Where have you been and what have you been doing?

CCow949WIAA7JRUHello everyone! Sorry we’ve been a bit quiet over here on the blog lately. As always we have a good excuse, because as always we’ve been busy little worker bees… obviously! So what have we been up to since you last heard from us? Well April has been a bit of a whilrwind month for us. We had a break in our season after Morgan & West and Circus Geeks last month (is that really all it was?) which gave us some time to get out and about in the community promoting the rest of the season and to start planning the next.

Here’s what we’ve been up to during our radio silence…

Pop up poetry…


Last season, you may remember we brought the wonderful Dommy B to The ACE Centre with his fabulous show ‘When Trolls Try To Eat Your Goldfish’ well he was so popular, we decided to bring him back! As well as performing ‘The Dragon who Hates Poetry’ as a tea time treat at the ACE Centre, we also spent a day taking him into local Nelson schools for a spot of pop up poetry! It was such a lovely day, and I think Dommy might have inspired one or two future wordsmiths in the process!

Ladies and gentlemen may I have your attention please…



This is me looking painfully awkward recording some Front of House announcements for our events at The ACE Centre. Many of our audiences to The ACE Centre, haven’t only been new to us, but new to theatre all together, and we forgot how daunting that could be, so we decided to put together a short informative recording that could be played out at the beginning of each show… Which was a great idea, until I realised I would now have to find somewhere to hide so I wouldn’t have to listen to myself back at the beginning of every event!



It’s a mystery…


Here’s a picture of Matt holding the most embarassing pose he could think of. I don’t know why he bothers, after nearly a year working together I am well and truly immune to it. What’s more important than Matts impression of an elderly lady doing her weekly shop, is the display behind him. If you were out and about in Colne over the last month, you might have noticed our murder mystery display outside of the market. This was all in aid of An Inspector Calls coming to the Muni. We had some giant suspect posters, taken from the plot of the play, some wonderful props loaned from Pendle Hippodrome, and we even held a speed murder mystery. Our quickest detective managed to solve the puzzle in just 90 seconds and won themselves a pair of free tickets!

an inspectorFirst time for everything…

And of course An Inspector Calls was our very first show at The Muni! We were absolutely chuffed to have a 175 audience members join us, and our experiment with the Muni seating has certainly given us a lot to think about for the future! Now we can’t wait for June and Every Brilliant Thing to head to Colne!



Ghosts at Old Georges’ house…

The picture at the top of this post is from one of the two afternoons we spent down at King Georges Hall with our year fives and the Children’s University! Head honcho of all things technical Howard gave us all a behind the scenes tour, and we challenged the children to come up with a question he didn’t know the answer too. Out of 180 children, there was only two questions Howard couldn’t answer ‘How many doors are there in the building?’ and ‘How much Marble was used to build the hall?’ I think we might find Howard fervently googling and counting doors in the hallway next time we see him!

The wheels on the bus…

You might remember in my last post, I hinted at a special project we’ve been working on that involves a bus. Work on this is now well and truly underway, and look out for a big announcement, fancy new website, and a bus with an unusual set of passengers coming your way soon!

HEY (1)

An engagement announcement…

Well, not the get down on one knee and produce a ring kind of engagement, the other kind. This month we’ve been doing one heck of a lot of community engagement, which is fantastic, and of course what is at the heart of the Plugged In project! We dropped off 700 colouring in competition forms to schools in Blackburn, in preparation for Rapunzel the other day, and at the beginning of this week we spent the morning in Darwen. Two groups have already chosen two fantastic shows to bring to Darwen Library Theatre in Autumn, but there is still time for you to get involved and have your say in our programming too!

As you can see it’s been a busy month, so I’m sure you can forgive the lack of blogging! But we will be sure to keep you updated on everything we have coming up in the future. Stephie x

ps. have you got your tickets for our upcoming shows yet?


more of this please…

20150221_140219Hello everyone, how are you? In many ways it doesn’t seem like two minutes since I was yabbering on about not having the January blues, and now here we are in March. In many other ways it seems like the Spring Season is flying past us, and in the office the other day, there was already talk of Christmas (yes, I said it).

One of the reasons time seems to be flying by is because, working on this project we are always looking to the next event, no sooner have you waved off one amazing company and your back out there promoting the next show. Of course, this is the way of the world, but there’s no denying that every now and then taking a moment to reflect on what you’ve done so far, is not only good for the soul but for the project too.

We kicked off the Spring season with a really amazing week. Theatre AdInfinitum came to Blackburn on February 16th, with LIGHT and that will be something I will always remember. A 100% of our audiences rated the show as Brilliant, and when you have that many people experiencing theatre of that quality, in an area that complains ‘there’s nothing to do around’ere,’ well, it feels pretty special.

And then 5 days later, we went from Orwellian dystopia, told through Physical Theatre, to classical fairy tale, told through puppetry. Hansel and Gretel at The ACE Centre on Saturday 21st was practically a full house, heck, look at that picture, I’m going to say it WAS a full house. A full house of one of the most diverse audiences I’ve ever seen, and ranging in age from 3 months to in their 80’s! The piece itself by The Horse and Bamboo was magical, I laughed and cried, and the day overall just had this really lovely atmosphere to it. The staff at The ACE Centre were excited, the company were thrilled, and while I was exhausted I was also over the moon.

We’re working a lot at the moment, I can’t remember the last time we had two days off in a row, and never at the same time, but weeks like that make it worth it. And when I came to work on Monday, I of course had a to do list as long as my arm, and it was straight in to working on The Shape of Things to Come and Circus Geeks, but what keeps me going is these successes, and if we don’t all take a minute to just let them sink in, then you’d never appreciate just what was going on around you.

So for the rest of Spring, I’ll have more of the same please! Stephie x

Have you joined us on Facebook and Twitter yet?




I’m sorry, I just don’t have the January blues…

Hey folks, how are you all?

Counting down the days until the Christmas break again or your summer holiday? Well prepare to hate me, but I am genuinely loving being back at work! Mainly because I am so excited about the shows and groups we are working with this season.

10933961_645737298871646_8121386310264328993_nWe kick off Spring 2015 with the amazing Theatre AdInfinitum and their new show LIGHT. I’ve been a massive fan of this company for a couple of years now (don’t pretend you didn’t know I was a theatre geek) and I saw this show up in Edinburgh last summer. It completely blew me away, and I was really excited about the idea of adding it to the Plugged In menu.  Not just because I am a fan of the company but because I really think this show will appeal to audiences way out of the usual theatre goers!

Luckily for me, SLYNCS thought so to! If you haven’t already heard of SLYNCS, they are a Blackburn based youth organisation that work on interfaith relationships, and generally improving their local community in any way that they can! You might remember we worked with them for a piece on the main stage at Blackburn Festival last September?

And they have some really exciting ideas for spreading the word about the show! This Saturday, January 24th, we are taking over one of the Blackburn is Open shops, and running a pop up box office, with a difference.  Why not come down, watch the trailer, find out why the group felt it was so important that this show came to Blackburn and buy your ticket there and then?

A few other things we are currently working on include, gingerbread decorating for Hansel and Gretel, meeting all of the Children’s University Year 5’s, organising some free runners and jugglers, and I will be busy putting together my steam-punk-magician fancy dress costume, for Parlour Ticks!

I know, not only did I brag about not having the January blues, but also about just how good my job is. If it is any consolation, Matt has already found several ‘witty’ things to say about this blog, and me in general.

I don’t know, what do I have to put up with, all for the name of art?!?

Of course if you are feeling a bit stuck in a rut, you could always buy a ticket to cheer you up, or look at getting involved with the work we do yourself? Until next time, Stephie x

Is it time for an intervention?


Hi everyone, it’s Stephie here, the other plug! I thought it was about time I stepped in and introduced myself – not to mention the fact that Matt does seem to have gotten a little addicted to blogging. He is thorough though, I’ll give him that, and has covered all our adventures. So I thought I would post something a little different today. We’ve just sent out our first press release, and it got me thinking about what it is exactly about the Plugged In project that is so important.

Just as a recap, in a nutshell, Plugged In gives local communities the chance to hand pick the shows they want to see in their local theatre. Whether that be, music, theatre, contemporary dance, children’s theatre or magic, if I can find it, they can programme it. So far my favourite part of this project has been the conversations with people and not just because I am a chatterbox. Initially when we approach a group, the conversation can be a bit hesitant, I think they may think that we are looking for them to give us the right answer. There is no right answer, or wrong answer, and once we get going it is so interesting to hear peoples opinions on their area, their venue, and what art and theatre means to them. I’m yet to meet a group who have no opinion whatsoever.

People may start off telling you that theatre isn’t for them, or that they aren’t into art, but ten minutes later you’ll find that they are passionate about murder mysteries or historical novels or have an unexpected talent for Origami. They might not be interested in theatre as a stand alone art form but they would love to see Agatha Christie on stage, or a historical retelling of the life of Anne Boleyn, or even to just come along to see how an entire set was crafted from paper.

Part of the reason this project exists is because Pennine Lancashire is seen as an area of low engagement.  That means, statistically people aren’t getting involved with the arts. But after three months of working on this project I can’t help but feel it might be that the arts aren’t getting involved with people. We meet with a lot of groups who are already in some way shape or form engaging with art, whether that be through cake decorating or painting. People in Pennine Lancashire are taking it upon themselves to make, create and appreciate art, they just aren’t necessarily doing these things in your traditional arty places, like our theatres.

My biggest hope for this project is that by having these conversations with people, and finding out not only what show they would like to see but also about individual artistic interests we can gradually get people to see our theatres and venues as places for them.

What do you think? What area of art are you interested in?


ps. If you are looking for something to get the little’uns interested in theatre, be sure to check out all our Autumn shows, I’ve just finished getting them all up on our Facebook page!