Present : Tense / Two


5 February 2006 Old Red Lion Theatre


Following its thrilling sell-out debut in 2005, present : tense returns to challenge some of the UK's most exciting young artists to respond to the most important news story of the moment in just one week.

Four playwrights, four directors, two film makers, two poets and a musician convened on Sunday 29 January to scour the papers for the most significant story on the news agenda. They each have seven days to create a piece of work that responds to the topic they choose. As the news changes, they will be forced to adapt their work, until it is performed for the public exactly one week later on Sunday 5 February.

Stop Press: After much deliberation, the present : tense two artists have decided to tackle the story of Dr Anne Truman, who travelled to Switzerland to take her own life last week. Dr Truman's story was considered the most important story on the news agenda and is thus our topic. The artists now have one week to create a response to the story...

present : tense aims to be backlash theatre at its most responsive, offering artists the chance to have their say on the most important issue of the day. In October 2005, present : tense 1 tackled the terror attacks in Bali.

Here's the present : tense 2 line-up:

The Playwrights:

Glyn Cannon Glyn Cannon's first professional production was of his play On Blindness at the Soho Theatre, produced by Paines Plough, Frantic Assembly and Graeae theatre companies. He followed this with Gone, an adaptation of Sophocles' Antigone at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2004, where the play won a Scotsman Fringe First award, and The Guardian Best Play. The production subsequently transferred for a limited run to the West End at the New Ambassadors' Theatre, London. He was also Associate Playwright at Paines Plough 2003/2004.

Dawn King Dawn King's plays include Arrival with Baggage (Reading at Royal Court Theatre) ZOO (Reading at Royal Court Theatre, performed at Arcola Theatre and Hackney Empire) and How to Live Forever (Hampstead Theatre Start Night). She regularly writes short plays for subVERSE at Theatre 503. Her radio play Water Sculptures was recently broadcast live on Resonance FM.

Duncan Macmillan Duncan's first play The Most Humane Way to Kill a Lobster was written whilst on the Royal Court Young Writer's Programme, and presented as a reading in the Theatre Upstairs alongside his second play From Here to the Moon, before a run at Theatre503.

Tena Stivicic Tena Stivicic was born and raised in Zagreb where she graduated from the Academy of Drama Arts, department of Playwriting and Dramaturgy. Her plays have been produced in Croatia and across Eastern and Central Europe, published and translated to several languages. She completed an MA in Writing for Performance at Goldmsiths College in London. Tena took part in Future Perfect, the Paines Plough young writers programme. She lives and works in London.

The Directors:

Kirsty Housley Kirsty studied Theatre and Performance Studies at The University of Warwick. Directing includes: Cue Deadly: A Live Film Project (Riverside Studios); a devised Wuthering Heights (BAC); another deivsed piece I’m Crazy For Feeling So Lonely (East 15 Acting School); After The Fact by Steve Lally (Soho Theatre) for Net Curtains Theatre Co; Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, adapted by Simon Block; Nymphs and Shepherds by David Hines; Henry IV by Luigi Pirandello; The Chic Nerds by Ronan O’Donnell (all for the Etcetera Theatre); Blue Jam by Chris Morris (Etcetera Theatre, Riverside Studios and BAC) which achieved Time Out, Guardian and Evening Standard Critics Choice; and Newsrevue, Edinburgh Festival C Venues. Work as an Assistant Director includes: 24 Hour Plays (Assistant to Robert Delamere), USUK and Canada Foreplay (Assistant to Samuel West and Paulette Randall), both at The Old Vic, and Hoxton Story (Assistant to Lisa Goldman, The Red Room). Kirsty has also worked as a script reader for Soho Theatre, The Kings Cross Award, The Old Vic and Channel 4. Kirsty was Artistic Director of The Etcetera Theatre in Camden from 2000–2003 and was the winner of the inaugural Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award in 2003.

George Perrin George is associate director and co-founder of nabokov. He was the first recipient of the Genesis Directors Award at the Young Vic, is a member of the Old Vic’s New Voices for whom he directed one of the 2005 24 Hour Plays. He is currently the assistant director at Paines Plough.

Psyche Stott Psyche has recently been invited to attend the Directors Programme at the National Studio, in March. She is currently Assistant Director to Anna Mackmin on the no 1 tour of Mammals and will shortly be directing a piece for The Missing Piece 5 showcase, in association with Graeae Theatre Company and The Young Vic.

The Film Makers:

Lucy Purdon Lucy has made several short documentaries, both here and abroad, and produces films with The Listen Collective, a film making group she helped set up. Their first feature release is due in May 2006. Lucy currently works as a researcher on factual TV programmes.

Ruth Schocken Katz Ruth is a student at the London Film School about to go into production on her graduation film. She directed the short documentary Keeping Time, which has been screened at various festivals around the world, and recently completed Writing Mother, a short fiction film, which she wrote and directed. She has previously produced the V-Day campaign which raises awareness to issues of violence towards women and children through productions of the play The Vagina Monologues. Ruth also works as a freelance photographer.

The Poets:

Joel Stickley Joel is a member of the poetry collective Aisle16, whose show Poetry Boyband ran at the Old Red Lion in December and was given Critics' Choice in Time Out for four weeks running before being named as one of their Critics' Choices of the year. He's been on Radio 3, BBC7, BBC Scotland, ITV and BBC Choice, which doesn't exist any more but did at the time. He won the Glastonbury Festival Poetry slam in 2003. For a while, he ran creative writing workshops at the University of East Anglia. He's done gigs in London, Manchester, Norwich, York, Penzance, Bath, Coventry, St Ives, Sheffield, Leeds, Chelmsford, Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool and Edinburgh. But not in that order. Also, he likes dogs.

Ross Sutherland Ross Sutherland began performing poetry aged seventeen, as support for punk-poet John Cooper Clarke. In 2000 he became one of the founding members of the live poetry collective, Aisle16, with whom he continues to tour the UK. He has performed internationally at the Nitra Performing Arts Festival (2005), as well as competing in poetry slams in Germany and Switzerland. Ross has been published in poetry journals Reactions and Orbis and is a regular contributor to Liverpool's Mercy magazine ( In 2002 he co-edited the new-writing collection Rock/text (Pen & Inc) with Gary Dylan Seal. Currently writing a thesis on computer-generated poetry, Ross also runs poetry workshops in schools / prisons / community centres across the North West. Since June 2002, he has been the host of monthly multimedia poetry club Fiction (

The Musician:

Liam Gerner Liam is a hot new presence in contemporary singer songwriting. Born in Australia, he has been writing songs and performing since the age of 12, his original sound shuffles between genres: folk, country, rock, and blues. Lyrically, he captures an emotional spectrum, from delicate expressions of love, to courageous political commentary. Recent gigs include the WOMAD festivals (Australia, UK), The Borderline, the 12 Bar Club, and supports for Martha Wainwright and Teddy Thompson. Liam is currently London based while recording his debut album at Air studios with producer Andy Strange (Elton John, Robbie Williams).