World Festival of Amateur Theatre – Monaco 2021

IATA Festival 2021

Feeling inspired to create and devise theatre? Looking for a project to get stuck into? Fancy a subsidised trip to the French Rivera next summer (we’ll just pretend 2020 never happened!)? Well look no further, as this might be for you….

The International Amateur Theatre Association (IATA) is hosting the World Festival of Amateur Theatre in Monaco in August 2021. Over 12 countries are represented from all around the world and each member country is represented by one amateur theatre company, to be selected by a national committee. Tower Theatre would like to apply to the national committee to be selected to represent the UK at the Festival in Monaco. This will involve presenting a piece of theatre which meets the following criteria:

  • A devised piece or material that is not subject to licence fees
  • Must “present cultural diversities through scenic forms and dramatic expressions”
  • Must not be more than 60 minutes long (including time to set up for performance)
  • Must be predominantly physical and expressive theatre (singing, dancing, music etc. as opposed to dialogue driven material) to cater for a multi-lingual audience

To find out more about this Festival and if you are interested in representing Tower Theatre and would like to present a piece of theatre that satisfies the above criteria, then please contact Landé Belo for more details. She would particularly encourage writers wanting to develop original material to get in touch. If the Tower Theatre is selected, this would be an exciting opportunity to showcase original work to a wider audience. What are you waiting for? Apply now!

Extending subscriptions during lockdown

David Taylor, Chair of Management Committee

Dear Members and Friends

During this period of lock-down Members and Friends are unable to receive all the normal benefits of being part of the Tower Theatre.  To compensate for this the Management Committee has agreed that, when we re-open, subscriptions then active will be extended by the duration our building has been closed.

The Tower shut its doors on March 17th and when rehearsals and other things can happen again we will know how long to extend your subscriptions. At that point, all paid-up friends’ and members’ subscriptions will be extended by the relevant period. In due course, when the office is operating again, there will be further contact but I thought you would like to know now that your subscriptions will be extended. Meanwhile, please continue to support the Tower and pay your subscriptions as normal.

When we emerge from lockdown, we will have lost significant revenue from our cancelled productions and will ask members and friends whether they would be prepared to support us by retaining their original renewal dates, rather than opting for the extension.

In the meantime I’d like to thank Ruth Sullivan for the marvellous job she is doing by keeping us all in the picture through the weekly Noises Off and to all those involved in the blogs and virtual play readings which keep the Tower family actively together.

I’m looking forward to us being able to get started again but in the meantime please stay safe and well.

David Taylor
Chair, Management Committee

Planning for the future

Last week the Tower Theatre took the drastic and unprecedented step of closing its doors in order to assist in slowing the spread of covid-19, a new disease the effect of which is not yet clearly known.  The big question everyone is asking is when will I be able to get back on stage? 

The Tower works at its best when it works together and supports one another.  Going forward the Tower has one sole agenda and objective to get the theatre operating viably as soon as possible for the benefit of its members and wider audience.   This announcement is to keep you as informed as best as possible as to what steps the Tower is taking to meet that objective.  During the past week, I, along with other core teams, have been working towards re-programming the 2020/21 artistic year.  There have been discussions with individual directors as how best to achieve this objective.   

Paris 2020 – The Merchant of Venice
The cast and crew of The Merchant of Venice have agreed to cancel this show and re-schedule it for Paris 2021. I am delighted that Paris has agreed the dates for the 2021 production (30th May 21 to 7th June 21).  My thanks to Peter and his cast and crew for being understanding in this difficult situation given that they were all but ready to perform.

Minack 2020 – The Great Gatsby  The Minack management intends, where possible, to continue performing their summer 2020 artistic programme. The Great Gatsby falls towards the end of this programme (31st Aug to 4th Sept). They, along with the Tower, agree that hopefully we will be out of this current situation by the end of August. So as announced last week, The Great Gatsby will be performed at the Minack in August 2020 unless advised otherwise. We hope that rehearsals for Minack will begin later in the summer when restrictions are lifted. The director will be in touch with the cast and crew to discuss. The London run will be re-scheduled for later in the year. 

The remainder of the 20/21 artistic year To try and give directors, casts, and crews as much certainty as we can in the current climate we are discussing various options. These options will be discussed with individual directors and will be communicated to the wider membership once we have more clarity.  Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.

Thank you for your continuing patience, cooperation, and support.

Martin Mulgrew
(Artistic Director)

Video of the Q & A session about “Sweat”

A Question and Answer session chaired by the director of “Sweat”, Ian Hoare, with Dr Nicole King (who lectures in American Literature & Culture at Goldsmith College, University of London) and Dr Theresa Saxon, (a founder member of the Institute for Black Atlantic Research at the University of Lancashire).

London Live interview about “Sweat”

London Live ran an item about the Tower Theatre’s production of Sweat on 25th February 2020. See the interview with director Ian Hoare and actors Landé Belo and Julie Arrowsmith here.

Still from London Live interview with  Ian Hoare, Lande Belo and Julie Arrowsmith

Audition Notice – “Mules”

Wanted: Women to traffic drugs.  That’s the job.  There’s cash, international travel, a chance to make it big.  Risks include violence, betrayal, incarceration, death.”

Auditions for Mules will take place on 10, 12, and 14 March at the Tower Theatre – for more information, please see the audition notice here, RSVP, and submit your contact and other details via the online form.

Mules is a ‘no holds barred’ tale of disparate (and at times, desperate) young women who get caught up in the international drug trade as drug couriers or “mules”, whether to escape poverty and victimhood or to acquire wealth and power in a world where they are systematically excluded.

Mules was commissioned by Clean Break Theatre Company and premiered at the Royal Court Upstairs in April 1996.  Winsome Pinnock is an award-winning British playwright, described in The Guardian as “the godmother of black British playwrights”.

Diamond Jubilee – Tom Tillery

Tom Tillery celebrates 60 years at the Tower

This Wednesday saw a huge milestone being reached by long term performer on the Tower stage Tom Tillery. It was 60 years to the day since he stepped out to play a Venetian Lord in Othello in a 1959 production. Tom’s appearance in Tower’s latest show, Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living marks his 170th production.

After the show’s curtain call Artistic Director, Martin Mulgrew, stepped forward to congratulate Tom on his many years with the company and to present him with a commemorative plaque. Company chairman, David Taylor, also presented Tom with a framed photo of some of his many roles. Tom joked, “I’ll leave it in my will”. The cheering audience rightly gave the veteran actor a standing ovation.

Rules for Living has had incredible reviews and outstanding comments from the audience. So do try and catch Tom in his Diamond Jubilee performance which plays until December 7th.

‘Rules for Living’ – Watch the Magic Happen

Ever wondered what it looks like to see one of our most elaborate sets come together from a blank slate? Check out the time-lapse video of the stage becoming all of our Christmas homes when you buy tickets for the Tower’s brilliant production of Rules for Living! Described by LondonTheatre1 as:

“✭✭✭✭ ‘Rules for Living’ is both genuinely touching and side-splittingly funny… a superb cast….uniformly strong performances…a very entertaining evening”

Don’t miss it!