On Stage
Lysistrata - The Musical

Dianne adapted the ancient Greek comedy where the women go on sex strike to stop their husbands from fighting. Her script became a multi-media event, set in contemporary times and troubles. For war … substitute football.  For women of Athens and Sparta …watch footballers’ wives campaigning against violence and hooligans on, and off, the terraces. With music drawn from the popular charts of the 60s to the 90s, and 20 all-singing, all-dancing, all-kicking London lads and ladettes, the production boasted video and multi-media projections. Premier league Crystal Palace Football Club supported the production as part of their community liaison work and the cast got into football training to prepare for their roles.

The multi-media performance premiered in London in 2005 with a cast of 17, a live rock band and video projections.

The production was part of Dianne’s agenda in communications for development.

Dianne said: I like a challenge. I like to be realistic and demand the impossible. I like to make a difference and have a laugh. I don’t think it’s funny that: Women are 50% of the global population, get 10% of the income, and own less than 1% of the world’s property.
Intolerance and violence continue to threaten global citizenship – from 3000 dead in 9/11, to 800000 victims of genocide in Rwanda in 1994 to 39 dead and 400 injured in the Heysel Stadium football disaster in 1985.
Lysistrata – the musical was my challenge to raise public awareness about development issues in our media-mad, football-frenzied world. I wanted to show that global industries like football, entertainment and the media could help tackle the difficult issues of poverty, injustice and inequality.

Shit - Play

Shit is a two act play, set in the present, about what happens when friends compete – in love and luck.

The play was written by Dianne Stadhams, first performed at the International Playwriting Festival, The Warehouse London UK 2004, directed by Will Mortimer.

In a technological tangle between a beautiful Asian immigrant selling fertilizer made from recycled human waste, a street-wise plumber, an introverted student of environmental management, a party-loving estate agent and am ambitious college librarian, loyalties are tested and values questioned.

It’s fashion fever meets battle of the brains in rural England when the County Chronicle, announces the regional competition for Miss UK Environment. The award is sponsored by the best selling magazine for young women. First prize includes a trip to London for the final, a portfolio shot by leading fashion photographer Tom, and a photo shoot at London zoo with Sean, heart throb of television’s highest rating soap opera. Contestants have to dress to impress and deliver a speech on an environmental topic.

Sarah, a college librarian, and Lucy, an estate agent, are best friends who have grown up together in the small rural town, where a new call centre has been established. Rashina works at the call centre by day and is a visiting lecturer on environmental management at evening classes. Bo, a plumber, and Kel, an environmental management student are local lads who know the girls.  Their lives and loves are under pressure as the three women decide to enter the competition, organised by post-menopausal Ms Woolf at County Chronicle. Ms Woolf has a guilty secret of her own!

Pascale’s People
Selected by Playwrights Theater, Dallas Texas 2005: Plays for the 21st Century.

This is a play about friendship. It explores the memories of and dynamics between 4 women and 2 men. Their common denominator is Pascale, a dead woman, with whom they all have had a relationship. The plot reveals different perspectives towards love, loyalty, lying and infertility.

The women are:

  • Aminah: Pascale’s long term friend and business agent. She has a Muslim mother and an alcohol dependency problem. She is married to Leonard but has told him that she cannot have children.
  • Gabby: Pascale’s estranged younger sister. She has a history of self- abuse and is a single mother of two young boys.
  • Chloe: Pascale’s 20-year-old daughter. She was living in Thailand when she received the news of her mother’s death.
  • Catherine: Pascale’s friend who has inherited half of Pascale’s cottage. Her secret is that she is Chloe’s biological mother. She meets the other women for the first time at the beginning of the play

The men are:

  • Joseph: A Catholic priest and long standing friend of Leonard’s. He has known Aminah, Gabby and Pascale since they were all children together. His secret, shared by Leonard and Aminah, is that he is the biological father of Chloe
  • Leonard: Aminah’s husband, Pascale’s friend and confidante, Chloe’s guardian and Catherine’s lover.
The play has 2 Acts with scenes inter-cut between two time zones. All scenes take place in the garden at Pascale’s Cottage.

Terrorists on Tour
The play is a black comedy highlighting political perspectives of sun, sea, sand and sex holidays.
Meet and greet the tourists abroad – from Tracey, Rick and their mates cruising, boozing and bonking, to the Henderson’s on an exotic family package, to academic Dr Livingstone researching economic impacts of tourism development, to Flack Jacket Tours selling the latest in extreme holiday adventures, to the Reverend looking for souls to save amidst the pleasures of the flesh.

But not everyone is happy in paradise … especially the locals who want their views heard on land rights and tourism development.

It might be your holiday but it’s also their home! The audience becomes part of the tour and experiences the joys of an excursion with hosts, holiday makers and hostages!

Extracts from Soho Theatre Report, London, 2007

Concept and Theme
Terrorists on Tour has a very definite political agenda and it expresses its message with conviction: certainly it presents a passionate argument for the danger, selfishness and even immorality of Western attitudes towards so-called ‘tourist-resorts’. This is an important subject – one which provides a fresh perspective on the causes of international terrorism. Terrorists on Tour is forthright in its denunciation of Western arrogance and internalization, from the shocking war-games to the titular reversal which denotes tourists themselves as the true terrorists.

Structure
Terrorists on Tour starts as a stylized commentary on tourist behaviour, and becomes progressively more surreal. Certainly there is a well-developed overall arc to its structure, so that the structure mimics the events it conveys: from a reasonably conventional opening it spills into a fragmented form – moves from a stylized reality to a wholly representative form of theatre. That’s a very interesting choice, and could theatrically be very powerful.

Language and Characterisation
Tilly’s monologues are excellent – there’s a strong sense of character here, and the most moving moments in this play come from this child’s perspective; the contrast between her innocence and the horrific things happening around her is very striking. Indeed, much of the characterization is very good – the monologues of the tourists combine intimacy with an almost innocent yet strongly repellant ignorance.

Theatricality
There are masses of imaginative ideas in this play – it really takes advantage of the potential for theatre to deviate from naturalism – there’s allegory, there’s lots of symbolic action. It’s positively medieval in its symbolism.

Summary
This play has wonderful exuberance …

Limbo Land

God’s gone on eternal holiday and left an order to clear out the dead wood, so to speak, that’s been piling up in the limbo land warehouse. Jesus, recently returned from a sabbatical, enlists Hell’s Angel Azrael and his sidekicks St Peter and Lucifer to assist. But with new heavenly directives, management re-structuring and computerisation mayhem, the choices to bin and burn (go to hell) or elevator up (heaven), the backlog of petrified stiffs consigned to limbo land are not straight forward.

What can you do with lost souls in the wrong place? How do you get Muslims to Mecca, Hindus to Varanasi, Buddhists to Nirvana, Whirling Dervishers to Konya, and knights of the Jedi to planet Coruscant? Who will organise the paperwork for export licences?

The big problem emerges when storage box 3 is opened. Inside there are 9 bad boy popes and one gender bender called Pope Joan. What do you do with a dodgy pontiff?

The play is a comedy that highlights the modern debate on ethics and power, history and legacy, reward and punishment. There are 4 main characters.

Some of Dianne’s most successful directing for stage in London includes Oh What a Lovely War; The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds; The Dining Room; Steel Magnolias; Agnes of God; Return to the Forbidden Planet.
Current projects are listed on www.eyeknow.eu

On Screen
Tourism in the Gambia: Written and directed by Dianne Stadhams

A 60 minute television documentary, was selected for screening at the Royal Anthropological Institute’s International Film Festival in 2003; 2003 Film Festival Le Festival du Quartier in Senegal; and the Italian Ethnographic International Film Festival in 2004.

When I grow up, I want to be a touristGambian children telling Dianne that tourists must be wealthy because they sit in the sun and do nothing but eat and drink.

Pascale’s People

Adapted from the stage play, Pascale’s People is a short film which was screened at Dulwich Festival (London UK) 2005 and Creteil International Festival of Women in Film, France 2006.

Beyond the Brochure: Written and directed by Dianne Stadhams

15 minute documentary selected for Toura D’Ora International Film Festival, Germany 2001.

In 1999 Dianne worked with Tourism Concern in the UK and The Gambia to develop an educational film for British tourists visiting this winter sun destination in west Africa. With funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and Department for International Development, the film won an award at the German festival, Toura D’ora, and became an integral part of an educational pack for secondary schools in Britain.

The team included Dianne as writer and director, Roland Adams (camera), Peter Kerslake (sound) and Phil Gauron (editor).
Link www.tourismconcern.org.uk

Worldwise

This was an info-entertainment series made for in-flight screening which aimed to raise awareness about responsible travel to destinations in the developing world. The short films were written and directed by Dianne Stadhams in association with Tourism Concern, VSO and the UK travel industry with funding from the EU, DfID and Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. Click to see clips from No Problem (The Gambia), Thai Holiday … Thai Home (Thailand) and On Safari (Kenya).

Tourism is one of the fastest growing global industries. In Europe travel and tourism has focused primarily on short-term benefits and realising a return on capital and investment. While the industry has been keen to stress the potential benefits of tourism i.e. foreign exchange earnings and employment, it is only beginning to address the negative aspects – the damage that tourism often causes to local people and their environments.

Tourists have the potential to enrich or harm the lives of those touched by it. A fundamental problem is that those who package and consume the tourism product are not hearing the views of people from holiday destinations.

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