Saturday, 27 December 2008

Reading Calling...

Aye aye.

Apologies that I'm writing this now. Very annoyingly, I got back last week and managed to coincide my arrival with a spectacular failure of our computer to produce any useful internet-related services.

So, hopefully with a bit of festive sympathy, you'll allow me to wish you all the best for 2009 and say that I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and you can read on without feeling too begrudged. That and the satisfaction that this is the last post.

Yes last week I waved goodbye to glorious dawns on the Rhine, misty riverbanks, decent television, sausage bread and of course those weird hash brown things that they eat with apple sauce. I was sad to leave Germany, it had treated me so well and given me so many fantastic memories over the three months, that it was with a slightly heavy heart that I left the theatre for the last time, walked along the Rhine, packed, said goodbyes and left the house one final time. Luckily I was not given time to dwell on it, and I certainly wasn't sad to see all my family and friends again.

In the last couple of weeks I did so much so quickly that it's hard to pick specifics out. There are so many brilliant theatrical memories that I have from Germany. I met a world-renowned mime artist - Nemo, who gave me a fascinating workshop in mime, which showed me really how really really everyday things can be made absolutely hilarious with the right form of expression. We also saw a clown show, which although it was far too short, showed me some lovely examples of this. I watched 'Emil und die Detektive' one last time. It put such a smile on my face every time I saw it, that I just had to see it on one final occasion. I went to see a play called 'Don Karlos' as a normal audience member. It's about the so named Prince of Spain back in the 16th century when Spain was one of the most powerful nations on Earth. Some of it was spectacularly acted, although it was quite a heavy play, so for me sometimes it was difficult to concentrate in German. The emotional balance between the Prince and his mentor and friend the Marquis was played off brilliant between the two corresponding actors. It was a romantic tragedy with a frightening amount of incest involved. BASICALLY, the Prince loves the Queen who unsecurely loves him back, the Princess unrequitedly loves the Prince and the King, while hating the Prince, lusts after the Princess.

I also attended the Christening of a new addition to the extended family of my host family, and actually did a short reading in the Church as part of the ceremony. I have to say, quite honestly, that having to do that in German was just as nerve-wracking as any piece of acting I've ever had to produce. However, it was a wonderful experience and it was brilliant to meet so many members of the family.

I had a wonderful time in Germany and having worked with lovely people at the theatre and been supported a lovely host family, I really believe I got everything out of this trip that I could have hoped for. I saw first and foremost exactly how a professional theatre works and did (hopefully) genuinely improve my German a lot.

Thank you to Jenni for allowing me to do this. I've found this has really helped to organise my thoughts about what I've seen and done, as however interesting something is, when it becomes just a routine, sometimes memories get lost in the regularity of it. It's been quite an experience for me. So all that's left for me to do is to wish you all the very best in your future theatrical adventures and hopefully I'll see some of you in the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new year. As always feel free to ask any questions.

As always, all the pictures are up on photobucket.

All the best, break many, many legs and all importantly,
Keep Smiling

Over and out.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

C18th Farce Week

School for Scandal has had a very successful two night run and you can now see photos from the performance online in the theatre gallery. Alison McCallum, the director, writes;

"The iconic 1960’s photo of Christine Keeler, posed naked on a chair gave me the inspiration as to when to set Sheridan’s eighteenth century satire about scandal and damaged reputations.

Keeler was a good-time girl, having fun in a decade that saw massive changes. However her affair with a government minister, and a soviet diplomat at the height of the cold war led to the Tory government being brought down.

I decided to take Sheridan’s play and set it in one of the most scandalous times most of us have heard about if not lived through.

The play we presented was not the full length version. Due to unforeseen circumstances some major cutting and re-writing had to take place at the last minute which resulted with a new script being produced the week before. I think the cast did remarkably well to adapt to the new script at very short notice."

With that in mind, the students did an excellent job at keeping the show together. There were a couple of scenes where Alison had to cut a lot of conversation, but she replaced this with low lighting and 60's music while the characters seemed to be involved in deep conversation. As the music faded out we then heard a quick summary of the discussed plotting and so the audience were brought straight back into the story. The highlight of the show for me was Gavin's Sir Peter arguing with his wife on the telephone, where the year 11 student executed comic timing perfectly. Well done to all involved!

The second half of the C18th Farce Week starts tonight with Carlo Goldoni's Venetian Twins. The show starts at 7.30 and tickets are £4 for adults and £3 for students. The piece, dirceted by David Calder and performed by GCSE students, will run for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Caught in the Net - Program

Always conscious of our need to be kept up to date with things, Dominic has kindly posted through the program for Caught in the Net.

We get a mention! Good one Dominic! Now, here's a few pictures to whet your appetite, but I'm sure 'Gavin' will be able to oblige with a poster or.... an autographed glossy photo? ;o)

Monday, 1 December 2008

Guest Blogger: Schmoozing!

Wow - Our premiere - amazing. Was initially touched by all the Emails, cards, texts and phone calls I received wishing me luck and all the best for our official opening night and run of the show and from the vibe I got when I got into the theatre I think all the other cast members had their fair share of best wishes as well!

Our premiere of Caught in the Net sold out, and had a large section of invited audience such as Friends of the theatre, local council, Arts people, Sponsors and that kind of thing.

So...on with the show. We did a good run, but found the audience a little bit of a tough cookie to begin with, but once the play got into it's full farce swing they soon warmed up and were clapping, laughing and cheering with the best of them!
As we entered the stage for the walk down the whole cast were greeted with bunches of flowers and people congratulating us on such a great performance. Which kind of threw our walk down routine but I think we were forgiven! Was really touched that so many people thought so highly of our play. After they eventually stopped clapping we went to change and on to the theatre bar for schmoozing! We were greeted as soon as we entered with all sorts of people wanting to speak to us. I've never experienced anything like that before. One lady even asked me to sign her programme!

Throughout the evening we had all sorts of feedback, thankfully all positive with some very kind comments such as "One of the best things I've seen at the English Theatre of Hamburg." And Baring in mind the Theatre has been running for over 30 years I find that very flattering. Another being "Funniest show I've ever seen." - Well, what can I say?...we try our best.
After a few, then a few more G&T's and a piece of Sushi or two the crowds started to fade and left the cast of Caught in the Net to basque in our own magnificence of a job well done. - I could get used to this.

So...Rehearsals are done. Previews have finished and the Premiere was a sell-out success. Only thing left now is the run of the show. 9 weeks of Caught In The Net and nine weeks of Gavin Smith.
Bring it on....

PS - Good luck to the cast and crew for School for Scandal and The Venetian Twins!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Looks like Christmas came early

That's right, a post from me.

I'm glad to see the German contingent in this blog is strengthening by the day.

So Advent is upon us already. How, by the way? How is it basically December already?
It also signals the beginning of the end for my stay here, as I now only have two and a half weeks left. Still, that means holiday soon, for you too. I love it here and I think I will be sad to leave, though not sad to go home. It will feel very strange I think. I have a very real life here now and it feels like it, I feel very comfortable in the city and with the German way of life. They have that famous continental relaxed nature and commmunicate a lot with each other...they just have that extra streak of German efficience.

I can also relate to everything Dominic's said about stuff here, especially public transport. I've been catch 10 or more trams a week for nearly three months now and I've seen a conductor on the tram....twice. The funny thing about the pedestrian crossing thing is that they think that in England we're really disciplined about it - i.e. staying on the pavement until it goes green - and are actually trying to emulate us. As for the audiences, crazy? Very. Standiing ovations appear to be a national pastime. The funniest moment, albeit with mostly children in the audience, was after one of the morning performances of 'Emil und die Detektive', where the actor playing Herr Grundeis, the baddy, got roundly booed, very very loudly. This was of course a positive thing because he'd played his character so well, not because he was awful, of that I can assure you.

Incidentally I had a very interesting encounter when I went to have my hair cut. The families ever more suprisingly influential links, mean that the kids get free haircuts at one of the classiest coiffeurs (if only I could double italic that word) in Düsseldorf. I'd actually got my hair cut one day before I left England, planning to not have to go again until I got back. However, for the sake of the family photos at next week's family Christmas gathering, the mother of my guest family asked me if I'd mind. I wasn't really bothered so they made an appointment. Unfortunately, work meant that we couldn't make it and as the next one, despite wandering around and shopping a fair bit, still wasn't for ages, one of them agreed to just trim off my fringe quickly. I then spent five minutes in the hands of a very flamboyant Italian man, who apparently has lived in Germany for over thirty years and still speaks it nearly as badly as me. It appeared that as long as he could still do the hand gesture (you know the Italian one), language for him wasn't an issue. The aforementioned family links have also allowed me to meet a world-renowned mime artist - his stage name is Nemo - which is pretty safe. We are planning to have him round one afternoon before I go, so he can give me a crash course in mime and 'find some hidden treasures'. I'm in suspense already.

Anyway, yes, theatre, let's go. We had an international dance festival a couple of weeks ago. This included performers coming from all over the place - Spain, France, Israel, China and even Wuppertal which is a monster twenty minutes away. What was excellent for me was that alllllllllll these people and of course the large contingent of German technicians etc. spoke English to communicate with each other. Very safe. I got a peek at a couple of rehearsals which was cool. The chinese company had some rather mental video effects and some wonderful singing, the Germans had some very interesting modern ensemble dance, and the Spanish had some pretty incredible acrobatic-y dance moves.

I've also managed to watch a couple of other rehearsals. 'Treulose' by Ingmar Bergmann, which is a tragic love story really. The staging was very minimalistic and all white with just three chairs and a few props. It worked very well I thought, and the actors successfully brought out the emotion of the piece, though of course I couldn't understand all of it. The other was a play called 'Fulle des Wohllauts' by Thomas Mann, a one-man play, which here incidentally is played by an actor also with the surname Mann - Dieter Mann. It's a very intellectual piece, I suppose it has to be to be an hour and a half long monologue. It's in a sort of palatial living room and the staging is centred around an old record player in the middle of the stage, as the story is about the life of a composer. To be honest, I couldn't understand most of it, though the acting was clear, it was more of a sort of lecture than a real play.

I also managed to have a brief look at a rehearsal for 'Der gute Mensch von Sezuan' (The Good Person Of Sezuan) by Bertolt Brecht, which premieres next Saturday. Having studied Brecht at school last year and having seen a company actually perform a version of this play, it is actually something like familiar territory for me, which is here, naturally, a seldom occurrence. It was a bit strange, as normally you can just quietly slip into rehearsals unnoticed. However, this time the lights in the auditorium stayed on so everyone could see me. This confused me to start with before I remembered it was a Brecht piece - lights staying on in the auditorium was one of his theatrical techniques. Luckily, when asked who I was by multiple actors/stage technicians, the words work experiencer with the lighting team seemed to hold the magic key and I could stay. They've got some way out staging, literally. there are white lanes designating streets, and there's one long one that goes from downstage centre right to the back of the auditorium. They also use the different moveable podiums that stretch across the stage to create different levels, like stairs. It is performed in a typically Brechtian style, that is, quite strangely, with from what I saw, hats being important symbols of status, depending on what sort you had. The play centres around Shen Te, who is good but very poor, and because she is good all the time, can not run her business efficiently. She thus creates an alter ego, Shui Ta, posing as her cousin. He is a ruthless businessman, and although she doesn't like using him, she has to to survive. With some incompetent gods, water-sellers, hairdressers and unrequited love thrown in, it really asks the question, can a person really be good, and in fact what does being good actually mean?

I've also put up Christmas tree lights. It's fun. It's also quite cool to be able to say that I've done it for a professional theatre.

Wow this is long. The Christmas Markets are now open, so Düsseldorf in the evening is now a riot of light, colour and people. Seriously, it's like a musical festival how packed the city centre is, it's mental. Saw the Emil crew do a few songs on the Christmas Market stage outside the theatre yesterday evening, as I'd gone into town to have a look round. As Christmas Markets are something we don't really do in England, just wandering round is delightful. Though I do wish that for all their organisational skills, they could sort out how to queue. The old adage that no one queues better than the English (the old joke is that the English can form a queue of one) appears to stand up. They just can't do it.

The plan is to go and see the Brecht play the day before I come back, in which case I will report then. However, it might be that I actually go back to England that day, as my school has its presentation evening and I've won a Drama prize :). In any case I will try and get a look at a full run and report, along with whatever else is going on. My experience with lighting is of course now much developed and it is only really the language barrier that holds me back. However, that is also improving as was the plan and I can successfully navigate myself through most situations.

We've also had SNOW!
Keep Smiling

P.S. As come the photos.
You can see the photos from the Sezuan rehearsal here.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd you can see the photos from my city wanderings here. This includes videos of the Emil cast singing a few songs and some MENTAL if a little sideways Christmas tree lights.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Guest Blogger - Premiere's and German Pies

"Wow - What a week! It's been preview week this week. We opened the show to our first audience who was a group of invited teachers and partners. They loved it. I know it's a good play and a very well written comedy but I had no idea that it would be received as well as it is. We've sold out every night this week and there are talks of them putting more shows into the run due to tickets being sold so quickly in advance!
The one thing that I cannot get over is that German audiences are CRAZY! I've never experienced anything like it. They shout, they scream, call things out, clap loud and hard mid sentence, and generally have a really good time. The only thing I can describe it as being like is a adult panto audience. Also, we're currently doing 11 curtain calls! And they clap hard and cheer right until the house lights come up!
Our director isn't a man of many words but I think he's proud of us and his show. He comes backstage every night and congratulates us, and gives us any feedback he has overheard in the foyer or the English Theatre Bar, yesterday he came back with a massive smile and just said a group of people kept saying how funny and brilliant it was - can't argue with that I guess!
It's our official premiere tonight, and I believe the press are in as well. After the show we have a bit of a swaray, It's an open bar and we have to "mingle" with the friends and sponsors of the theatre. I've also been told to dress "tizzy." Not sure what that means but I'm hoping my cowboy boots, top hat and sequin shirt will cover it. ( thought I should cover all bases )
As it's our Premiere tonight so I ventured into the local hair dressers this morning. my, my. What an experience. Armed with my little phrase book ( care of the Bradon Forest Theatre staff ) and my head shot downloaded onto my phone I kindly explained to the man I would like a trim, just a little taken off and I wanted to look like this (Showing him my photo). I knew he wasn't listening to me, or looking at my photo as I think his wife was waiting for him, but he sat me down infront of the mirror and wandered off. So I waited for one of the nice, young German ladies to come over, and started preparing for a second bash at my "At the Hair Dresses" section in my book. Suddenly, A BIG German man came over, didn't even make eye contact, grabbed a cut-throat razor from the shelf and headed straight towards me. As I closed my eyes I knew my time had come and soon I would in next doors basement being made into some kind of dodgy German pie.
But...alas! He didn't kill me, he just wanted to trim my sideburns. I did try to explain that I wanted it messy on top but he could see I was English, didn't speak a second language and had a professional photo of myself on a BlackBerry. All the things that would imply I was a muppet. So the fact I wanted a number 2 around the back and sides and choppy on top was the very least of his concerns.
So, 10 euros lighter I left looking like I was about to join the SS, but thank full I was still alive!
I hope this Premiere is worth it! Free bar eh? Don perignon all round!
I shall let you know..."

(emailed from Dominic Waldron)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Guest Review - The Fire Starter

We've had a lovely review from Thursday's performance of The Fire Starter. Mike Kaloski-Naylor, the Projects Co-ordinator from Theatreworks was a Bradon Forest Theatre first timer and emailed in these kind words after the show:

"The pre-show energy of the young audience was clear, but they were definitely a theatre audience, feeling ownership of their performance space and excitement at the show they were about to see. However, this did not stop the venue from feeling open and welcoming to visitors, such as myself, entering for the first time. Instead it made the space feel alive and energised, something often lacking in theatre spaces.

During the show there were whispered comments and giggles, but these were because of the show, not despite it, and there was hush when the action required it. This is a venue and an audience who know and demand quality theatre and in Big State, they had a company which could more than deliver.

In fact I can’t imagine a better audience to join for this show. Big State’s confidence, talent and theatrical expertise fed perfectly into, and off, their reactions and energy while the jokes hit and rippled through us with wonderful regularity and effect. The show was excellent, and my enjoyment of it enhanced by the audience’s enthusiasm and engagement.

I am absolutely looking forward to my next visit and will be encouraging others to do the same."

Thanks Mike! Glad you enjoyed the show... you, and everyone else is welcome back any time! In fact... we have our week of C18th Farce next week!

School for Scandal by Richard Sheridan

Directed by Alison McCallum
Monday 1st & Tuesday 2nd December


Venetian Twins by Carlo Goldoni
Directed by David Calder
Wednesday 3rd - Friday 5th December


Both shows are being performed by our GCSE drama students. Tickets are £4 for adults and £3 students.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Guest Blogger: Hamburg Tech Runs three weeks of rehearsal are up. I've found this last week of tech runs and dress rehearsals really different to what I'm used to. With all the other stage productions I have been involved with as the first performance gets nearer and nearer I've always found myself at the theatre more and more, but with this I'm here less and less.

For the past week our call time at the theatre has been 18:30. We put our costumes on, the Crew fix the set and props, we run it once, then we all go home. I feel like I should be doing more, but the director is saying he is happy so I can't argue with that!

Last dress rehearsal tonight, and to be honest I'm a little nervous. I guess tonight I get to find out if this process does work or not, everyone else is just exited about it and looking forward to performing to audiences so I'm sure it must do! Another thing I've never had before is a day off before the opening night. Not sure what I'm going to do with mine. Go to the park down the road with the script I think. Make sure I know my scenes almost backwards!

I have a very busy week next week.
Sunday is a Preview Night. This is for a small, invited audience of English Teachers for Colleges and Universities. They watch the play and decide if it's suitable for them to bring their English class to. Monday is for last minute rehearsals and costume fittings, etc, ( if needed ). Then from Monday to Wednesday we have the other preview nights. For Guests and friends of the theatre, press, etc. Then Thursday night we have our Premiere! After Thursday we then go into eight shows a week and the run begins!

(Emailed from Dominic)

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Two Nights Running!

Tonight's show: The Fire Starter

We still have a few tickets left for tonight's show, The Fire Starter by Big State Theatre company.

Throw off your corsets here - comes the Arch Druid!

Defying injustice and law, challenging orthodox religion, questioning the morality of the puritans and dancing naked through fields trilling on his flute, nothing will ever be the same again in this tiny Welsh village.

Based on the life of Dr. William Price, Big State Theatre take their comic imagination and multi-character style back to the repression of Victorian times and unleash a unique and amazing individual.

The Fire Starter was devised in 4 weeks by the cast and the director, with assistance from Andy Burden, and is based on the life of Dr William Price (1800-1893). The Fire Starter was created with the support of Southern and South East Arts, West Wiltshire District Council and Heaven Scent Incense.

Doors open at 7.15 and tickets are £6 for adults and £5 students.


I just thought I'd post a picture I took of the sunset over school last night. I used Poladroid to make it look like a polaroid, but haven't changed the colours at all. Aren't we lucky to have our school in such a location?

Monday, 17 November 2008

'Caught In The Net'

Ok, I met Charlotte ( Vicki Smith in the play ) at Heathrow departure lounge, we recognized each other from the recall and as it was our first time with the English Theatre of Hamburg we decided to stick together! We then met up with all the other cast members just before we boarded the plane ( Actors are usually easy to spot in a crowd, especially when James shouted at us from across the room "Are you for The English Theatre of Hamburg?" We knew we were going to be with a friendly, out going bunch!)
We had a short, and pleasant flight and was met at Hamburg Arrivals by almost everyone! It was a really nice touch to be met at the airport by the two Artistic Directors of the theatre, the stage manager, the theatre office staff, even the costume mistress was there! Everyone in the cast had been here before so their was immediate hugs and kisses all round. Charlotte and I felt very much out of the loop as we stood at the back like lemons and witnessed the very open European greetings all around. I couldn't stop thinking of the Heinken advert ( the one where he has to hug his boss and is looking for his motivation? ) Anyway, we were soon spotted and before we knew it we were all being hugged and kissed and was immediately welcomed into the company.
We were then taken to our flats and accommodation. I'm staying in a very warm, very spacious flat in Barmbek. It's a 10 minute walk from Barmbek tube station and from my flat to the theatre is about a 25 minute journey. For the last two weeks I have been living with Matt and Andrew who are the two leads in the current show Treats. We've had a great time living together but unfortunately, today they left for England after a very successful and praised run. I now have two more flat mates, who are from the cast of my show and things seem to be going well.
I'm playing the character of Gavin in a play by Ray Cooney called Caught In The Net. It's a comedy and I think a great play. It's about a guy called John who is married with a son, but on the other side of London he is married to someone else with a daughter. One day the son and daughter meet in a internet chatroom and decide to meet up. The play consists of John and his friend Stanly desperately trying to keep his children apart.
First rehearsal consisted of a simple read through, then Jeff giving us all a talk about Hamburg. We were given 100s of leaflets and handouts all about the transport system, events, museums, etc. Then we were all sent home to get some shopping and settle in.
Living in Hamburg is great, but to be fair I've not seen much of it yet. But some little differences are interesting. For example, you're only allowed to cross the road at the traffic lights when the man is green. If you get caught doing it any other way its a 100 euro on the spot fine. Also, the transport system is done by trust. No barriers, you just hop on and hop off as you please and people assume you've bought the correst ticket. Every now and again they do spot checks and if you have an incorrect ticket its a 150 Euro on the spot fine.
Rehearsals are going well, but I've never worked in this style of direction before. So I'm finding the whole thing a great learning curve and experience. Unfortunately a week into rehearsals the Grandfather character was sent home due to illness. A little concerning with only two weeks left until opening night but Philip flew in the next day and thankfully is an excellent actor.
So, we're now two weeks into rehearsals, we rehearse six days a week with Sundays off. We've got the show down I think, so spending this week running it in with opening night on Friday. It's going to be strange leaving the rehearsal room tomorrow and heading to the stage to tread the boards. But I will let you know how it goes....

(Posted from email by Dominic)

Friday, 14 November 2008

Chasing Gavin

Well, Dominic has now been in Hamburg for almost two weeks, so I think it's time to chase him down for the first Eight Days a Week entry. Gavin, we have some questions for you...

  • What's the play about?
  • What's the theatre like?
  • How are the other cast members?
  • Where are you living?
  • How's Hamburg? Are you speaking much German? How does it differ from the UK?
  • What are the highlights so far?
I think that will keep us satisfied for now! Everyone sends their love Dominic!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Music from the Stage and Screen

Last night saw the first Bradon Forest music concert of the year... and the first ever concert from our brand spanking new Music Department! The theme was Music from the Stage and Screen, with highlights from Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Jungle Book. We also had many solo and ensemble performances, including Chopin, Des'ree and even pieces written by the students themselves!

The night was full of variety and skill and the students performed to a sellout audience with standing-room-only! The evening culminated in another well received performance by Plastic Fiction with two new tracks. Click the link to see the photos from the night, and hopefully there will be video clips added later.

There is an extensive program being put together for Christmas. Email Miss Clements for more information, or keep an eye on the Music pages of the school site for regular updates. There is also talk of an Accoustic Non-Christmas Christmas gig during a lunch time at school. Details need to be ironed out, but watch this space!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Die Parole heißt Emil


Apologies that it's been so long since the last one, however, the world exclusive pictures you can have a peek at may hopefully go some way in the form of compensation.

I'm now really appreciating living here, well outside of the ungodly early starts, I love it. The theatre fluctuates quite a lot in how busy it is and how much there is to do. For instance, today was the start of the region's dance festival, but with no performances until thursday on the main stage, activity was very limited. I still really enjoy being able to walk across the stage and gaze dreamily out into the auditorium, it's really quite a buzz.

the main thing recently was last week. On the Saturday just gone it was the premiere of 'Emil und die Detektive'. I don't know if anyone's read the book, I know I did as a child and loved it (the English version of course). It was writeen by Erich Kästner in 1929 and is one of the best 20th century works of children's fiction. It follows the story of the young Emil who is on his way to visit his grandmother and cousin in Berlin, when he is robbed on the train by the shady Herr Grundeis. He meets Gustav and having gathered a band of children detectives they set about catching the thief. It's a story really about friendship and it's wonderful. The stage version this time round is a musical for children. However, this does not mean it's silly and overly simple. It's wonderfully crafted, with subtle physical comedy and a real emotional undercurrent that makes it very real. They had rehearsals pretty much all of last week, most of which I ended up watching. One performance in particular enthralled me, which was that of the Professorin played by an actress called Viola Pobitschka. She plays the shortsighted, very clever child, who assumes the head of operations, and she used wonderful nervous hand movements and constant adjusting of glasses with a slightly shy angled-downwards stance. I approached her at the start of one rehearsal and got to meet her briefly afterwards. That was really cool to talk to someone for whom acting is a day job and get her take on the play. She, as her character did seemed to show a real happiness in being in the play, and it certainly is a happy, surprisingly fulfilling watch.
Luckily for you lot, you get some rather exclusive photos that no one else has seen.

The next play to be premiered at the start of December is that of 'The Good Woman of Szechwan', which having studied Brecht last year and already seen this particular play, very much interests me. Hopefully I'll be able to bring you more soon.

I am now entering my last month here in Germany, so I'm trying to enjoy every moment I can. Luckily I'm really beginning to get a feel for the city and enjoy the European atmosphere. If anyone is thinking about spending a decent period of time abroad at some point, I would definitely recommend it as a wonderful experience and one that gives you a new perspective on things.

As ever feel free to ask any questions about anything you like.
I have also been to a German cinema, the main difference being that the seats are more comfortable, followed closely by the fact that everything is in German.
It was the new James Bond, which I suppose has the sort of one liners that you can't really translate from English. I had mixed feelings about it myself. Still.
Hope all is well over the seas.

Here's the link to the photos of Emil and you can also have a look at what else I've been up to.

Until the next time.
Keep smiling

Tonight's show

Tonight's show is Houdini's Suitcase by the brilliant Pickled Image. The company have been here before with The Chatterbox, and we have also seen this show. Both sold out. We actually have just a few tickets left for tonight and I urge you to come and see it. In my opinion it is one of the best pieces of theatre I've ever seen!

Curtain goes up at 7.30 pm and tickets are £6 for adults and just £5 for students. Call me on 01793 773981 to reserve yours now!

Monday, 10 November 2008

New Show Just Booked!

We've just confirmed a booking for the new Swindon Young Actors show, Hotel Portobello Verde. A piece that has been devised by their older group of students.

The brand new piece of theatre has already been shown to sell out audiences at the dance studio at Commonweal School.

Bring your friends, your parents, your work colleagues, your kids, your gran, your pets! Well, maybe not your pets, and bear in mind that this show contains material of an adult nature!

Call the box office on 07825 983 748 to get hold of your ticket for this weekend!

Showing at the Bradon Forest Theatre this Friday and Saturday, 14th and 15th November. Curtain up at 7.30 pm. Tickets are £5.

Guest Blogger - Dominic Waldron

Dominic Waldron, our trusted theatre technician, has left us for a few months for a Germanic adventure. His valued directorial skills, and assistance with the GCSE students will be greatly missed as he treads the boards of the English Theatre of Hamburg, playing the part of Gavin in ‘Caught in the Net’. If you fancy a weekend away in the stylish European city, then make sure you stop by and catch him ‘in the act’. I’m sure it’s a show worth seeing!

Gavin, I mean Dominic, has kindly agreed to blog about his experiences at the English Theatre. Hopefully we’ll be hearing about what it’s like to live in another country, as well as his rehearsal and performance experiences! He will be performing 8 shows a week and it will be pretty intensive. So, if you want to be an actor and are interested in the learning experience... stay tuned for Eight Days A Week! (Just click on his photo on the left for all his entries.)

Monday, 3 November 2008

Swindon Culture Club

For those of you who are over 18, you may be interested in a local Swindon group that has come to my attention. Swindon Culture Club are a group of like minded individuals who meet once a month to discuss all things cultural and who organise trips to the theatre, poetry readings, exhibitions, walks etc. If you are interested in joining them, check out the website.

Friday, 24 October 2008

School for Scandal

I've just finished the poster for School for Scandal. The play by Richard Sheridan is being directed by Alison McCallum as part of the C18 Farce Week at Bradon Forest. David Calder directs Carlo Goldoni's 'Venetian Twins' which will also show that week. 

The image was the brain child of Miss McCallum, as she is going for a 60's theme for the play and wanted to mimic the famous 1960's image of Christine Keeler. She was inspired after she saw Patsy Kensit striking a similar pose on the cover of Radio Times. The play is all about scandal, so we thought that we could use paparazzi style photos throughout, and to set the scene, I created a 60's styled magazine cover for the poster - to link back to the original spot in Radio Times!

We're quite pleased with this one. What do you think?

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Next time lapse project

Some of you may remember my previous attempts at animation, well I have another project in mind. I've been perusing over the previously mentioned Stop Motion Animation site and also some tips from Videomaker, and so have jotted down some summary notes to remember before I start the next one:

  • try and set the camera into manual focus so that it doesn't get distracted with everything moving around
  • lock down the tripod completely as any movement will potentially make the footage unwatchable
  • if possible, turn the mic off (I don't think I can do this, but I have the option of removing sound at the editing stage and adding a soundtrack)
  • calculate the required shooting time for the length of film I want (for my project, the length of shooting time will depend on the projects length. I will have to bear in mind that film shows 30 frames per second though)
  • there is the option of 'in camera' preparation or 'post-production' animation. 
I still have some research to do on the matter, but at the moment I think I can get away with post-production techniques for the desired effect. I will reveal more when the project is underway (11th November, if that gives anything away!).

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

In The Shadow of Picture Frames

So, last night we had Green Eyed Zero in with their current show, in The Shadow of Picture Frames. It turns out that Bradon Forest were the first venue to book the company... just in case you ever get that question in a pub quiz!

The company are Rachel and Seb, a young and innovative couple of performers who met at Circomedia. They have incorporated their cocktail of skills to create a really interesting and different piece of theatre, combining circus skills and visual media to tell their story. In the Shadow of Picture Frames starts with a young couple arriving at their new flat. They are obviously head over heels in love with each other, and we enjoy their giddiness as they set up home. The dark side of the story is then introduced as we hear the ringing of an old telephone. When the phone is answered there is no reply on the other end, and this causes the girl to worry. They have already heard arguments and shouting from the flat above them, and there is concern that someone needs their help. The young couple start to disagree about what to do, and the phone calls continue. Frustration and tension mounts as an old diary is found, and the once close couple start to feel they can no longer communicate with each other. Seb uses his juggling skills to illustrate his puzzlement of the situation, and how he's trying to work through the problem. (He's also pretty quick at the Rubik's Cube!) After the climax of events (I won't give this part away), Rachel and Seb pull the sheet down from the centre of the set to reveal the frame you see on the posters. We are then treated to a physical sequence where the pair throw themselves around the open cube. This beautiful piece of theatre demonstrates where the couple are at this stage, and how they feel they are in opposite places. The tense, silent movement is in stark contrast to the chatty, lovable, endearing characters we met at the start of the play.

We all really enjoyed the performance, and especially liked the story. It was a very sad love story, and beautifully illustrated through the movement. The play relied on the physicality of expression rather than spoken dialogue, and the students were buzzing about the show the following day and really enjoyed analysing it amongst themselves. They are a really lovely company to work with, and completely professional. See if you can check them out on the rest of their tour. They are a really lovely company to work with, and completely professional. Green Eyed Zero would be a highlight in anyone's calendar!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Green Eyed Zero tonight!

Doors open at 7.5 pm. The company have been setting up their set all afternoon and it looks pretty wicked. They have also kindly agreed to let us film the performance, a great addition to your revision! Don't miss the show!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Publick Transport Photos

Angus Barr from Publick Transport kindly let me take some photos from last weeks performance. Here they are for your viewing pleasure. It was a little awkward snapping away during the performance, but I made sure I sat in the front row and didn't move around. Unfortunately you can see my big head throughout the video we shot for GCSE revision. Sorry about that! Hopefully you'll see some of the photos on the company's website as I've just posted them a copy.

There are a couple of shots that I had to change to B&W because there was some strong red filters being used that saturated the images. The couple at the end didn't work in B&W and it's a shame they didn't work at all, because the final scene was just hilarious. Comic genius!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus - Die Hinterbühne

Hey peeps,
It's been a little while, but never fear, I can make up for lost time.
I can categorically claim that hunting isn't really for me. There's a lot of sitting around in forests in the freezing cold just staring at the same clump of trees for a long time...far too long. However, some of the views of the rolling, rugged hills and the regimental pine forests were pretty breathtaking....nature's stage as it were. Tenuous I know, but it's always nice when you get to see lovely countryside. Cities are the same I find, they can exude an atmosphere much like the theatre. We went to Antwerp yesterday to visit the daughter of my host family who's gone to university there. It's one of those beautiful old European cities with cobbled sidestreets all of them with quaint, yet wonderful architecture; and horse drawn carts still clop about the main square guarded by the impresive cathedral and town hall. It made me want to write a novel. I think that feeling is one of the reasons location is so important in theatre. The same often goes for a theatre itself. The Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus gives the spectator a feeling of immense scale and power, with its sheer size. But like any good story, when you start exploring things can be different. It's time to find out.

This week was my first full week of insight into die Hinterbühne - Backstage.
There is a rather overwhelming feel to the place, and even the foyer where the audience wait for the shows is architecturally very impressive, with marble flooring, gorgeous furnishings and fancy colour-changin LED lights. However, the real hub is as one may well expect, quite different.
It feels a bit like a school, or a hospital I suppose with it's shiny floors and off-cream stairwells. One would never imagine how many different jobs have to be done backstage in a theatre, and just walking around you see snapshots of the different rooms, there are so many varied careers here within one building it's amazing. However, normally, pretty much everyone is friendly, and when they find out I'm English, they tend to go a bit easy on me, which helps. It is of course organised mayhem of the most structured kind. Down at stage level, you always have to have your wits about you, as the bars lowered from the flies for light rigging and moving around big pieces of staging are up and down like a kangaroo, and there are always heavy things being moved around.

Anyway, what do I actually do?
Well more for one. I'm beginning to get to know people in the lighting team, and they are beginning to realise that they can afford me a few seconds more, because I can, surprisingly, actually be helpful.
Basically, a new play is rehearsed or performed for an audience nearly every day, therefore, naturally the lights required for whichever piece changes day by day. Thus, the basic job is to take down superfluous lights from the afternoon or evening before and rig up the new lights for today's piece. There are many long, electronically-operated bars stretching across the stage and covering the whole area from right upstage to down into the auditorium. They are lowered to stage level and we have to take the lights off and store them and then attach and secure the new lights. There is of course a lot of safety stuff to learn, particularly with securing things like cables and safety harnesses. Some of the lights are huge beasts with 6KW output, and so weigh a tonne and need two people to carry them. Thus clearly, making sure they're secured is of utmost importance. I have begun to find my way a bit more comfortable now, though it is a positive labyrinth.
It's interesting to learn about the lights though. I have been shown one opened up to see it's different sections, I have been shown the room where they keep all they're rolls of cellophane for the gels....soooooooooooooooo much cellophane it was unreal, and I never knew that many colours existed, I was able to go on to the roof which gives some fantastic views over the city. The outside of the building is also wonderful as you can see from the picture above, the glowing red is pretty cool too.
There can be a fair bit of sitting around, but you also get to see some interesting rehearsals and staging. One play this week called 'Schroffenstein' utilises the stage's supernatural powers, with the stage revolving, being used to raise the actors into the flies as well as lowering them below eye level. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to stroll across the stage as if it's your living room.
I've also been learning things...promise. Earlier in the week, the other 'praktikant' Vanessa and I were taught how to take apart one of their big lighting plugs and test it to see if it's still good. A lot of screwdriver work, but still it's interesting.
The plays they put on tend to be theatrically quite challenging, and thus quite exciting, particularly in terms of their staging.....that and they're enthusiastic use of many many mirrorballs. :)

Take a look at the photobucket stuff, which I've now, no doubt having been affected by Germanic surroundings, ordered into albums.

I think that captures the general atmosphere of what I've been doing, though it's difficult. I keep having to stop myself and think again about exactly what I'm doing, it's a very surreal feeling. Very surreal. It's also giving me more independence, as I am doing this all on my own and catching the U-Bahn and mastering it on my own as well. It's nice as I'm becoming more confident and it means I'm beginning to feel more like I livehere than just visiting, which is clearly very important. Hopefully, over the next couple of weeks I can really being to settle in at the theatre and be able to relax a bit more and give you a more measured account of my experience. As ever, feel free to ask anything, there's a wealth of theatre knowledge in there for me to uncover.
Until then - Viel Spaß
Keep Smiling

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The reopening of Bristol's Old Vic

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Swindon Advertiser finally catch up

It looks like the Swindon Advertiser has finally caught up with Theatre Works in that you can now submit your own events listings. You can also add photos from events and reviews of plays you've seen (although, if they are any of ours, make sure you give Stacked Actors the exclusive!). I just wonder if the submissions make it into the paper...

20,000 Leagues Under The Office

Tonight we have our first professional show of the season. Publick Transport are in with 20,000 Leagues Under The Office.

20,000 Leagues Under the Office is a comedy about two office workers who find themselves stuck in a lift that is hurtling towards the centre of the earth. Aside from a series of frantic phone calls that only serve to reinforce their isolation, various coping mechanisms kick in, including the use of cliches, mind-over-matter, heroism, romance and ingenious bracing positions. However, all is not what it seems, and the characters, as well as the audience, soon find themselves sifting through many strata of deception - necessary by-products of a situation that is both absurd and unstageable. What remains is a show about play - with time, space, genre, narrative, language, theatrical conventions and audiences' expectations.
Show starts at 7.30 pm and run time is about an hour. There are still a few tickets left so email me or call 01793 773981 to reserve yours now!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Archangels Don't Play Pinball

Remember The Nothing Show? A group of our GCSE students worked with Stewart Wright in a physical theatre workshop before the performance. After they had seen the show they spent some time devising a piece based on a scene from Dario Fo's 'Archangels Don't Play Pinball'. This is the first part of the short comedy piece. Click here for part two. We also now have a couple of dance drama pieces from last years Summer Arts Festival online in the theatre gallery.

National Youth Theatre Auditions

"We are pleased to announce that applications for our 2009 season are now open.Course presentation

If you are interested in applying to join us as an actor, or to join one of our technical departments then please click below and follow the links.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Please note: you must be between 13 - 21 to apply for an acting audition, and between 16 - 21 to apply for a technical interview."

Thursday, 2 October 2008

So and So Theatre Company

The So & So Circus Theatre Company have just been brought to my attention. Don't they look great?

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Longest Day: Could a class of college students survive without iPods, cellphones, computers and TV from one sunrise to the next?

Another student apparently did not see the irony in this statement: "I felt like I would be wasting my time doing the project. I did not want to give up my daily schedule, which mainly includes lying on my couch, watching television and playing The Sims2 -- a [life simulator] computer game."

Interestingly, reading this article made me think of a recent conversation we had with some friends who have younger children. They've recently introduced 'Free Play' for their son and daughter (5 & 8). Free Play is basically when their kids can play as much as they like, but they cannot use the laptop, TV, DVD's, xbox, DS's etc. They apparently didn't like the concept and so their parents had to apply some distraction techniques to get them interested! It just shows how reliant children these days can be on technology to have fun. Contrastingly, at the weekend one of the family gerbils was killed tragically in a confrontation with the neighbour's cat. When our friends came down the next morning, son & daughter were sat at the kitchen table drawing and writing poems in memory of their beloved Batman.

Monday, 29 September 2008

World Premiere

Alright all.
I hope all is well back in England, we just had an absolutely glorious weekend, absolutely glorious, alas it didn't last, it is now looking far more autumnal and grey.
So how did 'Major Dux' go? I hear you cry...
Well I have to say I was ready to move on after last week, as it got quite boring just sitting there for hours on my own. Still, I got quite emotionally attached and was willing it to do well.
Thursday was the 'Vorpremiere' like a dress rehearsal, but bigger in that parents were invited to come and watch before the full bonanza on friday.
Thursday was incredibly nervy, you could tell when they were onstage and mistakes kept creeping into the kids' performances. The director had to intervene several times and it did worry me a bit.
Friday came, and there was tension galore. However, other than a few minor errors, they pretty much nailed it, with lots of energy, the standing ovation they received at the end was well deserved.
I did actually go and see it again yesterday (sunday) in what was there last performance for a month. This was the best performance that i have seen them do, and i've seen it a fair few times now. More relaxed and free yet with the same energy, it was also far more polished and was thoroughly enjoyable. The photos are in the photobucket album.

Today was also my first proper day in the Düsseldorferschauspielhaus. It has a großes Haus (big house) and kleines Haus (small house). The bigger one can seat roughly 800 people with the smaller one up to just over 400. The stage of the big house is the biggest stage with a revolve in Germany, and they seem to really like their theatre here in Düsseldorf.
I have to admit I don't think I've ever felt so nervous. This was not aided by it's not only supreme labrynthine qualities, but also once you get down to the stage, the absolutely overwhelming vastness of it all. It's just absolutely massive. I was introduced to a couple of members of the lighting team, and very very relievingly there is another 'praktikant' (work experiencer) if you will there. She's already been there two months, but she will be there three days a week and was able to help me out and show me around and stuff. This was a welcome contrast to last week where i would have to just sit on my own for hours.
I helped to change the huge bulbs in some of the big 'Wehrscheinwerfer' (I think). These vary in type from a stark parcan to a dispersed fresnel and we were required to change one for another. This was done while the stage builders constructed the stage in the big house, the play is called 'Don Carlos', though apparently there is new lighting every day as a different play is rehearsed each day. After this was done there wasn't much left to do, which seems a pattern, my fellow praktikant Vanessa showed me around the theatre a bit, and then after lunch we watched rehearsals in the small house for a production of Frany Kafka's 'Amerika', the main interest being the stage floor was absolutely covered in paper.

There may not be anything for a while as the schools here have two weeks holiday starting today and my host family are going on a hunting holiday (!) 'til next week, and I'm going with them. Yeah I'm not really sure what to think either.
Still check out the pictures and feel free to ask anything you will.
Bis bald!
Keep Smiling

What a start to the year!

This hardworking group of GCSE Drama students did the school proud as they bravely took centre stage for the opening show of the season. The performance which was based around an amateur dramatics society's shoddy performance of a Murder Mystery play, was anything but shoddy! I promise you, all technical hitches were part of the show and executed to perfection! The students, who self directed the play, started rehearsals at the end of the last school year. They rehearsed in their own time and only required technical assistance from the drama department. A special thanks to Mr Calder and Dominic for giving up their time on a weekend to build their set. 'Murder at Checkmate Manor' was performed over two nights, and word obviously got out because the second night was a sellout, with a record number of 17 members of staff turning out for the show! A massive thank you and well done to all involved. It was a fantastic start to the year, we couldn't have asked for a better one!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Murder at Checkmate Manor

Tonight is the last night for Murder at Checkmate Manor, the Farndale play that has been self directed by a group of GCSE students. Last night all went swimmingly, except for the intentional mistakes! If you don't have a ticket for tonight, then come and see me! There are only a few left...

£4 adults, £3 students.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Düsseldorf Festival of Culture

Hello again.
Pictures don't seem to want to come up on this laptop, so I've set up a photobucket album -

Felix's Photo Album

Here you can see all the ahem wonderful pictures i take. Today I will be taking my camera to the dress rehearsal of the young people's musical, so you can see what i'm talking about with the staging. This is earlier than expected, because for one reason and another I ended up going with Sabine the mother and Johannes to a show which was part of Düsseldorf's annual festival of culture.

The group was called Balagan, and they were from Russia, and they were extremely polished and very very enjoyable. It was almost like a theatrical circus. There was almost constand music, provided by the basis of piano, violin, double bass and drums, and covered many different genres. There was also a trumpet, trombone and horn which came on intermittently. All were very skilled. There was a beautiful singer, two elegant ballet dancers, an extremely flexible woman, a comedy mime magician strongman, two jugglers, an acrobat using material hung from the flies and a lady who did some very interesting things with hoops. They received frequent appplause throughout and a standing ovation at the end. You could tell just how precise all their movements were and I thought it was brilliantly done. The following link is from the official website and has a couple of videos, the one on the left especially giving you a snapshot of everything they do.

I'll let you know how the world premiere of 'Major Dux' goes, though i have to say it's looking very good. I was able to watch a tech run through from the lighting room yesterday as well as go up amongst the rigging in the flies, which was pretty immense. Coming from a school where the lighting was never very exciting because of the limited resources the department was given, we had nothing more than ten-odd fresnels and some gels, it was amazing to see such a scale of lighting so close up, and they have some really cool effects in the piece. 'Til then...
Keep Smiling

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Photography Competition

Kingsmill is launching a photography competition to encourage Western Daily Press readers to capture the spirit of the South West. There are two categories, the adults category for the 16s and over and the school category where budding photographers under 16 can win £700 for their school.

It’s easy to enter, they're inviting readers to enter photographs of the West Country – it doesn’t necessarily have to be a major landmark but anything that encapsulates the spirit of the region in an original and creative way. See the website for more details.

The Ridgeway in September

This is my entry - for the over 16's of course! It's the Ridgeway last September... why don't we get weather that like when we're not at school?

Green Eyed Zero trailer

I've just uploaded the new Green Eyed Zero trailer for 'In The Shadow of Picture Frames' on to the school site, so here it is for your viewing pleasure. This performance is in the theatre on Tuesday 21st October 2008.


Monday, 22 September 2008

Just booked in: Richards Love

"Sarah’s Mother was a funny kettle of fish. She had once been bright and lovely all skipping silvery scales. But dark was the trawler that dragged her quick and thoughtlessly in, and dark was the fisherman who saw her flapping and beautiful in her little kettle…"

Bric a Brac Productions takes you into a magical and muddled world to tell tale of Sarah, her unlikely hero Richard and her tricky Mother, who is determined to stand in the way of their love.

Beautifully intricate shadow puppets, quirky characters, a fun soundtrack and some impressvely fast costume changes!

We've just booked this company in for Wednesday 25th March 2008. Tickets are £6 adults, £5 students and curtain goes up at 7.30pm. Contact the booking office on 01793 773981 to reserve your tickets now!

The Big Top Festival

I just wanted to point your attention to the new website up and running for next summer's bigger and better arts festival!

Check out the Big Top Festival site for up to date information regarding the events being booked for this mass celebration of the arts.... in your area!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

First Findings

Hello all!
I am the aforementioned Felix.
I'd like to thank Jenni for inviting me to do this, it feels all very exciting. I am currently sitting just near a window through which is streaming clean German sunshine so that's lovely, and frankly a surprise. Anyway, a tiny bit about myself. I'm 18 and from Reading and will be going on to do Drama and German at Royal Holloway University of London. Thus, coming to Düsseldorf combined both my love of theatre and German. I will be working at the Rheinschauspielhaus, which is one of the biggest in Düsseldorf, which has 13, so it's obviously an acitve scene. It looks like for the first week I will be helping in the junior theatre. My host family's 12 year-old son Johannes is in a musical which premieres next friday. I have been to watch two rehearsals already. It transpires that it is called 'Major Dux', a musical written specifically for this project by the author of the book of the same name. It is a fantasy tale, where 'Major Dux' a giant duck has fallen in love with Billi Butterfly (most definitely female), and is mesmerised by her singing, but because he can't hear her he bans music. However, our hero Batrolemeus Bop has other ideas and starts an underground jazz scene in the sewers. As it is a large cast and many of them very young, technical acting direction is naturally sacrificed somewhat in order for the right atmosphere to be created. However, the live band they use are very, very good, and some of the cast sing extremely well. The most interesting feature is their staging, in that they use equivalents of REALLY big children's building blocks to crawl through, create pictures as if picese of a jigsaw for location and also to create levels and shapes to denote where they are and to create not only sitting spaces for various characters but also to produce interesting staging. Not having done this before, I'm not really sure how much to write and what to write, so feedback is welcome. Hopefully i may be able to get my camera up and running and so some time towards the end of the week or after the premiere i can give you some semblance of a review.
Keep Smiling
Auf Wiedersehn,

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Guest Blogger

I've just met Felix Clutson, a young theatre student who is going to be doing some work experience with us next year... when he gets back from a three month stint working in a a large theatre in Dusseldorf. Felix has agreed to be a guest blogger for us to share his experiences! Stay tuned for more info... he leaves this week!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Banners and Logos

I've changed the banner again, just because I found a new font I liked in Comic Life Magic. I was using the program to play around with a logo for the bigger and better festival we have having next summer. July 9th - 12th 2009, put those dates in your diary now. We'll probably have a dedicated site for the festival as there will be so many different activities going on, it will be easier to keep the information separate from the regular theatre activities. I shall probably change the banner again to match up with the festival. By the way, if you have any ideas or suggestions about how our 'regular' banner should be, feel free to email me and we can put all ideas up on the site.

Here's one of the new logos for the Bradon Forest Big Top Festival:

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

New term, new season!

Welcome back to school everyone! I hope you all had as good a summer as me! This season looks to be one of our best yet, with our first show just 3 weeks away! Make sure you support your best local theatre and come and see 'Murder at Checkmate Manor' on 24th and 25th September.

We also have professional companies Publick Transport and Green Eyed Zero in during September and Pickled Image and Big State in November! Check out the Events pages for full details.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

College Bands

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Now there's an idea....

Thursday, 19 June 2008

New Banner

So you may have noticed a new spangly banner up on the site as of today. I've been playing around with the theatre branding for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I want to link together the drama, art and music pages on the school's learning platform so they are more unified, and secondly because I've recently been putting together a website and blog for the Swindon Young Actors and really quite enjoy it.

The banner may not stay as it is, in fact it probably won't. That's one of the great things about design.. as long as you have something to fill the gap, you can change, adapt and progress an idea for as long as you like! I think that it will be a good thing for the theatre to have a distinct identity, if you like, so that we can further promote and develop the work we do here.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Swindon Young Actors back at the theatre

Swindon Young Actors (SYA) are back at the Bradon Forest Theatre this Spring with Property Rites by Alan Haehnel.

Kyle Macmanus has invested millions in a high-tech work of art -- fifteen human-figure sculptures programmed to perform thousands of movements, monologues, dialogues, and more. But just when Kyle is about to sell the sculpture, it malfunctions; the figures are alive. As each one struggles to achieve autonomy, they begin a fatal race against their desperate owner's destructive plan.
SYA are one of our community partners and we always enjoy their performances, this one promises to be no exception!

Thursday 15th and Friday 16th May, 7.30pm. Tickets are £5 adults, £4 students.

The Nothing Show

The next performance in the Bradon Forest Theatre is The Nothing Show.

A selection of year 9 students are taking part in an afternoon workshop with the company, followed by an invitation only performance.

The Nothing Show is a one man show, a clown character takes us on a hilarious tour of his world, a world very similar to us all. Things then start to go very wrong and it seems there is nothing he can do but despair. But out of the ruins the clown triumphs and begins a new life. Stewart comes on stage with nothing, no props, no set, no lighting clues. The audience has to imagine everything themselves. By the end of the show they'll be intimate with this man's life - that's the beauty of Stew's performance.

Wednesday 14th May - 7.30pm

Friday, 25 April 2008

Guest Review - Elliot Kinsey Watches Sketch

Elliot Kinsey, Yr10, writes:

Brave to Alice Chalk and the cast of Sketch, what an amazing show! Everything was brilliant especially the character Mr Wilson, played by Jacob Moore, a trule funny young man and the perfect person to play the part. But least we forget the other cast members that also added an extreme comic value to the show. Well done to all!

Sketch is a good play about Mr Wilson and his memories, some are good, some are sad but either way Mr Wilson never forgets them and we see only his best and tragic memories performed on the stage by an amazing young cast. We soon realise that not many people close to Mr Wilson stay with him that long, but that still doesn't stop him from remembering them. Scenes such as the 'interview' and 'broken' were the two best scenes for me because they were pure wit and hilarious. I also realised that most of the audience, including Mr Spiers (our headteacher) were in stitches of laughter before the main part of the play had kicked in!

I particularly liked the ending to the play as well, when Mr Wilson dances with his future wife. I think it was clever how Alice added a younger Mr Wilson, played by Harley Viveash, so that the older Mr Wilson could look back towards the action of stage as if he was reliving his memory.

Once again I wold like to tell you how fascinating it is when you think that this production was not created by a professional company, but by a young girl in Year 11 called Alice Chalk. I think it would be hard not to realise that this girl has the purest, raw talent within her to create such a brilliantly produced play with a help from her fathers imagination, David Chalk, who co-wrote the play. I would like to thank and the cast for such a funny and breathtaking play.

Oh, and before I forget, I would recommend anyone to see this play if it ever goes on tour... which is not hard to imagine as it was so great!
For other Elliot Kinsey reviews, click here.