Virtual curtain goes up on acting lecturer’s work
A performance by Emmerdale actor Liam Fox in a piece penned by the acting degree programme leader at The Northern School of Art has had its premiere with an online audience.
Jonny Bussell’s short performance piece, ‘The Helpline’, directed by Charlie Douglas, was unveiled online as part of the line-up at the weekly Coronavirus Theatre Club.
The virtual theatre space was set up soon after the government-enforced quarantine regulations hit by Geordie actor Brian Lonsdale who was in ‘Pitmen Painters’ and ‘Warhorse’, Michael Blair who was in the Sting musical ‘Last Ship’ and Sam Neale a Newcastle-based writer and performer.
The aim is to connect writers, directors and performers so they have an opportunity to collaborate during the Covid-19 lockdown.
A series of works is aired weekly on the Coronavirus Theatre Club YouTube channel which goes live at 7pm every Sunday night with the performances subsequently uploaded for viewing at any time*.
Jonny Bussell, pictured above, who is the programme leader for the BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen degree at The Northern School of Art said: “It was really great to have my piece chosen to be performed by Coronavirus Theatre and it always a buzz to see your work performed.
“Working with Charles and Liam was fun, they did a great job of getting the comedic aspects of the piece across as well as the more tragic parts. Before it went live I still had the same nerves ahead of a performance but it went really well and I’ve had loads of nice messages about the piece.
“It isn’t the same as being at the theatre but it’s great as a substitute for now and the queue for the pre-show bar is a lot quicker. I’m hoping to develop ‘The Helpline’ into a full length play over the next few months.”
Liam Fox, who plays Dan Spencer in the ITV soap and is pictured above left in online rehearsal with the director Charlie Douglas, said: “In these strange times it was an absolute joy to work with Charles developing Jonny’s excellent script. I hadn’t done any live performances for 8 years so I was rather nervous to say the least, but thankfully everything seemed to go to plan.
“What a wonderful opportunity for writers and performers to get their work seen and just as importantly stay sane in lockdown!”
The Northern School of Art’s BA (Hons) Acting for Stage & Screen degree has been designed by industry professionals to provide students with a drama school style experience outside of London. Further details of the course are available here
Applications are still being accepted for September and an online session for interested would-be acting students with the team behind the course is being held on Wednesday 3 June from 1-3 pm. For further details go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/acting-for-stage-screen-virtual-applicant-day-tickets-104421563708
The students will also be sharing their work at 7pm that evening on the School’s Instagram Live feed.
* ‘The Helpline’ by Jonny Bussell, performed by Liam Fox and directed by Charlie Douglas can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdYJpVM3Grg