One of the city’s most vibrant and inventive community theatre companies returns this week with their fourth full length production.
The play – a French tragi-comedy about elderly couple receiving invisible guests to (possibly) reveal the meaning of life – is a two-hander, but has been turned into an ensemble piece with a cast of 13. A live soundtrack will be performed by a band comprising members of Tramp Attack and the Loose Moose String Band.
“We can’t find anyone who has done this play in Liverpool, it is not very well known,” says actress and Tell Tale co-founder Leanne Jones. “We wanted to do something funny as everything we have done previously has been so dark – we wanted a totally different challenge.”
The company prides itself on its ensemble approach, and was set up to be open and accessible to volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. Founded by four friends all with day jobs in the city’s arts scene, Tell Tale’s first production was its own adaptation of 1984, back in 2010. A devised sequel to Trainspotting followed on, and last year they presented The Crucible at the Static Gallery. Despite some thrilling performances from cast members in that time, nobody involved classes themselves as a professional actor.
Last year you might have even seen them on TV – they made it to the semi-finals of dubiously-named Sky Arts show Nation’s Best Am Dram.Judge Miriam Margoyles wasn’t a fan, but their professional mentor Martin Shaw still takes an interest in the group.
Finding unusual or hidden spaces to perform has always appealed to the company, and The Chairs will take place in the space of the small concert room in St George’s Hall.
“We wanted to make it really high energy, while respecting and valuing the relationship at the heart of the story,” says Leanne. “We try and experiment – we like having a big cast and aim to do things that are visually powerful. When we can we love to use multimedia and live music.”
Tell Tale have ambitious plans ahead and hope to take their work into schools in the future.
“For us it is about bringing people together, to give everyone a chance to work together and create. Each process so far has been different – we enjoy what we do and figuring out what we are about more and more.”
Catch The Chairs this Friday and Saturday (February 7 and 8). Tickets are available here.