This category contains 12 posts

Carnacki the ghost finder will return

The original cast and producers of Audience with the Ghost Finder will reunite this October for a three-night run of the play, as part of the London Horror Festival. Watch this space for tickets.

The play’s premiere at the Wandsworth Arts Festival and Fringe 2013 marked the first on-stage appearance of Thomas Carnacki, the Edwardian investigator of the inexplicable created by William Hope Hodgson in the early twentieth century.

“[H]aving been raised on a diet of ’70s sci-fi and TV repeats of The Devil Rides Out, I had a whale of a time”, said Lauren Mooney, reviewing the show for A Younger Theatre.

Audience with the Ghost Finder will be at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden from 22 to 24 October 2013. Alexander Pankhurst (“an excellent fit for Carnacki” – Helen Gush, stage2page) and Ceridwen Smith (“faultless” – Deborah Klayman, The Public Reviews) will reprise their roles. Blackshaw Theatre Company (@BlackshawUpdate) will once again produce the play, with Artistic and Managing Director Ellie Pitkin (@elliepitkin) directing.

The London Horror Festival (@LndnHorrorFest) is an annual celebration of horror in the performing arts. Last year’s festival included brand new shows from the creators of Dark Tales, John Burn’s celebrated one-man exploration of the life of Aleister Crowley, the return of the Zombie Institute of Theoretical Studies and Carnival of Crows, fresh from storming the Edinburgh Fringe.

The Etcetera Theatre – one of London’s best-known pub theatres – has been playing host to the very best of the London Fringe since 1986.


Four stars. Three shows down. Three to go.


a theatrical gem

outstanding new writing

Alexander Pankhurst’s Carnacki is intriguing and terribly funny … entirely convincing and extremely enjoyable

Ceridwen Smith … faultless performance in each of her three roles

Deborah Klayman, The Public Reviews

Double Thumbs Up

Hats off to Ellie Pitkin for the slick direction

Ceridwen Smith switches expertly between three different characters

Alexander Pankhurst is an excellent fit for Carnacki – very British, clipped, poised but with an edge of eccentricity

The mystery of the piece is great fun and the pace is pitched perfectly

Helen Gush, stage2page

There are just three performances left of Blackshaw’s theatrical double bill – London Pride by Katie McCullough back-to-back with Audience with the Ghost Finder by M. J. Starling – and they’re selling out fast, so book your tickets now.

Edited 14/05/13: extra date added

Book your audience with the ghost finder now!

Tickets for Audience with the Ghost Finder are now on sale through Ticketweb. They will happily take your money in a variety of ways, and I urge you to let them.

Tickets are £10, and get you in to both my play and London Pride by Katie McCullough. And in case you need an added incentive, the venue, The Selkirk Upstairs (nearest tube Tooting Broadway), has Black Sheep and Otter on tap – both good for a bit of courage when the candles start to flicker and the ‘creep’ steals upon you in the eerie gloom, I find.

Now go forth and book! You wouldn’t want to leave poor Carnacki to face the Outer Monstrosities alone, now, would you?

The ghost finder has a face

That’s right, Audience with the Ghost Finder has a cast. Playing Thomas Carnacki, the ghost finder, we have Alexander Pankhurst:

Alex read Carnacki when I first started trying out drafts of the play at Blackshaw’s New Writing Nights, so he’s been living with the character for something like a year. You might have seen him as Dr Prunesquallor in Blackshaw’s production of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast: Titus Groan last April.

And playing Carnacki’s compatriot Dodgson, Carnacki’s haughty client Judith Allenby, and Mrs Allenby’s cursed daughter Florence, we have Ceridwen Smith:

Ceridwen played Lady Fuchsia Groan in Blackshaw’s Gormenghast: Titus Groan. She looked like she was having great fun with Dodgson and Mrs A in her audition, and I can’t wait to see her take on Florence.

For updates from the rehearsal room, don’t forget to follow the pair of them on Twitter – along with @BlackshawUpdate, artistic director @elliepitkin, and of course me, @MJStarling.

Actors! Crew! The ghost finder needs you

Blackshaw Theatre have issued the casting and crew calls for their Wandsworth Arts Festival and Fringe (WAFF)  2013 double bill: London Pride by Katie McCullough, and Audience with the Ghost Finder by me.

The deadline for applications is Friday 1 March, and auditions/callbacks will be in the evenings of the week beginning Monday 4 March, at The Selkirk Upstairs in Tooting. If you’re picked to audition Blackshaw will send you a script extract to prepare.

Rehearsals will be Saturday daytimes and some weekday evenings, and the performances are on 8, 9, 10, 15 and 17 May 2013.

Actors: send your acting CV or Spotlight link to info@blackshawonline.com

Crew: send your CV / portfolio and a quick paragraph about why you’d like to get involved to info@blackshawonline.com

Here’s what we’re looking for:

Cast – Audience with the Ghost Finder

Thomas Carnacki – the ghost finder. 30s. Hale.

William Dodgson – a compatriot of Carnacki’s. Mid-30s. Earnest.
Mrs Judith Allenby – philanthropist. Late 30s. Formidable.
Miss Florence Allenby – debutante. Late teens. Prickly.
(All three to be played by one female actor with a strong physical theatre skill set.)

Cast – London Pride

Shelly – 29. Landlady. Londoner.

Joe – 28. Painter and decorator. Londoner.

Pavel – 32. Polish.

Crew  – combined double bill

Lighting Designer (paid) – you will be required to attend the get in/tech rehearsal (Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May). Please send examples of your previous work.

Lighting Operator (expenses) – some previous experience needed. Required for every show, and for the technical rehearsals (Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May).

Assistant stage managers / Propmakers (voluntary) – some previous experience needed.

Event / Front of House staff (voluntary) – no previous experience necessary.