This September the Coliseum’s historic Main Stage will host some of the exciting new talent from Greater Manchester’s vibrant Fringe Theatre scene.
Running alongside our Main Stage programme, the Coliseum’s Studio programme has grown from strength to strength over recent years. The Main House Takeover offers a taste of what our audiences can expect from the flexible 170-seat Studio Theatre that we’ll have in the new Coliseum on Union Street in 2020.
From Monday 24 – Friday 28 September the Main Stage will host Play With Fire Productions’ The Effect (Tuesday 25 – Thursday 27 September), our Pick of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, POP by EVENTHORIZON (Friday 28 September, Double Bill) and winner of Best New Play at this year’s Manchester Theatre Awards, Rosie Fleeshman’s Narcissist in the Mirror (Friday 28 September, Double Bill).
How did you get into Spoken Word?
I fell across spoken word accidentally online and was instantly taken with it. I’d never written anything before but I loved the musicality and rhythm of spoken word and it felt really natural to write like that. I started to go to poetry nights in the city; there are some great nights to choose from in Manchester.
What inspired you to write Narcissist in the Mirror?
I suppose it came out of frustration. I was frustrated with how my life was going and I noticed that I wasn’t alone. I spoke to a lot of people my age and there was so many of us who all felt disappointed with themselves and the world. I wanted to create a character that could articulate what life is like as a millennial, the good and the bad. I’m constantly told how awful my generation is by the media, but Narc encourages people to question this. I wanted to write a play about a millennial, that all generations could relate to.
How does it feel to perform your own work?
It’s exceptionally liberating. As an actress you constantly speak other people’s words (when you’re employed that is) so to have the chance to say things that you’ve written to a room full of people, that’s really exciting.
What is the difference between performing a one-woman show and performing as part of a cast?
There’s more pressure in one way, because there’s no one to save you. If you mess up or find yourself lost no one can jump in and get you out, or feed you a line or prompt you if you’ve forgotten something. Equally you know that as long as you don’t mess up everything should be okay. There’s less that can go wrong when there’s just one person. As an actor I always panic about remembering my entrances and exits, but I don’t leave the stage during Narcissist; it’s wonderful, I never have to worry about which side to come on! Doing a solo show is a great experience, you get to play as much as you want whilst you’re up there, you’re not going to affect anyone else if you do things differently night by night.
How did it feel to win Best New Play at the Manchester Theatre Awards?
I was overwhelmed. This is my first play and so having it recognised by the MTA’s was amazing. There were some brilliant plays up for the award and I was completely shocked when I won. I think it’s great that the Manchester Theatre Awards recognises fringe theatre. Manchester is home to so many talented people and the fringe scene is constantly offering quality shows for people to see.
You’re taking the show to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, what are you most looking forward to about your run?
I get to do the shows twenty six times in a month. I’ve not yet had a long run of Narcissist, so I can’t wait to be getting up and doing it every day. Even though I know the play so well, I’m sure in that time they’ll be so much more to discover. I’m also going to watch as much as I can, I want to soak in all that theatre and meet other people who are making their own work.
How does it feel to be taking over the Coliseum’s Main Stage?
The Main Stage is a beautiful space. My dad has been taking me to see shows here since I was a kid so it will be really special to get to perform Narcissist on the Main Stage for a night. I’m looking forward to seeing what the wonderful people of Oldham make of it.
Do you have any advice for people thinking about creating their own work?
Do it! If you want to be an artist then make art. For too long I sat and waited for the phone to ring, I didn’t think there was another way, but there is. Creating your own work can be so rewarding. Challenge yourself too. You set your own standards, so keep raising the bar and always strive to improve. Oh and be brave! It’s not always easy putting yourself out there, but the worst possible outcome is that you fail. And if you do, just try again.