Conor McKee Productions (CMP) was formed through the longstanding creative partnership of Conor McKee and director/ dramaturg Wyllie Longmore.
Together they have developed 3 full length plays written by Conor, two of which have toured nationally to both critical and popular acclaim. Through this activity they have developed a unique method of actor involved script development that underpins their creative process.
CMP have recently joined forces with actor/ fight choreographer Kenan Ali and actor/producer Cathy Shiel to produce a stage combat led adaptation of Macbeth. This production will tour for the second time in November 2013.
Other work includes script development as well as ongoing training and development initiatives for actors, writers and directors.
7th-23rd NOVEMBER 2013
The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University, ORMSKIRK
7.30pm ▪ £10/£8 conc.
(£5 EHU students)
Box Office: 01695 584480
Friday 8th & Saturday 9th
Salford Arts Theatre, SALFORD
7.30pm ▪ £7/£6 conc.
Box office: 0161 925 0111
Seven Artspace, Chapel Allerton, LEEDS
8pm ▪ £8/£6 conc.
Box office: 0113 262 6777
Action Transport Theatre, Whitby Hall, ELLESMERE PORT
7.30pm ▪ £8/£5 conc.
Box office: 0151 357 2120
Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd
The Courtyard, Shoreditch, LONDON
7.30pm ▪ £10/£8 conc.
Box office: 0844 477 1000
A gripping story laced with genuine warmth and vicious comedy. Six people spiral towards destruction over one night in the city. Once lost, can faith, friendship and love ever be recovered?
Thrasher was performed at The Courtyard, London, N1 6EU on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th May 2013 as part of a national tour.
Venue website: http://www.thecourtyard.org.uk/
Written by acclaimed new playwright Conor McKee and directed by MEN Award winning Wyllie Longmore Thrasher is a beautifully sharp drama about betrayal and lost innocence.
Thrasher sold out all dates in advance for its 2011 tour of The Royal Exchange, Manchester and Camden People’s Theatre, London.
The production received critical and popular acclaim, including a recommendation in Lyn Gardner’s Theatre Tips (The Guardian).
‘A clever, comic and touching drama’ – MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS
‘completely compelling …a slick, interesting and very entertaining piece of theatre’
-Tracey Lowe – THE PUBLIC REVIEWS – 4½ STARS
(Full review at http://www.thepublicreviews.com/thrasher-royal-exchange-manchester/)
‘believable and engaging … you would look forward to McKee’s subsequent work’
- David Upton – BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE
Get two full price tickets for £14 (normal price £8 each) when you quote THUNDERBOLT.
Get two concessionaire tickets for £8 (normal price £5 each) when you quote LIGHTNING.
Offer available in person at box office or by calling 0161 226 1912.
Conor McKee Productions
The Continental, Preston
Review by David Upton
Forget the ‘aspiration nation’; here instead are six characters hanging on to the margins of society, aspiring just to survive.
Their intersecting stories are the subject of this hard-boiled 90-minute drama by young Manchester-based playwright Conor McKee. It’s gradually developed out of an extract at that city’s Royal Exchange theatre back in 2006 and is now embarked on a nine-date national tour, directed by the highly-experienced Wyllie Longmore.
In a play with a beginning, a middle, and a beginning, there are bound to be some comparisons to Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde, but in his gritty characterisation and sometimes shocking language McKee manages to get beneath the skin of what might be regarded, at first, as stock modern-drama stereotypes.
There’s Vic (Justine Elizabeth Bailey) who freely understands her main commodity is her looks; Lee (Ryan Greaves) who can’t seem to even sell his drugs at a profit; Colin (Darren John Longford) used to taking what he wants; Chloe (Katie McArdle) taking whatever God might allow; Frank (Richard Sails) pining for intimacy; while Jenny (Lauren Thomas) recoils from the memory.
Living on their wits they are propped up by sex, drugs, faith, reminiscence and payday loans.
It’s all bleakly cynical, but nonetheless believable and engaging, and its writer, producer—and, on this night, programme seller as well—gifts several of his creations with some starkly realistic speeches, especially Vic’s shocking soliloquy to her make-up mirror.
The production may not necessarily have been seen at its best here, in the ersatz stage setting that is half of the floor of the ‘Conti’ theatre space, but it has slickly arranged lighting, and a detached kind of score from Michael Cretu that aids the necessary intimacy and atmosphere.
On this showing you would look forward to McKee’s subsequent work.
‘completely compelling …a slick, interesting and very entertaining piece of theatre’ -
The Public Reviews
‘a clever, comic and touching drama’ – Manchester Evening News
Thrasher Rehearsal Pictures by Tracey Gibbs: http://tinyurl.com/69rgq2h
Tracey Gibbs website: http://www.traceygibbs.co.uk
Eflyer design by Ric Gibbs: http://ricgibbs.com/
Following the success of Burnt, which debuted at the Contact last year, Conor McKee returns to Manchester with his new play, Thrasher. A complete sell-out at the Royal Exchange Studio, hopes are clearly high. Thrasher revolves around the lives of six very different people one night in Manchester. We have Lee and Jenny, whose relationship is on its last legs, as Lee scavenges around to save it and scrape himself out of debt. There’s typical lad Colin, his horrible manipulative, venomous girlfriend Vic, and her “best friend” God-bothering Chloe, who Colin seems to have a less-than-innocent interest in. And finally there’s Frank, a lonely middle-aged man, who is a little bit of a mystery.
It’s a wonderful ensemble cast, with great performances. The chemistry between all the actors is fantastic. Former Hollyoaks actor Darren John Langford injects real humour into the role of Colin; his scene with Vic in the call centre has some brilliant, scathing lines. The desperation displayed by Ryan Greaves’ Lee is entirely believable, and despite the character being a self-confesssed “scumbag”, the audience can’t help but warm to him. But the real star of this show is Cathy Shiel, who embodies pure evil is the horribly unlikable Vic. Vic’s vitriol infects nearly every character, and she has absolutely no sense of remorse; it is only as the play progresses that we learn how far this awful woman is prepared to go to get what she wants. Cathy Shiel’s delivery and movement is so carefully crafted and considered; she makes Vic repulsive but completely compelling.
The minimalist set reflects the fast moving nature of the script, and the cast make great use of vast stage space of The Studio. The play itself has some great dialogue, and some really revealing monologues… a slick, interesting and very entertaining piece of theatre.
Thrasher has sold out its initial allocation of tickets at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. An additional show has been added on Saturday 1st October at 4pm. Tickets are on sale now.
The matinee will be followed by a sharing of the results of the company’s attachment scheme. The sharing is FREE to all ticketholders for Thrasher and £3.50 otherwise.
Local writers Adam Lowe and Joanne Sherryden are currently writing ten minute plays in response to a rehearsal of Thrasher. These will be workshopped by director Wyllie Longmore and writer Conor McKee along with directors on attachment Ekua Bayuna and Mairi MacFarlane.
Ekua and Mairi have watched and participated in the rehearsals of Thrasher and received one on one mentorship from director Wyllie Longmore as part of the scheme. The writers will have mentorship from Conor as they write their plays. Once the plays are ready, they will be workshopped by the group, using the company’s method of actor driven script enquiry.
The results will be shared with the public on Saturday 1st October at 6pm in The Studio, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.
The sharing will be accompanied by a Q&A with cast, writers, directors plus Wyllie and Conor. A chance for theatregoers and professionals to get an understanding of how the company’s process works and how they may use it for themselves.
Click ‘About’ for more information on the writer, the director’s website is www.wyllielongmore.co.uk