Fear and loving in Manchester

As I’ve said numerous times before, Kiss Me Like You Mean It is about love, but I’ve neglected to mention that it is also about something else that is just as strong. Fear.

Yesterday in rehearsal Chloe and I made really powerful discoveries around these two feelings. Kate (our director) had us play the scene with an atmosphere of love hanging over us, then again with an atmosphere of fear. It wasn’t until we combined these two, the overpowering love and the seeping in of fear that the magic started to happen, and the reality of our characters became apparent.

We discovered what it means for our characters to be deeply in love, and also deeply afraid. Its scary, almost terrifying to fall in love, to give yourself over to love. I know for me, this hit hard. I haven’t been in love with someone for a very long time, but I remember so strongly that the most recent time I felt a tingling of this love for someone, it was laced with such fear of them not loving me back that it was almost paralysing. I guess for some people, relationships with their partners, at whatever stage they are in, can be a constant tug-o-war between love and fear.

As an actor, it’s really exciting when you make these discoveries and the more I evolve as an actor the more I realise that so much of my work comes from who I am as a person. Rather than trying to layer an idea of a character on top of my work, I simply have to look inside and be true to what I’m feeling. Me, it’s that simple.

What’s not simple however, is the accent. You know how much I hate actors entering from the audience, but what I hate just as much is bad accents. The Manchurian accent is hard. However, we’re no longer afraid of the accent and in letting go of that fear, we’re allowing ourselves to play more and more and the accents are coming along. Don’t fear the accent, love the accent…

In other exciting news, last night we hit our target for our Pozible campaign, so thank you so much to everyone that has donated! I’ve been really overwhelmed by the people who have come forward and donated, not because of the incentives or because I’ve vowed never to speak to you again if you fail to donate, but simply because you love us, and that means the world to me. Really it does. Last week a friend who I don’t see nearly as much as I’d like to, made a very generous contribution and it brought me to tears, but it also made me think “Yes, I can do this, people do believe in me”. So thank you.

If you’re keen to get involved and help us out you still can! Our campaign closes in 18 days and even though we’ve reached our target, it would be amazing if we exceeded it and it would make things so much easier for us as we head into January. So keep the donations coming – http://www.pozible.com/kissme

The next time you hear from us, the jolly fat man would have been and gone, and the party hat from New Year Eve will be in the recycling bin. So until then, Carly and I wish you a joyous fun filled festive season, and we look forward to seeing you all in 2013!



And we’re off!!

On Tuesday night the cast got together for our first reading of Kiss Me Like You Mean It. To say that I was a little excited would be a massive understatement! All day I found it very hard to concentrate on anything, which is usually what I’m like on most days anyway, but this day was worse. So many questions ran through my head. What would it sound like? Would the cast gel straight off the bat? Will the director be excited or lose faith? Should we have wine or just tea during the break? Is our flat clean enough to host people? Will those bloody pigeons on the balcony distract us!? So much to think about, just breathe…

The reading went off without a hitch, no pigeons in sight, although the heavy bass music coming from our neighbours was a little strange considering it was 7pm on a Tuesday night! Every actor gave it their all and there was numerous occasions when the reading ground to a halt as we burst out in fits of laughter. This is definitely a strong group of actors, but not just that, they’re all lovely people too.  If this was anything to go by, then it will be a really enjoyable experience. I hope…

With the reading done, and rehearsals about to start we’re on track to producing this fantastic play! However, there is one thing missing – you. Don’t worry we’re not going to ask you to act in this play. I, like so many people HATE audience participation! But not as much as I hate actors entering from the audience – but that’s a whole ‘nutha story.

This project has been a labour of love for Carly and I from the beginning. So much so that we’ve invested a lot of our own blood, sweat, tears and money into making it a reality. However, we need just a bit more of that money to take us over the line. So here’s where you come in.  We’re launching a fundraising campaign to raise $1,500. It may sound like a lot, but in the grand scheme of things it’s only a small percentage of our budget, albeit an important one. And considering how many Facebook friends I have, I think it’s an achievable target. If we go over the target of $1,500, that’s even better! The money we raise will help us cover a variety of different production costs.

We’re running a fundraising campaign through the crowd funding website Pozible, and making a donation is quick and easy. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and you’ll get loads of love and kisses from us, even if you don’t want them!


Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week. Now to get back to working on that Mancunian accent!



Casting a rod

This morning’s crash of thunder after a blinding flash of lightening was my wake up call to get writing.

We’re several weeks into our production Kiss Me Like You Mean It and we’ve just finished the most nerve racking (but fun) part of the process to date – finding cast and crew.

What’s important to me is working with people I respect, whose work I enjoy watching and I can get on with. After years working in the corporate world, I know a good team can a big difference to getting things done, with as little pain as possible. This may seem a bit dry and, dare I say it, a tad boring, but I’ll be straight with ya – I just want to work with great people on great scripts.

So I was pleasantly surprised by the generosity and enthusiasm when it came to finding cast and crew.

Finding the right people to audition for the role of Don and Edie was a real joy. It was also a reminder of the old adage “don’t take it personally”, but let’s face it, us actors (and now this producer) know that it is personal. We mainly auditioned people who were recommended to us. Many had at least 40 years experience. Talented, professional actors who clearly loved telling stories and working with other artists. But the decision came down to more than just a great monologue or cold read. Instead, it was about the intangible stuff that you sense about people – the energy, the look and fit. It was personal.

Good crew can be hard to find in the independent theatre scene. It kept me awake at night – tossing ideas around to get the right mix of skills, personality all within money and resource constraints. Sometimes it came down to a recommendation and a chat – “I just love theatre.” or “I just want to work on something that’s organised.” No pressure!

Anyway, welcome Kirk, Carrie, Chloe, Rob, Kate, Lore, Kris, Bonnie and Louisse to our MARC Up team. I can’t wait to get started working with you.

We will be adding cast and crew details here and details of our collaborators here very soon.

And thanks to everyone who signed up, liked us, gave us recommendations and said kind and encouraging things. Stay tuned for more news on how you can be a part of our production very soon.