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HomeARCHIVEManly Festival of Short Plays coming to the Corso

Manly Festival of Short Plays coming to the Corso

The Manly Theatre Group is putting on a Festival of Short Plays on November 17, 19, 24 and 26, within the courtyard of St Matts on the Corso.

The festival consists of nine short  plays, written, performed, and directed by the local community.

“By the community, for the community”, Zoë Hudson, founder and president of Manly Theatre Group says.

The group began one year ago as a Facebook page created by Zoë, hoping to gain some local interest from a few people, and get a creative scene happening with writing and acting.

“I wanted to give people the opportunity to be creative, to make it easier, and to build up a community to see what we could do in Manly.”

Zoë Hudson, founder and president of Manly Theatre Group. Photo: Kelly Black

Initial meet ups were held on the beach reading plays Zoë had printed off at Manly library, and competing against the elements.

“We began with acting on the beach because we didn’t have any money. So I’d pop down to the library and print off some scripts that I found online for free. And there were, I think seven of us, sitting around in a circle, just reading out plays together.”

The inaugural Manly Festival of Short Plays is an important milestone for Manly Theatre Group, who now see’s their Facebook group sitting at almost 500 members. Zoë believes this is down to post-pandemic priority shifts, and a niche that was waiting to be filled.

“I think post covid, there is a hunger for people to want to be creative, and not necessarily for money. They just want to express themselves either through writing, or acting.”

Manly Theatre Group rehearsal. Photo: Neil Thompson Rees

The event is ticketless, and patrons can just turn up to the festival on the night. The not for profit group says it was important for them to make it as accessible as possible, and to ensure it was produced for fun.

“The overall purpose of the festival is to make theatre more accessible. Accessible geographically, so people don’t have to go far to take part, but also financially. That was really important to us, to make sure that it was a free event for people to make it as easy as possible to come down and see what we’re producing.”

St Matt’s courtyard will be transformed into a theatre space with a stage from the Sydney Theatre Company. Photo: Kelly Black

Zoë says the community has already been supportive, with the biggest help coming from Northern Beaches Council who granted the group $2,000 to help with the festival.

“We don’t need much money, but the council grant means we can pay for the spaces we rent, and to print flyers and so on. We couldn’t have done it without the continued community support we have received.”

The festival concept was born from the group’s Vice President Philip Clay- a local barrister who has written two plays for the event. Performances range from unlikely friendships between people of different generations, to a trivia night and the tension between players, and one play investigating the dynamics of social media.

“There is a real mix of themes and concepts within all of the plays,” Zoë explains, “and definitely something for everyone.”

Two of the plays written for the Manly Festival of Short Plays were selected and featured in the international play festival ‘Short and Sweet’ held in Sydney- ‘Bustop’ and ‘A couple and a gun’.

Manly Theatre Group rehearsal. Photo: Neil Thompson Rees

The plays have been spread out over the four dates, and each will be performed at least twice, giving audiences the opportunity to see all nine.

“Manly theatre group is all about having fun and connecting with others through storytelling. That’s at the heart of what we’re doing. And we’d love it if people came down to support us.“

Cost: Free, non-ticketed event

When: 17, 19, 24, 26 November

Time: Doors open 7pm for 7:30pm start

Where: St Matt’s Courtyard on The Corso, Manly (next to Anita Gelato)

Please note that some of the plays contain adult themes and language and are therefore recommended for audiences of 15 years+.

Festival program can be found on the Manly Theatre Group website: https://www.manlytheatregroup.com/manly-festival

To get involved and learn more, join the Manly Theatre Group page: www.facebook.com/groups/manlytheatregroup

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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