Hi, I'm Janie Ash.
I'm on a mission to help my friend, Christine Mackie and her daughter Lois, raise funds to take their new play to The Edinburgh Fringe this summer and I'm asking you, to please help.
Let me tell you a bit more about it.
Actor Christine Mackie (Coronation Street & Downton Abbey) wrote this semi-autobiographical play in a moment of heartfelt reconciliation with events in her own past - and gave it to her daughter, actor Lois Mackie (WYP, Catherine Wheels, Dukes, Elysium & Hope Mill Theatre).
From being finalists in the 2019 LET Awards, Christine and Lois were offered a space at the Pleasance Courtyard and that means BEST GIRL will be at The Cellar for the whole Festival and that’s why we’re raising funds.
Venue costs, marketing, insurance, printing and some expenses for Lois (actor), Kayleigh Hawkins (director) and Alice Longson (technician) make our breakeven goal £5000.
Any money made from performances after venue commission will be divided equally between:
Bringing the expenses somewhere towards Equity rates.
Making a donation to FIRSTLIGHT TRUST and YOUNGMINDS (veterans and mental health charities).
And building up resources for our future Best Girl Productions (another script is in development...).
Here's a few words from Christine:
"We are immensely grateful to all friends who have already put their money where their support is by buying tickets for the development events at Hope Mill, The Dukes and the LET Competition.
We also know money is tight. If contributing is not for you on this occasion please pass on the information about the show but keep in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram .
THANK YOU, YOU ARE QUITE LITERALLY THE BEST FRIENDS!"
And a few words from Lois:
“To be taking part in my first one-woman show is emotional and challenging in it's self, but add to that the subject matter and family connection and we’ve got something really unique. I am very proud of what we have made and excited to share it with everyone.”
Here's, what's people are saying:
"A sharply written, moving, wise and witty play." April de Angelis. Playwright and Olivier Award nominee
" A thought-provoking piece matched with a heart-warming performance" Joseph Houston, Artistic Director, Hope Mill Theatre,
Please support BEST GIRL and do try and see the show at GMF July 18-20th or at Edinburgh August 1-26th (except 12th & 19th).
Thank you so much. Janie x
Thank you to Greater Manchester Fringe for this video and news story.
Christine, says: "Lois had the opportunity to do a scratch night and I wrote the piece for her. It is based on my life experience as a kid but updated to present day Manchester. It is about what happens to a child of a veteran.
"Everybody is very familiar with the problems that veterans face, the experiences they have when they have served, and when they come back.
But this is what happens to the generation after and it is much funnier than it sounds."
Here's an update from Christine about why she wants to support these two wonderful charities...
I'm very keen to support the two charities Firstlight Trust and YoungMinds . Both organisations are brilliantly practical in their approach to help the growing number ex-service personnel and young people who find it hard to cope.
Best Girl is a small story in a way but when the audience understand why Annie struggles to make and sustain relationships in life, I think they'll be rooting for her to find the happy ending all bereaved children hope for.
Dorinda Woolfe Murray - Firstlight Trust
"I cannot thank you enough for wanting to support Firstlight Trust. I think too that the timing is perfect and absolutely underpins the work we want to do around secondary trauma, families and children."
Alice Clarke - YoungMinds
"It's great to hear you want to support us. With 1 in 10 children suffering from a diagnosable mental health disorder today we are left with a terrible situation of over-stretched services and children struggling to access the help they desperately need. YoungMinds is a small organisation trying to make a big difference and with your support we can continue empowering children and young people, supporting parents and carers, training professionals, making mental health information accessible, changing policy and challenging stigma."
A wonderful full page article in The Manchester Evening News...
Despite its serious subject matter, Best Girl has a positive tone and message.
"It's been interesting because it's part of my daughter's history, she didn't meet her grandfather unfortunately, but it's something she's known about for a long time. It's all been very interesting," says Christine.
"It sounds as if it's all very sad and emotional, but actually the play is immensely positive and the experience of working with Lois and our fantastic director Kayleigh Hawkins has all been like that."
Christine hopes audiences will be able to find something meaningful to them in the play.
"This story is a small thing in a way, there's no big claim to be anything, but in our play Annie is somebody who has struggled very much to make relationships and keep relationships, because if you lose somebody, if you lose the person you love most in the world because they chose not to be with you anymore, that's very, very hard to come to terms with. It makes you think you are not worth very much.
- Suzie Thompson