Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Brought to you by Mail Chimp...

If you've previously signed up to receive news from the theatre then you may have noticed a shiny new email in your inbox. I've been working on a new template to make sending you guys information on forthcoming shows not only easier for me, but a lot more interesting for you! You'll have to let me know what you think. If you haven't already signed up, then add your name to the mailing list here.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Blown Away

Last night I saw a piece of theatre that completely blew me away. We are lucky in our position here at Bradon Forest that we are able to book some of the top touring theatre in the country, and that our students have regular access to performances from company's such as Gonzo Moose, Pickled Image, Big State, Publick Transport and Shifting Sands. We urge them to come and see as many shows as possible... how else can young people acquire the experience and inspiration for creating their own theatre?

Last night was a perfect example of how a group can benefit from taking advantage of these opportunities. We had a GCSE cast of eight students who have been coming to see shows here over the last five years, some of whom haven't missed a performance from either fellow students or the professionals. They wanted to devise something for their exam that would honour the influences from the likes of the Gonzo's, whilst encompassing their own ideas and interpretations of physical theatre.

They wanted to devise a piece of drama, around an hour in length, using a story idea that they had imagined, researched and scripted, based on the theme of Faustus... pretty ambitious for a group of 14 and 15 year olds, huh? Well, some said it would never happen, that it was too much to expect, that it would never go on, but I am pleased to say that the cast succeeded with gusto! Faust was an intelligent, thought provoking, exciting, scintillating, comical tale of morality that exhibited true creative flair and talent from the students, whilst demonstrating a mature and dedicated approach to the art of performance.

David Calder referred to the piece as the "best piece of youth theatre I've seen in 32 years", and gave a standing ovation. That's no small achievement for the cast! Faust was more than good enough to go on tour or be performed at the Fringe alongside professional companies, but the audience last night were treated to an intimate and engaging show. All of the students performed superbly and should be truly proud of themselves.

As we left, Dominic said: "The thing is, they don't even know how good that was!"

Faust will be performed again on Wednesday 28th April in front of the external examiner.


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Review: Woman in Black

"Over 7 million people have lived to tell the tale of one of the most chilling and successful theatre events ever staged." Most chilling, eh? Well, based on that statement, I ensured that I was prepared for my solo trip to see Woman in Black at the Wyvern by getting a lift there and back. There was no way I was going to walk through a dark carpark at night on my own after that! Yes, I do scare easily. I'm one of those people that will hum with my eyes shut tight and my fingers in my ears during any M. Night Shyamalan film!

Talking of movies, I've got into the habit of not watching trailers or previews, or even reading blurbs about films or plays. It's a refreshing experience to go into something blind with no expectations. Then, rather than facing the possibility of something not living up to the hype, you're able to make your own decisions. Therefore I'm almost averse to writing this review. It's difficult. I don't want you to see this play expecting to be scared and frightened. I don't want you to be looking out for the bits that make you jump. But then I guess that's like telling you not to expect to cry at Phantom of the Opera, or not to expect to laugh at Anchorman...

Were there elements of the play I didn't like? Sure. To be honest, the actual story could have been stronger. The character of Sam Toovey keeps referring to Arthur's developing acting ability as 'Irving-like', but I only thought of the writer, John Irving, and his ability to engage interest and suspense in a tale panning five decades. Stephen Mallatrat could have concentrated less on deliberately trying to make the audience jump, and perhaps more on hinting at the content of the ghost story to develop suspense. Yes, we know Arthur is seriously spooked by something, but let's have more a hint at what. Let's have him read some of the found letters earlier. Without wanting to give too much away, I think mentioning a few key elements of the incident in passing would increase the intensity of some of the main scenes.

That said, Woman in Black had the desired effect... the loud screams coming from the audience were testament to that! You can see why it's one of the most popular plays to study for GCSE. The technical crew did a sterling job and some of the visuals and scene changes were very impressive. I would like to think that the many students who were in the theatre will not only come away with a valuable theatre experience to write about, but will actually adopt some of the dramatic skills and theatrical elements in their own devised pieces. The buzz as I left the auditorium was heartening and everyone at least seemed inspired!

I believe the whole run has sold out, but contact the Wyvern Theatre for full details.

GCSE Devised: Faust the Poet

Showing tonight, for one night only: Faust is a poet, but not a very good one. In a bid to make something of himself and impress his fellow neighbours with his importance, Faust makes a deal with the devil that triggers not only his demise, but the demise of the entire village.

A group of GCSE students have used the fable of Faustus to devise this exam piece which has been completely self-directed. Come and enjoy this brand new drama in their public warm-up performance before they have to show it to the examiner!

All tickets are £3 but free for all GCSE YR11 Drama students, and of course for Theatre Pass holders. Performance starts at 7.30pm, after a special dance-drama preview show and the run time is approximately 75 minutes.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Woman in Black opens tonight

I'm really excited about going to see The Woman in Black tomorrow night at the Wyvern Theatre! The opening night is tonight and I believe they are close to selling out for the 6 night run. I've been wanted to see this since Dominic reported back that it was one of the scariest things he's ever seen... this should be good seeing as it's live theatre! Just wish I wasn't going alone... I scare easily!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Shout Out Productions - New Website

For those of you who remember Shout Out Productions from the Big Top Festival, you may be interested to hear they have a brand new website! For those of you who didn't catch them... watch this space. They will be returning to the Bradon Forest Theatre before the year is out!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Great success

" I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the Spring Music Concert. The quality of the performance was exceptional. 

It takes a lot of courage to stand and perform in front of a packed theatre, particularly if you are on your own or in a duet and performers looked both comfortable and professional.

You should all be congratulated on such a polished and well put together programme - it was clear that you all practised and had given over a lot of your free time to get ready.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and thank you all!"

Mr Thomas


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Spring Music Concert - Sold Out!

Tonight is the first Bradon Forest Music concert of the year! Final rehearsals are going on as we speak and they all sound amazing.

Just to warn you, tickets for tonight have sold out. Please do not turn up unless you have a ticket as we will have to turn you away.

If you are one of the lucky ones, we'll see you tonight from 7pm!

Monday, 15 March 2010

BBC News: 'Sleep lessons' aim to sharpen up grumpy teenagers

I thought it might be worth re-posting this BBC News story promoting more sleep for teenagers.
"Sleep Scotland says getting enough sleep boosts academic performance and sporting prowess. However going without can be linked to obesity and a greater risk of depression."
So for all you classroom yawners out there... you know who you are... take a look at this site for some tips on how to sleep better. If nothing else, it'll help you keep your youthful looks for longer, but may even help you to get better exam results!

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Faust the Poet

Faust is a poet, but not a very good one. In a bid to make something of himself and impress his fellow neighbours with his importance, Faust makes a deal with the devil that triggers not only his demise, but the demise of the entire village.

A group of GCSE students have used the fable of Faustus to devise this exam piece which has been completely self-directed. Come and enjoy this brand new drama in their public warm-up performance before they have to show it to the examiner!

All tickets are £3 but free for all GCSE YR11 Drama students, and of course for Theatre Pass holders. Performance starts at 7.30pm and the run time is approximately 75 minutes.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Beginner's Pottery Class for Adults

Interested in learning pottery? Fancy having a go at hand building, slab building and coiling? Not sure what any of this means but would like to learn?

The Bradon Forest Art Department would like to invite members of the local community to join a new Adult Beginners Pottery Class. The brand new beginners session starts on Tuesday 20th April and runs for 6 weeks.

The cost of the course is only £45 and this includes all materials. The class will run from 6.30pm - 9pm each Tuesday.

Our successful community art classes have been running for two years now and we have to add more to popular demand!

Classes are limited so please contact me to book your place.

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Woman in Black

Calling all Drama students: Mrs Stimson is going to see The Woman in Black at the Wyvern Theatre in a couple of weeks. If you are interested in seeing the show please see Mrs Stimson at the start of break today in Dr2.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Bet you can't guess how old this guy is...

I've been pointed in the direction of Austin Field from a friend of mine who used to mountain bike with him. I have it on good authority that he recorded his music himself and as well as writing and singing the tracks, he plays all the instruments, aside from the drums. Talented guy, huh?

He's currently booking some live gigs for the summer and his EP comes out in March. I reckon he might be worth keeping an eye on.

I like the title of the EP too... seeing as I have also ridden a lot with our mutual friend, I wonder if Austin has often ended up in the wrong field like I have?

Oh, and he's only 17!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Review: The Department of Smelling Pistakes

I'm afraid that last night I was one of those annoying audience members who seemed to laugh earlier than anyone else. I'm sorry! It's just that The Department of Smelling Pistakes was just my kind of show and I'd now like to think of Angus and Toby as my two new best friends. I'm not sure what they'd make of this, but I got the impression they liked performing here!

The show told the story, or tried to tell the story, or didn't want to admit to the story or... oh, it's all getting confusing... basically there was a depressed Russian worker who wasn't quite sure of his job description who was being inspected by a familiar yet mysterious inspector. Confused? Well they were too, mostly because they were never quite sure what the 'Party line' was and whether they were, at any given time, in line with it! The was made all the more ambiguous due to misunderstandings arising from their grammatical incorrectness. For example, a politically incorrect adulation followed the simple remark, 'Your original' rather than 'You're original' when passing by the fax machine. "Yes! You noticed it too! I am original, aren't I?"

You may recognise Angus Barr from previous shows at Bradon Forest. We had Publick Transport's 20,000 Leagues Under the Office in 2008 and he has also toured with Gonzo Moose. His wonderful 'rubberness' always leads to some hilarious performances and I don't think I've ever seen so many facial expressions... especially when it all sunk in about the nose in his sandwich! This contrasted perfectly with Toby Davies' ├╝ber serious Party member, whose unfaltering dedication to the unknown task at hand was executed to perfection. From the moment he walked on stage, you knew to be wary of the character, and there was no hint of a sense of humour... even when his 'a coo' line (in reference to a story he was reading) was mistaken for a sneezing fit... "a coo, a coo, a COO!" He he... very funny.

We're looking forward to seeing Angus again in just a few weeks. Gonzo Moose return with Is That A Bolt In Your Neck? after the last show sold out. It's Friday 30th April if you want to reserve yours early. Hopefully it won't be too long until we see Toby again. Those guys are funny! Catch them while their touring. You won't regret it. Oh, and Angus kindly let me take a few shots last night... here's a preview.

"Absolutely top notch entertainment!" David Calder

Monday, 1 March 2010

The Department of Smelling Pistakes

There are still a few tickets left for tomorrow night's performance by Publick Transport.

Mining its trademark vein of absurdist humour, and taking inspiration from writers such as Gogol and Bulgakov, Publick Transport moves east, deep, deep into the bowels of a vast Russian governmental building where two civil servants jostle for power, one a puffed up bureaucrat in search of a job description, the other an unidentified inspector, the purpose of whose visit remains frighteningly vague. Reluctant to commit to specific thought for fear of showing ignorance of the party line (which changes hourly), they make idle conversation out of which is extrapolated the deepest meaning, while their attempts at political correctness only result in grammatical incorrectness.

The company have previously toured here with 20,000 Leagues Under the Office which was thoroughly enjoyed by a packed out audience!

Tickets are on sale now! Call 01793 773981 or email me to reserve yours today.

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