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With our first full calendar year of sugary programming under our belts, it’s fair to say that 2023 has been filled to the brim with talent, trials and tenacity. There are so many highlights that it’s hard - even in our post-Christmas, chocolate-drunk, pseudo-reflective state - to recall them all. But we shall endeavour, if only for the immense gratitude we share for all those we’ve had the pleasure to work with. Without the brilliant imaginations, humbling perspectives and generosity of our casts, crews and audiences, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve a fraction of what we set out to do this year. For that, we want to say a huge thank you, first and foremost, for believing in us and sharing in the little piece of creativity we’ve begun to carve out for ourselves. 

So, with all the pleasantries done and dusted, let’s rewind.

After the success of our official launch back in October 2022, we entered 2023 firing on all cylinders. With our base of operations expanding from coffee shops in Manchester to coffee shops in both Manchester and Newcastle, we were ready to take the North by storm.

Our first showcase, Start Without Me, kicked off with a last-minute surprise. After our second attempt, we were successful in a bid for Arts Council funding - our second show in a row as a dynamic duo (a fact that will be on our CVs for a very long time). The showcase premiered, not only four new and upcoming writers exploring incredibly important stories about mental health and suicide, but sensitive performances by actors that moved many of us to tears. It was a night intended to start conversations, and with many of the team donating their time and funds to Andy’s Man Club, it was one we aren’t likely to forget.

If you missed it, you can watch the entire show right here.

But things didn’t slow down. In March and April, Sugar Punch hopped on to produce the R&D of Evie Henderson’s masterpiece, GRIMM. An energetic trawl through the infamous Cod Wars based and performed in the very heart of Grimsby. The show’s biggest challenge was setting the piece outside the conventional theatre space. However, two of Grimsby’s most notable drinking establishments rose to the challenge of creating a truly immersive and stunningly crafted experience - and I’m not just talking about the beer. It’s been such a pleasure to see this show blossom into something that has impacted so many, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us in 2024.

You didn’t hear it from us, but watch this space for more updates on GRIMM…

By the time May came around, our heads were 100% Naming and Daming as we previewed our FOUR STAR Edinburgh Fringe show here in Manchester. Courtesy of the fine folks at Feel Good Club, the comedic masters Kate McCabe and Adam Perrot began their summer-long noir-thern epic. The next stop was to head north, where Alphabetti Theatre welcomed us for a couple of nights during the Newcastle Fringe before finally reaching the heights of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh itself. For three weeks, the team worked their socks off (quite literally) to deliver a show that was “utterly ridiculous and entirely delightful” to the masses. There is no experience quite like the Fringe - the highs and lows were the highest and lowest, but as Adam put it so perfectly: “A bad day here is better than a good day anywhere else.” We came back to planet earth exhausted and entirely proud of the team for every smile, laugh and ‘Mick the Brick’ that will have a story to tell for years to come.

To see what Adam and Kate are up to next, give them a follow.

Outside of the wonderful world of theatre, we’ve both taken time out this year to support and raise money for causes close to our hearts. The unstoppable Gina only went and ran the Great North Run for the British Heart Foundation - then immediately went on to sign up for the Edinburgh Marathon, the nutter. This time, she’s running for Crohn’s & Colitis UK and has a JustGiving page right here. In a similarly insane move, this year Lois ensured that Sam Parker and the team survived the walk from Newcastle to Manchester for Mind in Salford. About 128 miles and a similar number of blisters later, we were able to raise almost £5,000 in aid of local mental health services. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health, we recommend these resources.

It has been such an insane year, and these quieter wintery months have given us the opportunity to plan ahead so that 2024 will be bigger and better. With info on our next big showcase and updates on GRIMM coming very soon, we’re so excited to show you what we’ve been cooking up. 

Thank you for sharing our theatrics, and have a truly magnificent New Year. 

All our love, 

Gina & Lois xx

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