MATE Ensemble is a talented and committed multi-generational community theatre company based in The Shakespeare North Community Arts Base, 34 Church Street, Prescot, Knowsley L34 3LF. Presently ages range from 8 – 78 years old, with members in every decade and from all different walks of life enriching the company with their wide skills set and breadth of knowledge and life experience. Our oldest member, talented actress Vera Farrell, shares her birthday with William Shakespeare; Vera will be 80 years old on Shakespeare’s birthday in 2016.
The company work with director Gaynor La Rocca and a team of professional practitioners to create exciting, professional standard productions. For many, MATE Ensemble provides the enjoyable fulfilment of the dream of performing on stage, while still pursuing other dreams and career paths. For others it has provided an invaluable training ground and a stepping stone to further and higher education, drama schools and careers within the performing arts industry.
MATE Ensemble has a reputation for staging exciting high quality productions in a wide range of genres; from physical comedic storytelling to multi-media productions, new music theatre to adaptations of classic texts, social community drama to site-specific promenade theatre and theatre in the parks. The company performs regularly in theatres, arts and cultural venues, parks, schools and community venues and has staged 4 sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Mate Ensemble operates an open door policy and once a MATE always a mate – a true community in every sense of the word.
“MATE has given me the opportunity to so many things; one that really sticks out for me is performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival when I was 17…going to the Fringe with MATE made me decide to study at Edinburgh University so I could work at Bedlam Theatre (the only student run theatre venue in the country).” Laura Berry, aged 24, student.
“MATE is a company that I am proud to say I am a member of as it has a strong sense of community and support. I’ve learnt so much and had so many amazing experiences. With MATE you get back what you put in; the name says it all – we’re not just MATE, we’re mates!” Carmel Skelly, aged 48, civil servant.
“As a young actor in training MATE has given me the opportunity to be part of a professional standard theatre company and showcase my talent. MATE provides me with a broad range of different aged people to work with which is great because everyone is treated equal and with respect.” Michael Byrne, aged 18, student.
“I have been involved in every production MATE has ever put on, too numerous to mention, and I have been given the opportunity to unlock potential I never thought I had, and to fulfill a dream I thought would never happen.” Peter Bromilow, aged 69, retired.
“MATE enables students, young people and community performers from across the age range to work with professionals and gain invaluable experience from doing so. One of their strengths is that anyone can be involved so you end up with a lovely mix ranging from aspiring A-level students to mature people giving up their time for the love of theatre” Matt Rutter, Performing Arts Lecturer, Liverpool Community College
“The company represent the very best practice in community theatre: its open door policy clearly gives opportunity for all and the professional standards MATE strives for and achieves are a credit to them and to the region.” David Llewellyn, Head of Drama, Liverpool John Moores University
“As well as providing a valuable community leisure activity, MATE also provide skills training, sign-posting and progression routes for their members. Several of our school pupils and community members have gone on to study drama at university or drama school (including 2 members who are over 60 years old) as a direct result of working with MATE” Klare Madden, Community Arts Manager, Halewood College
“MATE is a fantastic example of a successful community theatre company that consistently manages to provide open access to a wide range of participants from across Merseyside and across generations. The work the company produces is of a very high artistic standard and challenges the perception of work produced in a ‘community context’.” Glenn Noble, Artistic Director, Spike Theatre
“One of those rare experiences when huge ambition and community theatre combine to produce a stunning event…” Gemma Bodinitz, Artistic Director, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres (about The Hidden Jekyll of Hyde Hall)