A tribute to the unrelenting fervour of Beatlemania, theatres around Liverpool are inundated every year with Beatles-centric plays in their open submissions, plays which, unfortunately, never make the stage. Thus, four years ago, local playwright Jamie Gaskin founded the Ticket To Write festival, a two-day competition celebrating the life and works of the Beatles. This year’s festival saw an influx of international entrants, from across the UK, USA and further afield, all vying for the £150 prize. The three plays chosen for performance, each between thirty and fourty-five minutes long, are Face In A Jar, by Rob Taylor (London, UK); Stalking the Beatles, by Maureen Brady Johnson (Ohio, USA); and You Are Lennon, by Patrick Maguire (Liverpool, UK).
Face In A Jar is a stage adaptation of the Beatles’ song ‘Eleanor Rigby’. It is at times a sad and poignant piece, with some lovely tender moments in it. Face In A Jar is directed by Kate Treadell and performed by Eryl Lloyd Parry and Geraldine Moloney Judge.
Stalking the Beatles, in contrast is a comedy about four girls camping outside a hotel hoping to see the Beatles. It is a play about friendship as much as it’s about the Beatles. Stalking the Beatles is co-directed by Rio Matchett and Darren Begley, and performed by Siofra McKeon-Carter, Lucy Griffiths, Kate French and Ellie Turner.
You Are Lennon, is a really lovely, exciting piece in which the audience is John Lennon, who is confronted with hard, home truths, by those he loved in his past. Love through hardship, and through personal difficulties are central themes. Co-directed by Rio Matchett and Darren Begley, and performed by Jane Hamlet, Rhys Williams and Clair Crossland.
Most of the performers and directors involved in the festival are living and working in the Liverpool area, many of whom were born and bred in Liverpool. Speaking to the festival’s Artistic Director, Rio Matchett, she commented that ‘its really exciting to be able to work with people in a kind of global community, but it was also important to us to work with people that really had a love for the Beatles and for the city. The plays are very much of this city.’
The festival also features some live Beatles songs performed by local actor and musician Michael Cook and a special, Saturday performance from the Local Vocals, a local singing group, as the votes are counted, prior to the announcement of the festival’s winner. Whether going on Friday or Saturday, Ticket To Write promises an evening of laughter, tears and Beatles bliss: a must see for any Beatles enthusiast and supporter of new writing.
Ticket To Write is on at 7:30pm, this Friday and Saturday 16th and 17th October 2015, at the Unity Theatre 1. Tickets are £10 General, £8 Concession. 2 1/2 hours. The festival is an Ace Drama Event in association with Outside Theatre Company.