Full story at the link below...
|Tales from Paradise Heights||
Fantastic news as the play kicks of 2018 with an award.
Full story at the link below...
The Haunting of Blaine Manor has really been blessed with amazing venues since its premiere in 2016. Each venue we have played, Hope Mill Theatre, Ancoats; The Kings Arms, Salford (two runs there); The Old Red Lion, Islington and Hermon Chapel Arts Centre, Oswestry have left us with great memories from our runs there. It's hard to single out any place really, The Kings Arms has been amazing though, two cracking runs there and an amazing host in Lisa Connor, I can't recommend the place enough for Northern creatives, film, theatre, music - The Kings is a venue that will only do you good.
But Hermon Chapel really resounded with us. A chapel over 150 years old, the pews still in place, the building rang with ghosts of its own; this together with its unique charm and incredibly friendly and helpful hosts Barry and Claudia, really made an impression on us for the three nights we were there.
(Look out for a future blog post about the ghostly goings on we had in London at The Old Red Lion and on tour - shudders!)
The community itself (when I say community I mean Oswestry and the villages surrounding it up to 25 miles away, many people travelling so far to see the play) were amazing with us. The performance space opens up to the bar area, and after each performance each night we spent a good couple of hours drinking and chatting with the audience members who were just incredibly friendly, quite a few of them seeing the show more than once and bringing their friends on following nights.
For Barry and Claudia nothing was too much trouble in their quest to help us have an amazing run there, they pitched in everywhere and the kettle was always on. This lovely couple have a mission of their own, and creatives and audiences can help them in their quest to accomplish this mission. They live in the building and are doing their best to put a plan together to buy the place, they have two years left on the lease.
It would be incredibly tragic to see this building lost to some redeveloper, or a Tescos or a bloody car park, this building has a rich history and needs preserving, but more than anything it needs preserving as a performance venue, and that's exactly what Barry and Claudia are trying to do.
The building was originally a listed welsh speaking chapel, built in 1862 and now re-born as a vibrant arts centre offering a range of interesting events all designed to help bring people together, so important in these stretched rural communities.It was almost demolished a few years ago, but thankfully rescued by a local businessman and Barry and Claudia are doing their best to bring live music, visual arts, literature events, talks, theatre, workshops and more. The venue is available for hire for local groups and has a bar area for refreshments. Their dream is to buy the building before their lease runs out, can you help out?
This is a shout out to touring companies, performers, theatre, comedy nights, music nights of course and even film nights as they have a large screen and projector and a fantastic sound system. This place is only an hour and 20 minutes from Manchester, and as a Manchester company we had no problem getting an audience there, with promotion (more than supported by Barry and Claudia who drew in the local community so well) we had three packed out nights there.
Seriously, if you are touring, get this place on your map - you won't regret it and it will help to keep the place alive - it's totally unique, no other place like it in the UK. Keep it alive.
We can't wait to go back.
More details on their website below at the link:
On the subject of The Haunting of Blaine Manor, the play now has its own review page, check 'em out at the link below, packed with cracking reviews and amazing photography.
The Haunting of Blaine Manor opens at The Kings Arms on Monday 23rd October and embarks on a Halloween Tour that is selling very fast, London 3 tickets away from selling out as I write this.
I'd like to talk about the work of a couple of the many heroes involved in the production, theatre art is a collaborative process. Darren McGinn (imagery and trailers) and Justin Wetherill (music and sound effects), both these guys are a huge and essential part of The Haunting of Blaine Manor. Both have worked speedily and tirelessly, both bringing vibrant and colourful imagination to the project.
Both of the trailers below illustrate their talents, all imagery and imagination by Darren and all music and sound (with the exception of nature's input - thunder) were created by Justin. The all too human and horrifying sounds heard within play were created by Justin and the cast one horrific afternoon in a recording studio in Sinister Sheffield. We all went quite mad there that afternoon and you can hear us in the 2016 trailer below, that's all of our voices, no one else, and of course Justin's silky skills.
The first trailer below is the new trailer, for the 2017 Halloween Tour.
And below, the 2016 trailer from last years sold out runs of the show...
Then of course there is the wonderful art of Darren McGinn in addition to his editing of the trailers and creations of the animations within them. His portrait work of the characters is just beautiful.
Any of these images would look fabulous enlarged and framed in portraits, stunning imagery that perfectly captures the mood of the production. Darren McGinn, amazing artist. More of Darren's imagery can be found in the gallery below, all used to support this production, all imagery and photography in this gallery is by Darren.
More of Darren's work can be found here:
And on his own website here:
More of Justin's brilliant work on sound effects and musical sound track production for film etc can be found here:
A Big shout out to these two guys who I will be working with again soon on the animated short film from Tale from Paradise Heights - THE NIGHT DEATH PUT ME DOWN...coming soon from Tales from Paradise Heights.
Below are the details of where our Halloween Tour is taking us, and all of the links that you can book tickets at.
Our final night of the 7 nights Salford leg of our tour see's us as part of this, STAGE FRIGHT, a wonderful FULL DAY OF HORROR at the Kings Arms, where you can experience the full day of events, or buy a ticket for the part of the day you want to see. Details at The Kings Arms website:
HALLOWEEN TOUR DATES AND LINKS ALL BELOW:
7 Haunted Nights 23rd to 29th October...we sold out last year over 5 nights
Tickets are also on sale at the enchanting Hermon Chapel Arts Theatre, dates there are 31st October (Halloween!) and 1st and 2nd November:
Finally we play the closing day of the London Horror Festival, at the Old Red Lion Theatre Pub, London on the 4th November - tickets on sale at the link below.
#BlaineManor #LHF2017 Horror is a Place
As I write this there are only 3 tickets left for our London leg of the tour, so move fast. Looking forward to seeng you all...please share Darren and Justin's work where you can, two very talented guys deserving more recognition out there.
'Tis but a couple of weeks before we return to THE KINGS ARMS in Salford, move on to HERMON CHAPEL ARTS CENTRE,, Oswestry then finish the tour at THE OLD RED LION, ISLINGTON, LONDON as part of the LONDON HORROR FESTIVAL. hip." #LHF2017
Tis also a cliché - but TRUE, but the tickets are flying, flying like vampire bats ...there is only one sound to be heard for those failing to get a ticket...don't be the one that hears it, for it will haunt you...FOREVER!
Everything you need to know from venues to ticket links, from cast to crew, from trailers to photo's, is all over here on THE HAUNTING OF BLAINE MANOR page, click the link below and don't be disappointed.
And for the many of you that are coming to see us again? You pay us the ultimate compliment, thank you...see you out there...HORROR IS A PLACE...Joe xx
My father passed away on the 15th of July, and that has still to fully sink in with me, it’s too raw for me to think about properly and my brain shuts that side down if I start to think about it. There will come a time I’m sure. But the one thing I have learnt from it is to make the most of every day now, to keep feeding the fire of creativity. To stop thinking about it and get on with it. After The Haunting of Blaine Manor tour in October and November I’m going straight into producing and directing the next short film in the Tales from Paradise Heights series, The Last Drop, it’s a winter’s tale. I'm also going to be working with Darren McGinn and Justin Wetheril on the animated short The Night Death Put Me Down - see below's update.
Tales from Paradise Heights is yet to hit London, that’s all going to change in the new year, I’m looking for venues both for that series of plays and for The Haunting of Blaine Manor, that play is at the London Horror Festival in November. As well as that I’m trying to organise my first art exhibition.
On top of this there were two very favourite characters of mine from my play and novel The Bench.
Eric. The homeless guy. He’s a poet and a king, a lost soul, a man that carries a torch for Gabrielle, the burn scarred shoplifter that lives on the streets and in the hostels, an unrequited love for her burns in his heart. He’s a man with worldly experience - but what brought him here? A battle scarred lion of the streets. I like him, there’s a lot of me there.
And Gabrielle. The burn scarred orphan who grew up in the shadow of The Heights. She dresses to hide her burns, to shield her from looks that would find those scars, she hides her sexuality, but there’s such an inner beauty with her. Frank Morgan destroyed her family and almost her too. She’s a street thief, a shop lifter, an artist. She found Eric, but she’s not sure what she’s found. To me they represent the couple from The Pogues and Kirsty McColl’s A Fairy Tale of New York. I’m currently story lining another Tale from Paradise Heights, a play, it’s called Banshee...and it will be a story of Eric and Gabrielle.
There’s a fire lit under me now and it’s not going to go out. I have so much more I want to do, to say, to express in so many different forms, I feel like I have only scratched the surface. I’m going to be busier than I have ever been before, I am seriously committed to that now. Before the light bulb starts to get dim there are a lot more characters, stories and canvas’ that need to find the light. And I’m dedicating the lot to Dad.
The Bench - The Novel
I was very fortunate this week to be interviewed by the lovely poet and columnist Emily Oldfield, the Editorial Assistant and Writer for ilovemanchester.com
Emily has a deep love of music and poetry and of Manchester's cultural history, writing many well researched articles and colourful reviews of musical gigs, poetry and spoke word, theatre and film. She also covers food and fashion and has many excellent articles throughout the site. It's safe to say that Emily has her finger firmly on the pulse of of Manchester's Creative Culture. Click the link below to view Emily's writings for ilovemanchester.com
What shines though clearly is Emily's love for all things creative and for the City of Manchester, it's voices like hers that really help the creative(s) of Manchester find a wider audience.
We talked mainly about my novel, The Bench and of Tales from Paradise Heights, the interview is at the link below.
Thank you Emily and thank you ilovemanchester
A quick word on the novel itself, which you can purchase for the princely sum of £3.49 at Amazon.co.uk
It's not easy being an unknown writer on Amazon, or any site where you are trying to sell your book online. I'm a first time author there and I'm among 700,000 other novelists, many of them first time writers too, you're a grain of sand in a sand storm. If you're unknown it is of course difficult to get anyone to buy your book, to read it. New writers are encouraged to run campaigns from time to time where they give the novel away, with the hopes of gaining reviews, which in turn it would be hoped would generate further sales.
I tried this, announcing that if people downloaded something I had worked on for so long for free, would they in turn do me the courtesy of writing a short two or three lined review on the novel. Out of one hundred and thirty seven free downloads of the book I received two reviews. Now whilst it's nice that twelve of my thus far thirteen reviews at he time of writing are 5 star, it's disheartening to see so few reviews come in for it - and of course I'm giving it away! Dad would go mad.
I don't think I'm going to be giving it away anymore, £3.49 is a fair price for the endeavour I put in. I hope you download it and I really hope you enjoy it, but of course be honest in your reviews. You can download the novel by clicking the link below, and thank you if you do Dear Reader, it's a fabulous introduction to the world of Tales from Paradise Heights, but don't take my word for it, check the reviews.
I'll be writing a more in-depth peace to my Dad on here soon, something deserving of the Lion in Life that he was. He's still here, in my blood and in my beating heart.
It's been a while, I hope you are all well.
Well here's the shortest update ever, but I'm really excited about both pieces of news:
Later this year will see the release of the first ANIMATED(!!!) film from Tales from Paradise Heights.
I'm getting together with Darren McGinn, his visionary flare and design skills are well known among Paradise Heights fans as he has worked on posters and trailers for the series, and Justin Wetherill who produced a brilliant score and designed the superbly haunting sound effects for The Haunting of Blaine Manor.
I'm really excited about this, always wanted to do animated tales and this one is very much an experiment as much as it is a tale in its own right.
Below are a couple of very rough story board sketches. More details soon...
And the second announcement is more of a reminder that I have recently launched my art website, www.sinfuljoe.com
I'm still very new to the art world but enjoying exploring and learning, lots of learning. The site is very much in its little acorn stage but I have every intention of turning it into a might oak over the years, the good news being I have already sold my first canvas from the site.
I'll also be starting a blog from there, have a work in progress page and any other items that might be linked to art, the website is still in an embryonic stage, still growing - i.e. I'll be posting anything I'm doing art wise i.e. the storyboards to the film project there etc, not all of the storyboards will be posted though as I don't want to give too much away about the film.
Do visit the site and share it where you can, and if you are interested in having work commissioned do give me a shout through the contact page there or leave me a message here.
So that's it for now, see you in the next update...:D
Hey...where are you going with that mince pie in your hand?
Seasons Greetings to you all, I hope you have a good one. I'm feeling Christmassy and offering up a free gift. THE BENCH, my first novel, is currently languishing on Amazon.co.uk along with around 700,000 other first time novelists trying to sell their novels on there, it's like trying to sell a grain of sand in the desert.
I know :D
It's not gonna happen there. But it's a nice dropping off point for it - somewhere where it can be referenced by any potential agent out there - ha, it would be easier to find Luke Skywalker's hand holding the reins to a unicorn - but the beauty of it is it's there. A record of achievement.
I'm still searching for an agent and publisher and of course collecting rejection letters, par for the course - you have to be rejected, or it's a bit like being a boxer and not expecting to get hit. You roll with the punches and you keep on believing, or to put it in the wise words of Rocky Balboa...
GREAT piece of inspirational writing from Sylvester Stallone.
So anyhow, here it is for free download until Christmas Day, all I ask is if you read it please leave me an honest review on the site, a lot of heart and soul went into that first novel. If you don't have a kindle reader or such like and would like to read it, leave me a message below with your email details and I'll email you the PDF.
Click the link below to take you to the download.
Look out for my new art page coming in the new year, I'll be available for commisions and of course I'll be putting most of what I produce up for sale and hoping to do an exhibition or two. More of my artwork can be seen here though I'm looking to redesign the page or to even join a dedicated art sales site.
My latest piece is below - THIS IS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE - one of a couple of Prince canvas' I have done lately. The art page will be updated with this soon...
Oh, and there will be news on The Haunting of Blaine Manor www.talesfromparadiseheights.com/the-haunting-of-blaine-manor.html - as the rules of theatres around the north won't let me in at the moment, there is a kindling of interest in London, a spark...more soon :D
Share this post if you can, it will be nice to see how far the novel goes in its free form, at least until Christmas Day...
Have a fab Christmas all, a happy one, we all need that...
I hope you're all well, it's been over two months since my last update, a few life issues to deal with since then. So, what's been happening apart from these life or death issues? Lots of painting from me and not much else, though not for lack of trying.
Gatekeepers are becoming a tougher breed. In spite of the success of The Haunting of Blaine Manor, it has been an exercise in frustration trying to get the show to other venues in the region; particularly the well known and established theatres. Begging for studio space for a play that should be gracing the main stage is a humiliating, frustrating and fruitless experience. Studios are now predominantly producing rather than receiving venues, they prefer to have a hand in the development of the shows in their spaces, mentoring writers and guiding new projects - there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, if you have your own show and it has been performed elsewhere, no matter how short the run and no matter how well received, your show won't play the venue. Disheartening.
To my fellow creatives then, keep batting, keep creating, stave off the negativity. Just a scroll through social media feeds at almost any time really shows just how creative this region is, how brimming with talent, invention, inspiration. Even if it seems it's never been harder for creatives to be seen out there and to get past those gatekeepers; Where there's a will, there's a way. And of course there is always the Fringe, the Fringe will never let you down. This is why I LOVE the fringe, the exciting characterful venues and the festivals; the Fabulous Fringe who actually let our voices be heard. Long live the Fringe.
To 24/7 Manchester Theatre Festival, Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, Manchester International Festival of Fringe and Not Part of Festival, you've supported us all down the years, long may you live, long may you reign...and no this is not a slight on the established theatres, long may you reign too...but I'd rather be a creative than a gatekeeper...or maybe a Balrog? Yeah...I'd be a Balrog. But wait, a Balrog tussled with Gandalf, right?
Not that I would EVER tussle with Sir Ian McKellan, hell I'd lose, even if I had to deliberately lose (unlikely) he's brilliant. He's a Wizard. You don't fuck with Wizards man, or indeed Mutants that can do extraordinary things with metal. That would worry me, I have a will of iron you see.
And almost finally...
Sometimes as a creative you can think you are deluded, a dreamer or even worse, a fool. One reason I've posted the review cards below from all of my previous work in the region is as a reminder to myself that I am not deluded. The opinions shared below are the opinions of other people, of respected reviewers who tell it like it is. Like audiences they see the wider picture. I needed to post them, to use them as a way of kicking myself up the arse. They are a reminder to myself that I do have something to say, and it's worth listening to.
Another reason is I will be contacting people in an effort to get The Haunting of Blaine Manor further, and to garner fresh interest in the other productions here, so it's nice to have all the review cards in one place for visitors to the site, they can have a quick look then check out further details on each production on its corresponding page on the site. They're all below, after The Last Drop...that's next.
Each one is a bit like a thumb nail, a big thumb nail, an Incredible Hulk thumb nail maybe...or best of all, a Brother Lee Love Thumb Nail.
God Bless Kenny Everett...
And definitely finally...
THE LAST DROP: A Tale from Paradise Heights
The Last Drop is the next Tale from Paradise Heights, it's a script I wrote over two years ago and it's just been sat there, crying in the chamber of unused scripts, a lonely, desolate place as I use most of my scripts. I've decided this spooky crying at night is a bit too much to deal with, so I'm shooting it this Winter, tis a winter's tale after all - well, winter will be as big a character as anyone else in the film.
I've never cast a season before, decent audition...chilling monologue, blew me away. you can see why I don't write comedy...often. Anyhow I'm crewing up so if you're interested leave me a message here and I'll be in touch.
Be well, have fun - well at least for a little while, it's the American Election next week...over to you Frankie Goes to Hollywood...
The final card above is of course for the Novel, The Bench, available at this link:
The novel is a further extension of the characters and situations encountered in the play, the best £3.49 you will spend today.
Hard work sometimes pays off, but these are the first steps for the play. I know I have said thanks on social media but social media disappears...this site won't...even when I'm dead it will haunt the internet.
We would like to thank our fabulous audiences, the reviewers and their words that will help us get further, and of course to Lisa Connor and her staff down at The Kings Arms who have all been fantastic.
A group of dedicated professionals (both onstage and off) listed on the page linked below all did their absolute damnedest to bring this production to the stage, their fantastic work has planted the seeds that will help the show grow.
Special mentions for Catia Soeiro (for being Catia and for helping out behind the scenes on the earlier run of the show and for doing box office on this run) Sue Womersley and Neil Bell for helping out on box office on our opening night - even though they had only come to watch the play they insisted on doing it when they realised that I'd be doing it - I really appreciated them volunteering on the spur of the moment like that. Mark Simpson for positioning the lights, and extra special mention to David Heald for filling in the gaps all along the way juggling lighting desk and box office duties, and for doing such a sterling job on the lighting desk every night. Further mentions for Salford University, Kieron Moran and The Carlton Club, Prestwich; Debbie Wells; Stephen Kingston and Ian Leslie at The Salford Star; Becky Want and Helen Brown at BBC Radio Manchester.
We know it's a beginning of sorts and that the true hard work still lies ahead; but we are excited, passionate about what we are doing and - most importantly - are having a great time with it, it's a wonderful company to work with and to be a part of. We are more than up to taking on any hard road ahead in order to get the show further afield.
The Haunting of Blaine Manor will return.
Cue VINCENT PRICE Cackle...
'The old dark house lives again in a wide-ranging tribute to the ghostly genre.'
We're on our last night tonight (Saturday 20th) of our five night run of the return of THE HAUNTING OF BLAINE MANOR at The Kings Arms in Salford and the show is flying. What's helping of course is having a cast and crew that are absolutely on fire and pushing themselves to deliver the best they can, that's great of course.
But the added element that has really driven the show this week has been the amazing audiences and their reactions to the show both during and after. The show is a ride on its own but the audiences have made it even more of a ride. A huge thank you to those of you that have attended so far and for your wonderful compliments for the show, they are lifting us all and spurring us on to do even better.
We are clutching a handful of fantastic reviews from this run (see links below) and they are really going to help us do so much more with the show. Thank you to all our reviewers so far, we really appreciate your words.
On top of that we have had some amazing photography for this run from Darren McGinn and Shay Rowan, superb work guys and your images will be seen and credited again and again, thank you.
You can see their work below.
Darren McGinn's Dress Run Shots
Shay Rowan's First Night Shots
REVIEWS THUS FAR FOR THIS RUN:
Kevin Bourke of THE MANCHESTER THEATRE AWARDS
Emily Oldfield of I LOVE MANCHESTER
Martin Thomasson of THE BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE
Brian Gorman of FICTIONMAKER.COM (2nd Review)
Last chance - for now - tonight. Tickets are really - really - selling out fast now, make sure you book yours for the North's scariest play. You can book your tickets here:
More on the play here:
Come and join us for the ride and a fantastic night out...
A message from Grady, the butler of Blaine Manor, on travel to the venue and parking.
I'm rather looking forward to opening the Manor doors to our guests for our remaining two nights.
For travel to the Manor train is recommended as you can disembark at Salford Central Railway Station, turn left out of the station and you will see The Salford Arms some fifty to sixty yards st the end of the street, it is on the corner of Bloom Street, the esteemed residence and local public house THE KINGS ARMS - the current residence of BLAINE MANOR - is at the end of Bloom Street on the left.
Those travelling by automobile it is recommended you arrive early as parking is difficult, and there is a chance of a tussle with a banshee or demon (traffic wardens, they work till nine) single line parking is fine after 6, some single line spacing is on Bloom Street and if you come out of Bloom Street turn left onto Chapel Street, you'll find some single line parking there too. Other than that it's the City Car Park zones close to the venue. Do give yourselves enough time and drive safely.
Grady, the butler, Blaine Manor
Pic by Shay Rowan
Joe O'Byrne is a writer, artist, poet, actor, lecturer, film maker, producer, ex radio presenter and Community Service Officer.