Gareth Brierley

Some might call me a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. I say…stuff it. Here’s the story so far…

Acting

I’ve worked as actor for hire for companies such as the RSC, PEOPLE SHOW, THE REALLY USEFUL COMPANY, MANCHESTER ROYAL EXCHANGE, LONE TWIN, STANS CAFÉ, THEATRE RITES, FORCED ENTERTAINMENT and STATIONHOUSE OPERA. Have performed around the country in rep and in places such as India, South America, Canada, Romanian, Germany and Basingstoke.

Been directed by Greg Hersov, Josette Bushell-Mingo, Anthony Neilson and Mark Long.

I have done little bits of TV and FILM ,but not enough, and sold everything from HONDA to PERSIL around the globe in TV Adverts.

They love me selling things in Spain they do.

Most recently I have been in the wonderful short film Stanley Pickle, which has won every award in the world for the talented Vicky Mather.

Spotlight profile

Devising

I have devised theatre since graduating from Leicester in 1994. I was very lucky in my final year of my degree to work on three performance projects with Rachel Cappell (DANGEROUS BAGGAGE) . A couple of those shows (HEARTBURN, DEATH DOGS AND DESIRES) were lucky enough to be launched onto the touring circuit and my strange path into experimental theatre was decided. Since then I have  made over thirty pieces of original live performance that have toured nationally and also in South America, Germany, Romania and India. These include THE MAN WHO THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO DIE, THE LOST ISLAND AND THE ORDER OF MEMORIES.  Seventy two percent of all these shows were good. I am always dedicated, some say condemned, to making new original live performance. I have been lucky enough to work with artists such as GARY STEVENS, TIM ETCHELLS, MARK LONG, DAVID GALE and the fantastic ARTS ADMIN. In recent years I have worked a lot with the PEOPLE SHOW (113 to 121)  and I am lucky enough to be an artistic steering group member of the company.

I have directed shows and Workshop lead for establishments such as MANCHESTER METROPOLITAIN UNIVERSITY, LEEDS METROPOLITAIN UNIVERSITY, DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY and various FE colleges in the East Midlands. Since 2004 I’ve worked with BRIGHTON COLLEGE ; I direct a production every year that I devise with the students from scratch. These shows have toured in this country and abroad. I co – devised the first PEOPLE SHOW”S summer school  in 2009 This year I have co devised THE PUMPHOUSE PROJECT in battersea park, a large out door show with a cast of 40 in the park and the pumphouse gallery.

Writing

Since first working in devised theatre I have had written input into many of the shows I have performed in.Since 2007 I have enjoyed writing independently . The play wot I wrote “NICE PEOPLE” has enjoyed some success: it won the Brighton Festival Angel Award 2008 for Artistic Excellence. It also gained an Edinburgh Fringe First Nomination 2008, and came in the Top 5 Shortlist for the Carol Tambor (New York) “Best of Edinburgh” Award.

Nice People is currently being broadcast on SKY ARTS.

Most recently I was commissioned with the People Show and The Liverpool City of culture to write an adaptation of Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata that was performed last year in Liverpool.

I have just finished my first novel ‘MELEK” and have been testing out chapters on a story telling night called “Are You Sitting Comfortably” in London. Myself and Bernadtte Russell have been running a story telling event for over a year now to promote new writing and it’s been very popular.

This novel marks the first of a trilogy that immerses the reader into the world of Melek. The idea for this book began after I had written the short story ‘Level 99’, a tale about the death of a man and his entrance into the lowest level of heaven. Once there he discovers that Level 99 is a battleground for the war with hell, nothing really functions properly, and the inhabitants are just grunts to be used as cannon fodder in battle. In the story a weary angel appears as an induction officer for heaven, and gives a shoddy Power Point presentation to the bewildered troops. This minor character was Melek, and I couldn’t get this one winged, alcoholic, disillusioned higher being out of my head. . I then fleshed out a history for the angel from the beginning of time to the present day and created a mythology arc. The story follows Melek as he travels through the many levels of heaven and hell, via 15th century Turkey, briefly stopping off in a sleazy bar in downtown New York.

I’m a big TV series fan. I love devouring whole seasons of The X files, Deadwood, The Wire etc. For me it’s all about the investment in character, and the creation of a rich and complex storyline that makes you want the series to go on forever.  Melek, I hope, is like a great TV series. There is the main story and the central myth woven throughout the novel, but there are also stories that can stand-alone, Melek is always involved in the tales, however mayor, or minor, and other characters may make a solitary appearance, or reappear in the shadows of other narratives.

I really enjoy placing ordinary people into extraordinary situations.

Melek is an angel, but through all its foibles, traits and habits, I trust I have created a very recognisable hero. The Novel, I feel, is funny, dramatic, epic and thought provoking.
My other mortal heroes include David Mitchell, Paul Auster, Neil Gaimen and Margaret Atwood to name but a few.

Next I would like write the second book in the Melek Series, a play about dungeons and dragons and a TV series called “DEADFACE’   a story about ghosts.

Many Things

I have done many other things in the name of art that I will never speak about.

gareth@thewhiterabbit.org.uk