Supernova 7: A Festival of New One-Act Plays

Written by Various Authors

February 7th to February 14th 2016

Produced by Thomas Hall

It is now more than 14 years since Bench theatre launched an ambitious one-act play competition aimed at promoting local and national playwrights and displaying the fruits of their labours on our stage, in a week-long festival - Supernova.

Supernova 7 will take place in February 2016 at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre. Seven brand new works will be performed twice over the space of a week, each directed and performed by our award-winning membership.

The New One-Act Plays

Wednesday 10th February and Friday 12th February 2016

Pricking the SidesWritten by Julia Warren

The Critic, the Professor, the Student - and a couple of actors. What could these possibly have in common? Ambition for one thing. Murder, for another ... but whose murder? And when?

PatchesSimon Walton
ShredsPeter Clarke
WishfulDavid Penrose
RobinZack Cuthberton
ShardlakeDan Finch
DirectorJacquie Penrose

Author's Notes

Julia was last seen sitting behind a Remington in 1928... fighting plots and chasing bunnies in the process; mysteries a speciality. Domiciled at Grey Cells Press ( Her adventures are set down, curated and otherwise embroidered upon by that unreliable narrator B.Lloyd (scribbler, doodler, member of the CWA). For further elucidation, see GreenWood Tree (Grey Cells Press, 2013) and Of Soul Sincere (April, 2016), where mystery meets myth with a touch of the paranormal.

Previous work for stage: a short piece for 5 actors in response to S. Greene's Fear in a Handful of Dust (CogArtSpace December 2014). The piece, 'Prayer to Ganesh' was directed by Sean Turner (currently directing No Villain by Arthur Miller, Old Red Lion Theatre). Another piece, a short dialogue 'Do You Remember' was accepted as part of the 'No U-turn' show by Director's Cut (Donald Pleasance Theatre January 2016). Directing credits: Winner, Director's Cut, Leicester Theatre, (August 2015) and 'Do You Remember' (Pleasance Theatre, January 2016)

What You AreWritten by Samantha Lierens

'What You Are' is about the little known author and poet, Jane Taylor. It explores her relationship with her sister, the writer and campaigner Ann Gilbert, her turmoil over a family 'friend' and her struggle to create a legacy.

JaneClaire Lyne
AnnJo Langfield
Mr StruttJeff Bone
DirectorGina Farmer

Author's Notes

Samantha has always loved writing: she has written several 'romance' books (under a pseudonym!) and has an MA in creative writing from Goldsmiths University, London. However, writing for theatre is quite new for her. She finds it really fun - she particularly loves the collaborative element and seeing what the directors, actors and audience bring to the piece.

Samantha has had two pantomimes produced 'I'm Cinderella' and, last Christmas, 'Snow White's Got Talent'. Both were very well-received in her Essex hometown of Southend. She is most interested in writing about inspirational women from history, like Jane Taylor. Her play 'Entrenched' about wonderful World War One heroine Elsie Knocker is just now available from LazyBee Scripts and she would love to see that produced over these Centenary years.

Samantha is currently working on a companion piece to 'What You Are': 'The Great Fall' explores the terrible siege of Colchester in 1648. Her play about the 1970 protests at Miss World was long-listed for the Bruntwood Prize and she is hoping it will go further. This is Samantha's first time to be included in a theatre festival and she is absolutely delighted!

Headless ChickensWritten by Colin Dowland

It is the most difficult day in the life of a school. An Ofsted inspection is about to begin... but in the headteacher's office, there's one tiny glitch.

Miss Philippa Clark Beth Evans
Ms Marjorie Evans Megan Green
Terry Callum West
Linda WilcoxTasmin Halford
Charles Kenwood Alan Welton
DirectorAndrew Caple

Author's Notes

Colin has written four books for children (including Billy the Squid and Weevil K. Neevil: Stuntbug) published by award winning Barrington Stoke, as well as Ping Pong for early readers published by Harcourt.

He has also written comedy material for several episodes of BBC Radio 4 Extra's Newsjack and many articles for the Times Educational Supplement.

His sitcom 'The Alternative Route' was shortlisted for the BBC Laugh Track competition in 2012 and his radio play 'Small Cogs' was a finalist in the Mind Engagement Media competition 2013.

Originally from Dorset, Colin went on to study at the Royal College of Music in London, whilst continuing to write whenever he could. He is married to Ann, a professional violinist. They have two teenage children. Colin also loves appearing in panto, watching AFC Bournemouth and eating cheese.

In his spare time, Colin is the head teacher of a school in North London. Unlike many writers, he has no cats.

Thursday 11th February and Saturday 13th February 2016

Healing With WordsWritten by John Hill

When a devoted husband discovers his wife is seeing a marriage counsellor, he insists on joining them so he can be part of the solution, unaware that, unfortunately, he's all of the problem.

SebastianPaul Millington
TrevorJeff Bone
KirstyLeigh Cunningham
DirectorChris Vanstone

Author's Notes

John lives in Sutton, Surrey and is a journalist and comedy writer who has sacrificed countless trees in the relentless pursuit of his unfulfilled writing ambitions. He has written several plays, sitcoms and film scripts, and is part of a US-style writers room working on a sitcom.

He was short-listed for a Channel 4 comedy drama award, and long-listed for a Windsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh new drama writing award and a BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum.

He has TV credits for two episodes of a 12-part sitcom, his 2014 Edinburgh Fringe debut got a 5-star review, and his first feature film script came second in last year's Reddit Screenwriting Contest. He has now switched to recycled paper to ease his guilt over the continuing tree slaughter.

Your Lucky DayWritten by David Weir

The end of a relationship and time to split the possessions. But who's taking what home with them?

ElliePhillippa Thorne
AndrewDan Finch
DirectorJulie Wood

Author's Notes

David's first play was performed at Greenwich Theatre in 2009. Since then, he's had work performed in London, Arundel, Windsor, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Perth, Australia. His full-length play 'The Normandy Conquests' won the 2015 Constance Cox Award (Sussex Playwrights Club), and he has twice been long listed for the Brentwood Prize (Legacy 2011 and Better Together 2015). Legacy was also in the final 5 shortlist for the King's Cross Award, and he was a Kenneth Branagh Award finalist in 2011 for 'No Occasion To', which is published by Lazy Bee. A one-act play 'Lions of England' is due soon to be published by Stagescripts Ltd.

David was born and brought up in Edinburgh but has lived in London for 20 years now. He has worked as a journalist in various parts of the UK, including a four-year spell as a film critic in Norfolk, which he still thinks the best job in the world.

He began writing drama after failing to write a novel for years. At the post-show party of a terrible play, he (perhaps after one warm wine too many) told the director he could do better, and the director said, 'Go on, then'. 'Murdering the Truth', a spoof murder mystery, resulted, but he has since then settled into writing full-length and one act plays about extraordinary moments in the lives of apparently ordinary people. Realism, classical structures and small-scale, domestic settings suit his style best. Perhaps because he'd love to be quarter as good as Miller or Ibsen (though wishes both could manage the occasional joke).

Login ErrorWritten by Adam Hughes

Login Error is about two strangers who meet on an online chatroom. Yet one of them isn't who they say they are. The more the pair talk, the greater this deception grows, with both becoming entangled in a web of lies and deceit which may have devastating consequences...

A Stuart Reilly
B Philip Amor
DirectorSimon Walton

Author's Notes

Adam is an award-winning playwright from Leeds, West Yorkshire, currently based in London. Having written since graduating university three years ago, he has gone on to develop a number of pieces which have been staged all across the UK.

Last year Adam's London stage debut came with Marching On Together at the Old Red Lion Theatre. Focusing on the fall of football hooliganism set against the Yorkshire miners strike, the play sold out across its four week run and was a critical success, with Adam being called 'a playwright to watch' (British Theatre). Adam is a past winner of the Kenneth Branagh Drama Award for New Writing (2014) and the London Players Playwright Award (2015). He has had short pieces performed at The Bush Theatre, Theatre503, The Southwark Playhouse and Wakefield Theatre Royal.

Adam is a member of the Soho Theatre's Young Writers Group, where he is currently developing a full length play. He is also one of the emerging playwrights on Sheffield Crucible Theatre's FUSE programme and part of an invite-only Writers Group at The Arcola Theatre. He was also chosen to be part of the Stratford East Theatre Royal Writers Programme earlier this year, led by Rikki Beadle-Blair.

Adam is absolutely delighted to be one of the playwrights involved with Supernova 7 and cannot wait to see the piece brought to life.

Scoundrels!Written by Mark Wakeman

Freddy and George, two Victorian gentlemen of breeding and class, are trying to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast when a young man bursts in with a potentially scandalous accusation. Can they salvage their reputations before their toast and eggy soldiers become cold? A quick fire comedy of manners... both good and bad!

HedgesRoger Wallsgrove
GeorgeThomas Hall
FreddyChris Vanstone
WilliamDan Finch
EdithKirsty Terry
CissyPhillippa Thorne
DirectorMark Wakeman

Author's Notes

Mark Wakeman is the only writer to have had work selected for every Supernova the Bench has ever performed. Supernova VII sees the debut of his 17th one act play performed by the company. He also wrote the last three Bench pantomimes Cinderella, Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty. Mark has had work performed at the Steyning Festival and Bare Essentials in London as well as the Totton Festival of Drama (where he has won the award for Best Original Script five times) and the all England Drama Festival. Following its performance at Totton his play 'Grotto' was selected for publication by Roister Doister Publishing and is available to buy on Amazon or on order through any bookshop. 'Jitters' and 'Choices' are also to be published soon.

Mark started writing at Middle School encouraged by an inspiring teacher and scribbled away for many years without showing anything to anyone. At University while performing with the college theatre society they asked writers to submit original work and so Mark had his first ever plays performed there, with one of them being taken to the Edinburgh Festival. Comedy was his first love (apart from a girl called Nicola whom he once bought an apple for, but who never looked at him twice ... although she did eat the apple!) and he fancied a career writing sit coms or sketch comedy (he has also made several attempts to write a many volumed Game of Thrones style Fantasy epic) but a zillion rejection letters later and he seems to have found his groove writing one act plays as they have proved the most popular, even the serious ones! He still hopes one day to write something memorable!

Mark has been an active actor and director with the Bench for a number of years, some members can even remember when he had hair. Just. Mark lives alone in Emsworth with a cat (although you could have probably guessed that just from reading this biography!) and his dreams!

These plays were staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977. Each play was performed twice during the four days of the festival as follows:

Wednesday and Friday:
Pricking the Sides
What You Are
Headless Chickens

Thursday and Saturday:
Healing With Words
Your Lucky Day
Login Error


Festival Producer Thomas Hall
Stage Manager Robin Hall
Assistant Stage Manager Verity Finch
Lighting Design Phil Hanley
Lighting Operator Derek Callam
Sound Design Phil Hanley and Jacquie Penrose
Sound Operator Sharman Callam
Programme Design Derek Callam
Poster Design Dan Finch
Front of House Ingrid Corrigan


RemotegoatJill Lawrie

Unique showcase of original writing

The acclaimed Bench Theatre have been putting on a festival of brand new writing for over 15 years, with one contributor having had a piece of his work selected in every Bench Supernova! From a submission of 135 scripts, 21 were short-listed resulting in a selection of just 7 to be performed in two alternating programmes.

First up "Healing with Words" by John Hill sees a loyal faithful husband visiting a marriage counsellor unaware that his wife was in a relationship with him! Paul Millington was irresistibly watchable as the counsellor Sebastian struggling to keep his cool through deep breathing exercises as he strove to retain 'humanic chi' while suggesting fidelity doubts to good-natured double glazer Trevor. Great comic effect was created by games of blindfold and word association. Jeff Bone brilliantly played the naive inadequate Trevor while Leigh Cunningham's interpretation of the attractive lusty seductress Kirsty was priceless.

This highly amusing piece was followed by David Weir's "Your Lucky Day", a two-hander featuring Ellie and Andrew meeting in order to split their possessions following the demise of their relationship. Cheating Andrew has moved on into another relationship but having purchased a winning lottery ticket is expecting to split the prize. However the spurned Ellie, having first plied him with good food and copious alcohol plays her game of retribution. Great characterisation from both Phillippa Thorne and Dan Finch in this ingenious tale of retaliation.

Following the interval is "Login Error" by Adam Hughes the exhilarating new dramatist tipped as "a playwright to watch" and already the recipient of several awards. A superbly written two-hander depicting 2 strangers who meet in a chat room and the ensuing deception as they become embroiled in a web of lies and deceit. Stuart Reilly was outstanding as the excitable hot-bloodied male A while Philip Amor's flirtation with deception was larded with emotional dimension as he played the addicted mature deceiver B.

Finally a cocktail of farce and melodrama in "Scoundrels" written and directed by Mark Wakeman - a ludicrous but beguiling comedy of manners. Two Victorian gentlemen having their breakfast, are rudely interrupted when a young man bursts in on them with a potentially scandalous accusation. The rapid quick-fire repartee is enormous fun as it swiftly escalates into total absurdity. Terrific performances from all involved Thomas Hall (George) Chris Vanstone (Freddy) and the lisping Dan Finch (William).

This was a wildly eclectic mix of original drama positively fizzing with talent, energy and enthusiasm from all involved.

Remotegoat, 13th February 2014

Production Photographs

What You Are

Headless Chickens

Healing With Words

Your Lucky Day

Login Error