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.