Barnsley Students Debut at Fringe
Two Barnsley students are taking their original comedy show, STIFFS, to the Edinburgh Fringe after support from The Civic’s Artist Residency Programme (CARP). The show runs this Friday August 3 until August 11.
Written by William Batty, 19, and Mark Olszewski, 20, Stiffs is a new absurdist comedy inspired by the works of Beckett and Stoppard that aims to provoke thought as well as laughter. It is the first piece of theatre from their new company, Marcus & Wilhelm, formed in 2017, while William is on a Gap Year, and Mark studying a BA Acting for Touring Theatre at Barnsley College.
William said The Civic’s support was vital for a company starting out with no experience: “We’re a fledgling company, with no resources at our disposal, so CARP offered us space to rehearse, develop and preview our performance before we take it to the Fringe.”
The Civic opens its CARP residency every year to northern artists from any performing or visual arts discipline, at varying stages of their careers.
Now in its fifth year, CARP has supported over 70 artists, predominantly from the Yorkshire region. CARP offers performing space and supports small bursaries to artists.
Ian Morley, Head of Programming and Artist Development, said: “We support a wide range of artists, from commissioning new pieces from established artists to supporting emerging talent. For the Marcus & Wilhelm Company it is very much their first experience in a very competitive scene, so we provided a crucial stepping stone from education into professional theatre.”
STIFFS is not only their debut at the Festival Fringe, but their debut play, in association with The Civic, Barnsley. It was previewed at The Civic in July, attracting a huge local audience.
William said he grew up attending exhibitions at The Civic, which inspired him to work in the arts.
He added: “Starting from scratch, and developing it all the way through has massively influenced my career ambitions; I want to do something more in that field – creating, directing, writing, doing something a bit different.”
The Civic is currently running an ambitious £5m fundraising appeal to complete renovations and become a world-class destination for the arts by 2023. The vision is to open up the whole of The Civic to create a dramatic and inspiring series of spaces including a new theatre, café, and extended gallery.
Ian added: “We hope people will get behind our fundraising campaign. Our work supporting local artists shows The Civic shapes the artistic landscape in the north. Of the £30k we’ve invested into artists over the past three years, £700k further investment has been leveraged into those artists, through grants and funding. It’s a huge benefit to the artists, and the local economy.”
To find out how to support The Civic #Connect Appeal go to http://www.barnsleycivic.co.uk/
STIFFS runs at the Edinburgh Fringe at the Space on North Bridge, Perth Theatre from 3-11 August.
About The Civic
The Civic is a contemporary arts centre positioned in the heart of South Yorkshire. As a charity the organisation exists to bring extraordinary experience of the arts to the local community and beyond. The Civic prides itself on providing an engaging and diverse artistic programme across a range of genres. Registered Charity No,1129765
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