Friday, 23 October 2009

Love the World

I've just been scrolling through Facebook about an hour after we all got to see Nick Griffin splattered over our televisions. Honestly, I knew his appearance on QT would be a really climactic event but I didn't realise just how many people would be watching. Pretty much all facebook statuses are pronouncing him as an absolute div' and this is coming from all ages, social and ethnic backgrounds. I think the public reaction tomorrow will be very interesting. We have to remember it was a London audience tonight and Londoners are probably the most multi-cultural community in Britain and we have no tolerance for racial discrimination or homophobia. I hope this is mirrored throughout the country and I'm sure it will be.

Jack Straw is just as much of an dick as Nick! I mean would you like to dodge the question anymore Jack? Immigration policies should be about our resources and capability to cope with migration. Isn't it that simple? For once I agree with the Tories. A cap should be placed annually which allows for a healthy environment for all. That doesn't mean literally turning people away but I think it comes down do we have enough jobs available? But a woman in the Question Time audience did have a great point to make. A lot of 'British' people won't do the jobs that are deemed working class. But qualified doctors coming here will clean houses etc proudly. Being on of the many who has recently been forced to sign on it suprised me that I was only asked to apply for three jobs a week. I think it is essential that the public understand the importance of a good education and the importance of earning your own money. I find it appauling that I am going to be given money for doing absolutly nothing. Though I am hoping I will get a job before money is handed over to me on a silver platter.

Moving on, why are we still talking about Enoch Powell? His famous speech was before I was born. It hardly seems to be relevant anymore and has no reflection on politics today? Similarly, why are we talking about our forefathers. They did a great job but can we please focus on today and the future. Its all very well talking about previous mistakes and political catastrophes but we can't change that so why have such an emphasis on the past?

Bonnie Greer said it most fantastically, the British people have common sense. Can this now please be reflected in the government? At the moment I could careless who was in power (well obviously the BNP should be no where near Parliament). Massive change needs to take place and we need to get the oldies out and bring some new fresh faces in. I am so bored of looking at Gordon, Jack, David, Boris. They are old fogies who look as if death is just around the corner. How will they ever follow through with any of their policies?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Its off...

Last Friday I finally finished my PGCE application. I forgot what its like to apply to universities and wondering if you have made the right desicions and having your heart set on one path. I'm hoping whatever happens I'll be a student once again in September studying hard and training to become a drama teacher.

I'm hoping that through becoming a teacher I can make changes in the education system. Something has to change and it has to change soon. In the news this morning there was an article about a boy refusing to stand up when his Headmaster entered the room. I think good for you boy, standing up for your rights (well sitting actually) but at the end of the day your Headmaster is your elder and deserves respect. I have had a very Roman Catholic education and respect and serving others has always been predominant in what makes for a 'good' person. We were taught from the very first lesson in year 7 what 'SERVIAM' means; To serve others. We learnt about the history of the Ursuline and St Ursula and St Angela and I can reel this off for you like the back of my hand. We found it all very boring at the time but I think knowing the history of your school is an excellent way to understand how you should behave.
Of course children need to have fun and be able to play but respect for your teachers does not seem too much of an effort really. Afterall they are imparting their knowledge and offering you the chance to learn in a safe environment. My mum always says 'children today have too many rights' and I think she is right. Parents all to often stick up for their children rather than backing the teacher. Punishment doesn't seem to be punishment anymore and children are getting away with murder!

However, on the other side of this I think drama seriously needs to have some more important in the National Curriculum. I honestly belive if you introduced drama into the National Curriculum then we would have a lot less problems. Its in drama that you learn to argue without offending, hear as well as listen and also its where you learn how to critique others work in a constructive way.

Catch 22 - Helping Young People Out

Last week I took some great advice from a certain individual and logged on to the Wandsworth Volunteer Bureau. This led to me finding many organisations in and around Wandsworth that I (who has lived in Wandsworth my entire life) had never heard about before. In response to this I gave Catch 22 a call and found out about their work and offered to volunteer with them. The charity helps young people who have found themselves in difficult situations and offers a mentoring scheme which I am going to be apart of once my CRB is cleared. I've never visited a youth centre before and it was rather strange. As you enter theres that Byker Grove feel about it but no actual people anywhere to be seen. Thought this was probably to do with the fact right next door Base was open offering all the mod cons; computers, music rooms and even a 'juice bar'. Saying that the scheme seems brilliant and Lindsey (the trainer) was enthusiastic and clearly committed to providing a safe environment for young people in Wandsworth. We went through a few exercises, talking about what you should and shouldn't do with your mentees. The obvious being don't bring them to your house, don't give them money and some more merky subjects; gifts. I felt a little scare-mongered by the governments policy. If you lend a kid 10p then that can be used against you. Give me a break please. Honestly, its all tick boxing and 50 years ago this would not have been a problem.
So far I'm really impressed but of course I have a small problem. Its something which I have always thought but never had the opportunity or perhaps have always felt I needed to censor. Anyway getting to the point:

As a 21 year old who has lived in Wandsworth her entire life I've only experienced the 'Wandsworth community' once in my life and that was at Brownies. I remember a youth group opening just down the road from my house when I was about 13 but being the girl who went to the posh Catholic girls school I felt I did not have the right to be there. It has always felt for me that youth centres belong to the 'underprivelleged', if you can categorise that? I think this needs to change massively otherwise we will never be able to bridge the gap that continues to grow.
I'm very excited to start mentoring and finally being able to use my degree more constructively.

Friday, 21 August 2009

My Booky Wook

Before reading Russell Brand's uniquly written autobiography, I was not a fan of his. However, I am now besotted with him. He is both hilarious and uttetly intelligent. His book is a fast paced comic look at his life and of course his heroin addiction. Usually I don't particularly like these books that tell you all about how difficult it is coming off smack and how shooting up is a way to forget about their dads leaving and their mums hitting them. But Brand's writing is rather self depricating but without the sympathy aspect of your normal 'I was addicted to drugs' story. He looks at his absolutly hilarious antics whilst high; like the time he had his homeless mate come and live with him and film it. He talks about a play him and his friend wanted to write when they had been up on acid, about a book neither of them had read. They found a space to hold auditions and rehearse and publicised the performance. The night before it was due to premiere they had an acid trip and decided to cancel the whole thing. You cannot deny being on drugs in the way Brand was does not sound hilarious and this is why Brand is excellent. He does not pretend that it wasn't fun. Essentially Brand is a philospher and this really comes across in his writing.

Definently recommend this book. Although don't read in public spaces as you will have people looking at you oddly because of the fact you cannot stop laughing.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

NIE Blog

I just wanted to say that the NIE blogs make me laugh a lot especially the recent one about being locked in a flat.

Monday, 17 August 2009

First day at The Space

I started working with The Space Theatre Company this week. The Space is a theatre company based in the Isle of Dogs, committed to improving access to the arts; and if you read my dissertation you know already that this is an issue I am interested in. The space offers the community the ability to get invovled with the theatre for free. You can take part in workshops whether you are 5 years old or 50, or like me you can volunteer. As a volunteer it is easy to get stuck with all the odd jobs but The Space has helped to tailor the experience to cater my needs and their needs.

I am assisting with their summer school for young people. This week they children are given the skills to produce and perform a show, there is set design, lighting design, sound design and script writing to choose from. I have been assisting with the script writing workshops led by Peter Easterly. So far I have learnt a lot about giving a workshop which is more theory based and this has been extrememly interesting and helpful. The theme that we have been looking at is money which of course is a very tentative issue at the moment that affects both adults and children alike.

Next week we will begin to devise a show based on the story of Treasure Island. I am very excited to see what ideas the children have and to see what the end will look like.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

My First Edinburgh Festival

On Thursday myself and Chloe travelled up on the Megabus to Edinburgh. When we arrived we were pleased to see the sun shining and we were looking forward to spending a few days enjoying the sun and shows. Oh how we were wrong! By Friday it began to rain and it did not stop until Saturday afternoon. However, this did mean lots of coffee drinking and huddeling under umbrellas. We saw St Mary's own Destination GB on Friday. I have only seen it once before and it has developed well. The show itself is mostly improvised and this I like about it. Although at times it was clear the actors got a little lost in the action and had to quickly get back to the main storyline. I did enjoy watching the show and the audience loved it, however as(although I am generalising) with much of Kasia's work I felt the message was far too drummed into me. I understood what they were trying to acheive quite early on and I think they could employ some more subtle techniques to acheive their message.

After Destination GB it was time for Metamorphosis, a play based on the story by Franz Kaftka. I thouroughly enjoyed this performance by Cambridge University. It was a very stylisied piece of work and the choreography was spot on. The atmosphere they created as an ensemble was chilling. I liked that they used the family of Gregor to tell the story rather than basing it all around Gregor himself. Halfway through the performance the make up on the actors began to dramatically deteriorate, I am not sure if this was deliberate but it worked extremely well. It showed the deterioration of Gregor's humanity and I loved this. In fact there was not much wrong with this show, although my only niggle is that they started to take down the set as soon as the show was over and having a good old chat with their families and friends. This is a pet hate for me!

On Saturday Chloe and I had theatre for breakfast, which consisted of weak coffee and a stale crossisant and some very bad comedy! I am not sure if I want to waste anymore time talking about this performance apart from to say if you like cheap humour with no sub-text this is the show for you. The Bite-sized Breakfast on at the Bedlam Theatre.

My last show in Edinburgh was Ritter, Denne, Voss. It is a play about the famous 20th century philospher Ludwig Wittgenstein. It was a very eerie performance with some good dark humour but at times it was hard to keep up with the story. I wish I had read the programme before watching the show because I would have understood it more. Ludwig has returned to his family home where his two sister's live, from a mental institution. For me I felt the play was exploring the inside of his mind and this was reflected in the set design. I think I need a bit more time to consider my opinion on this performance but I would recommend it.

Overall I had a wonderful time at the festival. I met some great people and loved having a massive dose of theatre after a few months of not seeing any theatre. Tomorrow I start working for The Space Theatre Company in the Isle of Dogs which is in south-east London!

Monday, 13 July 2009

The real world is boring, full of swine flu and makes you very sarcastic!

Results were finally published last week and I received my transcript for them on Saturday. I am to say I received a 2:1 which is very good I think considering I did party throughout my degree. However, sometimes you have to question how you are examined. Personally I think the drama department needs to start to communicate a lot more. It really comes down to the nitty gritties, some lecturers say you must do it this way others say that way and this becomes a bit of a pain. My biggest problem this year has been that most of the answers we as third years were given were 'we have sorted it out for the first year'. For example the acting part of Chekhov and Shakespearem I personally have never taken an acting module and to be honest from what I have heard the acting modules have not been great. How then is it possible for me to graded on something I have never done before? That is totally ridiculous. But of course the answer from my lecturer was 'the first years will have more training'.
Over the past two years I have learnt a lot, but this has mostly been from the 30 credit modules which offer a more intense structure to what you study. I can comptently put a lighting design together now as well as rig, focus and op it. And I now know I can write a 10,000 word essay and make it sound somewhat intelligent. I learnt that although you might put a lot of effort into something, the way you speak and hold yourself will mean that actually you do not do as well as you expected. And I learnt I can lead a half decent workshop with a class of primary school children.
The 15 credit modules for me were by and large rather pointless. Take The Musical for example, I went in hating musicals and being able to voice that opinion and back it up with relevant evidence, I left still hating musicals and still being able to voice an opinion about it cohesively. US Drama was a waste of my time, I learnt....what a regional theatre is....wait I knew that already. Shakespeare and Chekhov are two modules I learnt a lot in but of course received my two worst grades in.
In my first year I can confidently say I learnt absolutly nothing apart from that it is very easy to put together a 5 minute skit. I honestly want my £3000 back and I expect I would probably get it if I pushed harder enough.
And afterall that I have a degree and I can now go and spend the next 5 years still being skint working in a soul destroying call centre where swine flu has hit today so this maybe my last blog because if the papers are right I will probably be dead by next week!
I loved university but I don't think you could pay me to do it ever again!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Very angry with the state of the nation

A massive rant is about to take place...
Why is it that when I turn on BBC 2 politics today is it that I find 70 year old white stuck up men hounding my television!!! Parliament needs to CHANGE. I think I am quite politically in the know but I feel so disenfranchised. There is no one in politics talking to my generation and we are the generation who in a few years will be taking seats in Parliament. My voice is not being heard. These MPs pretend to be in the know but they are not. They have children who are living it up in private schools and so have no knowledge of what is happening in state schools they just want health and safety boxes to be ticked. This inevitavly means that a huge portion of the population has no interest in what is happening and this means the only politics that is taking place is the stuff that is either in the press everyday or is in the interest of the MPs themselves. As much as I hate to say it I think Cameron will be a good thing for government, he is mildly young, if not a bit pretentios, but he seems to have an eye for what is happening. But of course there is still the demographic of the country, which is not being reflected. I say out with the old in with the new. Lets stop these biggots and all go crazy. Lets throw purple flour all over the f*****rs!! let them deal with some stuff, because apparently all they need to deal with is if they get the sack because of buying some porn on expenses or taking care of their mote!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

A very cultural 21st Birthday!

Last Wednesday I finally turned 21...time for the botox now! I saw that the Tate Modern had an exhibition on of an adult advnture playground. Sounded exceptionally fun so I decided thats what I wanted to do for my birthday, boy was I wrong! It was a tad boring and had no colour and I thought it was about escaping the real world and going a little crazy. Thats not what happened to me. I entered and was told to keep the noise down! I know I'm loud but if your going to house a huge playground what do you expect? Why in this modern 21st century world is noise so forbidden. Why are we constantly told to be quiet on trains, buses, even playgrounds. Is noise pollution really pollution? Forget it if I want to make a bit of noise I will! The one thing I will say for the Tate is that its free and that does make me happy, because it means everyone can go and have some fun and take a look around the gallery which although boring in my opinion does allow you to have your own opinion.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Definently not going to be the next Speilborg (is that even how you spell his name?)

I am sitting in house I have been in for less than 24 hours listening to some REM and having a bit of a facebook stalk....this is the life of a production assistant on a low budget film in a beautiful house in Kew. I am being paid and I have learnt all about fake blood but this is definently not the industry for me. Film just does not not compare to theatre. None of the actors (there is one at the moment) have rehearsed and it takes literally an hour to film one shot. It all seems a bit silly to me! Where is the audience??? Who is actually going to see this film? Is it going into affect any change. I MISS KALKU!

We were here until 4am last night and it looks the same tonight. The cast and crew are filming on location at the moment and I have been put in charge of looking after the house. I do enjoy the responisbility of this job but it comes with a lot of sittig around and not really being able to see much of the filming. But I have made some good contacts and will be working with Ray ....... he was in Harry Potter next weekend. And I also sat next to Jonny Wilkinson yesterday having a coffee, he is even more good looking in real life!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Finding a job

When your not really sure what you want to do but definently need money there is a huge difficulty in finding a job particularly when there is credit crunch happening. I am officially a graduand, a term I only found out last week, it means I have finished my degree and am awaiting my results. So now I am in limbo. No job, No money, No life! I am applying for jobs everyday, trying to stay away from retail, bar work and office jobs but this is very hard. All the jobs I have applied for so far I seem to be totally underqualified for. The problem I'm finding is you need more than six months experience which is how long I was working on Kalku for. There is only so much experience you can blag. I have found a job for the next two weekends as a production assistant on a low budget film which although is not very good money it is good for my CV. At this moment in time I am thinking of dipping into my savings so I can do the TEFL course which costs far too much money than I care to think about and then hopping on a plane to teach in Cambodia. But with the costs of the course, flights and visas I am not too sure I can afford it and I also have to pay off the horrible overdraft I stupidly decided to take out in my second year. But it seems to me I can gain very good experience doing this and will benefit me in the long run. Day time television is becoming very boring, I can't even afford to buy the next book I want to read in the Twilight series (very good if you like a tacky story about vampires and young love).

All in all I think we have realised the credit crunch is CRAP and the only way to escape it is to crawl into a cave and grow your own food and become totally self sufficient, have no friends and be a complete SNORE!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Shrinking Land of Kalku

Our community project has finally, after months of hard work, ended. The show was fantastic and the children loved it although the same can't be said for come of the teachers. The tech week ran pretty smoothly with a few hiccups and some changes to the script. There was a lot of waiting around, which can only be expected on a show like Kalku, but everyone was very good about it and enjoyed the time to grab a rest, some food and even some sun which we were very lucky with.

I think everyone involved ejoyed themselves and it was brilliant to have members from all the different pathways and years. The show has very much bonded us as a group and with the champagne flowing, the get out went very well. As a technician myself I find it hard sometimes to realise that some people are not used to fit up's and get outs because they have not had that type of responisbility before. But generally everyone mucked in and we were out of the park within an hour and 30 minutes of the show ending!

Skye the stage manager on the show has done a brilliant job alongside the other technicians. When it was needed she told you to step up and she was a huge support through rehearsals when it felt we were in a complete rut. I have to say that out of all the stage managers I have worked with Skye has definently been one of the best, I think Al has another Emily Thorpe on his hands!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The End of the Beginning

So I'm approching the last week of my degree and it is very scary! I had my last ever lecture yesterday and as yet it hasn't hit me that actually I will be leaving St Mary's very soon. Though I am very excited about starting a career and working with professionals. Each week my life plan changes. First of all I wanted to go travelling as soon as I could afford it and then it changed to moving to York in September then I decided to wait until 2010 to move to York and work until then. But I think I am back at the beginning again, travelling was the most amazing experience I have ever had and I think I need to do it again before I settle down for good. My play at the moment is to graudate (hopefully) and then get a lovely job in a call centre, bore myself to near death and then jump on a plane to Bangkok. However, I do want to carry on with drama until then so working and doing drama at the same time has also been on my mind. I think at the moment all I can do is play it by year and see what happens. Although I think travelling is a definate for me. When I was in Thailand and Malaysia I met so many wonderful people from so many different backgrounds and I would love to do this again for longer.

Monday, 11 May 2009

A very hectic life!

Clearly I have been a very busy bee and it is for this reason that I have neglected my blog. However! rehearsals are going well and although we changed the story on Saturday we are on schedule and will hopefully have a great show. I have learnt a lot from this project and although mistakes have been made we have learnt from them and very much got on with the job!

Build day is always a great day. It is a break from rehearsals and allows everyone to bond. Saturday was a nice sunny day and although we were working inside for most of it and were in two seperate space I do believe we needed that time to refresh ourselves. It worked. Yesterday we rehearsed 10-6 and acheived a hell of a lot.

Other than rehearsals all of us have been writing essays, dissertations, portfolios and rehearsing for other practical assessments. I have only one major problem at the moment and that is the library which seems to have a problem with opening times. During the Easter holidays it was closed on a couple of weekends and had shorter opening hours. On what planet are these people on? On the planet I'm on third years across the country are reading and writing a ridiculous amount and as a result need a space to work. Our library is not a place you can do this. All of the time there are complaints that people are always talking and playing music loudly, the other day I had to ask a group of 2nd years to keep the noise down. My point is the library needs to act more like a place of learning rather than an SU.

Monday, 27 April 2009

The beginning of rehearsals

This week has been a week of stress, productivity and learning lots of new things about myself and the world of community drama. We started rehearsals on Monday and have gotten off to a brilliant start. For myself and Emma as directors we need to learn to think faster and give our instructions to the actors more clearly. The actors need to learn to trust me and Emma , although sometimes they do not know where we are heading with an idea they must trust us to know that we do.

We have had some great work come out of this week, with Mark coming into supervise the Friday rehearsal he gave Emma and I lots of new fresh ideas and good ways to approach the actors. Our notes to them have not always been efficient and I think that is where we are going wrong, also our knowledge of the story and the characters is not dense enough. However we have got a great Water Nymph scene and Milky Magician so next week we will be working even harder and hopefully get some brilliant scene together.

Saturday was a daunting prospect for me. I was tired from the past week and needed a good day off but somewhere in Ham House I found the day off I desperately needed. I had my face painted, played lots of games with the children; who not many were there did hopefull have a good time. The children loved Giants/Heroes/Dwarfs and Bang Splat. Although I was talking with Mark after and he pointed out the use of miming a gun when playing Bang Splat. I am not sure what I think about this yet. I think that in a 'Utopian world' where gangs did not shoot one another then this game is fine; but we do not live in this world and so as Community Drama workshoppers we need to take in consideration of the schools we go to and the young people we work with when deciding what games to play with them.

Going back to Ham House, I really love working here, as Mark says it really does give you a new energy to do things. I think National Trust does this for me a lot, all their buildings are beautiful, welcoming and more importantly the people who work for NT are always lovely.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Hang On

I went to see Hang On last night at the Hammersmith Lyric. Its a co-production between Theatre Rites, Ockmans Razor and Hammersmith Lyric in association with Theatre Royal York. Entering the auditorium you are greeted by six clothes hangers all with different items of clothing hung on them. Then each member of the cast enters, and to the delight of the children notice the audience. They all choose an item of clothing and poor Eric is left with a jacket he does not want. The show goes on and we realise that Stephano likes Tina and Eric is a little bit scared of just about everything; particularly heights. The are graudally replaced by bigger and bigger ones and each time three of the actors explore the hangers and literally hang. This is a very simple concept but works beautifully. The circus and movement are accompanied by recorded music and live percussion by Nao Massuda who is very cool. What was brilliant about this show was its total simplicity and this is what the children loved and what I loved too. The whole design was genius, from the hangers to the lighting and sound. If you can get to see it I would definently recommend it!

Friday, 17 April 2009

An adventure to a seat in the Old Vic

Last night I went to the Old Vic suprisingly for the first time. I don't think I will be going again very soon. I always judge a theatre by how I feel when I enter and when I entered I did not feel good. It was rather unwelcoming and I couldn't find the bar! The doors are like fire doors which is very claustrophobic. Unlike the National (which I am a bit obsessed with at the moment...disertation and all) there is no where to sit and it seems to me very Hollywoodesque as much as Kevin would like to say it isn't!

The stage is another thing completly. OVAL SHAPED? why would anyone design a theatre in this way. My seats had been upgraded and I was excited about being able to see the whole show, boy was I wrong? I had massive railing in front of my face and being short I had to literally climb onto my seat. Once I had finally sat down I realised there was no leg room (I have very short legs, imagine how the tall people feel) then after a mountaneering adventure onto this ridculous seat I had to get back down again because some needed to get past!

This was all in the first ten minutes of my entering the building, so as you can tell I was not in the best of moods.

I was looking forward to a good meaty Irish show. The story was fine, its about a group of sisters and their beliefs, hopes and dreams and some dancing amidst this. The acting was good but the cast as a whole seemed to lack energy and umph so as a moany audience member I was not enthused. The irish members of the audience seemed to enjoy the jokes and the music but it felt the actors relied on the story that bit too much and didn't really add anything to it.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Burnt By theSun

After a day of hardcore studying I went to the National to see Burnt By the Sun. It is set on a hot summers day during the Stalin years of Russia. Kotov a hero from the Russian Revolution and his family are spending their summer in the country, reminicing the past, singing and dancing. One day a childhood friend of Kotov's wife arrives, here the play unravels and we find out that they used to be very much in love. I won't give away the ending but there are spies, betrayal and some death.

As much as I loved the story some of the direction wasn't great. The fight scenes were cringing to watch and did not seem to have any real impact on the audience. The revolving house felt quite strange, although the actors were very comfortable with it. The lighting design was very impressive; Mark Henderson did a wonderful job in creating a hot summers day. Though the sound design went slightly over the top. One minute birds were twittering and the next crickets were cicketing. There didn't seem to be much consistency.

But overall a good performance with some heart wrenching moments and quite a few laughs!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Never let Mark live the dream again!

Saturday Carolina, Mark, Vandu and myself made our way up to Scotland. We drove up the west coast through the Lake District where we stopped for lunch and then to Carlisle where we out our bets on for the Grand National. Myself and Mark (the English) are long running fans of the Grand National and so we had to make the right decision about what horse we picked. I chose Comply or Die and Mark took aproimately 4 hours to choose his horse which I cannot remember the name of but fell within the first few minutes. Carolina and Vandu (the Portugese) picked the horse which to me clearly was never going to win. They sat through race having a chat and mulling over the tour guides of Great Britain and Scotland (their hearts were just not in it) and then with minutes to spare Mon Mome sped into first place and won the race with odds of 100/1. As a wonderful result Carolina won £125! This all happened in a small pub across the border in Gretna Green everyone in there was as gobsmacked and Mark and I.

After Carolina's win we carried on up the coast and wondered across SweetHeart Abbey which was founded by Lady of Galloway in memory of her late husband. As an act of love she wore his embalmed heart around her neck; as much as this sound disgusting I think I would love a man to wear my heart around his neck.

We carried on driving and came across a small town in the middle of no where on the coast. We decided to pitch up here and we went for typical fish and chips and then the pub for a game of pool and a beer. I was particularly excited since the pub had a few arcade games like air hockey and even Pac Man. So whilst I am not very good at pool my Pac Man skills have been greatly improved.

We were up early Sunday morning to take down our tent and make our way to Culzean Castle in Ayr. We walked around the grounds which have an incredible view over the sea and then we paid £13 to get into the castle itself. Mark and Carolina were luckier enough not to have to pay as they had brought their National Trust volunteer cards which I had stupidly forgotten. However for a mere £13 I now have a years membership to the National Trust and this would have been a lot more if I had been in England.

I think I slept a lot on Sunday since I don't really remember much of the day apart from eating in a pub in Ayr and trying to persuade everyone not to camp again. But camping we did! We stayed on Loch Lomond which was absolutly beautiful. We had a quick pint in the pub where Vandu played the piano and Mark fell asleep.

Monday was an exceptional day. Mark had a dream. A dream that in my mind was a bit crazy but a dream he had a dream he needed to fulfill. So we drove John o' Groats, the northerly most north part of Great Britain. I would love to say that the drive was worth it and that we got to see incredible landscapes and the sun was out and were able to see the Northen Lights. But I can't. The clouds covered the sky, the wind tried to blow us over, the landscape was nothing to shout about and there wasn't even a pub insight. But we did it and now we all have a warm fuzzy feeling inside that only comes when you go so far north. However on the drive up we visited Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, we had coffee in Fort William which is a lovely town and we got to drive past Ben Nevis the highest mountain in Britian.

Tuesday we visted Edinburgh where we walked the mile and went to see where JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series. I even got a little burnt because the sun was out. Then we head to Rosalind Chapel which although beautiful was covered with scaffolding. But the history of the building and the architecure was very cool! (read Mark Griffin's blog for more info)

Then it was off to let Mark live the dream again. We went to see Oxford United play in York. They lost.

BUT York I love. I really love it. I walked around on Wednesday with the biggest smile on my face ever. We went to the Minster, we had coffee in the Evil Eye shop, we argued about education and we walked the city walls. And we went on the Viking Experience or what I would like to rename How not to do Drama in the Community. The actors were bad, the story was boring, the whole thing needed a boost of energy and a new way to teach young people about the history of York. We also had coffee in the Theatre Royal and as much as I love the National Theatre, this theatre was a new thing entirely. I loved the way they worked and how they involved the whole community and welcomed everyone into the space. If I were to run a theatre it would be like this; unpretentcious and just wonderful!

Now home in London I can't wait to leave again and move to York once I graduate.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Knee High presents...Brief Encounter

Richmond Theatre kindly gave the drama in the community team some free tickets for Noel Coward's Brief Encounter last night. From the moment I walked into the theatre I was brought back to the 1930s and I truly believed and accepted the whole experience. This is the first production I have seen by Knee High and I will be going to see a lot more. Reading their 'About Us' section I found I really like their ethos. They create work for the whole community and this is something I truly believe in.

The play itself uses a combination of the play text Still Life and the screenplay Brief Encounter. Emma Rice (the director) has done a brilliant job in creating an ensemble who work together in a way that I personally have never experienced before. Every move, every gesture has been thought about in detail. However, the front of house team who fit into the play as part of the action are very open with their audience and have fun with us. I think this is a key element to our drama in the community peformance. The actors must and need play outragously with the audience and be open to them as well. They need to be ready for any changes that might occur during the performance because of the audience.

Friday, 3 April 2009


Yesterday myself and Emma audtioned the actors in our project for the final show. It was as new to us as to some of the actors who had never auditoned before. We began the audtion with a few games; bang splat, zip zap boing and the chicken and the chair game. We then put chair in a line and put a piece of paper on each chair which had a description of a character for example an evil pixie, a depressed businessman. These were characters that had some relation to the characters in the play. The actors then had to stand on a chair and act out each character for 30 seconds. They did this at the same time and would rotate until they had done them all. After these warm ups we asked them to find groups of three and read through and rehearse a short scene from the show which we had given them. They then had to improvise the scene to relay the story. This exercise is similar to something I had done in the Chekhov lecture. Instead of them reading from the script it forces them to perform the story and really work as an ensemble. We then gave them a choice of three short monologues which they then had to read for the class.

Before the casting myself and Emma had many conversations looking at who we saw as each character. However after the casting we had both changed our minds on many of the characters. Last night we decided not to talk a lot about the casting, instead we came together today and discussed our ideas and came to a final decision. Suprisingly it did not take very long as we had both had similar thoughts.

We have posted the casting list and rehearsal schedule on facebook so take a look!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

We have a story FINALLY

On Wedenesday the Creative team finally completed the story for the big show in May. We have been researching stories and structures for the last couple of months and this preperation helped us hugely when we had to write our own stories. We started by each picking a Greek/Egytian myth, I chose Perseus and Medusa, Maria chose an Egytian myth about a man whose death has already been prophesised although you never find out the ending. Emma, like me chose a Greek myth. As a group our favourite story was Maria's because of the ending as well as the srructure which had two places involved and some magic!

We used these stories as a springboard and sat down and discussed together what we thought our story should be. The story seemed to come a from a vortex of ideas although we kept everything we had learnt and researched in mind. After writing down a simple structure we began discussing the detail of the story and then wrote this down in a story format. However, myself and Emma began talking and we felt that the story did not have enough depth to it, it seemed very two dimensional. We discussed this with the rest of the team and they agreed so we added depth to it by introducing a sub-plot between Hapu and Ebonee. Once we start writing the script and start rehearsals I think we will begin to see different dynamics between the characters and I hope this will add some more meat to the story so that the actors and audience can really get their teeth into it.

A very emotional last workshop

On Friday we had our last workshop with th university group at AJS. We have worked with this class for 5 weeks now and it has been amazing. The workshops have been focused around creating a world and writing stories for this world which they then perform. The stories they have created have all been incredibly creative and I have learnt that you can imagine anything and it does not have to be censored. At the end of the workshop yesterday, we asked the students for thier feedback, all of their feedback was very positive with many commenting on the team building skills they had learnt. A lot of the children had loved the performance side of the workshops and had enjoyed being able to stand up and use the whole space. One boy said 'I'm speechless' and another boy explained that before these workshops he had 'not really been into drama, but now he loves it'. I think we could not have asked for better feedback, although negative feedback would have been good so we could see what went wrong. Sometimes I think it is difficult for children to give adults their honest feedback so we did explain to them that negative comments were just as good as positive comments. Clearly we were just brilliant and no negative feedback was necessary!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Robben Island Bible

Yesterday Matthew Hahn one of my drama lecturers gave the first public read through of his new play The Robben Island Bible at Richmond Theatre. All I can say is WOW it was fantastic particularly when you have such a humble and gracious man reading; Jon Kani. Kani is the man that brought us Sizwe Bansi is Dead with Arthol Furgard which I saw at the National a couple of years ago. His presence on stage is so empowering, you feel you can do anything. Speaking to Matt today he said he was nervous about doing the read through himself but was so glad he did it. The play is a verbatim play and takes the Shakespeare quotes which the Robben Island prisoners had highlighted and dated as well as one on one interviews which Matt had had. I really loved the relationship between Matt and John. John was the esteemed actor and had a natural presence and ease with the space. At one point in the read through he stood up and went and had a conversation with Matt. This was brilliant and one of those rare moments in theatre where you know what you are seeing is the total truth.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A bit of a crazy one...

Today I have nearly finished fillind out the London Education Partnership Award application which is seemingly difficult task. The questions they ask are particularly difficult to fully understand and as a result the whole procedure turns into a guessing game. Though once you start writing it does start to make more sense, even if what your writing is incorrect. I gave the award scheme a call and left a nice message but they haven't got back to me so I just carried on without their help.

This weeks meeting we finalised the scheldule for the show. I am happy to say that myself and Emma C. will be working together as the directors. I am aprahensive about this job but excited too! I am going to be working as assisstant director on The Visit which Kieren is directing with the first years acting. Hopefully this will give me more confidence and I will learn how to work with a large ensemble.

This week the creative team have really pegged it up a gear. We have set a deadline for when the story needs to be written and I think we can do it. What I find most difficult is where do you get a story from? I am not a particularly creative person but I really wanted to get my creative juices flowing this year and that is why I chose to be a part of this team. We have made a desicion to find a Greek or Egyptian myth to use as a springboard and have began t brainstorm what we want the structure to look like and what themes we want to incorporate. All we have to do now is create a story that will be loved by EVERYONE!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Once upon a time....

Stories have always been a really important part of my upbringing. Coming from an Irish family I think this was amplified for me. I remember vividly being read to when I was younger and whenever the family get together you always find a new story to listen to, or hear one you haven't heard for ages. I think that storytelling is such an important part of childhood and is definitely needed to bring parents and children closer together. I think this is partly why I wanted to be a part of the creative team.

I have participated in quite a few workshops now and it has become really clear that the children have got amazing imaginations. I truly believe we have the ability to create ANYTHING. The children have given us so many ideas that now we have to sit down and work out what ideas will work for us and them.
The creative team had a meeting on Thursday and we are taking the weekend to find stories from Greek and Egyptian mythology. Then we are going to come together on Monday and look at the main structures and the themes which run through the stories. Then we will pick our favourite and use this as a springboard for our story.

When I was thinking about the stories I liked from a child the first that came to my head was The Lion and the Mouse which is one of Aesop's fables. I think all of Aesop's fables are brilliant and I always loved reading them when I was younger. I like the fact that they are all very simple and have a clear beginning, middle and end and since they are fables all make a very clear point. Other stories I loved when I was a child were the Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh stories. I don’t think anyone can deny that A.A Milne was a brilliant writer.
When researching Greek myths I remembered read the story of Perseus and Medusa when I was at school. I enjoyed reading the story again and it allows your imagination to run wild. I can see in my minds eye the three Fates and creating the costume for Medusa. The story is this;
Perseus and Medusa

Once there was a good king, but he died. His bad brother killed him so that he could be king. The bad brother needed to get rid of the good king's wife (Danae) and baby (Perseus), but he was afraid to kill them too. So he put them in a wooden chest and he dropped the wooden chest in the ocean. After a long time they drifted ashore in a new kingdom. Perseus and his mother Danae stayed there while Perseus grew up. But after a while the king of the new place wanted to marry Danae, but she didn't want to marry him. This king wanted to get rid of Perseus for awhile so he could make Danae marry him. So the king sent Perseus on a quest, to kill the monster Medusa and bring back her head.

At first Perseus didn't know where to find Medusa, so he went and asked the three Fates. The Fates were very old and they only had one eye and one tooth between them and they took turns every day, passing the eye and the tooth between them. When Perseus came to them, at first they didn't want to tell him where Medusa was. But Perseus waited until they were passing the eye from one to another, and so none of them could see. Then he quick grabbed the eye! The Fates had to tell Perseus where Medusa was in order to get their eye back.
Then Perseus met the god Hermes, who gave him winged sandals to wear so he could fly to where Medusa was, and fight from the air. And he met the goddess Athena, who gave him a sword and a shield. Athena told Perseus not to look at Medusa or her ugliness would turn him to stone. Instead he should use the shield as a mirror and look in that to cut off Medusa's head.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The key to my heart <3

Yesterday myself and Mark went to see Stovepipe at West 12 shopping centre opposite Westfields. Lately I have gone off theatre a bit. I have not seen anything which has really grabbed me in the first few minutes so I've been wrongly or rightly getting a bit bored. But yesterday I was put back on track. Promenade theatre is the key to my heart I think. This show created by National Theatre, Bush Theatre and Hightide had everything a good play needed; good writing; good acting and good direction. I was completly engaged the whole time and really felt apart of the story. Sometimes I find it hard to relate to actors when they are on a typical stage but this was not the case yesterday. The whole cast were engaging and I was really able to connect with the story through them.

The show wasn't too in your face either. Although it is a play about Iraq and the impact war has on soldiers I didn't feel like I was being bombarded with a one-sided argument. I felt that I was being given the opportunity to make up my own mind.

From Year 3 to Year 7 in a day!

This week was the beginning of our schools workshops. We are aiming for at least 30 and we have already done 4 so we are doing well. I have participated in 3 so far , 2 at Crane Park Primary and 1 at The Green School. Before we went into Crane Park I was really nervous as I had never done any drama workshops with primary school children before. However once we got started it was brilliant! The children really responded to our interpretation of Egypt and helped us a lot by using their imagination. We have lots of good material from them like a tree of sweets, a princess who is very friendly but is quite lonely because she isn’t like a normal girl. Going into the school proved to us that we can actually do anything in our show and as long as we believe in it the children will believe in it to.

The Year 7’s we worked with were very lively. They are a drama club and so are very enthusiastic about the whole project. I think they are very excited about the fact that will be helping us design the project. We started the workshop with a name game; Prisoner and Guard and then played Bang Splat which the children already knew how to play. Then we played Yes Lets which really got them riled up. After this I had to tell them a story but because they had so much energy I had to find a way to calm them down so I asked them to lie on the floor and take deep breaths in and out. This really helped and they listened to the story without any fidgeting or talking. We then put them into four different groups and they created an improvisation to finish off the story. The work they came up with was all really nice, though slightly 2-D but I think once we start working with them more they will create more meaty performances.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Write what you know?

To start off the 'a night less ordinary' campaign by the Arts Council the Orange Tree offered under 26's to see Greenwash for free lastb night, as well as the chance to go to a pre show discussion with the writer.

I wish the dicussion had been after the show as it was diffciult to understand what everyone was on about. Sometimes I think its funny listening to writers because it is hard for them to be objective; or is that the same for everyone in theatre? At the end of the discussion someone asked 'what is the worst review you have had so far for the show?' David Lewis (the writer) replied with some ummming and erring and finally said a critic from The Times made a 'cheap shot at the american accents'. From the discussion I expected the show to be good, a few who in the audience who had seen the show before all seemed to have like it.

However, I was not particularly impressed by it. The story had the potential to be good but it lacked substance for me. I think this was partly a result of the acting which was over the top as well as the writing. But what irritated me the most was the american accents which were not very good. The whole show did not seem to understand americans and this really bothered me. I ask the question why not use american actors? During the discussion the Lewis explained that he had spent less than 4 weeks in America throughout his whole life. This really showed in the play itself. He clearly did not write what he knew about, rather he took what he had seen on tv and read in the news and wrote a play based on that.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Does the audience matter?

Yesterday I helped Tuan lead the 1st year warm ups in the morning. The students were good and did try but they were somewhat talkative and it was difficult to get them to listen to us. Though Tuan was very good at getting thier attention. As there are so many of them (80 altogether, we only had about 50) it is difficult to play normal drama games so instead the warm up was more about physically warming up rather than mentally. We did play one game with the which was cat and mouse; this works well with them as the majority of the group stand on the edge and 10 are actually playing the game. Although this was the only game they played most of the exercises required to be silent which meant they could really channel their focus and be ready for the day ahead. I found the warm up really helped me to be ready for the day and also focused my attention on what I needed to do as sometimes I can be quite wayward and not get everything I need to do done.

After the warm up myself and Carolina sat and read The Clean House, an american play written by Sarah Ruhl. I personally find it difficult to read plays because I can never immerse myself into them as you would with a book. However I think we have found reading out loud together works well and helped us to follow the action. The play was a bit abstract but the humour was my sort of thing and so I found it was brilliant. I recommend reading it in one go rather than reading bits here and there. The play is ultimately about what makes you laugh and what makes you love.

I really enjoyed US Drama yesterday as my thoughts about theatre were very much questioned. The man who took the lecture was once a student at the Lee Strasberg school and so had been brought up on method acting. I always thought this was the practice I understood and liked the most however, this has changed. I came to realise that method acting was about the actor and it was the actors job to always be truthful. But I do not understand how you can make something on the stage true when it is clearly pretence. The audience know they are seeing a play and the actors know they are performing a play. How can there be truth in that? Another aspect I could not understand was that it was not the actors job to care about the audience. In my mind the actors are there for the audience. The audience are there for the actors. The actors have to know their audience and respond differently each night to accomodate the different audience. Otherwise each night the performance will be exactly the same but the audience will not be. I believe that the audience are the most important people at any performance. If the actor is only performing for themselves then I think that is slightly egotistical and it will show in their performance.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Schools Schools Schools!

Myself and Danielle went to visit Alexander Juniour School yesterday. We were realy early so we sat in reception and reminised about our time at primary school. At the same time we got a good feel for the school. We watched the children coming and going from lunch, the teachers making sure they were all behaving and from the displays received a good sense of what the school wanted to achieve. I would definently recommend trying to get to schools a bit early just so you can get a feel for the school you will be working with.e
We met the two deputy heads of the school who were lovely. When we first went into their office we were both a bit scared but once we started chatting about the project and the teachers started telling us about what they hoped for both ours and the teachers enthuasim was flowing!

The school would like us to do a lot of work with them over the whole term and as much as I would love to do this I am worried that the other schools we will be working with will not get the same from us. However I think if we really organise our time well then I think we can do a lot with each school.

Another thing I am interested in doing is working with the parents. Like Danielle I believe it is really important that we focus on the link between parent and child. I think it is important that parents know what their children are doing at school and I think our project can help this a lot.

The one project I really want to do with Alexander Juniour is the book week! I think today children, teenagers and even young adults do not read enough. I think book week will be such a good chance to show the children why books are AMAZING! and they can learn to use their library properly (this was one thing the teachers were quite keen for us to do).

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Its all a bit more real now!

We had our first big project meeting of the semester this week and I think it went really well. It was nice to have everyone together and hear what each team had been up to. I was particularly impressed with how far the schools liason team had come along and am very excited about going into schools soon (it makes it seem a bit more real now). I am excited about all the ideas the fundraising team have come up with and cannot wait to see it all in action.

The creative team (which I am involved with)@ are constantly bouncing ideas off of eachother and tomorrow we are going to do a workshop with the rest of the teams which will be lots of fun and hopefully we will acheive some more ideas.

I think I personally want to stick with Chiswick House, even though currently its being refurbished. I think its good to work with difficult spaces and as long as we create an impressive world I belive the audience will accept the building work going on around them. Its going to be hard but I think we can do it!

The prospect of working with the second years is also on my mind. I think its a good opportunity for them to see what community theatre is and we can achieve. I helped out on the project last year and it gave me a real insight to what drama in the community is. Originally, I was going to do the directing module but after seeing the third years in action last year I realied that community theatre was really what I wanted to do.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Finally Obama is President. Though I can't help feeling people are pinning everything on him. Will he be able to live up to all his promises? Whatever happens I think he is going to bring a lot of change to the US and hopefully the world.

I also finally signed the Gaza petition. In Durham of all places. I think we as a generation need to be more politically active and fight for what we belive in. Its not enough just to talk about it I think we need to do. May I remind you of the poem by Niemöller

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the
social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the
trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Is it that we don't have the time anymore. Or because we live in the Western world we are not affected by what is happening abroad so we simply block it out.

It reminds me of an exhibition I saw earlier this week at the Baltic Art Gallery in Newcastle about Bernadette Devlin. At the age of 21 she is the youngest ever woman to be elected as an MP. Throuhgout the Northern Ireland troubles, Devlin was a key political activist for the Republicans.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

To the North to see The Suggestibles

I arrived in Newcatsle yesterday with the news that I was off to see an improv comedy show. I was intrigued as I am not the biggest fan of improvisation, unless it is really very good. And this show was really exceptional!

From the beginning the audience were put at ease. They had a nice innocence about them, which is what I liked the most. They started off with a warm up game using storytelling and then played 'Freeze'. It was nice to see that these warm up games are not just used in class! Throughout the two hoiur show they played games and sang songs which were all improvised and all the themes given to them were suggested by the audience.

I was out with drama students from Northumbria University who had been having workshops with one of the players. They said he was really intertesting and they had liked the work they did with him. I'd love to get them down South and come to St Mary's!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Chiswick House Magic

Emma, Maria and I drove to Chiswick and Gardens this morning to have a wander around and spark our imagination. We walked around the garden and had our own mini adventure! The river passes through the gardens which I'm sure will have a part in our eventual show. As the gardens have a lot of pathways we have initially talked about creating a story which is a quest. We thought that stories which are about quests and adventures always have a very clear structure and we think that is probably needed for our show as we are most likely working with primary aged children. Walking around the gardens really did inspire us and we have already come up with some ideas for the story we will soon create.

I am really excited about the project moving forward and creating something that everyone is going to enjoy and have lots of fun with.

Monday, 12 January 2009

1st Meeting Today!

Today we met in the Dolche and had a chat about DIC 2009 and the role of the creative team within the project. We are going to visit Chiswick House tomorrow morning to have a look around the grounds which I am very excited about!
We are also going to walk around the town and grab a coffee to get a feel for the people and what they are like.
We decided we should get our own folder so we can file the minutes of each meeting and keep together all our work so that everyone can get to it.
We are going to book to see How to Catch a Star at the Polka (if anyone wants to come let me know and we can arrange a date everyone is available).
All in all I think the meeting was successful and it was nice to have a chat. We decided that we will meet at 11am every monday in the dolche so thats where we'll be if anyone needs us!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

I thought you'd like this....

I saw this and thought of Mark