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A Life with Substance – HMP Guys Marsh


A Life With Substance: Photo by Mr Ian Brooke with Katie Don Hughes and Robert Dobson

A Life with Substance …the truth the whole truth…

We are proud to announce AsOne Theatre Company has been awarded the contract to work with the men of HMP Guys Marsh during 12 days of workshops over three months. During that time the men will gain the skills to tell their stories in a performance that will be given to the rest of the Prison. It is planned then over another three months of rehearsals to develop this piece of work with a writer, designer, composer and director into a fully fledged theatre piece which will tour the UK’s 10 Pathfinder prisons. If this work/piece of theatre interests you – contact us:                                                                                                                                                                             info@as-onetheatre.co.uk    See the following link below for more information introducing this to the men:      Guys Marsh Presentation Invitation



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Back to Dorset Libraries

Library poster feb_edited-5Back to Dorset’s Libraries

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2016

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, was liberated by Soviet troops.  

Marianne Grant – Holocaust Survivor

Holocaust survivor and artist, Marianne Grant, was born September 19, 1921 and died December 11, 2007 aged 86. She survived three concentration camps largely thanks to a prodigious artistic talent. The title of a book she wrote in her 81st year, I Knew I Was Painting for My Life, starkly summed up her experience of being ordered to sketch death camp prisoners by the notorious SS doctor Josef Mengele. By clicking on the link below you will hear her story, reinterpreted for our 2005 touring play A String of Pearls – an interweaving of 16 stories (of some 200 we were sent) celebr

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Left – Joanne Fenton (Grandma’s Voice String of Pearls Right – Poppy Butcher (Poppy’s Story String of Pearls)

ating the courage of WW2 women and children who survived to tell the tale in the UK. The voice of Grandma is spoken by actress, Joanne Fenton who died on 24 August 2005 – just six months after the recorLogo Pictureding was made. She saw the Gala performance of A String of Pearls in May 2005 – 60 years after Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, was liberated by Soviet troops..

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, 2 million Roma, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005 during the 42nd plenary session.[1] The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust.[2]
On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, was liberated by Soviet troops.
Prior to the 60/7 resolution, there had been national days of commemoration, such as Germany’s Tag des Gedenkens an die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (The Day of remembrance for the victims of National Socialism), established in a proclamation issued by Federal President Roman Herzog on 3 January 1996; and the Holocaust memorial day observed every 27 January since 2001 in the UK.
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Our Tinderbox Family Quest – Production and Premiere Launch

Young Princess Daisydorchester-bid-100

Thank you to DorchesterBID for their support and belief

AsOne Theatre Company with Dorchester Business Improvement District Announce its Family Tinderbox Family Quest – find the lost theatre props!

 A launch for a six county tour of ‘Tinderbox’ –  Premiere at The Corn Exchange Dorchester Tomorrow – come and join us!

At 12.00 pm midday on Saturday 26 September AsOne Theatre Company invites families, and individuals of all ages to help them find the lostTinderbox Dorch poster theatre props Sir Tuttleclack has hidden in a dastardly plot to prevent their exciting AsCend Ensemble performing its premiere of Tinderbox at the Corn Exchange (7 pm Friday 16 October).

AsOne invite you to meet the company’s Tinderbox Soldier and Princess in Dorchester at the Town’s Pump, the top of South Street (if wet at The Corn Exchange) to join them in some music, games, and win some chocolate coins before joining the Tinderbox Family Quest.  AsOne want you to help them defeat Sir Tuttleclack’s dastardly plot by finding the 15 lost props and thus ensure that AsOne AsCend‘s Premiere performance of Tinderbox in three weeks goes ahead without a hitch at the Corn Exchange. Make sure the Tinderbox Princess doesn’t have to marry the very silly Sir Tuttleclack!

AsOne Theatre Company’s Artistic Director said: ‘The only time Questers can meet the characters is at the launch on the 26th September. Anyone can have a go, so join in and have a fun afternoon as a prelude to our wonderful play. Tinderbox has talented physical storytelling, animated image, puppetry and live original music and has been created for any age to enjoy. It does not patronise. Search for our poster, and along with it our lost props, in outlets throughout Dorchester’s Town Centre using rhyming clues to help you. Without these props we cannot tell the story of ‘Tinderbox!’

Tinderbox is AsOne Theatre Company’s latest original production; its AsCend Ensemble is touring this autumn with 18 performances in six counties. AsCend’s lead, Jacqueline Avery has written, and is directing her re-imagining of a classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, firmly putting the magic back into family theatre.

The Quest on Saturday 26 September at 12 pm midday; runs for three weeks with a prize for the winners each week – announced at The Premiere performance of Tinderbox.  The Questers instructions and rhyming clues are lodged at the Tourist Information Centre, Antelope Walk, Dorchester. There are prizes from Waterstones, The Walnut Tree, and the Dorset County Museum.



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Casting ‘tinderbox’

So after the last month or so of watching and working with some great acting talent, some with years of experience and some just graduating we are delighted to announce our final ensemble line up for our autumn tour of ‘tinderbox’. So with no further ado we would like to introduce……

Ap_OpOsb  Jessica Chloe Young

Jessica joins us fresh from the Arts University Bournemouth where she has just completed her BA (hons) Acting degree. Our first AsCend intern this year Jessica promises to be our perfect ‘unlikely’ princess. Good to have you Jessica.


11393061_752189374878244_5790727516140830295_n  Laurence Aldridge

Laurence has a wealth of experience as an actor-musician and we are very happy to count him as one of our ensemble members. Laurence is also currently touring with his folk/rock duo Jack of All throughout the midlands.


john-hatziemmanuel-full.1428421414  John Hatziemmanuel

Our second AsCend intern John has recently concluded his final year at Arts University Bournemouth, BA (hons) Acting and impressed us at his audition with his skill and enthusiasm to progress his actor-musicianship. Welcome aboard John.


We were very privileged to work with some wonderful actor-musicians and skilled graduates throughout this process and as writer and director of tinderbox i was thrilled to have some of my words lifted off the page and given life for the first time at these auditions. It was also a great experience to have the characters i had envisioned in my head challenged – telling me “…actually, how would we look if this person played us instead?” – i believe that in answering this question we have been left with a stand-out cast. Very much looking forward to rehearsals!

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AsOne Presentation to Dorset History Centre and John Thornton Young Achievers Trust

As1 + 2 Presentations = Job-Done!

Jane in full flow Cheque present 2 JTYAF Linda Thornton speaks

Award winning AsOne Theatre Company was pleased to round off its latest heritage theatre project by presenting Maria Gayton Community Engagement Officer of the Dorset History Centre with the final research and audio archive that led to their recent touring theatre production of PASSION – Line of Departure.

A presentation was also made to the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation with a cheque for £300 raised from the outgoing bucket collection from the recent autumn 2014 tour of PASSION. John Thornton’s story was a major thread of the play and is told through the eyes his parents Peter and Linda; how they dealt with his tours as a soldier, the news leading up to, and following, his death in Afghanistan; and how they honoured his dying wish of a legacy to help young people to achieve their dreams. At the presentation Peter and Linda Thornton announced that their son, John’s original Afghanistan Herrick 07/08 diary is to be lodged at The Imperial War Museum.

The presentation courtesy of The Gallery on The Square, Poundbury, Dorset was attended by members of the: creative team, researchers, cast, contributors and invited guests including The Mayor of Dorchester, Councillor Peter Mann who said: ‘We are so lucky to have a theatre company like AsOne who care passionately about their county base, and do so much in their own county town. Their work is greatly valued.’

DHC & JTYAF presentation ALL

Hosted by Gallery on the Square – AsOne Project PASSION – Line of Departure presentation to DHC and JTYAF

This marked the conclusion of the theatre company’s two year 1914/2014 project; it’s planning, research, and finally telling of the resulting stories gathered throughout AsOne Theatre’s Dorset base through a new play; all made possible with funding from Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery, West Dorset DC and Dorchester TC as well as major business sponsor Brewery Square. The play – by Stephanie Dale, with music and song by Tim Laycock – conveys the stories of soldiers and their families 100 years apart by affectingly interweaving this newly gathered testimony. PASSION- Line of Departure is poignant, funny and bravely honest. The play takes the audience into the living room of news obsessed parents; into diaries of soldiers; down a camera lens, and over the top then and now; revealing how the ravages of war ripple down the generations. Although universal, the stories were uniquely from Dorset and wider Wessex families and individuals. The play enjoyed an original tour of some 20 venues throughout the South of England including London; with theatres and arts centres of all sizes including secondary schools with accompanying workshops on creating theatre out of the words of real people – Verbatim.  It is hoped in 2018 to mark the end of four years of commemoration that the play will be seen at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Finally in large group photo –

Front row left to right and back row right to left 

Family Trustees, John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation, and Project PASSION Story Contributors Linda and Peter Thornton; Maria Gayton, Dorset History Centre; Research Assistant AsOne Theatre Company Jane Mongini; ; Project Story Contributor, Jenny Hunt; AsOne Theatre Finance and Funding Officer, Kevin Butcher; The Mayor of Dorchester, Councillor Peter Mann; AsOne Audio Professional, Andy Worth; DDCC Councillor Mollie Rennie; Friend of AsOne, Susan Worth; Dorset History Centre Susan


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‘Tinderbox – originating fairytale for young, old and everyone in between’ by Jacqueline Avery.

Reconciling my inner drive to create thought provoking theatre, to challenge our thoughts and perceptions, with my enduring love of myth and escapism providing ultimately a sense of wellbeing and security has often proved, quite rightly, a battle.

It seems both confusing and liberating to thrive and endure on pushing your theatrical art, your actors and your directing skills whilst clutching to a familiar love to play; to explore and laugh; to not give a damn; and create a form of pantomime rather than a thinking man’s theatre.

So here is a conundrum….a fairytale set to tour in the festive season that is in your head absolutely not Pantomime and yet would not dare to reject the subtle, and beautiful historic theatrical technique of age old Pantomime, which when translated from its Greek origins quite aptly reads ‘imitator of all’.

Does this piece ‘imitate’ for me? Yes. And almost automatically, without thinking I was processing a piece of theatre through my recent experiences with motherhood. I was writing a fairytale for my two children, I was writing as a mother, as a protector, and as someone who wanted to soothe the end of a hectic day with a story of make believe told in a lyrical tongue to lull the soul to sleep.

In 2003 I performed in and co-directed a small rural tour of The Grimm Tales adapted by Tim Supple and Carol Ann Duffy – it will remain one of my all time favourite theatrical experiences. So when I met with Jane McKell Artistic Director of AsOne Theatre Company to discuss the next project for its AsCend graduate platform set up in 2013 – to give first hand professional tour experience to newly graduated theatre degree students – I was eagerly encouraged to once again delve into the world of fairytale.

As with Grimm Tales, I knew I had to focus in on the nitty-gritty of folk tale. I am someone who needs to create dramatic sensory experience and get the synapses firing, whilst steering clear of any sickly sweet modern pantomimic technique which – to be blunt – has mostly lost touch with its deep European heritage.

So my search to a greater extent was to find a story that I could really get my teeth into.

Fairytale has a form, it immediately reaches out to a younger audience through its use of simple language, an echolalia of storytelling that engages and transfixes. It takes them into a space which says ‘It’s safe to be here’ so just look, listen and absorb.

What’s most interesting is that it will do exactly that to adult audience also…and almost more intensely and with more need. Oscar Wilde believed in and wrote many of his lesser known fairytales based on the knowledge that adults need to escape, that the catharsis, from the Greek κάθαρσις katharsis meaning “purification” or “cleansing” of emotions —especially pity and fear—through art or any extreme change in emotion can result in renewal and restoration.

We need escapism. And this day and age we need it more than ever.

I have spent many a physical theatre lesson teaching ‘stock character’, it is a staple and at times to me has become a bore but…who among us did not love the idea of being a princess or a prince charming in our dressing-up-box-youth? Once the fairytale has engaged with our inner child it moves on to teach us a lesson, a moral, in many cases. Whether child or adult, we always need reminded of morals, often times we don’t know this until art presents the message to us on a plate.

Cinderella will teach us not to judge a book by its cover, Little Red Riding Hood will teach us to wary of strangers and so on. If you look hard enough, in most fairytales of our youth, a lesson will always be found.

So it became hugely interesting to me when I informally asked my friends and acquaintances on a social media site the question – which fairytales they remembered most from childhood? The most frequent answer was Hans Christian Andersens ‘The Tinderbox’ a story totally missing in any moral or social code whatsoever.

So what was it that made this tale so appealing? For me, it was a heady-mix of very strong stock characters (Princess, Prince) but absolutely no moral message – so……. given space to look at these characters, relate them to people we know as both child and adult and then through the play we find the message. And when we find the message we can re-word and rework fairytale history. Say the things that Hans Christian Andersen never said implicitly but is inevitably in the subtext.



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Arts & Business Helping Graduates Get First Job – Heightened Branding Opportunities


Multi award winning AsOne needs your help with funding our AsOne-AsCend Internship Programme for recent graduate  theatre practitioners to further their training and experience in a funded Internship . AsOne hold the last SW Arts & Business Award for our partnerships with Dorset Businesses. There are all sorts of client and staff reward opportunities with launch events,  premier performances as well as fantastic heightened branding travelling throughout eight counties including big cities such as London, Bristol and Bath as well as Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

Young people to day find it increasingly difficult to get that springboard first professional job. We want to do this with in-service training, mentoring and support. We want to pay their accomodation, day to day living expenses and give them a minimum wage for theatre work whether they are performing, designing, lighting or stage-managing whilst touring our latest production -PASSION. They get to work with our talented and highly experienced Creative team, an invaluable opportunity that many would wait several years to achieve.


The recordings of real voices – the research to gather stories forPASSION – will become a legacy telling their own, their family’s or ancestor’s story. These recordings will be edited and uploaded as pod-casts on the internet for future generations to have access to. Please contact us via: info@as-onetheatre.co.uk  PASSION – the story of love and war 100 years apart interweaves two wars – The Great War and the present Afghanistan Conflict through the eyes of Wessex people. See our  production- present – page for more information. PASSION will tour 18 theatres in October/November this year – 2014 – with a planned parallel radio play, and documentary in the offing too.


info@as-onetheatre.co.uk or call us on:

01305 835541/ 07778737700

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AsOne secures ACE backing

AsOne secures ACE backing

AsOne Theatre is pleased to announce that it has been successful in the grant application phase and has secured Art Council England funding for their latest Project “Passion”.

The funding will provide for the artistic development of the piece including:  the play writing – Stephanie Dale, music composition – Tim Laycock and direction – Peter Leslie Wild.

Artistic Director Jane Mckell said ” in these tough economic times securing an Arts Council England grant is ever more difficult and so this is seen as endorsement of our creative team and our work. I would like to thank  all of the production team for  their hard work in securing this funding”

We are also pleased to announce funding from The WDDC Leisure Development Fund to support the related schools project within the South &  West Dorset areas.

The project now within the creative phase will begin touring in October 2014.



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We Need Your Help with PASSION

PASSION: A story of Love and War 100 years Apart

Passion_Poster2PoppyAsOne Theatre Company need WW1 and Present-day Afghanistan stories of soldiers and their families for a new play commission

Has your family lived or are you living in Dorset, Devon, Hampshire, Wiltshire or Somerset and have either family connections or direct stories to tell about WW1 or the present-day Afghanistan Conflict?

Dorset based, Award winning, AsOne Theatre Company www.as-onetheatre.co.uk is looking for real stories from Wessex families as research to write a brand new theatre play interweaving these stories; as well as create pod-casts and a radio documentary as a legacy along with a creative team of standing and experience. Playwright, Stephanie Dale; director Peter Leslie Wild, and Composer/Musician Tim Laycock are joining forces with Artistic Director/producer Jane McKell commissioned by AsOne Theatre Company to write, produce and tour ‘PASSION’ –

“Intertwining stories from the First World War and the present Afghan War, Passion integrates genuine memories, original live music and song to create a poignant, sometimes funny, vivid and surprising take on the effect of war on combatants and families alike.”

AsOne need families willing to talk openly about their own experience as a soldier or what it is like to have children, husbands, fathers or brothers and sisters away fighting or defending in a foreign land; and then home safe, injured or maybe who have lost loved ones to the conflict. We would like to talk with you about stories, photos and diaries handed down by relatives, who were involved in WW1 in Europe including Gallipoli or Russia. Maybe they have more recent experience with the Afghanistan conflict. All research will be handled sensitively and with respect, and people’s anonymity will be preserved if that is what is requested. All names will be changed in the play.

Please can people contact us by writing to: info@as-onetheatre.co.uk
AsOne Theatre Company ‘Talbothays’, 3, Osmington Lodge, Osmington, Weymouth Dorset DT3 6EX

or Mob: 0777 873 7700

AsOne Theatre Company’s next exciting project 2014/15 ‘PASSION’ will have live music, song and film and is in development timed for the anniversary of the start of WW1 and the planned exit from Afghanistan. If funding is successful we shall be premiering and touring this production in the autumn of 2014 throughout wider Wessex and into Gloucester, Oxford, Bath and Bristol. Then in 2015 we plan a national tour.

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