Coliseum's First Break for new writing returns

David Chadderton

Oldham Coliseum's First Break Festival of new writing will return in June with a programme of performances, rehearsed readings, showcases and discussions.

The festival opens with a rehearsed reading of Shiver by Daniel Kanabar produced by Box of Tricks theatre, which will be given a full production at Watford Palace Theatre later in the year. This will be followed by a panel discussion on making work and breaking into the industry featuring Simon Naylor from Manchester venue 53two, writer and performer Afreena Isam, Sarah Emmott from Art With Heart and Adam Quayle from Box of Tricks.

Every Egg a Bird Theatre Company will present its play about King Richard III, Car Park King, which promises "a drop of Monty Python, a dash of Spymonkey, and a sprinkle of Spike Milligan". In Lewis Bray's Cartoonopolis, we follow a young man with severe autism through the imaginary world he creates in his back garden.

Butterflys from Reforma Movement Theatre fuses drama, dance and film and highlights domestic abuse, and Red Bobble Theatre's If I Should Fall by Charlotte O'Leary is inspired by letters and accounts from the people of Oldham. The closing production is Church Blitz from Naughty Corner Productions, described as, "a surreal dark comedy where seven paranoid strangers take cover in a nearby church from strange flashing lights in the sky".

Manchester ADP will present a series of script-in-hand short plays by local writers in Scripts Aloud, and the winners of this year's First Break Writing Competition: Futurist will present rehearsed readings of their work which was based on their imagining of what the future would look like based on current trends. The winning plays were Macaroni by Sam Orton, Resistance by Megan Holland, The Warning by Aisling Caffrey and Waiting by Aimie George.

The Coliseum's scriptwriting group, Scribbles, will present a collective piece written over three terms, Defeat the Clowns, following a group of employees at a run-down theatre, described by group leader Cathy Crabb as, "a story of how, in order to save something precious we need to work together".

First Break Festival runs in the Studio at Oldham Coliseum Theatre from 22 to 30 June 2017.