MCN Productions was established in 1986 by playwright, Mike Carter, and Glyndebourne director, Dr. Christopher Newell. The company’s first major theatrical production was a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’, which played at The Gardner Arts Centre (Brighton) in 1986/7 and has seen numerous revivals since, including Radio 3′s ‘Listen!’ series. It was, for many years, the only musical version of the famous children’s novel allowed on stage or radio by the Dahl Estate and indeed by Roald Dahl himself who attended the premiere. The company was also responsible for launching the highly acclaimed opera of Raymond Briggs’s ‘Fungus the Bogeyman’, which played at the Leicester Haymarket and the Coventry Belgrade under the direction of the late Ken Campbell. The company’s production of ’The Jungle Book’, which enjoyed a short tour (UK) in 2002/2003, was highlighted in the Guardian’s ‘Top Five ~ not to be missed‘ shows.
Between 1986 and 2005, MCN Productions was responsible for producing no fewer than 26 theatrical shows – a total of 1,497 individual performances – in theatres across the country.
Earwig Productions was established in 1987 as the publishing and training arm of MCN Productions. Soon after then, Earwig Productions set up its first ever Theatre Summer School at The Gardner Arts Centre on the campus of Sussex University. The project was devised to give young people a unique opportunity to work alongside the company’s enthusiastic and dedicated staff and learn many of the skills and crafts of theatrical production. The students work is small groups with specialist tutors acquiring, practising and perfecting skills in all areas of the theatre such as acting, improvisation, make-up, dance/movement, circus, design and lots more. The aim of the course is to help young people develop an understanding of the requirements of the theatre by working closely with professional performers in a safe, friendly and creative environment.
In 2011, MCN started production on its first major feature film, ‘Connected’, written and directed by Mike Carter and starring Natasha Staples and Luke Healy. The film enjoyed its first screening at Cineworld in June, 2012 and was signed by High Point Media later that year.
The company’s second feature film, a WWII drama entitled ‘Brothers of War’, also written and directed by Mike Carter, stars Gordon Winter, Fiona Bruce, Rory Finn, Daniel Attwell, Clare Fettarappa and Natasha Staples. The film has enjoyed considerable global success with distributors Koch (UK) and Epic Pictures (US and International). It has been screened in USA, Canada, Germany, The Middle East, New Zealand, Poland, Romania and Turkey.