News: Elysium Theatre Company – The Covid-19 Monologues | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Jake Murray (Artistic director/ founder of Elysium TC) Photo by Garth Williams

Elysium Theatre Company, Durham’s only independent professional theatre company has just released five new online plays after being announced as winners of the Olwen Wymark Award by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain

In response to the pandemic the Durham-based company began producing The Covid-19 Monologues last year on its new YouTube channel, taking a pioneering approach and commissioning writers to pen monologues on any subject, which were then rehearsed and directed over Zoom and filmed with social distancing measures in place.

The latest releases include Blackmail: A Reiver Tale, set in Northumberland in 1601, written by Heaton-based Steve Byron and starring Dunston actor Micky Cochrane. It tells the tale of an ordinary man who takes the law into his own hands.

One Small Globe, comes from Newcastle-based playwright Janet Plater. It’s a comedy centred on a struggling actor who has been out of work since Covid-19 closed theatres and finds a new ‘out-of-this-world’ job. 

The other free to watch plays include Fake, written by Chris Barlas, performed by Karren Winchester, about an ‘online warrior’ and conspiracy theorist. 

Next up, is Oh By The Way, I Hate Myself, a comedy written by Coronation Street’s Hannah Ellis Ryan, about Beth (performed by Laura Littlewood) who has just returned from her mother’s funeral and after a few glasses of wine tells the ‘truth’ about her dearly departed mother. 

The fifth play I Just Called to Say, is written by Rani Moorthy, a Malaysian-born actor and writer, best known for her hugely popular character Mrs Bilal in Citizen Khan. The plot focuses on a young man, 

performed by Alex Townson, who watches his father in ICU you on his tablet as he hopes for his father’s survival, he unburdens himself about their relationship, and the violent abuse at the heart of it.

Elysium co-founder and Director, Jake Murray, can’t wait for the world to see the next five Covid-19 Monologues…

“We have now produced the work of ten playwrights and have built a platform on which we can do more new writing going into the future. It has transformed the company and the idea of what we can do.

“Covid forced us online, and this whole process of the monologues is a prime case of ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. We’ve loved it – it’s a whole new medium. It’s not film and it’s not theatre, but somewhere in between.

“We are so excited to be bringing another five fantastic plays, created by a set of supremely-talented writers and performed by some incredible actors, to the people.”

The monologues range from 15 to 30 minutes long and are free to access on Elysium’s YouTube channel Elysium TC.

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