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Spotlight: UGLY DUCK

by Catherine Edwards on October 25th, 2013
Ugly Duck image

Capital started life in late 2010 as a week of rehearsed readings at the Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre. We showcased a number of plays at an early draft stage, to test out the work in front of an audience and to gauge responses which would inform the future development of the plays.

One of the pieces selected was UGLY DUCK, by Stoke-based playwright Deborah McAndrew. Rooted firmly in the Potteries, the play grew out of the sense of community created by the unique structure of the region. Stoke-on-Trent, I discovered, is made up of six towns: Stoke, Burslem, Hanley, Tunstall, Longton and Fenton, each with their own identity. The fractured nature of the area is mirrored by the devastation of the job losses from the closure of the Wedgwood factory in 2009.

The play follows the story of Dennis, a life-long Port Vale fan who is rapidly declining in middle age and slowly sinking into the ranks of the long term unemployed. A Burslem boy through and through, he struggles to come to terms with the changes that life has thrown at him. In desperation, he answers an advert in the local paper for an artist’s life model, and soon finds himself exposed in more ways than one…

We are very pleased to be able to present the play as part of the Festival this year, and to complete the journey that was started three years ago. The production also marks Deborah McAndrew’s first project as a writer-producer, and we’re delighted to support her as she embarks on this new chapter in her career. She writes:

Capital Theatre Festival first picked up UGLY DUCK to develop back in 2010, and the work done then was invaluable in finding the play we’re finally presenting in 2013.
In bringing a full professional production of UGLY DUCK to Capital Theatre Festival 2013, we’re completing a virtuous creative circle that began in 2010 with a workshop and rehearsed reading. That’s what Capital is all about and it’s very satisfying to demonstrate how far an initial idea can go, if you have a supportive and creative forum through which to develop.
Here is a short video taken during the initial workshop in November 2010 (please note – the dates at the end refer to 2010).

UGLY DUCK will be presented as part of Capital Theatre Festival from 21-23 November at mac. Tickets are £10 (£8 concession). Box office 0121 446 3232.

You can find out more about the play, and Deborah’s new company, by visiting claybodytheatre

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