News – Winter 2016
The winter is here and brings with it Christmas Shows – which for me this year includes a brand new version of Pinocchio created with: Garth McConaghie (Music); Hugh Brown (Lyrics); Paul McEneany (Illusions and Direction). The show opens at the Mac, Belfast Nov 30 and will be spectacular.
My adaptation of The Borrowers returns to the Sherman Theatre Cardiff – Nov 30 all through the Christmas season. Directed by the wonderful Amy Leach.
Nivelli’s War – about a young German evacuee during World War 2 who meets an enigmatic refugee who happens to be a magician – will open at the Lyric Belfast in March next year before transferring to the New Victory Theatre on Times Square, Broadway, New York on 28 April 2017. The play is produced by Cahoot’s NI.
Infinity has opened in Dortmund, directed by Andrea Kramer for Consol Theatre and will continue to play in rep next year. The play, which is for ages 12 up, is about a troubled space mission to Mars. It was co-commissioned with Theatre Iolo in Cardiff and will hopefully reach the UK sometime next year.
Charles Way’s Jack and Phil, Slayers of Giants INC has received a great first production in the US at Imagination Stage, directed by Janet Stanford. The play is suitable for family and school audiences. It is now available in the US through Plays for young Audiences and in the UK and Europe by contacting the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dame Jacqueline Wilson on behalf of Action for Children's Arts (ACA)presented Charles Way with a Members' Award on 5 November 2015 at the BBC in London. The award is given by other ACA members for 'the outstanding contribution their work makes in enriching children's lives through the arts'.
- Two new plays about Space are in development:
- Beauty and the Beast is at Polka Theatre (London) this Christmas, directed by Roman Stefanski. For family audiences.
- The Snow Queen at the Theatre by the Lake (Keswick). For family audiences.
- Nivelli’s War was nominated for Best Production for Children and Young People in the 2015 TMA Awards.
- Charles Way's adaptation of Under the Hawthorn Tree by Marita Conlon-McKenna is set during the Irish Famine of 1845 and has been commissioned by the Ulster American Folk Park Museum, Omagh NI.
- New publication: New Plays For Young People (ISBN 978-1-906582-51-7) is an anthology which includes: Missing, which won the prestigious German Children’s Theatre Prize; Pirates, which won a Distinguished Play Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education; Nivelli’s War, which was nominated as best play for children and young people in the recent UK Theatre Awards. ‘World class children’s theatre’ Belfast Telegraph
- New publication: Hard Times (ISBN 978-1-906582-48-7) – with an introduction by Chris Honer– is a highly acclaimed adaptation of Dickens’ critique of utilitarianism which speaks directly to any society that treats its young people as cogs in an educational/economic machine. The play has a large cast and is therefore suitable for amateur as well as professional production. Five stars – from The Independent.
- In October I was invited to Bucharest to be a judge at the international children’s theatre festival 100, 1.000. 1.000.000 Stories. This was a wonderful experience and the quality of the work on show was very high.
- On 6 November The Snow Queen – directed by Rosamunde Hutt with spectacular designs by Andreea Săndulescu – opened at Ion Creanga Theatre in Bucharest.
- In Germany, both Rose mit Dornen (Sleeping Beauty) in Leipzig and Der weite Weg (The Long Way Home) in Nürnberg with Theater Pfütze opened to great reviews which are featured on my German publisher’s website, Theaterstueckverlag, München.
- Sleeping Beauty, which began its theatrical life at the Polka Theatre in 1990, continues to be widely performed in Russia and the Ukraine.
- In November, I spent a week in Gelsenkirchen working with Consol Theatre and Theatr Iolo from Wales on the first draft of a new play called Infinity, about a mission to Mars set in the year 2035.
- On 8 December I return to Belfast and Cahoots Theatre to continue work on The Gift, which will open in March 2015.
- Ragnarok enjoyed a wonderful first production from Eastern Angles at the Hush House in Suffolk in September / October. Directed by Hal Chambers with a stunning cast-and great designs by Samuel Wyler.
- Hard Times will be published by Aurora Metro Press this summer. Way's 5 star adaptation (The Independent) is now available on Amazon and other outlets (reviews of the Library Theatre's 2012 production here).
- Upcoming productions include One Snowy Night at the Theatre de la Grenouille, Sleeping Beauty in Leipzig, Beauty and the Beast at The Arden Theatre, Philadelphia and Sinbad – The Untold Tale at Imagination Stage, Washington DC.
- Nivelli’s War. Produced by Cahoots NI and directed by Paul Boscoe McEneany, opened in February in Armagh, and then went on tour. "This is world class work being produced right here in Belfast… it is crying out to be seen in countries far from here, where the quality of production and the impact of content upon young imaginations can be recognised for their universal significance." (Belfast Telegraph). Full reviews here.
- New Plays for Young People. Look out for this new title from Aurora Metro Press. The book contains three original new plays for young audiences including Missing, which won the German Children’s award in 2010, Pirates! A Boy at Sea, and Nivelli’s War.
- Ragnarok. An Eastern Angles production will now be directed by Hal Chambers. This large scale piece opens on September 11 at The Hush House – an old aircraft hanger. Ragnarok is the story of man’s beginning and end according to Norse Legend. The tragedy of Odin and his race will be played out in a remarkable performing space.
- The Gift, a brand new play for Cahoots NI Belfast, was chosen for development at New Visions New Voices at the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, in May 2014. It will open in March 2015 in Belfast.
- Wanted! Robin Hood had a six-week run at the Lowry Manchester. It was the last Christmas show at the Library Theatre before it became the new Theatre HOME. Many positive reviews included "Charles Way’s script is beautifully crafted allowing director Amy leach to bring together script and actors to form an evening of wonderful entertainment." (What’s on Stage *****). Full reviews here.
- Spoke at a symposium in Dublin in July about the role of the fairy tale in modern theatre. The event was organised by Barnstorm Theatre.
- Many thanks to Dr Li Ru Ru of Leeds University for asking me to address a conference called ‘Staging China’ in April at which I spoke about The Dutiful Daughter – which was developed by The West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Sichuan Peoples Theatre, Chengdu and directed by Gail McIntyre.
- One Snowy Night (In Einer Winternacht) opens at the Theaterhaus Ensemble in June.
- Cinderella opens at the Schlossfestspiele, Heildelberg on June 16.
- Sleeping Beauty will be performed in Russian this summer at The Severodvinsk Drama Theater.
- The first draft of Ragnorok, an epic tale of Gods and Giants, is now complete. The play will be directed by Ivan Cutting for Eastern Angles theatre company next summer at The Hush House, near Ipswich. The venue is extraordinary – an aircraft hanger type building once used to test the turbine engines of American Bombers.
- December sees the Rose Theatre, Kingston on Thames go into production with Cinderella –The Midnight Princess, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh. This should be a beautiful production, with music provided by Mozart – who appears as a character in the story. The same play opens at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia.
- The Christmas season also sees The Borrowers performed by Northern Stage, Newcastle.
- In November Verschwunden (Missing) premiers in Germany at the Junges Theater, Munster.
- December will be busy as the author makes a return visit to Seattle to continue working on the musical The Light Princess with composer Rich Gray for the Seattle Children’s Theatre.
- In January the author travels to Belfast to develop a possible new piece for the blind with Cahoots NI.
- Charles was commissioned by The Library Theatre in Manchester to write a fresh version of the Robin Hood legend to be produced Christmas 2013.
- Pirates – A Boy At Sea has won the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) Distinguished Play award. The play, which was seen in Britain at the Polka Theatre, was also nominated for a Writer’s Guild award.
- Cahoots Theatre's production of A Spell of Cold Weather toured in Northern Ireland in Spring 2012.
- The Snow Queen opened in Denver Colorado in April, along with several productions across the US of The Borrowers.
- I spoke at the Biel Festival in Switzerland in May 2012, where Eye of the Storm and Missing were performed by Theatre de la Grenouille.
- Butterfly Kiss, a play specially written for young performers / youth theatres, finished its first production run by Gwent Young People’s Theatre in Spring 2012. Based on the dreams and nightmare of young people, the text is now available for production by other youth theatres – please email to receive a perusal copy.
- Pirates – A Boy At Sea has been shortlisted for the GB Writer’s Guild award for best play for children and young people. The award ceremony will be held at The Tabernacle, London on November 16th. The play is on the surface a rollicking pirate tale and can be enjoyed as a fantasy adventure – but it is also a story about a child’s emotional journey as he sails the tempestuous seas of his parents’ separation. The play is suitable for family audiences and is available from the author on request.
Times finished a hugely successful run for the Library Theatre
at Murrays Mills this summer and the play is now available for production. Here are some snippets from the reviews.
‘Charles Way’s adaptation fluently conveys the humanity,warmth and the bitterness of the original.’ The Arts Desk
‘This Dramatisation by Charles Way improves on Dickens’ caricatures. Way gives real depth to characters who are only selfless simperers in the book. He replaces Dickens’s sentimentality with warmth and his censoriousness with moral indignation’ The Independent *****
‘The Journey to Murray’s Mills is rewarding thanks to this imaginative and enjoyable promenade production.’ The Guardian***
‘What shines through is the quality of the adaptation, direction and acting.’ Manchester Confidential.
- Pirates – A Boy At Sea was nominated in the Washington DC Theatre Awards in April 2011 (The Helen Hayes Awards) in the category of ‘Outstanding New Play’. The play – commissioned by Imagination Stage and the Polka Theatre in London – did not win the award, but the nomination was notable for the fact that a play written for children was deemed good enough to be in the mix with six plays for adults. "Young audiences wholly spellbound by Way's adventure tale" (Washington Post - whole review here).
- Charles Way's adaptation of Hard Times – for the Library Theatre in Manchester – goes into rehearsal in May. Directed by Chris Honer, design by Judith Croft with music by Colin Sell. The production will be performed at Murray’s Mills and has a cast of twenty. Tickets are going fast and the show runs from June 7 to July 2. Its a promenade event. Contact The Library Theatre for details.
- The Long Way Home – seen most recently in Wales in a Hijinx production – received a wonderful production in German Weit ist der Weg at the Blickfelder Festival in Zurich in March 2011. Directed by Enrico Beeler for the Junges Schauspielhaus, it had a cast of eight, the oldest of whom was over seventy (playing the role of ‘old Mother’.) Wonderful.
- Sinbad – The Untold Tale has just finished its second production at Adventure Stage Chicago. A Spell Of Cold Weather continues its tour of Norway, despite the fact that, even there, the snow has finally melted.
- Charles Way was the winner of the German Children’s Theatre Award 2010. This most important German prize for dramatic literature for children, endowed by the Federal Republic of Germany, was awarded this year to British playwright Charles Way for his play Verschwunden (Missing). The play was commissioned by Consol Theater in Gelsenkirchen in Germany and first produced in November 2008 in Co-operation with Theatre Iolo, Cardiff. More on this on the Awards page.
- Ill Met by Moonlight, written and directed by Charles Way for Hijinx Theatre, toured Wales in November and December 2010.
- Charles Way was the Keynote speaker in October 2010 at The Gathering, a three-day sharing of work in Belfast for young people in Eire and Northern Ireland.
- Charles Way visited TIBA, the international festival for young people’s theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, in June 2010. The festival featured a launch of a British reader containing the author’s play A Spell Of Cold Weather, translated into Croatian.
- A Spell Of Cold Weather (Norwegian translation) was performed in Christmas 2010 by Brageteatret in Norway.
- The Borrowers was produced by Seattle Children’s Theatre in Christmas 2010.
- Death and the Nightingale, an extraordinary puppet extravaganza, was performed by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama at Duffryn Gardens, Cardiff, at the end of June 2010. Directed by Emma Williams, music by Lucy Rivers, designed by 20 very talented design students.