FEST 2009

2 nights.
16 plays.
30 young writers.

The Theatre in the Rough Festival 2009 staged two nights of explosive, poetic and comedic new work by young people from across Greater Merseyside.

From the idea of the redemption of ambition on a Merseyrail train halted by a suicide, to a comedic tour of Sefton written entirely in Shakespearean rhyming couplets, these plays were diverse, surprising and challenging.

Fest 2009 took place on 19 — 20 May at the old Southport Arts Centre (now The Atkinson).

Creative Team

Chris Fittock
Ylan Mackay
Keri Spellman
Lisa Symonds

Chris Fittock

Sound Design
Christopher Johns

Film Maker
Phaedra Bell

A Thousand Starfish

by Sophia Cotterell & Sinead McIvor

"I'll tell you what's not fair. Life. Life isn't fair, and the sooner you realise that the better. The world's not the great place you'd like it to be. Not everyone loves everyone"

Theo comes from the wrong place in a small-town school with a small-town mentality. His difference singles him out for abuse — and the only friend he has is Tone, whose father is running for mayor.

Her friendship with the outsider threatens his chances of electoral success, and Tone has a choice to make: to stand up for her beliefs, or stick by her father, who only wants the best for her.

A Thousand Starfish is a brave and universal interrogation of difference: be that racial, ethnic, religious, or otherwise. The play poses hard questions and offers no glib or easy answers.

Biding Tongues

by Imogen Free & Jessica Smith

"Stay calm please, ladies and gentlemen. It's a suicide. Please remain seated and calm until further notice. I repeat, it is only a suicide"

Suicide stops the train. Mediocrity stops the Middle Distance Runner. Family stops the Foreign Freak. Dysfunction stops the Precocious Prick. One train... three lives... all searching for something.

Biding Tongues is a beautifully poetic play that asks us all to redeem our ambitions while we can.

Blood is Thicker than Alcohol

by Sarah Williams, with Meg Pierce & Alex Wilson

"You know what Mum? Why don't you just go? Get drunk. With a bit of luck, this time you won't come back"

There's a girl, skulking along the aisles, shoplifting. A teenager... just like all the rest of them: on the rob. But this teenager has a brilliant mind and a limitless future. So what's going on?

Blood is Thicker than Alcohol looks at an impossible choice facing Cassie: sacrificing her personal ambitions, or the needs of her family.

Impossible Perfection

by Jessica Frackelton & Jess Wylie

"And now here I am... my dreams should be shattered and my heart should be broken. But the funny thing is... I feel lucky"

Ever since she was three, Hope has wanted to dance... and to be the best. But as she comes ever closer to achieving her dream, she discovers that being the best isn't as easy as she'd thought. And as the pressure mounts, Hope faces the toughest choice of her life.

Impossible Perfection is about dealing with the pressures of keeping up with your ambitions.

Shakespeare's Sefton

by Katy Owens

"Pause awhile, good Zach,
For I, as most, have long lost track.
You intend with this here steely machine,
To bring back Shakespeare to this fair scene?"

Zach, Danny and Laura have to write a poem about Sefton. To help them, they bring Shakespeare back to life, and give him a tour of the borough. Along the way, only the newfound love of the fierce Miss. Grenk can inspire Shakespeare's muse... and meanwhile, Danny and Laura have their own Romeo and Juliet story going on...

Shakespeare's Sefton is a fast-paced, comic piece of theatre... written entirely in rhyming couplets.


by Alex Moran

"Tell you what: I'll give you this apple if I can have a bit more of your land. Deal?"

Alan is in the middle of nowhere. He's left the world behind to find some peace. It's just him and his plant. That is, until Kyle turns up one day. Alan doesn't know where he's come from, but he keeps producing all manner of items — and encroaching ever more into Alan's space.

Borderline is about learning that you can never run away from yourself — you have to confront what most disturbs you before you can find peace.

Through the Face, Find the Heart

by Holly Lambert & Georgia Riley

"Stop screaming. I said STOP screaming. Stop screaming, or I'll kill you"

Two families. The chavs from the estate, and the respectable lot from the nice part of town. A robbery brings these two worlds together... but appearances can be deceptive.

Through the Face, Find the Heart questions how young people are often all judged in the same way, and attacks the hypocrisy behind it.

Desolate Minds

by Phil Montgomery & Tom Martin

"Whatever's inside this case — he didn't want you to know. Nobody's supposed to know"

James and Jack watch a mysterious man with a mysterious briefcase. When he leaves it, they take it with them, and it slowly consumes their lives. As they try to open it, it takes control of them, with an unbelievable secret inside.

Desolate Minds is about the modern pursuit of emptiness, set in a world obsessed by celebrity gossip and vapid obsession.

10 Things I Hate!

by Charlotte Fry

"So you want me to write about houses, teachers and ASBO daycare? Get stuffed. I prefer to write about something people would actually enjoy..."

Robyn has to write an essay on where she lives. But she hates where she lives. She isn't, however, afraid of telling us this, and takes us on a tour of ten things she hates, where we meet the chavs from the estate and useless borough councillors...

Ten Things I Hate is an hilarious, no-holds-barred look at a certain borough in Merseyside... you've never heard anything like it!

Memory Lane

by Hannah Sharp & Rachel Cunningham

"He must be somewhere. And this always seemed as good a place as any. I'll never rest 'til I find him. Never"

Why has an elderly lady kept coming back to the same house every year for the past sixty years? Who is she looking for? And what will happen if she finds them?

Set between World War 2 and the modern day, Memory Lane is about brotherly and sisterly love, and never giving up.

Hoping for the Best

by Rebecca Hassey

"She's one of those girls that spend fifteen minutes in spotlights. Nothing more, nothing less. Waste really"

Jazz has split up from her soap star boyfriend Ren... and is more famous than ever. She intends to take full advantage of it, but it all starts to go wrong one night at the Rage Club...

Hoping for the Best is about the price of fame and what happens when it's gone.

Who Knew

by Liam Meagher

A comedy set in a hospital waiting room. Injured gardeners Andy and Craig deal with the absurdities of Doris and her area social worker...

Kids on the Street

by Shanice Warrington

A group of teenagers messing about in a park turns to tragedy as another groups arrives on their patch. And featuring an unforgettable cameo by Maca Paca.

The House on Red Brow Lane

by Kyle Boyle

Mike and Jenny are bored. Mike suggests checking out the haunted house. What awaits their arrival? Truly, even we don't know.