MAAN Friends in Hand (med)Drawing by Kim Lewis

‘Much Ado…’ In rehearsal. Drawing by Kim Lewis

The company rehearsed on site in the evenings when the building ceased its daily role as crown court and tourist attraction. Run by necessity on a fringe theatre guaranteed fee basis, contributors received fees and travel allowance generated solely by 100% box office revenue and sponsorship. As a grass roots actor lead organisation of Equity members in a fringe company we always strove to match living wage levels and by 2016 were proud to be paying that hourly rate for public performances.

Othello Nicola & Gabriel rehearsal

Othello: Nicola Jayne Ingram and Gabriel Paul in rehearsal. Image George Coupe

Our ensemble of northern based performers were offered roles on a production by production basis. Performers committed to five weeks of rehearsals (unpaid but for travel) and four weeks of performances (paid with travel). 87 actors enjoyed this invaluable opportunity to practice & extend traditional craft skills through being showcased in our Shakespeare productions.

Hamlet Amy_Ruth header pic

Hamlet: Amy Rhiannon Worth (Player Queen) being fitted by Ruth Caswell (Costume Designer)

Each biennial Shakespeare production attracted a regular attendance by employers – casters, directors, producers & writers – resulting in greater profile and enhanced work opportunities in all media. Given that an estimated 85% of Equity’s 42,000  members are unemployed at any one time this proved an effective self help stratagem which helped make a real difference to an individual’s career and personal development.

Readthrough (Creatives) Cathy Duncan

Much Ado: Creative team at readthrough in Barristers Library. Image Cathy Duncan