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|Tales from Paradise Heights||
Tonight's last performance of DIANE'S DELI is dedicated to the late and very great SEAMUS HEANEY. His word's echo long after his passing. RIP to a huge influence on me, Famous Seamus. On my many holidays on my grandfather's farm in Roscommon, I spent time lighting fires early in the morning, and helping my grandfather milking the cows in between picking frying pan sized mushrooms in misty fields at five o'clock in the morning. At lunch I would sit down and read a wee bit of Seamus...sweet memories.
It's been a storming run and I am grateful to so many - the phenomenal cast, the amazing crew, the dedicated film crew who have been filming us each night, the team that worked on the Theme from Diane's Deli, The Kings Arms and the wonderful audiences. More blog over weekend. Let's give it a rousing send off, hope to see you there. Joe x
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TRAILER by Darren McGinn
THE BANSHEE AND THE MAIDEN: Theme from DIANE'S DELI
'...this is Limbo Land at best, and at worst the country of the damned.' SEAMUS HEANEY
Well after a fraught day yesterday getting the show in we are up and running, and a great first night under our belts - well done to the cast and crew for pulling it out of the bag and knocking it out of the park, seemingly against the odds. But backs against to wall is when we deliver our best. Bedded in now and ready to rock.
Get yourselves down to DIANE'S DELI and you'll get a little extra with your Breakfast Special (just not chips, OK?) Everything you need to know about the show is at the link below, please read and share and it would of course be FANTASTIC to see you...Joe x
FIRST REVIEW IN...
DO NOT MISS THIS...thanks to a wonderful audience last night. Joe and the cast n crew...Jx
I first met the LOWER KERSAL YOUNG PEOPLE'S GROUP in 2012 when I was approached by Jacqui Carroll of Reel Manchester to write a script about the Salford Blitz of WW2. I was immedaitely struck by the 'family feel' of this group, right across that age group from 9 to 84. They all live in Lower Kersal, a community like many that has it's problems, I live in a community just like it in Bolton. But what I felt from day one with this group was an amazing togetherness, a kinship, it was like one huge family of 25 to 30 people, and they have supported each other through some real personal tragedy's and times of hardship. I was more than touched by it all and made welcome from my first day.
After doing some research on war time Salford and working on a few improvisations with them (and they had many great ideas of their own) I wrote the play over a period of six days, one of the fastest pieces of writing I had ever done. When we had people laughing and crying at the read throgh I knew we had something that could really move people. Now we had to set about the business of getting a group of 20 of them who had never acted on stage before, ready for a performance at The Lowry Quays Theatre. It was a resounding success.
The play returned and has just completed a three night run at Salford Arts Theatre and finished it's return last night at a packed Lowry Quays Theatre. Ian Curley's set looked magnificent after a year in storage. A special mention toTommy Lever who runs this group through Saint Aiden's Church with the help of many of the adults and parents that complete the cast. If you are looking for a shining example of what community is all about then visit them, they are amazing. Well their reward for all their hard work? The play will return every year - and boy do they deserve it, if you missed it this year be sure to catch it next year. Below are a few images from the show and behind the scenes, and a review from SALFORD ONLINE's Teresa McMahon.
Below is a clip from a test run of lights and sound for one of the more explosive scenes...
Teresa McMahon of SALFORD ONLINE reviews the show
SalfordOnline Rating: 5 out of 5
On a wretched rainy Sunday evening, the ambiance was very family oriented and friendly at The Lowry’s Quays Theatre which was full to the brim, which is no surprise considering the success of this show when it came to The Lowry in August 2012.
The play, written and directed by Salford’s very own professional scriptwriter Joe O’Byrne, came to The Lowry on the last night of its run after three nights at Salford Arts Theatre. With funding from the Heritage Lottery Young Roots Project and Salix Homes, O’Byrne, his co-director Jacqui Carroll of REEL Manchester, and the remarkable cast, really brought this fascinating and charming story to life.
A true credit to Lower Kersal’s Young people’s Group, this play really captured the community spirit in Salford at the time of the 1940 Christmas bombings which left over 600 people dead in one evening, including 16 nurses at Salford Royal Hospital.
Set in an air raid shelter in the centre of Salford during the months leading up to the devastating Salford Blitz, the play focuses on the how the everyday people of Salford rose to the challenge of the second world war with the unbroken, proud spiritedness, vigour and courage they’re famous for. With many laughs along the way, the play highlighted how, even in the indifferent and callous face of adversity, the hardworking folk could muster a few laughs and knew how to have a good time. Resonating, one may suspect, the current status quo.
Blokes sat around playing cards, women gossiping, kids’ playing, and general bickering, set the scene for some hilarious gags such as the rejoicing of the news that the rent collectors has been hit, only to realize that the pawn shop next door has, too. Then there are Leonard’s ashes that get spilled and swept up only to be temporarily stored in the teapot. That is until Mr McGuire decides to pour himself a brew, proclaiming: “It’s very full bodied.”
Outstanding performances by co-director Jacquie Carroll, as the loveable scarlet woman Rita; Martin Hazeldine, as wheeler dealer Walter (who hilariously keeps fish in the air raid toilet to keep it fresh); and Thomas Curran, as jumped up jobs-worth Tommy McGuire, helped make this play truly appealing and authentic. However, the entire cast did an exceptional job and it almost seems unfair to highlight a few.
The audience received this creation with great appreciation and Lynda Hazeldine’s Margaret Mottershead even had them participating in a rendition of There’s Only One Way to Tipperary. The play culminated in a powerful and emotional climax which didn’t leave a dry eye in the theatre, which, in turn, only compounded the actors’ portrayal of these blitz victims.
An utterly powerful and brilliant team effort for which everyone who took part should be profoundly proud. I will definitely be going to see this next year.
So, a triumphant return, well done all. No rest for me as my new play DIANE'S DELI opens at The Kings Arms, Studio Salford on the 26th August for a five night run, and yes I'm plugging it here and it would be wonderful to see you all there - it's probably my best story so far, hope you can make it.
There's a teaser trailer below and more in previous updates here...best wishes.
PS A very special mention for the Lowry Quays Theatre Technical Team of Kev, Dave, Beasley and Chris who did a magnificent job for us, slick, professional, so helpful and special mention to Kev for spending his dinner hour creating that extra special effects ending for us. Thanks to you all. Joe and the Keep Calm and Carry On team.
Joe O'Byrne is a writer, artist, poet, actor, lecturer, film maker, producer, ex radio presenter and Community Service Officer.