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New award provides theatre students with Launchpad

  • Date

    Tue 10 Mar 20

A new award is giving emerging talent from our Acting School the chance to showcase their work at a critically-acclaimed London theatre.

New award provides theatre students with Launchpad

The Space Launchpad Award recognises an outstanding production first performed at the Debut Festival, which presents new work from final year students at East 15 Acting School. The prize is a week-long run at The Space, a theatre on the Isle of Dogs whose patrons include Sir Ian McKellen.

The first winner of the award, announced on 24 February, is The Dripping Mirror, a new musical written, produced, directed and performed by final year Acting & Contemporary Theatre students.

It centres around a burlesque show, with the action moving between the show itself and the narrative that develops around it.

The Dripping Mirror’s writer, Molly Rolfe, said: “It’s about a boy who meets a burlesque dancer and the course of history is forever changed. It’s quite absurd and cartoon-like.”

The next step for the winning team is to stage a short section of the play at the launch of The Space’s summer season, attended by press and industry contacts. The full version of the play will then enjoy a week-long run at the venue.

Hebe Bartlett, Director, said: “The Debut Festival allowed us two full performances. That was fab, but for The Dripping Mirror to have a life after that is really brilliant, I think.

“We’re currently developing the show with the feedback we got from the Debut Festival. We’re hoping, with this extended run, to invite lots of other venues and industry, to see who is interested in the show and go from there.”

The Debut Festival challenges final year students to collaborate on new work. Students propose projects, then work together to develop the six most popular ideas over a six week period. Students write, act, produce and direct the resulting plays, which are staged at East 15.

Molly Rolfe said: “We’re all pushed to be as ambitious as we want to be, particularly with writing, I think. It’s a really nice environment to be in.”

The judges for the Space Launchpad Award were so impressed by the standard of Debut Festival shows this year that they also rewarded a second play, Enter Mr. Citrus Man by Mia Juhl, with a further run during The Space’s summer season.

The Debut Festival has already provided a number of success stories, with productions going on to win awards including the Edinburgh Comedy Award, The Stage Best Ensemble, Scotsman Fringe First, Best New Musical and BFI Best Short Film.

The team behind The Dripping Mirror have celebrated their success by founding a new company, RUNT Theatre.

Hebe Bartlett said: "Knowing that we can produce a musical together - and for it to be received so well - has really opened up the future for us. Obviously, we’re keen to see how far The Dripping Mirror can go – we’re so excited about it.”

All images: Andrew H Williams