The Magnetic Diaries at Edinburgh Fringe
A little taste of The Courtyard will be at Edinburgh Fringe this year as three productions that we have been involved with will be performed during the festival. On our blog this week we will be taking a look at each show. The final production we will be featuring is The Magnetic Diaries by Reaction Theatre Makers.
The Magnetic Diaries was given life by the Courtyard’s new writing ‘Write On Festival’ last year and is now set on a national tour and an Edinburgh Fringe run, supported by the Arts Council England, the Elmley Foundation and Worcestershire Council.
In Spring 2015, Droitwich based poet, Sarah James adapted her Forward Prize highly commended collection The Magnetic Diaries, to create her first stage play and submitted it to the ‘Write On’ competition panel. The panel were impressed by the script for the one-woman show and helped Sarah find a theatre team to bring the script to the stage.
‘We were blown away by the haunting subject material and rich, lyrical prose,’ comments Karen Curry, the ‘Write On’ Chair, ‘and felt it deserved a strong actor and director to do it justice. So we used our connections and invited locally based actress Vey Straker and Malvern-based Reaction Theatre Maker director Tiffany Hosking to take this beautiful play about depression and bring it to life.’
The gripping poetry-play is an innovative reworking of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary in a contemporary English setting. The troubled, adulterous heroine, Emma Bailey, battles with a stifling middle-class lifestyle, unattainable fantasies and untreatable depression – pushing her life and marriage to the brink. Her journey of intense highs and lows includes a course of treatment in a pioneering brain therapy, Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. These experiences are portrayed on stage through journal entries of raw, open heart poetry and subtle physical language.
With help from a host of other local organisations and individuals, such as The Rural Media Company, the Chapel Arts Centre at RNCB, Sealegs Puppet Theatre, Courtyard trustee and former Poetry Society Director Chris Green, film director Nathan Williams, local actor Alex Evans and lighting technician David Hewitt, a bid for funding to develop and tour the show was successful. The show has now benefited from professional choreographer Lizie Giraudeu and a musical score by competition-winning composer Joanna Karsellis.
Vey Straker, the show’s performer comments, ‘This is a wonderful opportunity for our careers, to be touring such a beautiful solo show, and I am well aware that it would never have been possible without the enthusiastic support and collaboration of Herefordshire’s theatre and media talent.’
David Durant, Associate Director of the Courtyard said, ‘It is always a pleasure to discover new work, especially when it is of such a high standard like The Magnetic Diaries. I am so pleased to see the legacy that The Write on Festival continues to have in giving artists and playwrights the chance to have their work performed. I am sure it will be well received on its tour.”