Friday, 21 September 2012


Here at the Happy Zone blog we are constantly on the look out for new and exciting things that make us happy. New music, new boutique shops, places to go, interesting independent films and other innovative and unique events and happenings. So imagine how excited we were when we heard about a brand new fringe theatre company starting up in Guildford, England!

We were lucky enough to catch up with co-founder of the Guildford Fringe Theatre Company, award-nominated musical director Niall Bailey. 

Q. First of all, what can you tell our readers about yourself and your interest in theatre, musical theatre and the arts?

A. Well, I love theatre!  I’ve been involved since I was 15 – and eventually turned to professional theatre work when I was 25.  I now work as a tutor at the Guildford School of Acting in the singing and music department, a freelance musical director and orchestrator and now I also work as a producer, having set up Guildford Fringe Theatre Company. 

Q. Tell us some more about the Guildford Fringe Theatre Company?

A.  My friend Nick Wyschna came to me a few months ago with an idea for doing a show in the Back Room at Guildford town centre pub The Star Inn.  We met one lunch time to go see the place and I could immediately see the possibilities.  So we formed the company, chose The Last Five Years as our first production, and we have a number of exciting things planned for the coming months.

Q. Why did you choose The Last Five Years as your launch show?

A. It’s a terrific show.  It only has two in the cast, so it’s a very intimate show and is perfect for a small venue like ours.  The story is about two people, Jamie who is a novelist and Cath who is an actress, and their five year relationship.  Jason Robert Brown, who wrote the show, chose a clever way of telling the story:  her story starts at the end and works back to when they first met, his starts at their first date and moves in normal chronological order til the relationship breaks apart at the end.  The way that these two timelines weave in and out of each other is rather special – no wonder Jason Robert Brown won so many awards for it!

Q. What has the Guildford Fringe Theatre Company got lined up for the rest of the year and do you have a game plan for 2013?

A.  We have a play booked for a week in December – but we can’t say what it is yet, until the licence is signed and sealed.  It’s great, though.  It’s a fairly new play, about a young man who is a little unsure of how he fits in.  It’s very funny – but quite sad too.  Bring some tissues….
Next year, we have a month-long festival planned for the summer where we hope to attract a wide range of theatre, music, poetry and comedy and provide Guildford and the surrounding area a great menu of entertainment to come to. 

Q. Are there any particular musicals or plays that you really want your company to perform in the future and what informs these choices?

A. There are loads….!  “Doubt” by John Patrick Shanley is an amazing play.  So it’s top of my list.  “Show Boat” is one of my favourite musicals, and if the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s estate (who own the rights to perform it) would allow me to adapt it for a small stage then it’d be up there too!  There is another relatively new play, recently on in London, and we’re negotiating the rights for that for our Christmas show next year.  It’s about a rather dysfunctional group of friends and is set on New Year’s Eve…….a great set up for a drama….!

Useful links:

Guildford Fringe Theatre Company

Buy tickets for The Last Five Years!

Guildford Fringe Twitter

Guildford Fringe Youtube

Niall Bailey

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