MAY 17th 2018 7.30pm
A ScriptMIX SparkFest Showcase Event
theatreLab is presenting a brand new piece of new writing that will be premiered in this years SparkFest. This evening event is Pay- what - you - can and offers a new extract from producer Dan Lewis-Jones and writers Ryan Mellish and Douglas Murdouch. This creative team are currently developing a new piece of work exploring the life of Lyrcist Howard Asham. This unique insight is an opportunity to take a taster of there work so far, offer feedback and be part of our exciting creative community.
A New Play
Inspired by the life of Howard Ashman, this play explores the ideas of legacy, love and fear. It follows Howard - lyricist of Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ - and his partner Bill as they struggle to find a place in the world increasingly hostile to them as the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 90s begins to take its grip across the gay and artistic communities. After Howard’s death, Bill faces accepting the first posthumous Oscar awarded to someone who has died of AIDS and at the same time ensuring the legacy of his lover. While Bill struggles to accept being an out gay man, he must also discover how to come to terms with Howard’s death.
Set against the backdrop of the 1980’s AIDS crisis we follow the story of two men struggling to know if their love is strong enough to tell the world. Through their relationship both men have to deal with their own insecurities and fears as well as attitudes of a modern day society.
Inspired by the love story of lyricist behind ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Howard Ashman, and Bill Lauch, this new play tackles issues of acceptance not only in society but of yourself.
The Creative Team
Ryan Mellish - Writer
Ryan, a Bath Spa University graduate, is a Swansea and Bath-based writer, actor and composer. Credits include the musical Heartbeat (writer/composer), which tackles the stigma of mental health and explores the psychological effects of living without labels: Ellipsism (co-writer), which parallels Napoleon’s final days in exile on the island of St Helena with Britain’s current tenuous relationship with the EU. Ryan is currently rewriting Heartbeat for future productions and co-writing an unnamed project delving into the impact and legacy of art.
Douglas Murdoch - Writer
Bournemouth-born Douglas is a Bath-based playwright and screenwriter, now studying for an MA in Scriptwriting at Bath Spa University. His credits include: ‘Forgive Me’ (2017) a short film that explores sexuality and attraction; a verbatim piece exploring the Calais migrant crisis;
Dan Lewis-Jones - Creative Producer
Originally from Cardiff, Dan is currently studying an MA in Creative Producing at Bath Spa University and is an associate producer for OnSet. As LGBTQ+ Liberation Reperensive for Bath Spa’s Student Union (2017) Dan oversaw the development of Alphabet Soup, a website that explores sexuality and gender. His credits include: Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, a site-specific piece that spread across the city of Bath, in partnership with Visit Bath (Associate Producer); ‘Forgive Me’, A short LGBTQ+ play about coming out;
The Future of the Project
Currently supported by Bath Spa University and TheatreLab, Ashman has its first rehearsed reading at SparkFest on the 17th May 2018. This will be a scoping tool to test the script prior to the next stage of development. We are currently preparing a funding bid for Arts Council England to support a 2-week R&D process in July with plans to go in to full production that can open in the new year.