I can’t count how many times I’ve heard about Fresh Loaf in the last few months. Throughout Manchester, people have praised their creativity and tipped them off as something exciting.
Fresh Loaf are an independent theatre and film group based in Manchester. They are yet another reminder that Manchester is growing into a city of creativity, perhaps more exciting than anywhere else in the UK. Fresh Loaf is not only a fantastic production company in a thriving city; each of the members are committed and passionate about their work. So far they have explored projects in theatre (Stacy, Hand Over Fist) and film (Coastal Shelf).
We were lucky enough to catch up with Joe Mellor, who told us even more about Fresh Loaf and the exciting things we can come to expect from them in the future!
Could you tell us a bit about Fresh Loaf!
Fresh Loaf are a group of 5 Drama graduates from The University of Manchester who are all extremely passionate about making theatre and film.
We aim to create stories with high production values on a minimal budget. Our ethos is that a lack of financial backing should not hinder us from making high quality professional work.
After meeting at university and setting up the Manchester comedy night Funbox, the team behind Fresh Loaf was created…
Laura Woodward is a director/actress who deals predominantly in theatre. She directed the last stage production we did, called ‘Stacy’. Jade Greyul is a director/actress/camerawoman who used to deal predominately with theatre, but now does a great amount of film work. She directed the last film which we did called ‘Coastal Shelf’. Ollie Kerswell is an actor/editor/cameraman and did the majority of the editing for ‘Coastal Shelf’. Although Ollie has been very strong on stage in the past, he looks most happy at the moment when sitting on his laptop, beautifully piecing the shots of film together. Joe Mckie is an actor/writer who wrote ‘Coastal Shelf’. Joe also wrote our current film. Joe’s last play went to Edinburgh last year and did very well. Joe Mellor is an actor/director who deals predominantly in theatre. he acted in ‘Stacy’ which got selected for National Student Drama Festival. He is currently acting in ‘Hello, my name is…’ and directing Helena Davies in our latest piece of theatre, ‘Hand Over Fist’.
Now that we have met the team behind Fresh Loaf, lets find out a bit about their productions…
Our last performance was called ‘Stacy’. It was written by Jack Thorne, who is an incredible playwright (he’s written for Shameless, Skins, This is England etc). This production was selected by National Student Drama Festival, which is a festival that showcases the ten ‘best’ productions nationally by a team under the age of 25. The response was passionate – people were definitely stirred by the piece.
One thing which did please us greatly, is that we won Spotlight’s ‘Best Actor’ award whilst we were there. So both myself and my director left very happy.
The second piece we developed is a monologue called ‘Hand Over Fist’. This is a production part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival. This piece tells the story of a lady called Emily who is trying to fight through her Alzheimer’s to remember how her first love began. But, rather than it being depressing and emotive, it’s risky and darkly humorous. This one has been challenging for me as a director, as I really have to tread the line carefully with it being such a delicate issue.
Fresh Loaf’s first film, Coastal Shelf, was also premiered at the Cornerhouse earlier this year and it was described as a ‘triumph’. Therefore it is no surprise that it features in the team’s proudest achievements:
I think Joe, Ollie and Jade were most proud when their film, Coastal Shelf, was screened at the Cornerhouse to a full audience and incredible reviews.
I guess myself and Laura have been most proud that we won the ‘Best Actor’ award for Stacey. This was most definitely a team effort, as a monologue can only successfully work with a very strong actor/director relationship.
What are your hopes for the future?
Although we’re very please with what we’ve made, everything has been relatively small scale. Monologues are great but we want to do a large scale production with a large cast and larger budget. Therefore our hopes are to get some great reviews under our belt to make it easier to apply for Arts Council Funding.
We’re now on the radar for a few different theatres and companies (The Lowry, Slung Low, Transport, etc) so it would be great if they were to ask us to tour our work to their venues.
So what’s next for you guys?
At the moment we have a film called ‘Hello, my name is…’ This is a two minute short film for the Virgin Media competition!
So why not keep an eye out for the up and coming productions and films coming from Fresh Loaf? It’s great to find a group of people who are prepared to work 9-5 in order to fuel their passion for film and theatre. As they have started to establish contacts in the theatre world, perhaps through reading this article you will be encouraged to attend one of their shows and show your support? Either way, the next year looks extremely exciting for them.
Visit Fresh Loaf at:
The Fresh Loaf Website
Or tweet them at @freshloafprods