About us

Blue Masque Theatre is a Manchester-based theatre company, with the mission of bringing good theatre to thirsty people. It was founded by its Artistic Director, Rhonwen McCormack.

The company opened in January 2007 with a launch production of "American Haiku" at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London. This collection of ten-minute plays, all previous competition winners from the Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky, was produced with a predominantly American cast, and was a true reflection of ensemble acting as six actors took between them all the roles, from the sharp political satire of Mary Gallagher's "Perfect" to the atmospheric stillness of Andy Backer's "Bread", as well as the wild physical humour of John Pielmeier's "Pillow Talk", the dark manipulation of Jeffrey Sweet's "Cover", and the pain-filled love of Murphy Guyer's "The Interrogation." Featured cast were: James Burton, Tim Davenport, Charlotte Endacott, Anne Gill, Derek Hagen and Francesca Nider.

"That was fabulous!" - representative from the Manchester Library Theatre.

"Coitophobia" by Manchester playwright Maria Roberts was the second Blue Masque production. It participated at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2007 and was nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. A dark comedy drama about unusual relationships tinged with the memory of domestic violence; it received touching feedback from some members of the audience, and praise for the quality of the acting, which again incorporated a strong sense of ensemble performance and some skilled multiple characterisations. Featured cast were: Kiney Bailes, Allison Bell, Noel Byrne, Helena Coates, Corinne Handforth and Freddie Machin, with extra performance support from Debra Low.

After a paused period, due to raising young children and the Global Financial Crisis, Blue Masque Theatre relaunched in 2017 with two staged playreadings at the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.

The first, an adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here" by Tony Taccone and Bennet S. Cohen, was the first performance in the United Kingdom of this Berkeley Repertory Theatre Script, and was nominated for Best Revival in the GM Fringe awards. Performed by a cast of recent acting graduates from the Manchester School of Theatre, it was a timely dystopia exploring the effects on 1930s America of a Trump-like dictator coming to power. Featured cast were: Nicholas Ancelin, Brogan Bailey, Amy Beckett, Adam Gardiner, Rachael Gill-Davis, Callum James, Tayla Kenyon, Elaine McNicol and Dafydd Shalders.

"This full length, script in hand performance was enthralling from the first moment to the last and expertly performed by a young cast with an exciting future ahead of them. Equally director Rhonwen McCormack's decision to restart productions with her Blue Masque Theatre paves the way for an exciting future if tonight's performance is anything to go by." - "North West End."

The second was a new comedy by Rhonwen McCormack called "Why Does Everybody Want To Move To Australia?" (now being redeveloped as "Paradise Down Under"), which explored the British fascination with emigrating to Australia, and the myths and wish-fulfilment behind those desires. Featured cast were: Phil Chadwick, John F. Doull, Suzanne Nichole Preston, Emma Jane Ramsden, Robert Stuart-Hudson, and Rachel Voldman.

"One thousand per cent" - audience member's answer aftwerwards on whether the script should be professionally produced.

Blue Masque Theatre would like to thank Trafford Council's Creative Development Scheme for funding the company's website; the Future Jobs Fund for funding a market researcher; and PANDA (Performing Arts Networking and Development Agency), Third Sector Enterprises, Business Support Solutions, Art and Business North West, Arts Council England North West, CAN (Community Arts Network) North West, the National Arts Fundraising School, the Directory of Social Change, the National Rural Touring Forum, Independant Theatre Council, the Directors Guild of Great Britain, Stage Directors UK, Write For The Stage, EUCLID, the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and peers from PANDA and the Genesis Directors Project at the Young Vic for all their advice and support.