I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
I Capture the Castle based on the novel by Dodie Smith Book and lyrics Teresa Howard music Steven Edis

Friday, 28 December 2007



After a years work, fufilling all the requests that ACE threw at me, the answer which came just in time for Christmas was:

"Insufficient Priority. Our funds are limited and we had more good applications than we could fund. Although your application met the criteria, we had to make difficult choices about which applications to support."

I could not dwell on any of this. I had to make Christmas magical for my three children. This was my priority.

Next week, when everyone is back at work the real work will begin because the show must go on.

Thursday, 20 December 2007


I went to the Oxford Playhouse Aladdin last week - it was a delight! The director was the brilliant Peter Duncan, who also co-wrote the script with Chris Jordan. Simon Green, who played Widow Twankie, the dame, was almost unrecognisable in real life! His comic timing was superb and the rest of the cast were also impeccable. I did get sprayed with foam and water but sadly did not manage to catch any of the sweets. It was interesting that Aladdin was not played by a girl but somehow Simon's stately presence was enough cross dressing for one show.

It was wonderful to meet Tish Frances at last! She took me out for a fantastic lunch after the show, to talk about the future of POSSESSED. We even managed to wander over to the Oxford Union to have a look at the Pre-Raphaelite murals afterwards. Oxford looked hauntingly Christmassy in the dim evening light but I still managed to find Janey's birthplay in St Helen's Passage. This was a lump in the throat moment because I realised that it was just down the alley from the Turf Tavern, where I used to work, and must have passed it so many times.

I am still waiting for the ACE response!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007


ACE have told me that we will hear whether we have got the grant or not by Christmas.

It is more than a year ago that Jemima Lee first spoke to me and told me she had seen the Greenwich Showcase and suggested we apply for a development grant. It will be a very special moment for musical theatre if we do get this grant in the end. Hopefully it will mean more composers and lyricist will get the opportunity to work together in this country, rather than having to go to the USA to get a break!

Friday, 7 December 2007


Steve is MD on Hackney Empire's Dick Whittington and his cat....and it is a triumph!!!
"Look no further - for this is panto perfection"
said Fiona Mountford of the evening Standard (06.12.07). She continues "Is it too early to declare the game over? Can a winner really be announced, and the prize chocolates hurled out, by 6 December? It's hard, though, to see anyone, not even Stephen Fry and his "posh panto" chums at the Old Vic, bettering this utterly delightful confection from writer/director Susie McKenna."

Paul Vale from the Stage (06.12.07) is equally entranced: "From the moment Fairy Bowbells flies on stage swathed in gold, aping Rhianna’s Umbrella you knew you were in for a fun evening, Hackney style. All the usual ingredients are in place to ensure this frothy confection rises to the occasion. Clive Rowe is spot on as London’s premiere dame, immediately bonding with his audience and raising the roof with cheeky asides or simply a pursing of his lips. Tameka Empson brings the whole audience to their feet with her reggae dance routine and Tony Whittle as Fitzwarren blends in an old-style variety flavour to the proceedings...... To date, this is writer/director Susie McKenna’s ninth panto for the Empire and long may she continue. Which other show in town will you find Ian McKellen and Barbara Windsor, no stranger to a panto stage themselves, dancing along to the song sheet in the stalls?"

I can't wait to go!

Sunday, 2 December 2007


Everyone is running round like Widow Twanky getting their Christmas panto’s on. I feel quite panto-less but am looking forward to seeing Dick Whittington at the Hackney Empire before Christmas and also hope to see the Oxford Playhouse Aladdin, directed by Peter Duncan.

My quest to answer the ACE questions has been very productive, in the end. We have a date for the showcase, at the Oxford Playhouse, between 31st March and 6th April!

It feels right that it should be Oxford, in so many ways. Apart from being the birthplace of Janey, and being very important to the musical, Oxford holds a very special place in my heart. I spent a blissful year there in a theatre company, improvising, performing and writing lyrics and scripts. We performed at the Old Fire Station Theatre and I lived in Summertown in a house with 16 Americans. We got our accommodation free and £5 a week to live on. I worked in a pub (I can’t remember its name now) to earn some extra money. It was the last acting job I did and was a turning point for me - a choice between being a writer or an actress. I loved acting, and have played a few parts since, but I know I made the right choice! So I will be returning, after all these years.

Richard Lee at the Jerwood Space has been very patient waiting for our ACE verdict and has even agreed to change the tentative dates we had booked with him, so that they fit the Oxford Playhouse dates. We have also got interest from a touring company, which is marvellous and it will make all the difference to the Arts Council, I am sure.

I delivered my letter with the answers and a letter from Tish Francis to the Arts Council desk myself on Friday.