From ‘Irritable Owl Syndrome’ to a Rapping Goblin : 24 Hours of 14/48 Madness

If someone told me I couldn’t participate in 14/48, it would be akin to finding out I’ve got an incurable disease, or was actually born a man.

14/48 is the home of absolute sleep-deprived madness, with tantrums, myriad insane props and bits of script that YOU JUST CAN’T GET INTO YOUR HEAD.

But would I change it? You bet.

Joking. I wouldn’t change a single thing.

This Saturday, being the first ever 14/48 Takeover – four new plays from a bunch of writers all aged between 8 and 13 – was no exception (and to my rather patronising surprise, there wasn’t a single whiff of ‘Frozen’ / One Direction about any of it; sorry for that, kids).

Without quoting every script word for word, I can’t tell you exactly what wonderfulness graced the stage of The Y Theatre, but I can give you a brief run-down of my favourite moments and quotes (they won’t mean much if you weren’t there, but you know what? YOU WEREN’T THERE so that’s your fault):

– Martyn Pole (the God-like technician) and his ‘Irritable Owl Syndrome’ (see picture below, in which Martyn prances around the theatre with an irritable-looking owl).


– “But dad promised me he’d stopped looking at the occult!” Sheer genius.

– A rapping goblin (“Have you ever seen a rapping goblin? Well, there’s always a first time.”)

– Martyn (again) testing out a rope swing.

– Douglas Deans’ short shorts. So, so wrong.

– Anthony Morgan’s maniacal laugh.

I could literally fill an entire website with the stuff that made laugh in the last 24 hours, but who’s going to read that? Suffice to say that this weekend has been utterly fab. Congratulations, guys – especially the writers. You’ve done yourselves proud.

Hurrah for 14/48. Long may it continue 🙂

Three down, one to go…

Tech rehearsals are well underway, with lighting and band cues all set for three of the four brand new plays. The final set of actors are taking to the stage now, all on schedule for the debut and closing night performance at six pm!!  


We need you!

Seriously, if you can make this, do!Kids are welcome, and the plays our young writers have created have thrown up some of the most ambitious challenges we’ve faced here at 14/48 Leicester.

We have one show, and one show only at 6pm to do these writers proud. Be there.

Banks and banks of humming machinery

As alluded to in my last post, there’s much technical wizardry goes into the 14/48 performances (along with oceanic quantities of caffeine). Both of these feature in the exciting behind the scenes image below….oooooooh!! Said wizardry will soon be called into action as the tech rehearsals will be kicking off shortly, this will inevitably involve more lighting cues than you can shake a pointy stick at (if you like shaking pointy sticks at things obviously). 

Bring the noize 

I can’t title this post as I’d like to – it would give too much away… But suffice to say the house band are stretching their prog-folk legs and channeling arch experimentalists Gong to soundtrack one of the four plays (I’m sure the 8-14yr old writers will get the reference!!) For anyone not familiar with the 14/48 process, the house band will be providing a live musical smorgasbord, underpinning the whole show 🙂   


Rehearsals are go…

So, it’s not even 10 o’clock yet and rehearsals are in full swing, the band are making band-type noises and confusingly technical conversations are being held all over the place. Obviously I’m sworn to secrecy but it’s fair to say that tonight’s four performances won’t be lacking in imagination!! The pressure’s definitely on but everything’s starting to fall into place.


A weight-bearing rope swing.

So this is Veteran Director/Virgin Blogger/Patron Saint Of The Y Theatre and Christer Award Winning Artist Charlotte Bond, checking in after the #14/48:Takeover meeting.

I have my script in my sticky little mitts and no one will be reading it until 7:45am tomorrow… Yes, you heard me. We have to be at The Y for 7:45am. A.M!

Carefully crafted by young people, the scripts have been formulated over the last week in a series of workshops with some rather spiffing writers. (One of whom had a Sold-Out show at Curve!)

Mine is dark, cryptic, mysterious and features a rope swing… I can’t tell you who is in it yet, as I get my actors at 8am tomorrow… But I can promise it will be darker than a bar of Bournville. Not sure about The Pixies for a soundtrack at this stage though…

The meeting was just as good as any we’ve ever had, although there are quite a few people in debt to the Swear Jar.. here are the scores so far:

M.J Bamford 12

Alison 1

Claire 1

Pedkins 1

Shockingly.. Bobble – 2!

And even more shockingly.. Daisy with just 1?!

Now, the swearing isn’t the only thing that’s had to go for this family version of our beloved festival..

Also #TheKeg. 😦

We *did* have a Pinãta but Doug Deans soon “fixed” that. And by “fixed” I mean.. killed. Smashed it not just out of the park but also out of LE1.


So a happy bunch of people scraped up the Haribo from the floor and left The Y with a slightly more informed insight into what to expect for tomorrow.. But with only four design crew and at least one play set In Space!! They will have the hardest job of all tomorrow..

Well, that and Martyn Pole trying to get me a rope swing… A weight-bearing rope swing… #SweetSmile #PuppyDogEyes #ItIsIntegralToThePiece #SureICanDoWithoutIt #BarkWithTheBigDogs!

And after missing the last one, it sure is good to be home!

Love from Charlotte x

14/48 Takeover

Following on from a week of frenetic script writing by a crack team of Leicestershire’s best young writing talent (thirteen 8-14 year olds to be more precise) under the expert guidance of two seasoned professionals; the finalised scripts were handed over to the professionals.

Evidence of much script planning!
Evidence of much script planning!

There was much intense discussion between all parties in preparation for the work ahead, four brand new plays will be brought into being over the course of Saturday (the 7:45 call time was met by a chorus of groans!) and then performed to a paying audience (including the young playwrights) on Saturday Evening.

Intense discussion
Intense discussion
More intense discussion
More intense discussion

The directors, actors, musicians and designers will reconvene at an inhumane hour to undertake the herculean task of creating and performing four completely new and original pieces of theatre in twelve hours!!

Lighting the touch paper….

Our plays are reacing that crucial stage. It’s Saturday tech time, everyone’s tired, having been in festival mode for around 40+ hours now… Actors particularly might be starting to flag, having performed twice last night, and spending the last 6 hours rehearsing a new play, cramming new lines into their brains, and wanting to up the ante on the first day’s experience.

It’s the danger zone… the adrenaline is running low, the fatigue is running high, and you’re in desperate need of that final push to the Saturday 8pm performance, and the buzz created by that live experience.

Here at 14/48, we offer some simple advice: “If you’re feeling tired… Raise the m******f***ing stakes!”

I’m currently witnessing this in action in rehearsals for play 6, The Fire Queen, as actor James Kerr is going ‘full goblin’, treading the fine line between raising the stakes, and preserving his physical health for the performances this evening. I personally am starting to worry for the safety of his trousers…