New theatre group launched, inspired by trailblazing ‘A Play, A Pie and A Pint’ project

By Ginny Ware   |   Totnes Reporter   |
Tuesday 3rd May 2022 10:00 am
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Actor Tim McGill rehearses for ‘Anybody Can Jump.' (. )

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An exciting new theatre project showcasing new plays and up and coming actors is launching in Totnes thanks to talented theatre director, Danielle McIlven.

Former King Edward VI Community College student Danielle has returned to her hometown where she has set up the Moveable Type Theatre company, inspired by the trailblazing Glasgow theatre project ‘A Play, A Pie and A Pint.”

Danielle McIlven (. )

Danielle explained: “In Glasgow nearly 20 years ago a wonderful company started producing new lunchtime plays every week at a local pub where the audience would watch the play, have a drink and a pie.

“It has become one of the biggest producers of new writing in the country offering both experienced and early career writers, actors and directors the chance to make new theatre work.

“I would like to bring something similar to Totnes.”

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Danielle and the directors, actors and writers in her new theatre company are planning to stage monthly plays at the Barrel House Ballroom.

Each play will run over three lunchtimes, and included in the ticket price will be a drink and a pasty from the local award-winning Fuller’s Bakery.

Danielle, who has taught and facilitated theatre projects in schools, youth theatres and for young refugees both in the UK and abroad in Bosnia, India and Beijing,is also planning to run playwriting and acting classes.

“There is always latent, untapped talent in a community, and in the long run we envisage some plays and performers emerging from the classes we run,” she said.

The opening show, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday May 20 to 22, will be “Anybody Can Jump’ by James Harker, and Totnes audiences will be the first to see it.

The play is about one man from Paignton, his estranged father and the legendary motorcycle daredevil stunt performer Evel Knievel.

Daredevil Evel Knievel (By Bill Wolf / Sean (Flickr) - At Home With Evel Knievel )

A comedic drama about the extremes of masculinity, the play follows a life story of glorious failure and occasional glory.

Danielle, who gained an MFA in theatre directing at Birkbeck College, London and has since directed new writing in London, Manchester and Glasgow, says she is keen to be part of a “theatre ecology” in Totnes and is excited to be staging new plays in the town.

“We would like to bring a range of stories to the stage in various styles, offering local playwrights a platform for their work.

“Totnes is a vibrant, creative and bustling town but there is very little theatre happening.

“Especially after the past two years, the opportunity to come together as a community to watch live theatre, to listen and see stories should be on offer.

“Of course this happens in other forms in Totnes - there is an amazing music offer and Totnes Cinema is also great.

“Theatre needs it place amongst this impressive cultural scene.

“It is also clear that there’s lots of talent and experience here that I would love to collaborate with.”

Barrel House, Totnes (By Ginny Ware )

Danielle is aiming to attract a diverse audience.

“One of the unique things about Totnes, for a town this size, is the cross generational activity that happens.

“Again you often see that at gigs, people of all ages coming together.

“So I hope our audiences are diverse.

“There are regular theatre goers who I hope will come but I also want our plays to draw in people who for whatever reason don’t like the theatre or don’t think its ‘for them’.

“The atmosphere will be casual and welcoming, and the plays will offer an eclectic and interesting range of stories.”

Planned for the last weekend in June is a play called ‘Future Days’ which explores the life of German left-wing journalist and founding member of the Red Army Faction in West Germany, Ulrike Mienhof.

Ulrike Meinhof (By unknown member of the Meinhof family - Private picture, supplied by Ulrike Meinhofs daughter, Bettina Röhl, )

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