Manchester was one of those.”
Behind the Scenes:
Having connected with Producer Philip Hinchcliffe, at a previous Room 5064 event, a conversation arose between Philip and Producer Greth Kavanagh regarding how proud Hinchcliffe was of a Screen Two film from 1989 looking at the life of tortured, yet fiercely talented pianist John Ogdon. Spurred on by Ogdon’s Manchester connections, Kavanagh suggested staging the play in Manchester.
Getting in touch with the film’s writer, Bill Humble, Room 5064 were delighted to find Virtuoso had already been adapted into a stage play, and that this was also one of Humble’s favourite pieces.
Employing Brookside and Coronation Street actress Sue Jenkins as Director, the play premiered to enthusiastic audiences in summer 2017.
Gareth adds: “The Manchester connections and sheer strength of the script made this a sure-fire winner in my eyes. Ogdon’s story is inextricably linked with the city, yet unlike the stories of Joy Division, Factory, the Stone Roses and Oasis, his story remains relatively unknown.
Philip, Sue and Bill were a delight to work with and I’ll never forget the afternoon we had rehearsing with Philip and Bill watching. Their tales of meeting John Ogdon and making the film were magical, and I hope we did them, and John justice.”