FEATURE: Ali Pritchard – Alphabetti Theatre – A Look Back At 2018 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The last twelve months have had the NARC Magazine pages filled with the best creative talent, so we asked a few of them to be kind enough to share some words on the year coming to a close. Next up, it’s the man behind Alphabetti Theatre, Ali Pritchard.

So, how was your 2018?
2018 has been great. It has felt a bit like I have become 19 once again! As in it has been a year of re-discovering and learning how to do things all over again. The theatre I started back in 2012, Alphabetti Theatre, has completed its first year in the new venue on St James Boulevard and it has been one hell of a year and a massive learning curve. Moving to the new venue has thrown our theatre in a whole new exciting direction and I can’t wait to see what else we can achieve! It’s been great seeing old friends back in the venue having fun as well as seeing some new faces! Over the year we have built some great partnerships with local organisations and charities; welcoming so many new groups into the theatre to enjoy theatre at an affordable cost! All good stuff!

What was your best and worst moment?
We’ve made some really cool shit! I am allowed to swear? Is shit a swear word? I don’t think so we all do it, even babies so it can’t be a swear! Anyway, we’ve made some really cool shit this year whether that’s been facilitating and supporting shows such as Bonnie and The Bonnettes – Drag Me to Love, or Coracle’s – Suffragette- that list could be so long that’s just two off the top of my head. Making wise it’s been an amazing year. We produced and gave the world premiere to David Raynor’s play Trolleyboy which we have been developing for two years. I finished a first draft of my kid’s book – Keeping Time, which we gave a week of dramatic reading with live music from Wilf Stone. We commissioned 9 short plays to be performed as part of our longest running night – Alphabetti Soup. As well bring back for a second year our Christmas Cabaret. I think the best moment in the shape of making for me has to Walter by Steve Byron. It was a children’s production, where we worked with The Discovery Museum and over the course of 6 days we had 750 children and adults watch the show – which is pretty great as we can only hold 75!
As a person I am bit like a gazelle – you know the long limbed jumpy animals – I mean I do look and behave like those but emotionally and mentally it’s a lot of the same. I am either jumping high or plummeting low. However I wouldn’t want any other way. With a nature like that there have inevitably quite a few low points!
The worst moment (not including Brexit and this government) was in August when there had to be an emergency board meeting where the board had to vote on whether to keep the venue open. All arts organisations are on a knife edge we are no different – we’re really trying to make a difference and create a venue that is accessible and affordable to all. However that worst moment didn’t last for long as in 4 months we were able to turn around a crippling debt so now we’re just breaking even! Yippee!

Your favourite band of the year?
Local band – Dansi. Musically they’re incredible, such a fun band to see live. And what a year they have had as well proper highs and lows – while on their first European tour (which from my understanding) they were selling out all the shows they were playing. Their van was broken into and all their gear was nicked – instruments, clothes, merch, equipment – they had to cancel the rest of the dates and come home. At one point it looked like they were going to disband. However, a crowdfunder was launched and they have gone on to have such a successful year selling out shows left right and centre (including a gig with us on Saturday 15th December!).

Your favourite song of the year?
Cold Comfort Lane – Holy Moly & The Crackers
I have such a soft spot for this band – there music is wonderful and so are they as humans. They’re just a band of the best!

Favourite TV of the year?
Glow – Netflix. What a show! Funny, politically charged, empowering and an awesome sound track.

Your favourite Film?
Journey’s End – It’s such a harrowing film but so moving and important for us to remember. I still remember watching and studying the theatre production by R.C Sherriff, which the film is based on, when I was at school.

Favourite venue of the year?
I’m a bit biased – I spend all my time at Alphabetti! But I also adore Colbalt, Cumberland Arms, The Stand, The Cluny, Northern Stage, Live Theatre, Gosforth Civic Theatre and Surf Café.

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