World Premier Drama and New Poetry Explore the Limits of Love

World Premier Drama and New Poetry Explore the Limits of LoveBunbury Banter and Dumfries Theatre Royal are gearing up for Freckle, the third groundbreaking Play, Poet & Pastry event

A Perthshire playwright and Dumfries poet are joining forces for a groundbreaking performing arts initiative at Scotland's oldest Working Theatre.

Giles Conisbee, from Pitlochry, and police officer turned poet JoAnne McKay have been selected for the third of four Play, Poet and Pastry (PPP) evenings that offer world premier drama, brand new poetry and a live post-performance discussion.

Taking place for one night only at the Theatre Royal, on Friday 26 January, the event will centre on Giles' newly written play called Freckle which explores the limits of love.

A Play, A Poet and A Pastry has been devised by Dumfries and Galloway-based Bunbury Banter Theatre Company to bring high quality theatre and poetry to audiences in south-west Scotland.

It's also designed to generate a genuine sense of spontaneity throughout. The poet's task is to respond to the play - and have a strictly limited time in which to work.

The two-person cast (unveiled next week) faces an even stricter challenge, having just a fortnight and two rehearsals before going on stage.

Philip Anderson-Dyer, Producer and co-founder of Bunbury Banter, said: "Live art is always challenging, but we have designed PPP to push this much further in order to get the freshest possible performances - and it's proving a great success.

"The first two events went down a storm with the audiences and Freckle will hopefully build on this as it involves another exciting playwright, and a highly accomplished poet, and focuses on compelling emotional themes."

Freckle introduces the audience to Stevie and Aoife, a couple whose lives are engulfed by a horror from their past.

Married, mortgaged, model parents - they were just like the rest of their suburban neighbourhood. They are now back together after an enforced separation and trying to put their lives back together in a world awash with guilt, pain and regret; recriminations as much a part of the household as taking the bins out and making the school run.

As the gulf between them widens, reaching out to each other and bridging the chasm seems harder than simply slipping into the abyss.

The performances will be followed by a discussion involving the cast, playwright and poet in the theatre's studio over pastries.

Bunbury Banter are specialists in new and experimental theatre and have recently produced Blackout to much acclaim, worked with the National Theatre of Scotland on the Five-Minute Festival, and a web-based audio production called Mortar which starred Timothy West, Prunella Scales and Nichola McAuliffe.

A Play, A Poet & A Pastry involves the semi-staging of the plays. It is supported by the Holywood Trust, DGU's Regional Arts Fund and Dumfries and Galloway Arts Live. The pastries are provided by the Marchbank Bakery.

Book online at, and at Midsteeple Box Office on 01387 253383.

About Giles Conisbee: A widely published poet, Giles was picked up by the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in 2013 and enjoyed a year-long playwriting development programme. A site-specific play and an audio play were both performed as part of the Write Here Write Now Festival in 2013. Giles has been writing short plays for the Village Pub Theatre Collective for the last four years. In 2017, he was shortlisted for the Scottish Short Play Award and his full-length play Callings was performed as a rehearsed reading in Traverse Edinburgh. Giles's plays have also appeared in the Edinburgh Festival and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Despite living in Highland Perthshire, he is often found lingering in the sound of the sea.

About JoAnne McKay: JoAnne McKay was born in Romford, Essex to a family of slaughterers and served as a police officer in Bristol before moving to South West Scotland two decades ago. A prize-winning and widely published poet, she has produced four poetry pamphlets and has appeared at Literary Festivals throughout the UK. She was the 2016 Dumfries Poetry Slam Champion.

About the Director: Ali Anderson-Dyer has directed Blackout (Theatre Royal, Dumfries), Ego et Al (Hidden Door Festival 2017), Freedoms Cut (National Theatre of Scotland's five Minute Festival), Moon On A Stick & Fancy Meeting You Here by Lisa Fulthorpe (Bunbury Banter), Rain Stops Play (Bunbury Banter, starring Timothy West and Prunella Scales) The Bonk (Bunbury Banter, starring Nichola McAuliffe), Handmaidens of Death (University of Hertfordshire), Memories of Loss (Riverside Studios), The Fastest Clock in the Universe by Philip Ridley (Battersea Arts Centre), Stiff (Rosemary Branch Theatre), Settled (Rosemary Branch Theatre) and Gaelic Storytelling; The Bravery of Love (St Mary's University College).

About Bunbury Banter: Bunbury Banter's artistic work combines the dynamic intensity of audio with the theatrical traditions and excitement, found in performance. Often working with new writing, the company also experiments with other forms of drama and storytelling, outside the realms of a theatre space. Recent work includes Blackout, by Davey Anderson, Freedoms' Cut, a verbatim theatre piece for the National Theatre of Scotland Five Minute Festival; Mortar, a web-based audio experience which peaks behind the curtains of a shared townhouse in modern day Britain and shines a light on each inhabitant's existence, starring Timothy West, Prunella Scales and Nichola McAuliffe; The Dark Outside, a site-specific transmission of select pieces of their past audio work in the UK's first dark sky forest.

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