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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

What Does the Audience Really Think?

Some of you may have read my blog last year that shared the many ways that adult devisors gathered feedback from their audiences. Recently I have been running a lot of devising workshops with IB Theatre students, and we have managed to add to and refine the ways that the adults did it!!! Below is what we managed to develop. Included in this blog are ideas from Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process, which you may be familiar with. Happy reading!!! ...

Devising Companies to Explore

When you start looking for a devising company that you want to explore, it helps to know a little bit about them and also have some videos of their work to watch. Over the last few weeks I have been gathering ideas from many teachers about companies they would like to explore with their students, so here are a few that you may want to look at yourself or as a class. I hope that some of these companies and ...

At the Devising Crossroads

Recently my first year IB Theatre students have had a go at creating their first devised piece based on a starting point. We worked with six starting points initially (one TED Talk, one piece of music, one poem, one painting, one piece of graffiti art and an object) and, then, as a group decided the following: What do I bring to the devising process and how do I promote my self? (What is my theatre world of experience, passions and knowledge, and ...

How to Assess IMPACT on Your Audience

Recently I have been working with small devising companies to explore how they can obtain meaningful and accurate data to assess audience impact. I am going to give you three scenarios of their process of evaluating impact, and then how they re-worked this data gathering the second time they performed. The first performance was a ‘soft’ sharing or rather a ‘work in progress’, which is common practice for many devising companies, so they can evaluate their work before it is ...

Making an entrance – TEAM

This week I have been running a Theatre Laboratory with my grade 10 and 11 students on what we bring when we enter the stage. We are moving onto exits next week, but I thought I would share with you what they explored with entrances for this blog. We discovered that with an entrance you can establish: character mood motive environment relationships objects in the environment status atmosphere conflict story backstory other characters off stage foreshadowing subtext and more... When you are ...