The Off Cut Festival

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The Off Cut Festival is a showcase for new and undiscovered playwriting, directing and acting talent, with an emphasis on keeping the audience at the heart of the theatre experience.

It was created in 2009 by Trudi Boatwright and Daniel Brennan (artistic directors of In Company Theatre), with the first festival being held at The Old Red Lion Theatre in Angel, London. Twenty-eight short plays (24 in 2009 and 2010) run in four groups, with audience members voting for their favourite plays. The two plays in each group with the most votes go through to a final week, where the audience continues to vote until an ultimate winner is found. A panel of industry professionals attend the final night handing out awards for Writing, Directing and Ensemble Acting.

Off Cut 2009[edit]

The first festival was held at The Old Red Lion Theatre in Angel, London from 29 September to 18 October. The panel was headed by Moira Buffini, and included playwrights Josephine Melville and Robert Rigby, directors Psyche Stott and Nigel Douglas, producer Andrew Robb; literary agent Anna Brewer; playwright and actor Andrew Neil and Old Red Lion Artistic directors, Helen and Damien Devine.

One hundred and ninety-six plays were submitted from all over the world.

Group One[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
Welcome to Quiz Night John Moorhouse Tobias Tobbel James Clossick
The Teacher Who Loved Me Chantelle Dusette Paul Blinkhorn Emily Holden, Daniel Wiltshire
This Just In Darren Murphy Darren Murphy Denise Stephenson, Tim Lewis Finalist - Winner Panel Award for Ensemble Acting
The Curse of Elizabeth Faulkner Tim Downie Anthony Coleridge Finalist - This play has toured extensively and had an extended run at New Players Theatre in the autumn of 2013
Bugaboo Christine Roberts Michael Miller Christine Edwards, Peter Mann,
Singers Louise Gooding Janet Palmer Nicholas Agnew, Ed Cooper Clarke, Stacey Evans

Group Two[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
Juicy Cherry Tracy Whitwell Joss Bennathan Ben Mars (as Ben Enright), Tracy Whitwell Finalist
Fish and Chips Twice Fiona Keen, Andy Pandini Adam Morley Gemma Seren, Christopher Tajah
Mr Jolly Lives Next Door Michael Stewart Daniel Brennan Jack Kelly When original director became indisposed, Daniel Brennan took over at the last minute. He was not eligible for any award
No Idea Tom Ellen Juliane von Sivers Matt Jamie, Mark Parsons Finalist -

Panel Award for Directing

Momentum Craig Burrows Lawrence Carmichael Kerry Wootten,
Lights Out Jeff Nolan Stephen Glover Richard Kowold, Erica Thomas-Lowe

Group Three[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
Stone Crossing Mark Homer Jayne Denny Thomas Coombes, Edward Law, Elizabeth Webster Finalist
The Perfect Girl Øystein Ulsberg Brager John Ward Mark Conway
The Hindsight Saga Stuart Paterson Jemma Gross John Last, Steven Rostance, Finalist
Something Came Out Nicholas Pierpan
Spud and Moose Anneka Harry Leanne Davis
Human by Default David Andrew Gregg Louisa Fitzgerald

Group Four[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
The Game Julie Bower Sophie Lifschutz Sharon Andrew, James Marsh
Bodyguard Peter Drake Oscar Toeman Maxine Howard
Closer to God Anna Jordan Anna Jordan Peter Gordon, Ursula Early Finalist -

Panel Award for Writing; Audience Award for Best Play

The Intricate Workings of a Sherbet Lemon Stuart Lee Kamaal Hussian Peter Mann, Liv Spencer
A Wake Julia St. John Julia St John Joy Blakeman, Peter McEnery,
Like It Never Happened Bea Appleby Kate McGregor Debra Baker, Graham Sterling Finalist

Off Cut 2010[edit]

After the unprecedented success of the first festival, it was quickly decided by all parties that a second event would run at the same venue from 21 September to 10 October. The same panel (though this time without Andrew Neil) was joined by actor Patricia Hodge, literary agent Lisa Babalis and playwright Tena Štivičić.

The Artistic Directors were joined by Nick Kneller as Producer.

This was the only year that the Off Cut producers selected a 'wild card' entry for the finals.

All actors would now be cast in collaboration with the Off Cut company, as opposed to writers and/or directors finding their own.

Four hundred and thirty-six plays were received, with writers from around the world able to submit up to four plays.

Group One[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
Balls Mark Withers Asia Osborne Victoria Daniels, Gabriella Schmidt
The Summer Display Sheri Graubert Katie Lewis
True Ewan Jeffrey Chris O'Donnell Lee Drage
The Nth Degree Bernie Shevlin Kay Michael Karina Sugden, Charlotte Sutherland Shortlisted for Wild Card
Room With A Door Alexis Boddy Tom Latter Brigid Lohrey, Richard Mason Finalist
I Love Paris Richard Fichett Janet Palmer Nicholas Agnew, Mark Conway Finalist

Group Two[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
Hetherington's Box Jonathan Brown Helen Tennison Freddie Machin, Panni Skrivanos, Graham Sterling, Shortlisted for Wild Card
Mad Mary Dancin' Doc Anderson-Bloomfield Anna Ostergren Sarah Flower, Tracey Kearney
Sweet Engineering of the Lucid Mind Mitch Féral Alison Convey Debra Baker, Simon Nicholas Finalist - Panel Award for Writing, Panel Award for Directing
I Just Called Tanja Mariadoss Luisa Hinchliff Kate Walsh Finalist - Panel Award for Ensemble Acting (even though this was a one-woman play)
Shrink Sadie Frost Juliane von Sivers Chandrika Chevli, Kate Russell-Smith
Plenty of Fish in the Sea Luke Smith Helen Broughton Andrew Glen,

Group Three[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
Lactose Intolerable Lola Stephenson Christopher Loscher Helen Clapp, Michael Norledge, Chloë Thorpe Shortlisted for Wild Card
Home Mihaela Nicolescu Kate McCarthy Adam Smethurst, Jennifer Tan
On a Day Like This John Turley Mark Pollard Aiden McCarthy Finalist - Audience Award for Best Play
The Limestone Epoch Katy Brooksbank Eero Suojanen Erica Thomas-Lowe,
2... 8... 13... Jon Petherbridge Dawn Kalani Cowle
Mexico Way Tracy Whitwell Tracy Whitwell Olivia Caffrey, Don Gilet, Matt Jamie Finalist

Group Four[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
If I Were You Sophie Alderson Charlie Henniker Priscilla Gray, Karl Niklas,
The Inspiration Virginia Hayden Martin Hackett Jennie Lathan Finalist
Falling Apart Julia Bolden Gemma Kerr Richard Fish, Joanna Waters
Pimp My Baby Louise Gooding Michael Miller Joanna Clancy, Stanley Eldridge, Polly Hughes, Duncan Pearse
The Trunk Mike Carter Scott le Crass Stephen Brannan, Will McGeough Finalist - Wild Card. A full-length version of this play will run at The Space (Theatre) in 2014
Rise and Shine Joseph Murray Gilli Foley Harry Lobek, Naomi Reynolds Finalist

Off Cut 2011[edit]

After another enormously successful[clarification needed] run, it was decided that the festival needed to move to a bigger venue. The Riverside Studios - Studio Three would be Off Cut's new home and the festival ran from 27 September to 16 October. The panel, still headed by Moira Buffini, included casting director Jo Buckingham and Rob Drummer of HighTide.

A record 722 plays were submitted for consideration.

As in previous years, 24 plays were chosen by Off Cut's reading panel. A further eight were put to a panel of theatre bloggers, who chose four to go through to the festival. The bloggers were Scott Matthewman, Ian Foster of Ought to be Clowns, video blogger Alison Child, Luke Murphy of Twespians and Havana Wellings-Longmore of Talawa Theatre Company.

To further advocate the spirit of collaboration, from this year no writer was allowed to direct their own work.

Trudi Boatwright moved back to Australia, where she is still involved in Off Cut and runs a pared-down version in Melbourne.

In Company Theatre was closed down and The Off Cut Festival became a company in its own right.

Group One[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
A Date With Doris Jilly Gardner Sandra Maturana Sibéal McGuinne, Zak Rowlands
The Poet Alan Fielden James O'Donnell Scott Ainslie, Mark Moore
Granted... Lauren Spring Kenneth O'Toole Victoria Allies, Stephen Fawkes
They F*** You Up, You're Mum and Dad Michael O'Hanlan Luisa Hinchliff Lorayne Constance, David Forest, Kathy Trevelyan Bloggers' Choice

Finalist

The Wrong Tree Wally Sewell Brigid Lohrey Richard Fish, Denise Stephenson, Nathan Thompson Finalist - Panel Award for Directing
A Million Things Tracy Harris Nick Borsack Eleanor Barr, Ceri Murphy, Martin Pratt
The Viewing Ross Howard Tim Lee Karsten Huttenhain, Joanne Entwistle, Stephen Kelly, Duncan Pearse

Group Two[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
All Men Are Rosalind Adler Laura Vorwerg Robert Lyon, Philip Mansfield, Tabitha Money, Kate Russell-Smith
Bound Rebecca A Fielding Francesca Camozzi John Bulleid, Luanna Priestman Finalist - Panel Award for Writing
MEAT Neil Bebber Amy Simpson David Maybrick, Sharon Young Due to the indisposition of Sharon Young, the director replaced her for one performance.
Skyclad Alex Everard Tanith Lindon Lauren Baxter, Edward Mitchell
Percolate Tom Stenton Lavinia Hollands Susan McGoun, David Meyer
Two Rings Louise Taylor Michael Wilding Natalie Bromley, Ellie Dickens, Barry Wilson Bloggers' Choice

Finalist

Wet Dog Ösp Viggósdóttir Martin Hackett Joanna Greaves, Karl Niklas, Victoria Waddington

Group Three[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
The Final Days of Fringe Theatre Ian Townsend Sharon Willems Mary Benn, Freddie Machin, Kate A Walsh Bloggers' Choice
Memories of Loss Hannah Williams Walton Ali Anderson-Dyer Joseph Adelakun, Elisha Myton, Rachael Seaton, Tessa Wood
Not to Be Jake Leonard Sian Thomas Laura Glover
Alternative Therapy Beatrice Armstrong Dawn Kalani-Cowle Daniel Hallissey, Ewa Jenson (as Ewa Jaworski), Erica Thomas-Lowe Finalist
The Dictator’s Face Afsaneh Gray Tom McLaren Tobias Deacon, Funmi Ogunleye, Chetan Pathak
Spring Georgina Burns Gbemisola Ikumelo Simon Nicholas, Jennifer Tan
Looking for Vi Mark Wright Julia St. John Joy Blakeman, Peter Clements,

Maroussia Frank || Finalist - Panel Award for Ensemble Acting. Recently turned into a film featuring Josie Lawrence

Group Four[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
Low Prices You Can Taste Michael Ross Abbie Lucas Ffion Jolly, Chris Urch
Click Mike Carter Justen Bennett Sara Bahadori, Joe Browder, Stephanie Toghill, Ryan Witchert Bloggers' Choice
Quid Pro Quo Sandra Hale Max Pappenheim Peter Henderson, Jennifer Munby
Skunk Erasmus Murikami William Glenn Emily Holden, Viana Maya, Charlotte Slater Following injury at dress rehearsal, this play was never performed
The Craft Andrew Biss Lydia Parker Dan March, Tracey Anne Wood Finalist
Basement Flat Steven Rostance Scott Le Crass Richard Jackson, Lainey Shaw
Let There Be Tanja Mariodoss Kate Bannister Joanna Eliot, John Hoye, Hannah Wood Finalist - Audience Award for Best Play

Off Cut 2012[edit]

The festival remained at Riverside for 2012, moving into the much larger Studio Two. It ran from 25 September until 13 October. The panel was again headed by Moira Buffini, and included actor (and former Off Cut participant), Julia St. John and Matthew Poxon of The National Theatre Studio.

The number of plays writers were allowed to submit was reduced from four to two, and only UK-based playwrights were eligible or consideration. Nevertheless, 396 plays were received.

The Bloggers' Choice panel was made up of Ian Foster, Alison Child and Scott Matthewman.

This year, audience members were also able to vote online for their favourite actors (male and female), playwright and director.

Group One[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
IED Rosalind Adler Pauline Flannery Daniel Hallissey, Elaine Harry, Polly Hughes
Waiting for Doggo Gary Dooley Janet Palmer Raphael Bar, Elvina Muschett Bloggers' Choice
Sun-eyed Girl Julie Mayhew Gilli Foley Jennie Barbrook Finalist - Winner Audience Award for Favourite Female Actor
The Big Ask Joseph Wilde Claire Lindsay David Hemsted, Adam Loxley Finalist
Bus Station Blues Zainab Hasan and Jessica Raphael Geri Spicer Amma Boateng, Kate Wyler
Personnel Hugo Plowden Emma Burford Matt Houlihan, Philip Nightingale, Michael Norledge, Linda Taimre
In My Mind I'm Going to Carolina Gina Hills Amy Mulholland Richard Jackson, Ewa Jensen (Ewa Jaworski), Kathy Trevelyan

Group Two[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
Chaps Rupert Laight Bernie Byrnes Tommie Grabiec, Ross McNamara, Demetri Turin
Driven Adam Udsen Chris Carr Andy Snowball Winner Audience Award for Favourite Male Actor
Futures William Patterson Cat Robey William McGeough, Stephen Sobal Finalist
Buzz Kill Annabel Wigoder Sheryl Hill Lauren Baxter, Antonia Reid
A Muse of Fire Wally Sewell Hannah Banister Freddie Hutchins, Elizabeth Menabney
Boards Charlie Platt Rachel Illingworth Rachael Hilton, Rachel Packford, Peter Rogan Bloggers' Choice
Nice Sally Joe Lidster Jessica Radcliffe Wendy Albiston, Stephen Kelly, Simon Kent, Asta Parry Finalist - Winner Panel Award for Directing. Audience Award for Favourite Playwright

Group Three[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
Leaves on the Line John Hastings Ellen Carr Chantelle Dusette, Barry Wilson
Kicking and Screaming Neil Irvine Amanda Castro Emma Fenney, Tom Graysham, Tom Whitelock Bloggers' Choice
In a Box Tom Collinson Jonathon Carr Jane Dodd, Stephen Fawkes, Amalia Vitale Finalist - Winner Panel Awards for Playwriting and Ensemble Acting. Audience Award for Favourite Play
By the Weird Fountain Thomas Willshire Tom Bailey Alice Bell, Ben de Halpert, Arwen Prosser, Peter Revel-Walsh
A Mile and a Half on a Bus Ian Skelton Alison Trower Sakina Ballard, Ellie Dickens Finalist
Care Bryher Armstrong Elf Lyons Maya Thomas Winner Audience Award for Favourite Director
Armed Forces Day Michael Ross Ping Ng Choon John Hoye, Darrie Gardner, Zara Radford, James Unsworth

Group Four[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast Notes
Cheaper Seats Clap Your Hands Will Howells Stanley Walton Tom Blyth, Richard Fish, Lainey Shaw
Mud: The Urban Adventures of a Country Boy Nick Myles Manolis Emmanouel Mark Parsons Finalist
The Death of a Mime Kieran Lynn Anna Bates Alexandra Agnew, Claude Girardi, Igor Medeiros, Francesca Reid
White Meat, Dark Meat, Breast or Thigh? Tolula Dada Lauren Bracewell Roger Carvahlo, Daniel Francis-Swaby, Karina Knapinska, Lelo Majozi
The Stranger Jeff Nolan Ailin Conant Leon Annor, Samuel Dent, Thom Mitchell Finalist
NILF Maya Sondhi Sophie Moniram Chandrika Chevli, Laura Hannah Bloggers' Choice
Neil Diamond Saved My Life Sylvia Dow Jennifer Tang Lisa Doran, Terry Jermyn

Off Cut 2013[edit]

Giving time for further development and restructuring of the festival, it was decided to scale down production for 2013. Therefore, a much smaller project was devised in conjunction with Theatre 503 in Battersea. Writers were asked to submit plays between 30 and 45 minutes in length, with a view to their working closely with actors and directors, as well as with 503 dramaturg, Graeme Thompson and Off Cut's Artistic Director, Daniel Brennan to develop their plays in rehearsal. Two plays were chosen to run in a double-bill at Theatre 503 from 12 to 17 August.

No prizes were awarded, either by an panel or the audience.

Off Cut Roots[edit]

Play Writer Director Cast
Sophie in Wonderland E. Moffett Luisa Hinchliff Samantha Béart, Elaine Harry
More Dead Girls Troodie Mootz Jessica Radcliffe Tom Blyth, Alice Brown, Ewa Jensen, Charlotte Sutherland

References[edit]