Salisbury Fringe – Oct 2022

As part of Salisbury Fringe Theatre’s Fringe Festival 2022, I will be appearing in two short comedy scenes: Can’t Fly, and Phoney. It is a pleasure to work with this lovely bunch of talented writers, directors and actors again.

The Festival runs over the weekend starting on Friday 30th September with Down and Out in Salisbury, and ending on Sunday 2nd October.

Down and Out in Salisbury

Pete Talman, who wrote and directed a comedy short that I performed earlier this year with Salisbury Fringe Theatre Company, has written a one-act play, and has asked for me to play the lead! It is an honour to be considered for the first performance of some new writing.

We will be performing a script-in-hand show on Friday 30th September in the Pheasant Inn, Salisbury.

Twelfth Night: The Wind and the Rain

Originally posted here.

Well, well, well. That is a wrap on phase one of rehearsals. Having thoroughly blocked and practiced the play indoors, at just the point at which we felt we had done all we could with the limited enclosed space, we have made the exciting transition outside, in the open air! The play is coming along exceedingly well and the indoor rehearsals have been delightfully warm, but now comes the true test of our mettle.

Outdoor rehearsals throw a number of new challenges into the mix: firstly, projection. It’s all very well being able to fill a small room with just your voice, but the open air is a whole different ball game. There are no walls to bounce and resonate the sound off, and vastly more space to fill. On Monday – our first outdoor rehearsal, we had a visit from Marie Bushell, who gave us the pleasure of a great vocal warm-up to begin to get us used to the wider space.

The second challenge is the weather and light. Inside, one can be fairly confident of consistent warmth and lighting; not so much without cover or electricity! But since we may well be performing in wind and rain, it’s good to get used to that now, rather than later.

Finally, the added space introduces some timing challenges, entrances that had been smooth and seamless, now leave gaps of “dead air” as people take longer to get off and enter the stage. Despite the teething challenges in the new space, the cast seem to be taking it all into their strides, and enjoying the extra stage space and fresh air. Plus, it’s always nice to have visits from the local wildlife coming to say hello!

But contrary to what our egos tell us, it’s not all about the actors! Set build is going very well, and looking amazing. Helping out gives the cast a chance to see and walk about in the performance space, as well as a physical work which is good for the soul. In just a few weeks, the set has gone from being some bits of wood in a shed, to being a proper structure, almost ready to be decorated and lit beautifully.

The costumes are also looking stunning. Some of us lucky cast members have already had the privilege of trying them on, and they are fabulous. It is a delight to wear some proper, Elizabethan style costumes. The costume department are working hard and fast to make sure they all fit perfectly and have all the bells and whistles that Brian wants.

And that just about brings us up to speed. I’d like to end with a few notes about the play itself, or rather the context of the play, in what I’m calling the Twelfth Night Fact File. Hopefully it’ll give you a tiny glimpse of the world Shakespeare was writing in:

Did You Know?

  • The event known as Twelfth Night is not actually the time of year that the play takes place, but seems more to indicate at the themes of madness and role-reversals. Twelfth Night (5/6th January) was a festival in which the poor had a chance to rule, and the rich became peasants for a brief celebration.
  • Illyria is/was a real place, in modern day Croatia, on the Dalmatian coast. Though the references and text of the play indicate that Illyria is closer to the cultural location of England at the time.
  • The plot of a twin being bereaved being the main thread of the play is likely Shakespeare drawing from his own family life. He himself had twins: Judith and Hamnet. Sadly, Hamnet died aged only 11 years old. Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night some years after his death, and some consider it in some part an apology to Judith that he had wallowed in Hamnet’s death, and seemed to ignore the other, living twin. In fact, he wrote most of his tragedies, including Hamlet in the few years after Hamnet’s death.

Thank you for joining us again on this journey into Illyria and onto Brownsea, and we all look forward to seeing you in just a few short months!

Twelfth Night Blog: Introduction

Originally posted on BOAT’s blog.

Back after a two-year hiatus, while the world dealt with masks, social-distancing and closed theatres, BOAT now returns to shores to whisk you away to the land of Illyria, and meet the merry and mad folk in Twelfth Night. If you haven’t met us before, we are Brownsea Open Air Theatre – BOAT for short. We perform an annual Shakespeare production in the beautiful setting of Brownsea Island, sitting in Poole Harbour. This summer we invite you to join us to revel in madness, confusion and music! Over the next few months, this will be your one-stop-shop for all things Twelfth Night: introductions to the play’s cast of characters, we’ll give you some behind-the-scenes peeks at the rehearsal process and keep you up-to-date with the show’s progress.

While the actors may have only just begun rehearsing – our read-through was last Sunday – the off-stage creative team have already been hard at work getting our costumes, props, set-design and music sorted before we even picked up a script! In February, the cast and crew managed to find a spare evening to meet, greet and get to know each other (of course with snacks and drinks!). This officially and excitingly marked the start of the show process. Then, back in early March, our cast had the chance to pick the brains of Andrew Jarvis, a seasoned RSC veteran and proud lover of all things Shakespeare, for a masterclass on the verse. It was also a great opportunity for the cast to bond and begin to create the ensemble that is so important for a play like this to work.

Twelfth Night Read Through.

And so, the time ticked by from our casting in January, to the 24th April. Slowly, the read through crept up behind us until, last Sunday, it arrived. We packed ourselves into the hall and over three short hours, the black ink on our pages of script grew a voice, and filled the space. And what a read it was (if I do say so myself!). It was delightful to get a first taste of the diverse voices of Illyria: drunkards, madmen, lovers, fighters and everyone in between inhabit our little island. Even after our Director – the brilliant Brian Woolton – assured us performance was not necessary at the read through, we actors could not help ourselves and began to find our characters’ voices and make them heard.

And now here we are, almost at the end of our first week of rehearsals. We start the process by blocking the play. This involves going through the entire play scene-by-scene and deciding on and making note of all of our entrances and exits. It’s the rough sketch on the canvas before we start painting the picture, if you will. What we all do on the stage once we’re on is what the next twelve-or-so weeks of rehearsals are for. While the blocking process may not have the nuance and energy of the rest of the process, it is a lovely chance to begin to get a feel for the shape of the play, as well as joining together and revelling in the excitement of the start of rehearsals. It is also a chance for Brian, our director, to talk with us about the style and vision he has in mind. The wonderful thing about Shakespeare is that his plays are so versatile, but with such a multitude of subtly different interpretations comes the added challenge of creating our play with a cohesive and consistent vision, so it does not feel confused or self-contradictory (except where that’s the intention!). The blocking process is a quick one, taking only two rehearsals, but is of paramount importance. The sound of pencil leads furiously scribbling exits and positions stops, and we can sit back – for a moment – and know that this will make the coming weeks easier, and more enjoyable.

Twelfth Night Read Through, Black & White

Phew! Well that brings us up-to-date with our goings-on for now. Finally: tickets! Tickets are on sale and selling fast, so grab them soon if you don’t want to miss out. We look forward to seeing you on the island this summer and showing you all of our hard work!

Salisbury Fringe

Excited to say that I have been cast last-minute in Salisbury Fringe‘s Comedy Highlights at The Chapel. I am jumping in to replace an actor who has come down with covid-19. Should be a fun experience and really great to be able to help out some fellow actors and creatives in need!

The show consists of six short comedy plays, of which I will be performing in three. The show will run on Friday and Saturday the 18th and 19th March. Tickets are available here for the 18th or here for the 19th.

New Headshots

I’ve had some fantastic new headshots done, courtesy of Nick James. He was a true delight to work with, professional and friendly, with some amazing advice to offer on starting out in the industry, as well as some juicy anecdotes! I am so pleased with how they have turned out, and I will definitely be a returning customer, thank you so much Nick!