3… 2… 1… Lift Off. We Have A Lift Off / by Liam McLaughlin

Here we go again. It’s that time of year when hopeful theatre companies all over the country frantically double check application deadlines for various fringe festivals and prepare their artistic output for the months ahead. We are at the beginning of a stressful, exhausting, but ultimately rewarding cycle that only those who really love it can see to the very end. You see, theatre simply never sleeps. Ever. Remember your insomniac university housemate who stayed up every night binge watching old episodes of ‘30 Rock’? That’s theatre. Dazed, caffeine riddled, and a bit too obsessed with Cheyenne Jackson. And so, I would like to indulge in this moment - however fleeting it may be - to mourn the end of my peaceful, undisturbed nights of blissful slumber. For you see, we here at Moonchild now find ourselves right back at the beginning of the aforementioned cycle.

Thanks to the amazing team at the Cockpit Theatre, we have been invited back to put on a brand new show as part of The Camden Fringe this August.

But wait’ I hear you say. ‘What’s all this about? Who are you? Where am I? Why has Anette Bening never won an Academy Award?’ Settle down and allow me to catch you up to speed. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.

It’s January 2017, Donald Trump has just been sworn into office as the President of the United States of America, and then we all woke up and realised it was only a horrible nightmare. My English teacher always told me to never end a story with someone waking up and realising everything the reader had just read was a dream, but I think we can make an exception in this case on behalf of, oh, I don’t know, humanity? No? Fine. Then I’ll move on. For now. Through mutual employment in a West End venue and a shared love for the French synth pop band ‘M83’, Liam Mclaughlin and I are brought together and after a number of excitable conversations we founded the company that would simply come to be known as ‘Moonchild’. The driving force behind the creation of the company was our frustration at having to rely on the power and decisions of others to have any sort of chance of making it in this industry. Tired of waiting, we decided to take matters into our own hands. Between Liam’s un-distilled passion and my obsession with old school science fiction heroines, we saw the creation of our debut show ‘PLUTO’. Written and directed by myself and with Liam producing and starring in the titular role (ain’t we the talented duo?), the show told the story of the former planet Pluto at the very moment he discovers he is no longer…well…(*spoiler alert*) a planet. With the help of his best friend and moon – Charon - the two meditate on the meaning of loneliness, friendship and identity. Oh and there was a stripper. Who was also a comet. And dressed as Sigourney Weaver. It was wild. 

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a core group of individuals, we managed to get the show into orbit and performed at the Barons Court, The Kings Head and Cockpit Theatre respectively over the course of the summer. It was a crazy ride that saw us learn a whole lot of lessons, make many mistakes and, most importantly, get our foot in the door.

We had planned to document our experience more thoroughly, but unfortunately we got so caught up in the mayhem of creating the show that we neglected to do so. Honestly, it was probably for the best that we didn’t because the outcome would have looked like something out of ‘The Blair Witch Project’. 

Not this time. 

Like I said, we’re doing it all again this year with a brand new show - the details of which I’m just dying to tell you all about - but will have to wait until the official reveal. The intention behind this blog is to take you guys on our journey over the course of the next year. Making ‘PLUTO’ was one of the most educational experiences of my life, but if I could have changed anything, I would have wished for some guidance. There was no guidebook to help make any of it easier. We made our mistakes and we quickly learned from them. Sure, they say that’s the best way to learn anything – and I agree – but I do feel it could be made that little bit easier. With each update we hope to tackle specific aspects of the production (writing, casting, promotion, rehearsal, venues etc.) and apply any advice/experience we have accumulated from our last outing. Our hope is that others interested in forming a theatre company and putting on a show can look to this blog and learn from our success and (inevitable) mistakes.

It will also serve as a quasi-newsletter to help keep you all up to date with our development as a team. Ultimately, we wanted to do something that would help us engage significantly with our audience. We have little intention of remaining as just some faceless company. Would you trust something without a face? The answer is no. Every time. Because not having a face is creepy. You know you doesn’t have a face? This guy.

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Now I don’t mean to blow our own horn, but I’m pretty sure we’re better than him. 

Mostly. 

For one, I can confirm we have faces! Rather nice faces actually. Here, take a look.

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See? We’re real people after all. 

Consider this entry an introduction. As the production marches onwards, more and more opportunities to pass on information will arise and hopefully this blog will fulfil its intention. Updates will be fairly irregular, but I endeavour to maintain this whole thing to the best of my ability and make every entry count. The next few months are sure to be a blast and I’m incredibly honoured to welcome you on this journey.

Until next time,

Callum