Recent Posts by Fenella Kelly

She lit up the stage

The last month or so I have been working at my local theatre helping with the lighting for 'The Railway Children' by Edith Nesbit. It is a community theatre that puts on 4-5 plays a year and I try to help out with lights at least once a year. This blog will look at what challenges we had in terms of lighting, what we wanted to achieve and how we achieved the desired effects.  Once I had committed to being a ...

How to use light to show the darkness

I am sure that many of you have been in the situation where you need to work out how to create a lighting effect, or have seen an effect on stage, and wondered how it was created. We can have wonderful ideas, but until we try things out we do not know how they can work in practice, or we can achieve achieve our intentions. Recently I have been doing lighting for a show at my local theatre, and it has ...

Researching a world theatre tradition

For the last 12 years I have been researching Kathakali, and as time goes on I see more and more ways to find out about the history of a tradition. Also, as time goes on I come across more and more conflicting pieces of information. It is therefore essential to cross reference all your information, find a range of sources to refer to and also check, double check and triple check you understand what you are reading before you choose ...

The process of learning

In July and August 2019 I was lucky enough to be preparing for a Kathakali performance that would take place in the Kerala Kathakali Centre, India. Having studied Kathakali for over 10 years it was now time for me to perform in one of the most perfectly structured Kathakali plays ever written. I was going to be playing the role of Panchali in "Kalyanasaugandhikam" ("The Flower of Good Fortune"). Panchali in Kalyanasaugandhikam   As I was going through my own process of ...

Surrealist theatre and design

The other day I went to see a play entitled 'Bells and Spells' by Victoria Thierree Chaplin with Aurelia Thierree and Jaime Martinez where walls move, lamp shades come to life, waistcoats turn into horses' heads and a lady could sleep on top of the washing line. This was the first time for ages where the design of the production was the key focus on the piece and we were transported into a magical world of mystery and surrealism. It was ...

Theatre and Mindfulness

This month in the UK there is a focus on wellbeing and mental health, which of course links to mindfulness, which is what many schools are embracing as part of their Advisory programmes. Soon I am going to be running a workshop in my local community on wellbeing and creativity, so I have been reading up about creative mindfulness. The blog this month is going to share some mindfulness exercises that you can try out with your students, but I ...

World Theatre in the Shadows

The last few weeks I have been researching theatre traditions and theatre companies that use SHADOWS in their performances. For this blog I thought it would be good to share them with you so that you can see the amazing range of ways that light and darkness can be used with objects, bodies and film in performance. You can use these as starting points for devising, ways into world theatre traditions or as ideas for performance and production. I hope ...

Peter Pan’s Shadow

Source: Wikimedia Commons The last few weeks I have been researching a range of starting points to use at a theatre festival to inspire original pieces of theatre. The key theme I have been looking at is SHADOWS. For this blog I thought you would find it enriching to see what types of stories, music and poems I found. Hopefully some will inspire you, and they will be used as starting points in your own devising work. To start with I ...

‘He’s Behind You’: Working Backstage at a Pantomime

If you find yourselves in the UK during the Christmas season then it is pretty much impossible to ignore the Pantomimes (called affectionately Pantos by the locals) that are on at pretty much every theatre about. These are done by community groups, schools and professionals alike and are all about family fun, a good afternoon or evening out for the whole family and lots of laughs (at terrible jokes). The laughs come from the silly jokes, visual comedy, sexual innuendos ...

“Oh No He Isn’t!”: The Magical World of the British Panto

'To see a pantomime is to see the ridiculous simplicity of the world through the eyes of a child.' Anon 'I am grim all day, but I make you laugh at night.' Joseph Grimaldi Snow White - Holiday Panto - Throckmorton TheatreSource: Fabrice Florin (CC BY-SA 2.0), via Flickr If you are lucky enough to be in the UK during the months of December and January, then you would be immersed in a theatrical world that comes across as slightly crazy. A ...