Isle of Man Arts Council vice-chairman Michael Lees said: ‘TheatreFest15 is a brand new concept, a legacy outcome from Island of Culture 2014.
‘From the outset we were determined that Island of Culture should have a life long beyond 2014; legacy was fundamental. The idea for TheatreFest was first mooted after the Island hosted last year’s British All Winners’ Festival of Plays finals and it was clear that the enthusiasm for TheatreFest far outweighed any concerns over the risk factor associated with putting on new work.
‘TheatreFest 15 will be a five-year project encouraging and promoting new work for professional, amateur and community theatre in its very widest sense. What’s so exciting is that although the Isle of Man will be the hub and we’ll be supporting new local talent, we will be inviting participation from the UK and across the world.’
NODA chief executive Tony Gibbs said: ‘NODA was pleased to become a partner in this venture because we’re very aware that theatre – especially musical theatre - in the Isle of Man is of an extremely high standard and we’ve seen how the Island is taking a lead in advocating new work. Equally compelling was that while many NODA societies in England are unable to secure the rights to perform top-flight shows such as Les Misérables or Miss Saigon, this is not the case for the Isle of Man. The island is treated as an exception because rights holders know any production staged here will be of a high standard, the audiences will be very supportive and the show will be performed in one of the British Isles’ most magnificent theatres, the Gaiety.’
A new original musical, For Tonight, is another strand to TheatreFest to be cast and produced by Stage Door Entertainment. Kristene Sutcliffe explained: ‘It’s a love story – a play with beautiful music that’s indie-rock/folk in style - which made its professional debut in the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival.’