In his quest to find new audiences for theatre, Mark MacNicol has taken the unusual step of offering his audience at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe their money back if they don't enjoy his play, Serve Cold.
When asked about his motivation for such a risky strategy Mark said, "I didn't go to see my first play until I started writing full-time three years ago. I was excluded from theatre growing up. I do understand that 'Cultural Exclusion' is a complex issue and I'm not blaming any specific organisations but nonetheless it is a reality."
As part of a recent Creative Scotland funding application aimed at addressing the issue of 'Cultural Exclusion' Mark cross-checked theatre box office data against the Scottish Exec's deprivation index. He discovered that people living in 'Socially Excluded' post-codes were attending theatre in numbers well below national averages.
Serve Cold is set in Glasgow's waterfront area where a doctor lives with her Ex fiancé in a plush penthouse. After being dumped she plans to take revenge and enlists the help of a prostitute who works the same waterfront area under the watchful eye of her controlling pimp.
Mark said "I'm from Pollok, a socially excluded area in Glasgow. I'm not exaggerating when I say that none of my family, friends or neighbours have any interest in theatre. This makes me sad and frustrated because I have been blown away by some of the productions I have seen and truly see them as life changing. My hope is that I can convince more people to give it a try."
We asked Mark if the money back offer was simply a gimmick, "Not at all. I want people who wouldn't normally attend theatre to experience what I have. Give my play a try. Give the Fringe a try. If you don't like it I'll refund your ticket price out of my own pocket I can't say fairer than that can I?"
Mark's play Serve Cold runs now through Aug 11th and Aug 20-27th at Gryphon Point Hotel. Tickets are available from the Fringe box office on www.edfringe.com or 0131 226 0000.
ABOUT THE TEAM:
Mark MacNicol (Writer/Director): Novel – Coconut Badger Guradian long listed for First Book Prize. Play – Scheme. Tron Theatre 2011. Play – Kamikaze. Baldy Bane (Schools Tour) 2012. Play – Cooconut Badger. Unscene Productions 2010.
Stage to Page – A monthly workshop for new writing Mark founded (supported by Playwrights' Studio Scotland) http://www.playwrightsstudio.co.uk/stagetopage.htm
Nicola Clark (Playing Grace the working-class prostitute): Studied performance techniques at the Groundlings Institute in Los Angeles. Recent credits include John Byrne's Slab Boys Trilogy (Ramshorn). She also appeared in the short film 'If it's to be' directed by Kate Mitchell.
Elaine McKergow (Playing Joy the middle-class doctor): Currently studying Acting and Performance at Langside College, her theatre credits to date include Bryony Lavery's 'More Light', Jane Martin's 'Cementville', Terence McNally's 'Corpus Christi, and Lanford Wilson's 'Balm In Gilead'. She is currently in rehearsals for Christopher Durang's 'Naomi in the Living Room and David Ives 'Universal Language'. She also recently directed 'Sure Thing' by David Ives.