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Free Digital Festival at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds This Weekend

This weekend, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th June, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds are presenting a weekend of FREE events to showcase and celebrate the work of the community and highlight the creativity of people who take part in Theatre Royal activities.

Theatre Royal prides itself on being a theatre where there is a space for everyone who has a creative itch to scratch – whether that’s those who are just starting their creative journey or those who have been exploring this for a while. Everyone has a chance to have a go, get involved and take part. This series of events will showcase the work that this creative community and partners have been producing behind locked doors during this past year.

The Digital Festival is made up of screenings at the theatre of work produced by Theatre Royal’s theatre groups and FREE workshops for anyone to sign up to. Some of these are online via zoom plus an artist guided sketching session in-person at the theatre.

Youth Theatre & Young Company – Saturday 26th June 10.30am and 7.30pm
Screening at Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal Youth Theatre & Young Company groups have continued on zoom during lockdown for participants aged 8 to 22.

This 90 minute screening is the output of this term’s work for each of the groups and will show you what wonderful work they can create and may inspire you, or someone you know, to join them.

Youth 8- 11 – ‘Our Alternative Zoom Worlds’
Youth 12-16 – ‘Me and My Zoom Box’
Youth 16-22 – ‘Us’

Age guidance 8+ (some mature themes tackled)

Adult Theatre Workshop Sharing
The Moral Steam Engine & Special Delivery Saturday 26th June 1.30pm
Arrest Sheet & When People Travel Sunday 27th June 1.30pm

Theatre Royal has two adult theatre workshops. Act Your Age for the Over 55’s and Adult Theatre Group for any adults aged over 18. No experience is necessary to join, just an interest in theatre, writing, acting or simply meeting new people. The groups are run by theatre professionals and over the 10 week course they have worked together to produce these stories. These 70 minute screenings at the theatre give you a flavour of what they have been working on.

The Moral Steam Engine Saturday 26th June 1.30pm at Theatre Royal
A new story written and performed by the Theatre Royal Adult Theatre Group. The Moral Steam Engine explores the life of Thomas Clarkson and his mission to end the trade in enslaved African people in the British Empire. A mission that helped achieve passage of the Slave Act 1807. Meet the characters and fellow abolitionists that informed and inspired him; the Quakers, the freed slaves, dockworkers and sailors, political activists, artists, non-conformist’s and his wife Catherine Buck who all contributed to his understanding of this slave trade and fuelled and supported both his passion and commitment to seeing an end to this injustice.

This story vividly brings to life the world he inhabited, his mission and his relationship with Bury St Edmunds. This audio story is beautifully illustrated by Artist Jac Campbell who brings to life through filmed and digital images the mood and key moments of the story.

Special Delivery Saturday 26th June 1.30pm at Theatre Royal
Special Delivery was created in 2020 by the ‘Act your Age’ group at Theatre Royal.
This unique story is inspired by letters written by troops from the Suffolk Regiment stranded in Dunkirk sent to their loved ones in England. In Autumn 2020 the Act Your Age participants created and recorded stories inspired by the letters and the brave, yet ordinary, folk that lived through this time. The stories reveal the intimate and human thoughts of Suffolk men holed up in the French Port of Dunkirk alongside four thousand other soldiers waiting to leave the war behind them and head back to England’s coast. These beautiful tales of love and peril are bought to life by the company in this retelling which is sensitively set to a backdrop of images created by Lynn Whitehead and Tim Welton.

Arrest Sheet Sunday 27th June 1.30pm at Theatre Royal
A comic romp through the crime and underworld in 18 century Bury St Edmunds where mystery, intrigue and colourful local characters blend into the melting pot of crime, punishment and justice served. This audio-visual retelling produced by Theatre Royal’s over 55 theatre group, Act Your Age, is beautifully illustrated by the Bury Sketchers to reveal the stories inspired by Colin Pulfords’ book The Quarter Sessions a record of the lowest court hearings in Bury St Edmunds borough. The Arrest Sheet cleverly brings to life the prejudice, foibles and needs of daily life in a small 18-century market town.

When People Travel Sunday 27th June 1.30pm at Theatre Royal
Following a year of lockdowns where travel has been only a dream for many the theatre’s adult theatre workshop participants have shared their memories of these special, heightened experiences and stress-busting happy-making memories to create a digital montage of poetry, prose, comedy and theatre that touch the senses and reignites a passion for; cities, sunrises, beaches, landscape, people and experiences that go way beyond the everyday.

In addition to the screenings the theatre is offering a series of FREE workshops. One in person at the theatre and four via zoom. Space is limited at all of them so they must been booked online.

Writing The Self – Zoom Workshop Saturday 26th June 2pm
In this workshop, through a series of writing exercises and group discussions, participants will learn tools and techniques to help them find their voice when writing directly & metaphorically about their identity and experiences.

The workshop is led by James McDermott. His plays include Fast Food starring Jude Law (Lyric Hammersmith), Street Life (NTR Stage Two) and Rubber Ring (UK Tour) which has been published by Samuel French. James’s poetry books include Manatomy (Burning Eye), Nudes (Red Ceilings Press) and Eraised (Polari Press).

James trained on The Royal Court Writers Group 2017 and Soho Theatre’s Writers Lab 2016, and has been longlisted for the Bruntwood, Papatango and Verity Bargate playwriting prizes. For TV he is developing original series ideas with Hat Trick, Big Talk, Hare and Tortoise and Shiny Button. He was the winner of Hat Trick’s new writing scheme ‘Your Voice, Your Story’.

Spaces on this workshop are limited to 20. Age guidance 14+

The Personal is Political – How To Explore Social Issues On The Stage. Zoom Workshop Saturday 26th June 2pm
During the session, Atiha Sen Gupta will share techniques and tips she finds useful when bringing those big political ideas into drama through relatable human experiences and characters to bring social change to the stage. Participants should expect to write some of their own work during the session.

Atiha Sen Gupta is a playwright and screenwriter. Atiha’s first play What Fatima Did was produced on Hampstead Theatre’s main stage when she was 21 for which she was shortlisted for the Evening Standard’s Most Promising Playwright Award. The play explored the impact on a group of school friends when one of them adopts the hijab. Concurrently she was also a member of the writing team for e4’s Skins and co-wrote episode 6 of series 3.

Atiha’s second play State Red explored the fallout from the shooting of Mark Duggan and was produced at Hampstead Downstairs in 2014. The following year her play Counting Stars about two Nigerian nightclub toilet attendants who fall in love in a post-Lee Rigby Woolwich nightclub showed at the Edinburgh Fringe and was shortlisted for Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Award. Counting Stars then transferred to Theatre Royal Stratford East in 2016. In the same year, she co-wrote an episode of Holby City.

Atiha is currently writing for EastEnders and is under commission to Film 4 and Slam Films. She is interested in telling the stories of those who stitch the red carpet rather than those who stand on it.

Spaces on this workshop are limited to 20. Age guidance 14+

Exploring Drag – Blurring Gender In Performance. Zoom Workshop Saturday 26th June 2pm
Titania says the first rule of drag is… there are no rules!

This special online workshop with variety and cabaret performer Joseph Ballard, who presents the one and only Titania Trust – international songstress extraordinaire.
The workshop welcomes anyone of any gender, from fans, performers and the curious; including drag kings, faux and bio queens and all sorts of artists – and if you don’t know what they all are, you’ll find out! There will be interactive parts to the workshop and nothing will need to be prepared in advance.

This workshop will explore the different concepts and expectations of gender in performance (and then turn them upside down), helping to build self-confidence and empower yourself to have fun in your own unique form of self-expression. There’ll also be some takeaway activities to explore some skills in your own time. It’s also your chance to ask any questions from discussing your favourite Drag Race star to what on earth is a tuck… and what’s the best way to do it?

Titania Trust has toured around many a stage including festivals, Prides and cabaret shows and locally, has performed across East Anglia. Appearances also include the big and little screen and also the smaller screen during lockdown. Her latest shows include Storytime with Auntie Titania, working with libraries and schools, Caboodle Cabaret and her one-man/one-woman show In Titania We Trust.

Spaces on this workshop are limited to 20. Age guidance 14+

Writing for Performance with Poet Molly Naylor. Zoom Workshop Sunday 27th June 11am
This workshop explores performance poetry, spoken word and monologue. Molly will use some of the autobiographical themes that appear throughout her work including her 2020 published book Stop Trying To Be Fantastic. Molly will guide participants through the writing and performance process while adding some humour along the way. Participants should come prepared to write as this workshop will give the opportunity to explore writing style and skills to perform it confidently. Suitable for new and experienced writers.

Molly Naylor is a scriptwriter, poet, performer and graphic novelist. Her stage work includes LIGHTS! PLANETS! PEOPLE! (winner of the Norfolk Arts Award for Theatre), Whenever I Get Blown Up I Think Of You (adapted for BBC Radio 4) and My Robot Heart. Her new show Stop Trying to be Fantastic has been commissioned by Norwich Arts Centre and Inn Crowd and will tour as soon. Screen work includes After Hours (Sky One). She is currently working on her first feature film, I’ll See Myself Out (Jeva Films). Published works include Stop Trying to be Fantastic (Burning Eye Books, 2020) and Badminton (2016). Her graphic novel adaptation of LIGHTS! PLANETS! PEOPLE! will be published by Avery Hill in September 2021.

Molly has appeared on a range of radio shows including Four Thought, Midweek, Bespoken Word (BBC Radio 4) and the Wondermentalist Cabaret (BBC Radio 3). She has performed at festivals and events all over the world, including Latitude Festival, Edinburgh Book Festival, the Brighton Fringe, Salisbury Festival, Palabra Y Musica and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Spaces on this workshop are limited to 20. Age guidance 14+.

Artist Guided Sketching Session with Jac Campbell. Sunday 27th June 10.30am at Theatre Royal
Join Jac and have a go at drawing in situ around Theatre Royal. Jac will be around to offer support, encouragement and maybe introduce you to some new materials or techniques while sharing her experience and skills.

This is a great opportunity to bring your creative skills to the theatre and make work alongside like-minded people. Bring your own favourite materials and sketchbooks or simply turn up and have a go with the materials provided. Open to experienced and beginner sketchers and artists, adults and children – don’t be shy!

Spaces on this workshop are limited to 30.

All the screenings, zoom workshops and the in-person sketching workshop are FREE but to maintain social distancing or because of limited capacity MUST be booked in advance at www.theatreroyal.org.

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