Last day!Created 3 days ago.
And so we are about to do our last performance of all 3 shows- Battle lines is on at The Museum of Army Flying tonight at 7pm and where better to finish the tour? Hope to see you there!Read More >>
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Kirstie Davis’ Director's Blog - A peek into the Forest Forge inner workings
Welcome to the Forest Forge blog, which will open up the rehearsal room and give you an insight into the pains and pleasure of the rehearsal process!
Contact Kirstie at email@example.com
And so we are about to do our last performance of all 3 shows- Battle lines is on at The Museum of Army Flying tonight at 7pm and where better to finish the tour? Hope to see you there!Read More >>
We have had a fantastic tour so far- some interesting places and people along the way. The 3 shows are only on for another 2 weeks so I hope that you all get the chance to see 3 really dynamic actors playing 3 very different pieces and showing off their skills. If you do see the show do email us your feedback via the show page on this site. We have had some great comments and really appreciate people telling us what they think about the work. Also a big thank you to the 3 schools who took part in our curtain raisers- thank you Arnewood, Stockbridge Primary and Horndean Technology College- you were great!Read More >>
Battle lines previewed yesterday with all 3 plays being performed through out the day to an invited audience. It was great to see audience's reactions and to hear the conversations that each play provoked. The actors did a fantastic job and all 3 plays felt very solid and had some goregous moments. We have now waved them off on their way and it will be coming to a venue/ museum/ village hall near you until the 17th April. Let us know what you thought by going to the Battle Lines page on this website and reviewing the show.Read More >>
It is Tuesday and we are about to do our final dress rehearsals of all 3 pieces. This will be the first time the actors also experience running the shows back to back and how much stamina they are going to need! I think for the audiences they will have a very different experience of the work depending on how many and in which order they see the shows- which in itself is interesting and I hope we get feedback which illuminates that process for us.
So final aspects of the set have been finished- Kavi will be in this afternoon to take some great photos- the first year of Connections is nearly on the road.....Read More >>
So, it is Monday morning and we are about to do our first dress rehearsal for the first and second play. The set, lights and costumes are looking great and we are gearing up for a preview on Wednesday afternoon and evening. Junior and Becky were back in on Friday and were able to tweak some aspects whilst we were teching all 3 shows. The tech went surprisingly smoothly and tomorrow we will attempt a run of all 3 plays back to back so that the actors and Dom can experience that and also for Kavi to take photos.
Time is ticking.. it will be really interesting to see how people react to these pieces- they are all very different....Read More >>
Well it's all go at the Forge- For the past 3 days we have worked through all 3 pieces and tonight we will plot all of the sound and lights so that tomorrow we can run all 3 plays and tech as we go. The costumes look great- Karen has done a fab job at evoking the 3 periods. We have also been on the Royal Forces Radio this week- some singing and the cast and David being interviewed- all sounded great.
Next week we will have 2 dress rehearsals of each play and then preview them on the Wednesday. Kavi will be in to take photos of the second lot of dress rehearsals and then the show will be out and about. The clock is ticking! Oh, and a final thing, Junior and Becky are back in the room tomorrow and we need to come up with a new piece of movement to get us into the Somme!Read More >>
I can't believe that it is the third week of rehearsal already! This week each day will be dedicated to one of the plays and then Thursday we will run all 3 and see what we have got. Thursday night will be about plotting the lights and sound and then Friday we will be teching/ running all 3 plays with Junior and Becky back in the mix to refine music and choreography.
Karen McKeown will be back on Tuesday for the costume fittings and we are also being interviewed in Forces Radio this week. It is all go!Read More >>
Off we go again! This is going to be a full on week for the actors as all 3 pieces are in the mix. On Monday the actors are working with David on the third play. On Tuesday they will work with Lucy on the second play and then on Wednesday and Thursday it is my turn to tackle the first play. We had a great session with both Junior and Becky on Friday- all of the music was gone through and we created 2 great movement pieces for the first play. So they will both be back on Friday and we will run all 3 pieces and see what we have got!Read More >>
So, it has been a chaotic week for the actors! On Monday they had to do a read through in front of 40 people and then head straight into a rehearsal of the third play with David. This continued through until Wednesday when it was Lucy's turn to put them through their paces with the second play- mad skipping commenced and the next day lots of aching limbs were had. Today is all about the songs for all 3 shows- so Rebecca Applin is in teaching them both the songs and the actor-musician bits. All ready for Junior Jones tomorrow to teach them the choreography. They will be needing a weekend!Read More >>
So we are about to head into a day of meet and greet, first read through and then the third play of the trilogy being looked at first by David and our 3 fantastic actors: Sam, Zach and Eilidh- who are all new to the company.
Later in the week Rebecca Applin will be joining us to work on the music and Junior Jones will be back to look at choreography. It is going to be a tough schedule fitting 3 shows into the time period- but we are raring to go!Read More >>
How exciting- a week to go and we will then be into another rehearsal period with 3 new actors to the company. Once again our Act your Age group will be invited to our meet and greet for Battle Lines as well as the many partners- and so there will be a lot of people in the room! David has done a great job on all 3 scripts and I cant wait to get started. This time I will be directing the first piece, Lucy will be directing the second and David will be directing the third. Rebecca Applin will be doing her usual genius stuff with music and Junior Jones will be back for choreography.Read More >>
Our brilliant Youth Theatre will be performing this iconic story from the 15th to 18th January at our base. This was a beautiful and poignant film staring David Niven and the adaptation was performed originally by Kneehigh at the National Theatre. So expect gorgeous physical ensemble pieces and a young company committed to their piece. Come and join us if you can.Read More >>
So, we have had out first review, ( thank you John Hannam from the Stage!) and we have done our first School's performance. So Anne is now definitely up and happening and people are loving it. We would really like to get your feedback- so please go to the Anne page on this website and tell us your thoughts. Or talk to the lovely Hannah who will be out and about with the show as well and telling you all about next year's show: Stardust. Happy Christmas to all of our supporters and thank you again for the support you have shown the company this year.Read More >>
So Anne opened last night and people genuinely seemed to love it! I am so glad- it is a heartwarming story and she is a wonderful character. The actors did a great job and almost all of the quick changes went well!
So next up we are packing the van and they will be going off to a venue near you. I really hope the tour goes well and we would love to hear your feedback- so go to the Anne of Green Gables page on this site and tell us what you thought!Read More >>
So, it is Monday and it is all about running and running the show to the point that making magic is comfortable infront of an audience on Wednesday! On Friday we teched the show with the actors and tried out the many costume changes, (still have a few to try!) The backdrop is really beautiful lit- it is absorbing the light really well and we tried the 3 season drops as well- which will look lovely once we have got them sussed.
So today we will have a tech run. Tomorrow we will dress the show and Lucy Sewill will join us to take some gorgeous photos- some of which you will see on this site by the end of the week. And Wednesday is a dress and then a preview to an invited audience....Read More >>
So tonight is all about plotting the lights, sound and gorgeous stuff- lots of starry nights and mad imagination moments that are just in Anne's head. The actors will tech with us tomorrow and attempt to do their quick changes: 47 at the last count!
Chris is with us doing a final music call and the actors are sounding great- am definitely going to cry at O Holy night sequence- so sad!Read More >>
So, we are on to our last full week of rehearsals already! On Friday we attempted a first full run hrough without scripts. The actors did amazingly well- despite rabbit in headlights moments! Chris was back on Thursday to look at the songs and we also have had to add another song because of the amount of quick changes- I will add them up and see what the total is this week! The lovely thing about having a new song is that it allows us to have another Anne and Gilbert moment and for this song we can continue the early teasing aspect of their relationship. With the song Shenandoah we have added a flirty aspect to show them growing up.
So Russ is with us today- which will be great and we can make any final script changes. We are going to go through Act 1 today and Act 2 tomorrow and then try and run it as much as we can Wednesday and Thursday so that we can keep shaping the whole. There are still some things to work out: the falling off the roof ( I am hoping to have the puppet tomorrow) and the fence climbing.Read More >>
So the plan has been to have less tea parties and more work which involves other business! So Marilla is now folding washing and cleaning floors- much more energising...We have had some lovely little finds in the last couple of days- the beautiful song Shenandoah is sung over Anne and Gilbert continuing their love/hate relationship and Go to sleep my little Baby is sung over the frustrations of an exam room. We have also found a moment of giant jenga- always a joy!
Chris has been in to tighten up the songs and we are nearly there with the Cup song...Read More >>
At last we have the set to play with and so we have been working out what this space can do. It has a fantastic curve at the front which allows for a certain amount of depth to happen ( not always easy in some of our venues) and so we need to utilise that as much as possible. The songs are coming along ( lots of unaccompanied singing- which is difficult, but will sound great.) We have now run both Act 1 and 2 , but we need to start fleshing out the characters more and finding the emotional connections. We also need to work out the time passing elements of the piece more clearly as well- the children do grow up from aprox 11- 16- so we need to see that transition.
The rest of the week is busy: Chris is in on Thursday to look at all of the music elements and Friday we will attempt a first run without scripts. At the moment it is really the quick change show- so many in so little time.......lots to work out...Read More >>
So, we have started rehearsals. The first day we were joined by our Act Your Age group as well as the rest of the company and so the room was busy! It was great to hear people's reactions to the script and also the amount of laughter there was. The script read really well- I think Russ has done a great job. The afternoon was taken up with trying to find the conventions- I am still not sure how far to push everything so that it is seen through Anne's eyes....I know I want a playfulness about the whole production, but I don't know whether to keep the adult world and child world more separate. All to find. Today we have been joined by Sian Radinger who is helping us with the Canadian accent- it is all about keeping the vowels forward apparently! Kavi will also be in doing rehearsal photos and so I will put those on this blog once I have seen them. Also really looking forward to seeing Rebecca Applin at the end of the week to start getting our teeth into the music...Read More >>
So we are now gearing up to going into rehearsals for Anne of Green Gables. On Monday we will be joined by 4 fantastic actors: Hermione, Stacey, Tom and Julie-Rose and the fun will begin. The script has been delivered, the set is being built... all is ready...watch this space for an insight into the rehearsal process!Read More >>
So the big blue van is coming to a venue near you. People are loving the show- so good to hear. Please send us your feedback via the Free Folk page on the website and also join in with your own story via the interractive map. We want to hear from you!Read More >>
So, the preview is about to happen and the tour begins this week. I really hope that people like it. We would love to hear your feedback about the piece- go to the Free Folk page and put a comment on the page. Also you can go to the Native HQ map on the same page and tell us about why you stayed or left a place. We want to hear your stories.....Read More >>
So, here we are in the final week and we open on Wednesday. Today we will be finishing the tech and then doing our first dress rehearsal this afternoon. Tomorrow Lucy Sewill will join us and take some beautiful pictures as we do our second dress. Wednesday we will do a third dress rehearsal and then preview that night. It will now be on faster than we realise! The map has come through from Native HQ and we are testing it today. The hope is that people will use the map to share their stories of leaving and staying.....Read More >>
So, we plotted the show last night and today we teched with the actors. All looking great- Kavi has done a really good job with the film elements- I think the ponies and sea and moon, in particular, are amazing.
All was going swimmingly and then Mel fell off the stage. That will teach me to ask an actor to go backwards up a raked stage onto a platform in heels and little light!. After lots of sweet tea and an ice pack on her wrist- she was up and ready again- but all hideously slow motion during the actual fall.Read More >>
It's been an interesting week- with some real finds in the rehearsal room. We have been constantly challenging the final sequence and how that works. We have also looked at that moments when the play needs to breathe more away from the fast pace of the thriller like aspect of the piece. We need to get some real emotional connection for the moments of epiphany- such as the juxtaposition between the photo and the ponies.
We had a run yesterday- which went well, but the cues need to be looked at. So today we will do a line run and then a run again. We also did a run yesterday without words- just to see the shape of the piece. i dont often do this- but it has been really useful with this production.Read More >>
I can't believe it is already our third week of rehearsal! We had our first run through on Friday without scripts and this week is all about detailing the scenes and challenging everything we have done already. It was lovely to hear Becky's gorgeous music again on Friday and see how that lifts the scenes.
The schedule for this week is going through the entire play and running each Act. Then on Thursday night Dom and I will plot the entire show looking at the lights, music and film aspects of the production.Read More >>
A throat infection has attacked the cast- so we are all being very good with the vitamin C. One man down we have explored the first act- relooking at the conventions and testing all of our decisions so far. We are being much freer with the ensemble and when people are enabling other characters' stories as actors as opposed to the other characters- which is providing some interesting and exciting sequences. I also played the shoe game yesterday to help us look at the structure of the piece and what the journeys of the characters really are- thank you David Lane for bringing that exercise into my life!
So hopefully we will be all back in force today and ready to tackle Act 2 and also beat our keepy uppy score of 83!Read More >>
Lovely to have Tim back today and we cracked on with looking at the play as a whole. We are still trying new things out and seeing where the moments of theatricality can happen. This could be anything from a prop appearing from nowhere to a herd ponies suddenly arriving. It was lovely to be joined by Deborah today, who has been helping us with our fundraising, but actually wants to explore the field of directing.
Now we need to look at the final sequence when we have some energy and brain power- i.e at the beginning of the day!Read More >>
It has been a really interesting and inspiring week. Firstly we are back rehearsing a play that 4 of us have done before and love. Secondly we have 2 new actors to the play in the form of Lee and Charlotte who are bringing their own ideas and energy to the piece, which is exciting. Any good play constantly challenges you and this one does that all the time. Even now we are finding new ways of looking at the play and how to show these stories coming to life. Kavi has been in this week taking photos and also showing us the first footage of the film that will be used to take us outside of the cottage, in particular the forest sequences. David is back as ASM and him and Dom are propping and trying to make things come out of walls. David H has created a quirky set and we will be trying on costumes for the first time today. As it is a Friday we will be attempting our first run this afternoon. Joy.Read More >>
Its so exciting to be working on this fantastic script again. The characters are a joy and there is a lot of laughter in the rehearsal room. There is a different set to the first production and so that is forcing us to do different blocking, but also there are 2 new actors in the room to the process and so they are bringing their own fresh ideas. We also know the script much better than the first time and so we are really challenging our expectations of it and seeing what the many options are. So enjoyable.
we have now gone through the whole of the play in terms of sketching the action. Now we need to go back and challenge all of those ideas and start adding the detailRead More >>
I am so looking forward to beginning this process of re-touring Free Folk. All of the actors will arrive today: Tim, Melody, Maggie, Lee and Charlotte and we will have a meet and greet, a read through, design presentation and then start working on the play. What fun!Read More >>
So Lisa, our Community Theatre Officer, has been busy with her Romany Gypsy and Traveller Group as they have taken over the building in order to create a film about their experiences. Forest Forge run regular sessions with this group and we are proud of 4 of them achieving their Arts Award this year They have also been involved in a Story Trail at Bransgore and were part of an event in Dorchester for Gypsy Roma Traveller History month.Read More >>
So we had a lovely day with Russ, Junior and the actors in this instance: Mike, Stacey, Julie and Hermione in looking at the first draft of the script and hearing it read out loud for the first time. We then picked key scenes to work on and explore such as the first time we see Gilbert and the madcap dare scenes with the children as well as trying out one of the songs for the first time. There was lots of laughter and I think the story is already really clear. Now we need to just get the multioleing to work, add in the scene where Anne dyes her hair and try and get the feeling of seasons changing as they grow up.
I think the play is going to be a delight to work on. Roll on November!Read More >>
So we are prepping for the new season which goes into rehearsal on the 19th August and begins with Free Folk and ends with Battlelines. For The Boy at the Edge of the Room I was joined by Kirsty Sellars who was the assistant director as part of her placement from university. Here are her thoughts about her time at the Forge:
"I had a fantastic time working with the staff at Forest Forge; they were warm and welcoming, Kirstie allowed me to go out into the community and work with a reminiscence theatre project which was relevant to my dissertation and therefore extremely useful. Working on a new show allowed me to learn how a successful theatre company operates, and the end product was a brilliant performance that I was proud to be associated with. I would advise anyone with an interest in working in the theatre industry to consider a work placement with Forest Forge, as I enjoyed every minute of it - especially playing keepy-uppy!"Read More >>
I am so proud of our Gap Theatre Company. I snuck into their dress rehearsal today and the show is going to be stunning. Great energy and fun, some fantastic multi-roleing and some real pathos. What a great script by Laura Wade!
Really hope people catch it this week at the Theatre CentreRead More >>
Today is the final Sunday rehearsal for the current youth theatre show Very Small and Very Far Away. We have been rehearsing since mid January and it is all coming together for prodution week. The last few sessions have led to some incredible and emotional moments, our young cast can be truly extraordinary. The show is a companion piece to Boy at the Edge of the Room, and looks at two autistic characters - Tony from Boy and Sam a modern day character and her mum. The challenges for the cast entering an autistic world have been huge but our youth theatre have been bold yet sensitive, and created a world that hopefully our audience will enjoy. Looking forward to this week - technical rehearsals and dress before we open on Wednesday. Tickets for a few of the shows are still available but selling fast - follow the link in the Very Small Show PageRead More >>
So the Boy at The Edge of The Room has been packed in a van and is coming to a venue near you until the 20th April. We would love to hear your thoughts- please go to the show page on this site for your feedbackRead More >>
So here we are- 3 days to go before we have an audience....Today we have to finsh teching- just the Dealer and Clock sequence to go. Then we are going to spend some time rehearsing as there are still things I want to look at, Tony's monologues being one of them.
Then we will probably have a run as Dom needs to go through sequences that are very cue heavy!Read More >>
It is now mid week and we have been working on the second half of the play today. Junior was in yesterday and we have added lots of lovely movement stuff to the second half to balance the whole piece out. Today was about looking at the Dealer ( who is becoming more and more like a magician/ Willy Wonka type creature) and re-working the mum, Tony and Dealer scene when he decides to take him.
We have also discovered an interesting disconnect moment for Tony as he becomes more and more insular and less able to deal with his parents.Read More >>
Junior is back today and I just want to go through the second half of the play with him as I am aware that most of the movement sequences are in the first half!
We will also be doing more work with the girl puppet today as I am aware that sequence hasn't been looked at for awhile. She is gorgeous- still haven't given her a name!Read More >>
So we are into our third and final week of rehearsal- its gone very quickly. Every day we are learning something new- the story constantly surprises me and I find yet another meaning. For example I think Tony makes the decision to go faraway much sooner than I realised.
The actors are doing really well and trying to put the script down and work out their physical and emotional journeys through the piece. It needs to feel fluid and organic.Read More >>
Today we looked at the Dealer scene with mum and tied Lee up so that the 2 had to decide who had him on a leash at any point. This was an interesting exercise in status games and those moments that the Dealer allows mum to feel that she has power.
This afternoon has been all about music as Becky is back and we have been going through the whole piece looking at both the songs, soundscapes and motifs. We have also tried out the clock for the first time today.... eery...Read More >>
This play endlessly fascinates me with its possibilities. Yesterday we went back to the beginning and started to work through- questioning everything that we had already done and finding more and more in the material. We decided to cut one of the scenes as well- mainly because it feels we need to move on at that point and start cranking up the story- so the preacher has gone.
We also looked at how the space is utlised more- which is easier now that the full set is in place. It always excites me how easy it is to change the feel of the same space just by the closing or opening of doors. In this instance we go from interior to exterior very easily. The feel of the whole piece has to be fluid and organic and so I am going to be ruthless in terms of anything that has the potential to be clunky. This also mirrors Tony's thought processes and his deterioration.Read More >>
So we are heading into our second week and it is all about the detail. Yesterday we looked at the Fisher King moment ( a movement sequence inspired by the Grand Central station dance in that film) So Junior was in creating this magical moment- it will look great.
We also started talking more in detail about the main characters- what we have found out so far. It is important that we flesh these characters out so that they feel real, even if ultimately we are putting them into a non-naturalistic setting and circumstances. The real find yesterday was the suitcase scene- which is becoming more brittle, more fragile as we play it. We now see 2 people who feel lost and are bereaved. Which I think is right.Read More >>
What an exciting week it has been. The piece is a challenging, but satisfying conundrum which wants to be non- naturalistic and allows us to use imaginative, creative ways of storytelling which dont follow many rules at the moment. So today we attempted a first stagger through- just to see what we have got. Moments already work: the Up sequence beween Mum and Dad, the moment with Tony and the puppet and the cranking up of the story once the Dealer arrives. Richard was in the room and so I was able to do some cutting of the text in order to make the penultimate scene between Mum and Dad have a more interior monologue feel.
Rebecca Applin has done a wonderful job with the music- the soundscapes really lift it and it is also great to have actor- musicians playing so many instruments through out.Read More >>
So yesterday we spent our time trying to block the first sequences and see what the possible shape of this piece may be. I think the key is that everything has already happened and so we should feel quite free in telling the story relatively non-naturalistically...
The 'find' of the day was when we brought water into Tony's world and yet we did the sound of it off stage- the theatricality of this made sense and so I think this is the way to go.Read More >>
What an exciting first day we had. Lots of people in the room: partners, sponsors, supporters and lots of people interested in what this project is going to be. Cheryl arrived from Max Humphries with the gorgeous puppets and , of course, Lee, Helen and Chris were in the room for us to hear the final draft of this play read out loud for the first time.
Richard also joined us and was able to give a background to the piece as well as his thoughts about what he would like the final production to be, (lots of beautiful visual moments amongst other things!). I have also been joined by 2 assistant directors for this project: Anna Carr and Kirsty Nutbeen- both of whom will be helping me and the actors bring this story to life.Read More >>
We are all very excited that The Boy at The Edge of The Room is about to go into rehearsals. I have got three fantastic actors: Lee Rufford and Helen Jeckells are back (both were in Bloom and Lee has also been in Midnight is a Place) and they are joined by Christopher Chamberlain. The meet and greet is on Monday when everyone will hear the rehearsal draft read out loud for the first time and see the model box for the clever set that David has designed. A set that as we speak is being built at Salisbury Playhouse so that we can rehearse on it Tuesday onwards. Junior Jones and Rebecca Applin will both be back doing choreography and music respectively and we are joined for the first time by Max Humphries who has created the two extraordinary puppets for us.
The clock really is ticking...Read More >>
So the show is now out and about and coming to a Village Hall or venue near you!
We have just received our first two reviews- both of which were great and now we are interested in hearing from you. So go to our show page and send us your own review!Read More >>
So, here we are in our final week before the show goes out onto the road. We have now completed all of the tech- and so the film, music and lights are all in place. Next step are two dress rehearsals and then preview night on Wednesday. This is always scary as it feels as though people are coming into your rehearsal room!
Tomorrow morning we are going to work on some bits of the play including the Devil's Roustabout section- which needs to become much more slick and Gobthorpe's scene and Scratcherd's letter. Then we will have our first dress rehearsal at 2pm with the lovely Lucy Sewill taking gorgeous photos for us.Read More >>
So, here we are in our final week of rehearsals and this is where it all starts to crank up. We have started from the beginning of the play again and gone through the scenes detailing and adding and trimming some of the exposition.
The set pieces are looking great- Junior is back today to recap over the Market Stall sequence and the Factory Tour and he is also wanting to go through the sewer scene.Read More >>
So, here we are in our second week of rehearsal and all is going well. We have completed the blocking and gone through all of the songs. Becky has done a fantastic job and created overnight a duet for the 2 children to sing about night time fears.
We have also gone through the 2 big set pieces which are dance led- the factory tour and the market stalls- both are fast and furious and will look very slick with a few more rehearsals!Read More >>
So, the rehearsals for the winter show have begun and we are in the midst of filming and choreography. Yesterday was the read through with lots of cake and we were really pleased to have Lizza Aiken join us. The script sounded great and the actors did a really good job of making sense of the complicated storyline and mad multiroleing!
Then we were joined by Kavi and we spent the afternoon filming the Devil's Roustabouts sequences and the close ups with the actors- lots of fun.Read More >>
A big thank you to all of the groups who joined us on our Bloom adventure- I really hope that you enjoyed yourselves and that you are displaying your Golden Gnome with pride! Thank you also to all of the venues who were our partners on this project and allowed us to put big sunflowers and walled gardens in mad places around their buildings.
So another production finished and another one about to begin. We are now heading into Joan Aiken's quirky, wonderful land and my time will be taken up preparing for the madness that is Midnight is a Place. Things to discover: how to film a pie chase in a forest, how to create a deathly carpet press and where do we get a dog from that will do everything we need it to do.... so many questions, so little time... but it is already exciting as I am listening to Rebecca Applin's score for the first time and having insane conversations with Junior Jones about choreography. Infinite possibilities......Read More >>
We had a fantastic time at Portmouth last week despite the weather! It was so lovely to be in the Community Orchard for the first garden. Thank you so much to all the community groups who joined us and the bicycle sculpture was a real sight to behold!
So now we are in our final week of touring and we have headed to The Berry in Hedge End where we will be joined by Fuzzy Logic, Noisey Voicez and Wildern school. I read 40 poems on Saturday out of the 360 that the school have written inspired by Bloom and Gnome sightings were everywhere...Read More >>
What a fantastic time we had at The Spring last week- the Mayor turned up on Saturday to see our 40 strong choir from Dynamo Youth Theatre (doing fantastic improvisation at the top of the show), our Gnomes from ReMix Youth Theatre and our Thriller Gnomes from Dance Moves- you really had to be there! We also had to only bring Garden 3 inside once... long may the good weather continue.
And so now we are at The Stacey Centre in Portsmouth with Baba Lees Lost Rhythm providing the first song, Miltoncross school giving us their Gnomes and Centre Stage Academy of Theatre Arts providing us with their riot dance. Can't wait!Read More >>
We had a great time at Forest Arts last week- thank you to Forest Youth Theatre and Arnewood School for some fantastic Gnoming and rioting- I never thought I would say that in one line!
So now we are in Havant and at The Spring Arts Centre where we will be joined by Dynamo Youth Theatre, The ReMix Youth Theatre and Dance Moves.Read More >>
Here we are- almost halfway through the tour- how is that possible?
So tonight we will be dressing at Forest Arts and being joined by Forest Youth Theatre and Arnewood School. So looking forward to new Gnomes and the protest dance looks fantastic!Read More >>
So we are now in Andover and at The Lights. The actors and Dom did their happenings around the town centre yesterday and tonight we dress the new community groups: Fiona's Zumba class, Thespis Drama Club and Stagecoach choir. So looking forward to seeing what the new groups bring to the production.
And the sun is shining......Read More >>
We are now in Bordon at The Phoenix and having a great time- the 4 spaces we are working in are really interesting- especially the World War 2 space which we have reached each night just as the sun is setting- the weather has been very kind to us so far....
We are joined this week by the Vanessa Golburn School for Dance- who have been absolutely extraordinary. Not only is their riot dance fantastic, but they are also our Gnomes and as such have really embraced the rest of the play and made a significant contribution to this leg of the tour.Read More >>
We had a fantastic time at Greyfriars last week- the sun shone, the band played, the choir sang and the actors and the Gnomes danced. Not to mention the extraordinary feats of the Judo group!.
So now we are in Bordon and tomorrow night we will be joined by the Vanessa Golburn School for Dance and their wonderful dancers. Can't wait.Read More >>
So we have opened at Greyfriars Community Centre and next week we are at the Phoenix in Bordon. The weather has held out for us- which has been particularly lucky at Greyfriars because it has meant we could use their lovely lawn for Garden 1 and tonight the Ringwood and Burley Brass Band will be joining us. We had a packed house last night and the audience were great.
I just want to thank Ringwood Community Choir, Ringwood and Burley Brass Band, Ringwood Judo Club and Forest Forge Youth Theatre personally- we couldn't have done it without you!Read More >>
So here we are in our final week of rehearsal and tonight we are going to have an open dress rehearsal to an invited audience of supporters. The reason we have decided to do this a week before we open is because we want to try out all the interactive, participatory element of the show and see what works and what doesn't!
And so for the past 24 hours the Forest Forge garden has had the potting shed and a massive sunflower with Gnomes- for Garden 1, the Alice in Wonderland Garden and 1980's Garden have been taking up our studio and at the back of the building is our Wartime Garden.Read More >>
So, here we are in our third week. We have had Ivan back and so every morning we have been learning new songs and playing the old ones. I am really enjoying the quirkiness of the songs and I think the Protest Song is my favourite- can't stop humming it!
We have also been getting better at keepy uppy ( over 100 now) and each morning Helen puts the rest of the cast through their paces with her amazing dance routines!Read More >>
So, here we are at the middle of the second week. Dinos is back in rehearsal tomorrow and we have lots of questions- especially about Garden 4- which takes us into the Emily story and the 1980's.
So far we have tentatively blocked the first three gardens- it is difficult to block this play because every space we go to will have a very different dynamic and 3 or 4 very different spaces which we are using. We still have 3 songs to learn as well as some more music- Ivan has been ill this week and so we are a little behind. But the other songs are sounding gorgeous and the choreography is really coming along.Read More >>
So, here we are at the end of the first week and this is what we have discovered:
We have 4 fantastic actors who can sing, play and dance- Junior has done some wonderful choreography and I am very excited by the ribbon dance in particular.Read More >>
So our first week of Bloom rehearsals is in full swing. Our lovely actors have arrived and settled into their digs. For this project we are joined by Helen Jeckells, Jerry Marwood, Loren O'Dair and Lee Rufford- none of whom have worked for FF before.
The first and second day has been all about dance and music ,of which there is a lot in this play. So the choreographer Junior Jones has been putting them through their paces and the 'find' yesterday was putting the ribbon dance in the script physically into a large cats cradle of elastic- was very exciting.Read More >>
Today is all about looking at the workshop draft of the script and playing with some lovely actors. So Josh, Helen, Esther and Andrew have joined us alongside Dinos the writer and Ivan the Composer to see what we have got!
So lots of fun to be had- with musical instruments, bit of dancing, bit of keepy uppy and lots of Gnomes!Read More >>
Parachute Games, finishing our Self Portraits and looking to the future.
We have had a great final morning of our new holiday club. The group have grown immensely in confidence, they have been engaging in all sorts of games and activities and talking about their experiences of Autism and their hopes for the future. We spent some time looking at photos of people doing different jobs and all chose one that interested us. Everyone shared a little about what sort of job they would like to do when they grow up, from Pilots to Computer Game designers there were fabulous hopes and aspirations shared amongst the young people.Read More >>
Today we learnt how to play Prisoner. There were some very speedy members of the group who could sneak out of their chairs and not get caught by the prison guards! All the grown ups took a turn at being prisoners, but I think the young people were much quicker and sneakier.Read More >>
Our new holiday club for young people on the Autistic spectrum began yesterday in recognition of Autism Awareness Day. We have spent the past two days enjoying a range of drama activities and crafts led by Lucy and David.
Today we introduced the group to the game 'Touch' where one person would sit in the centre of the circle and everyone would put one finger on their head, shoulder or knee (whatever had been agreed by the individual). Then when the word 'GO!' was called and everyone had to remove their finger as fast as possible, as the person in the middle had to tag them. Anyone caught would join the person in the middle and the game would continue.Read More >>
The reviews are in for The Phoenix and The Carpet.
Read them here!
FROM THE DORSET ECHO
YOU can always rely on Forest Forge Theatre Company to come up with something original with their innovative productions and this family-friendly show ticks all the boxes for visual entertainment, originality and verbal wit.
Well The Phoenix has well and truly taken flight! We have had a wonderful first few days of the tour and lots of lovely comments from our audiences. To tempt you even further we now have some photos from the show! They are some really beautiful shots by Lucy Sewill and we hope you enjoy them as much as we have!Read More >>
Preview over with and everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy it. The Insurance Office scene seems to be the winner at the moment! We are now out and about and it would be great to hear your thoughts. Go to the show page and let us know what you think…..Read More >>
And so here we are- one more dress to go and a preview night looming.
Magic is happening and smoke is rising.
So many costume changes- but we will get there!
Wish me a little dream……….
End of the third week and we are going into tech, tech, dress, dress, dress time!
Tomorrow we will try and go through the whole show adding lights, sound, props and the biggy….. costume changes- there are a fair few!Read More >>
Last week of rehearsal and things are hotting up… John is back today and tomorrow to finesse the choreography. Russ will also be popping in this week- I really hope he likes what we have done to his script!
Tim will be back on Wednesday to look at all the puppet moments- especially the passing of the Phoenix.
What I now need to do is make sure the story and characters are clear and that the actors feel ready for all of the things that are about to hit ( i.e even more props and costumes!)Read More >>
So we are well into the second week and all of the songs have now been completed- Ivan has been working like a mad thing! John has also completed the main set choreographic pieces. The Insurance office is becoming one of my favourite things- especially when they all end up with a beak!
We have now gone through all of the show and have tackled most of the scene changes and props. The next challenge is to get the puppets feeling alive and so that we believe in the magic of both the Phoenix and the carpet.Read More >>
So the beginning for the second week and things are hotting up! We have now done 100 on keepy uppy and we have blocked the whole show. This week is all about detailing the scenes, finishing off the songs and choreography and making sure the puppets are alive at all times!
Everyone is working hard and the WI stomp is coming along- joy!
All gearing up for a run Friday afternoon…Read More >>
So mid week of the first week and we have reached 81 on the keepy uppy- only 400 to go!
John has choreographed some of the dance sequences- including the music hall skit. Ivan has taught four of the songs including the ridiculous Fire Insurance sequence- lots of fun.
Still trying the work out how the puppets work and how the set is used for different adventures.
Lots of cake and laughter
So we are getting properly stuck in to rehearsals now and it’s all going swimmingly! John Thompson our choreorapher has been putting the actors through their paces and coming up with some delightful moments. There are a few pictures in the gallery from reherasals already so have a look!Read More >>
So we are off and running ( or should that be flying?!) with The Phoenix and the Carpet. Everyone arrived yesterday for the meet and greet – our lovely actors: Mike, Andrew, Harriet, Thomas and Stacey- our choreographer John and Musical Director Ivan. Carl arrived with the puppets, ( lots of fun to be had) and is now busy elasticating the set- more to say about that at a later date.
So the winter show has begun- which means it will soon be christmas!
We have a lot to do: flying carpets, mystical birds, different continents and a lot of quick changes!
Another lovely review of The World Outside this time from the New Milton Advertiser and Lymington Times. Unfortunately there is no copy of it online so here it is lovingly typed out for you all to read!
“Laughter and tears in Forest Forge’s 30th anniversary shows.Read More >>
Read the review of The World Outside & Born in The Stage
click here to read
Here’s another great review from The Stour & Avon Magazine
click here to read
Here is the review from Salisbury Journal for both shows: click here to read
So we are now out and about- coming to a venue near you! The preview went very well- and the audience seemed to enjoy both the humour and real drama of the piece. Now we want to hear from you- please go to the show page on this website and give us your comments. I also urge you to see both shows if you can… that is how they are written and all the more enjoyable….Read More >>
So it is preview day and everything is now about opening Born at 6.30 and TWO at 8pm tonight.
Yesterday we did a dress rehearsal which allowed the actors to only come on from the wings- in preparation for those spaces where they can’t move quite so freely around the space.Read More >>
So here we are in our preview week. Today we will have our first dress and will hopefully start consolidating the piece. Tomorrow we will have a dress rehearsal which will just use the wings as entrance and exits- I am hoping that when the company are in a village hall they are able to actually use the space as part of the set…… but that comes later.
So today we need to run the scenes we didn’t get to on Friday and then start a dress this afternoon and really see what we have got.Read More >>
End of the third week! Yesterday was all about looking at those scenes that needed some attention. We also took into the room David’s note of “showing the lid”- which was incredibly galvanising and helpful.
Last night Dom, Steve and I plotted the lights and the sound and today we will be tech running the entire show. The idea is to run the scenes and place the lighting and sound into the scenes without having to cue to cue. Thus giving the actors more rehearsal time.
Mike, Verity, Andrew and Isobel are all working really hard and continuing to play with scenes in corners of the Forge whilst I rehearse the other bits. We are finding new ideas everyday and really trying to keep the two stories clear and pacey.Read More >>
o the third week is motoring away from us. Yesterday we ran the whole of the family story- really interesting seeing just that strand of the story without the villagers’ strand. Lots of things came out and different energies were brought into the scenes because of the scene before.
Today we have been working on the Villagers’ scenes and just making sure that that strand is clear as well. We are now going to do a run of the whole show in front of David for the first and only time before the preview!
Tomorrow we need to keep working on the family core scenes and making sure that two of the speeches, in particular, are looked at.Read More >>
It is the beginning of the third week- where is the time going? This week I am going to separate the two strands for the first two days and make sure that we have the through lines clearly for both. We are getting better at keepy uppy- over 100 on Friday! Oh and the run went well as well! Lots of lovely moments and the story actually relatively clear…
So going back to the beginning- looking at the family today and the villagers tomorrow.Read More >>
So, its the end of the second week- where is the time going?!
This past week has been about going slowly through the play and discovering the layers, fleshing out the characters and finding the real turning points for all of them. Laura has been busy painting the set- it looks gorgeous and organising Verity’s bump! Dom has begun to put the lights up and Steve is every day sending me new music to listen to.
David Lane dropped by again this week and we were able to ask him all those burning questions- lots of whys….
And now it is the day of the first run through- Andrew Wheaton is coming up with some memorable phrases and I am now going to paraphrase one of his sayings: Today I hope we find our inner bunting!Read More >>
Well, its been just over a week and we have blocked the whole play- finished off Act 2 on Monday having done a mad dash through Saturday morning- thanks Guys!
So now we are working our way back through bit by bit. Challenging the blocking, looking at the real moments of connection and finding some lovely images to play with. The set is working really well- providing us with enough places to play and explore.
We are still teasing out the characters and all of the layers of the piece, but I am also aware that we are gearing up for a run through this Friday afternoon and so have to also get to the end!
And so we are off and running! David Lane has been with us for the first two days as we have explored the text and looked at these extraordinary characters. I am joined by the lovely cast of Andrew, Verity, Mike and Isobel and we all met the cast of Born and had a mad game of Four Square!
Steven Markwick is writing some Kate Bush inspired music and Laura Clark is busying away at the set and costumes.Read More >>
First day of rehearsal with the cast of Born. 14 youth theatre members now embark on the fantastic journey which will take them out on tour for the very first time as a youth theatre. Today we did a first read through with the entire cast, and not only did it sound great, you could see that the cast had done some thinking about the play. We were priviledged to have David Lane the writer in with us all day and we all got to grips with the intricacies of the story which stands us in good stead for the rest of the week. A good first days work.Read More >>
We are in the midst of 2 days of development for the winter show: The Phoenix and the Carpet- lots of mad things to discover such as:
How big should the Phoenix be?
How do we fly a carpet?
How do we get a cow in the room?
Just your everyday questions….
And some lovely actors to play with: Mike, Stacey, Michael, Tom, Harriet along with Russ and the choreographer John.
Can’t wait!Read More >>
You know that the autumn season will soon be on its way when I go into auditions for the first show. David Lane has been developing his script, ( as well as getting married!), and we are well on the way to the final version. It is all very exciting to see the set taking shape in the workshop with Laura Clark, the designer, painting away and the deer puppet having its first showing.
SO, tomorrow is all about finding the cast and looking for the best people to come to Hampshire and be brilliant!
The companion piece to this play: Born has already been cast and Lucy begins rehearsals the last week of August……Read More >>
David and Lisa have run many workshops throughout the New Forest, meeting over 100 elders of the community, either in their own homes or in residential care and day centres.We have been told many stories, we have sung songs together, watched old footage of local events, listened to music, laughed and chatted away for hours!
Often we have met people who have severe dementia but we have managed to encourage them to remember events, places, names that they thought they had forgotten. Many people have enjoyed remembering things for the first time in years.Read More >>
A blog from David Haworth (Associate Director)
When We Were Thirty is a reminiscence project working with elders in the New Forest, looking back at the years they turned 30. Workshops will lead to the development of a play that will then tour to residential homes.Read More >>
What a fantastic month it is has been. Peeling has been out and about into arts centres and village halls and has had the most extraordinary response. Up and down the County people have wanted to talk about the play and meet the actors and have a chat with them. We were on the Guardian’s Pick of the week two weeks running and we have been packing out our venues.
Highlights have included: the opening of The Berry Theatre with Peeling and the Artists with Disabilities conference running alongside; a fantastic show at Salisbury Arts Centre with a great Q and A at the end; our first show at our new local venue with a packed out crowd at Greyfriars Community Centre and a really buzzy night at Wallington Village Hall at the end of the tour with several disabled artists in the audience and lots of wine and chat afterwards.
We are looking to retour Peeling again in the future, but for now thank you to all who supported this production and hope to see you again soon.
So, despite the doom and gloom around the arts council cuts we have a great show on the road- check out the reviews: Read here The Stage’s and Salisbury Journal’s verdicts on Peeling:click here to readRead More >>
And so the show is on the road having had a fantastic preview and some lovely responses. And Kaite has won the Ted Hughes Poetry prize for The Persians- fantastic!
We now want to hear from you- go to the show page and add your comments- it will come directly to me.
It is becoming ever more urgent to get feedback- so please do let us know your thoughts….
Its the last week and we will have an audience on Wednesday for the first time. For the next three days it is all about dressing, dressing and more dressing. We will continue to work on scenes and then dress each afternoon. Final alterations are happening to the costumes. Becky is here for the final time today finishing the soundscape and Kaite will be back with us tomorrow.
The actors are working hard- especially lines wise as they have to be accurate as there are surtitles on stage with them at all times!Read More >>
So, we are now into the technical side of the show. Dom, Emma and I went through all of the plotting of the lights, sound and surtitles last night and today we need to go through all of the show with the actors. Costume changes will also have to be worked out as some happen on stage and some happen during a scene change and are quick.
Becky Applin has once again provided a really gorgeous soundscape which suits the piece and at points will chill the audience to the bone…Read More >>
The third week is rapidly disappearing! Yesterday we went through the whole play with Kaite as it is the last time we see her before the dress. Today we will go through all of the scenes with the underscoring to make sure that works and makes sense.
Still unsure as to what to do with the BSL sequence- going to try out some new ideas today.
So it is now motoring towards the tech: costumes are appearing ( care of David, Fran and Natalie) and lights are going in…..
So the third week begins and we have a lot to do. The rostra is going in today so that we get used to being on a stage as well as a floor. Costumes are also being sorted out- at least the top halves because of the changes that have to happen in the action.
Today we have to concentrate on finishing off the blocking for Scene 3 and looking at the play within a play. Kaite will be back tomorrow and Becky on Weds. We are now motoring towards the tech side of things which will begin Thursday night…..Read More >>
Where is the time going? Already at the end of our second week! Kaite and Jean are back today and will be going through all of the signed performance as well as having a nose at the audio description- our lovely ASM Emma Angell has been working hard putting that together. Yesterday we ran scene 1 and 2 together and there were some moments that really flew- very excited! We also explored the soundscape with the various Trojan Women scenes and have come up with 2 main sounds: Greek and annihilation!
The actors are all working really hard and put their scripts down yesterday for the run. Some of the monologues are already heartbreaking and have a real impact even at this stage.Read More >>
So the second week has begun and we tackled the third scene- which for me is the hardest scene of the whole play in terms of finding out what works. The play brilliantly goes into another realm- and we tussled all day in putting as many ideas into the room as we could. There is still so much to find. I feel like all day I was just saying’ Don’t know yet’!
But today we are back to scene one and testing all of the ideas that we did last week. The actors are working hard and it is quite a draining play to work on in terms of all the emotions that it conjures up.Read More >>
This has been a fantastic week. Firstly it has been a joy to work with Kaite O’Reilly- who is a real inspiration, secondly the actors ( Ali, Nicola and Kiruna), have launched themselves at the script fearlessly and we have enjoyed playing around with ideas and creating chaos!
This first week has gone incredibly fast-but we have achieved a lot. The play within a play has been looked at in terms of its own entity within the piece and now we have to find all of the business and nuances for the actors when they are not ‘onstage’.Read More >>
Well, what an extraordinary day we had today. Jean St Clair joined us and her, Kaite and Ali worked for hours on the signed performance part of the play. The main speech, which was presented to us at the end of the day, is already extremely powerful and once Ali has had a chance to cement it- will become a real highlight of the play.
Kiruna and Nicki and I looked at their monologues and also the play within a play. We explored ideas of presentation and how this might change as the ‘Trojan Women- then and now’ progresses.Read More >>
So, our second day has come and gone. Today we talked about the characters- so much to talk about- this is going to be a never ending conversation because of the complexities of the script. We then started working in the space with the cages- such joy to be had with 3 cages and 2 ammunition boxes!
We have started to work on the first scene looking at the difference in tone and rhythm between the play within a play and their own story. But the actors were making huge strides in grabbing the rhythm and making interesting choices.Read More >>
So, we have had the first day and a fantastic read through- the actors: Kiruna, Ali and Nicki have a real sense of the world of the play already and the script is just inspiring.
David is designing this one and we put the frames around the actors to see if they would work- and they do!
Becky played the soundscape- which is going to work really well and add another layer to the piece.
It’s great to have Kaite here- asking her those questions that you just want a writer to clarify or challenge or ponder on….
And so a new productions goes into rehearsal. Kaite, the writer and Becky, the Musical Director arrived last night and all of the actors arrived this morning along with our ASM Emma Angell and two interpreters.
I am so looking forward to getting my teeth into the script and working with a new company on a fantastic script.Read More >>
So Happy New Year everyone- the show is back on the road after the christmas break and can I say we didn’t cancel a single show because of the snow….
Another lovely review has come to us. Please send us your own comments via this website- go to the show page and just scroll down to add your thoughts.
read the review of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase: click here to readRead More >>
So the show is going down very well- lots of booing and laughing in equal measure! We have had 2 fantastic reviews so far in The Stage and The Salisbury Journal. It would be great to hear from you as well- please go to the show page and put your own review up so that we know your thoughts. Happy Christmas to all our supporters and friends!
Read the reviews of Wolves here: click here to readRead More >>
Forest Forge Youth Theatre are performing Gary Owens version of the classic A Christmas Carol all week. There are songs and dances, and a few surprises in this new version, so come and see to get you in the festive spirit.
There are still tickets available for Wed 8th, Thursday 9th and Saturday 10th December. Show starts at 7.30pm ( and a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm). Please call the office on 01425 470188 for tickets.Read More >>
So here we are- we have a show and we have snow! The preview went extremely well – with 3 reviewers in the audience- a little bit stressful! But a fantastic review in The Stage and the first night went well at the Gill Nethercott Centre. We really want to know your thoughts- go to the show page and add a review and it will come directly to me. I hope you enjoy the production as much as we have created it- it does seem though that Emma has stolen the show!Read More >>
So we are now on to the technical rehearsals. This is always an interesting and frustrating part of rehearsals because it becomes about lights, sound, animation, props and costumes- all of which need time and looking at and there can be a bit of hanging around….
There are also A LOT of costume changes- the boys probably have at least 10 each- and most of them are quick changes- so today has been all about changing in and out of costumes more than anything.
But the lighting is looking beautiful and we have plotted all of the music and animation- so we are leaping forward….Read More >>
So its now a week before we will be in front of an audience. Becky is now down for the last time and we are going through all of the music- both live and recorded- lots of fun.
Junior was in for the last time in terms of rehearsals yesterday and has tweaked the skating scene- I think, however, the umbrella dance is becoming my favourite moment…..Read More >>
So its our last full week of rehearsal… can’t believe it! On Friday we did our first run through, which went well and I think we are now all aware of the bits we need to work on!
Becky was down again and we went through all of the music cues- I think the music as a whole is gorgeous and the songs fit really well with the piece.
The actors are doing very well with everything I am throwing at them- not to mention an increase of different accents in the room!
So this week is all about detailing, consolidation and running. Not to mention the technical side of the show all beginning thursday night when Dom and i plot the whole show.
Sophy Lees is also down this week to show us the animated wolves chase- can’t wait!…..Read More >>
The actors are complaining that I am not mentioning them enough in my blogs ( unlike Becky and Junior!) So here goes: Mike Cole and Michael Magnet are playing the evil nemesis of Bonnie in the forms of Miss Slighcarp and Mr Grimshaw and have a fantastic moment in the play which is pure Brecht as they sing ‘Quite Ridiculous’ and sack all of the servants- children on the front row are in for a treat! Clare Fraenkel and Julie Rose Smith are playing Bonnie and Sylvia and my favourite moment so far is the gorgeous ice skating sequence as they flee from the wolves. Thomas Gilbey is playing Simon the Goose Boy and is enjoying being the hero as he constantly saves the day and sings some rather fine songs. The cast are all working really hard and its all beginning to gell. We ran Act one yesterday and will do our first run of the whole piece on Friday….
So there you go- lots of fun- still lots to do and only 2 weeks to go before the wolves really arrive…..Read More >>
Becky has been teaching all of the music- it goes from beautiful folk to Brecht and back again! Lots if Kate Bush references as well! Just gorgeous- but also a lot to learn. Junior has also been choreographing the skating sequence- the boys have had to learn how to lift the girls- its going to look gorgeous.
Now all I have to do is get on with the blocking! Bit by bit…..
So end of the first week of rehearsal and we have blocked Act one and some of Act two- it is becoming the trunk and box show! Lots of simple changes of space- very fast, episodic and hopefully telling the story!
The actors are working really well together and every morning they are singing together for 30 mins all through the score of the show- hopefully Becky will approve next time she is in!
Still some choreography to finish- umbrellas and secret passageways- but the skating is nearly done- some lovely liftsRead More >>
So the beginning of the second week and I think we are settling into a pattern of working- the actors are doing 30 mins of music together every morning and we will then continue the blocking and more detailed work as the week goes on. Hopefully with a run on Friday. Junior is also back today to teach the umbrella sequence and Helen Stewart will be back to look at the set and costume issues.
its all happening- but not enough keepy uppy at the moment….Read More >>
So second week is still upon us and we are beginning to go back over all we have done. Junior choreographed the umbrella dance yesterday ( the moment the girls come to London- lots of black umbrellas) and it is looking great. We are being visited by Russ today- hope he likes what I have done and we are beginning to detail character work
Still lots to do- told eachother the story yesterday and realised how complicated the plot is- have to try and make the story clear and make sure that we hear each character’s names for the first time…..Read More >>
So here we are in the first week- the set is up, Becky Applin has been in playing and teaching the gorgeous score, Junior Jones will be in to choreograph the ice skating sequence- so much fun!
I have worked out that everything can be done with a trunk and 2 boxes- so that’s it for furniture, although we are playing with Victorian toys….
Tom has just revealed that he can dance and so Simon the Goose boy may well be moving more than we thought!
Helen Stewart was here as well already trying on costumes ( so many and so many changes..)
It is all happening- the wolves really are on their way….Read More >>
Another lovely review…. Let us know your thoughts by reviewing the production on the show page of this site….
click here to read
So the show is now out and about- I really hope you all enjoy it. It would be great to hear your feedback- do go to the show page and fill in the review section and it will come straight to me.
In the meantime thank you to all those venues who are making us feel so welcome…… here’s to the next time….
And so rehearsals are coming to an end- we have had 3 dresses and tonight the preview audience will arrive and the play is born.
We go on the road from tomorrow onwards- starting off at Forest Arts Centre and then our local venue Trinity Church. It would be great to hear what people think- please go to the show page on this website and give us your review….Read More >>
And so the final week of rehearsal is upon us- our final games of keepy uppy ( still trying to beat 70), our final playing before an audience comes into the equation. The next 3 days is all about running, running, running. We will also be working some of the elements- making sure that both story lines are clear- also finishing off any set, props, costumes etc.
Lucy Sewill will be in this week taking some more extraordinary photos- which we will put up on this site and the Promoters will be in tomorrow evening to discuss the season and look at a scene from the show.
So, let us plunge into production week- knowing that by Wednesday night all of the elements need to come together as our preview night begins..Read More >>
Oh the joy- having an excuse to play copious amounts of Elvis in a rehearsal room! Thanks Joyce…..
So we are now getting pretty good at keepy uppy- 70 yesterday and counting! And we have gone through Act 1- although some tweeks still need to be made- but nothing major. I want to spend some time on the kid’s scene at some point. Today My Jones is back in to look at the choreography and also to give me an idea for the Baz Lurhman finale. We are also starting to go through Act 2 slowly- all ready for the big run tomorrow afternoon.
We are going into Tie a Yellow Ribbon territory folks…..Read More >>
SO- it is the final full week of rehearsal and things are hotting up! ( although not in our studio which is always cold on a Monday!). We are green screening the final film element today- I don’t want to give anything away- but if it works it will be a fab final image for the play….
We have to now consolidate everything and start really telling the story. I also want to help the cast feel more free in the space and so I might be tying them up today to each other and seeing that what does ( a strange technique- but seems to work as my Free Folk cast will testify!)
On Thursday Dom and I will plot all of the lights and sound and film ( 8 pieces of film in this, not including other projections etc). And on Friday we will begin techingRead More >>
The first run is looming and the actors will attempt it without their scripts for the first time. We will also be putting in the film moments from this point on to see if we can mix filmed and live action in anyway. Junior is back this afternoon to look at the dance routines- although they have been doing it every morning as part of their warm up and so getting really good. We are doing the Baz Luhrman sequence this morning and trying to get the music to go with the changed speech.
Lots of fun!
So here’s to the run….. with bits of costumes and bits of film and some of the music…….Read More >>
So we are ploughing on and starting detailing Act 2 today. Yesterday we ran Act 1 to see where we are at and the actors tried to put their scripts down for the first time. We are finding some lovely moments: the finding of the bear, the passing of the record and the moment older Reeny and middle Reeny are packing and unpacking simultaneously in the past and the present- lots of fun!
Mic Kemp, the designer, also arrived back yesterday with an arm full of clothes and so there was a trying on session as well- all of which I think are going to really work.
It is Bronya Deutsch’s Desert Island Disc choices today,(she is playing the younger Reeny and the granddaughter). Here we go:Read More >>
ery excited as Junior Jones is in today and he will make the choreography of the opening scene work for me!
Yesterday we consolidated the script changes and then started working through the first few scenes. We are now in the midst of challenging the blocking set last week and also detailing the scenes. One thng we haven’t tackled yet is the granddaughter’s reaction to Reeny’s increasingly confused state….
Continuing with the actor’s choice of Desert Island Discs- here’s Charlie Buckland’s ( who is playing Jimmy and Mikey)Read More >>
So here we are going into the second week. We had our first stagger through on Saturday and finalised the changes to the script with Joyce. So now it is all about detail and trying to make sure that all of the subplots are clear as well as the main storyline of Reeny’s life. This week we will also be joined by Junior Jones who will choreograph the opening sequence for me- the three women are in a 1950’s Dance Hall and dancing to Why Do Fools Fall in Love…
So it is all go- we have one more film sequence to do as well as the final one with Reeny……Read More >>
And so we have looked at 18 pages and made some amendments and looked at the characters. We have to find out what conventions work throughout the piece as reality and fantasy constantly merge- I need to discover the simple ways of telling the story and not over complicating the picture.
I have asked each actor to come up with their Desert Island Discs list
And so presenting Jacqueline Redgewell’s choices ( who is playing Reeny):
Softly awakens my heart- aria from Samson and Delilah, Saint Saens
Unforgettable- Nat King Cole
I Remember You- Frank Ifield
Help- The Beatles
Harmony Constant- Mike Nesmith
Waterman’s Hornpipe- Brass Monkey
Concerto in C Major- OP9 No 5
These Sea Dreams- Steve Tilston, Maggie Boyle
And so here we are again- the start of a new season and the start of a new show. Joyce arrived last night and the actors arrived this morning.
The set is already looking gorgeous in the studio and we have just completed the read through. For the next 48 hours we will be playing and challenging the script- making sure that the characters are well defined and the story and structure is clear- so that Joyce can make any changes before she wends her way to Oldham….
We have also played all of the music ( 21 tracks in all are mentioned).
So: playing is called for and the team is set…
Off we go
What a fantastic day we had with 5 actors in the room developing the script for The Wolves of Willoughby Chase alongside myself and Russ Tunney as well as the technical staff from both the Nuffield and FF.
The actors were great at just playing with the text and finding both the humour and pathos- so many thanks to Mike, Michael, Julie, Harry and Clare!Read More >>
This week Russ Tunney ( Associate Director at the Nuffield) and I are bringing together 5 lovely actors to play with the script of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and see how and what works.
We are being joined by some old faces for Forest Forge: Mike Cole, Michael Magnet, (remember Around the World in 80 Days?) and some new ones: Harry Palmer, Julie Rose Smith and Claire Franklin. So things to discover:Read More >>
So Elevate is over for another year and it was a fantastic success. The company of young people from Ringwood and Burgate schools worked brilliantly together and the production really flew by the end of the run. A big thanks to Richard Conlon for writing such an extraordinary script- which he is going to make available to other schools in the autumn. If you took part in this project go to our Forum and tell us your thoughts…
This really is a special project playing to 1000 young people this year and we hope to do it all again in 2011. When asked what the issue should be next year an audience member at Coxlease School said ‘Drugs’.Read More >>
Well, the first and only week of rehearsals is over and it certainly wasn’t wasted! What a week. The cast started on Monday morning with a script, not knowing everyone, and 5 days to get the shape of the show up together; and they have just left today having done a pretty solid run through, a set which is practically finished and off to learn their lines for Monday.
They have worked so hard, and done so much in such a short space of time. I am very proud of them all. Next week brings final touches, technical and dress rehearsals, a preview on Tuesday night and 10 shows in total. Phew, lets hope they have a good rest over the weekend. We’ll let you know how we get on.Read More >>
It’s Lucy, and we have just finished our first day of rehearsals for Wasted, our work experience show. And what a day. Designing, sound, ice breaker workshop for the cast, and start on page one of the script.
So far so good, our 14 cast and 4 crew have plunged themselves in with gusto, and I am looking forward to tomorrows revelations, laughs and inspirational moments. I’ll keep you all posted.Read More >>
This year we are working with 18 young people from Ringwood and Burgate Schools on a fantastic new script specially written by Richard Conlon for the project called Wasted.
The cast will arrive on Monday and the tech team will also gear up as we have 9 days to put the show on before the preview at our Theatre Base on 15th June and then it all goes in the blue van to 4 secondary schools and a lot of year 7-9 students!Read More >>
And so Mitunes was a great success- well done to Winton and Harrow Way schools- we would love you to email us with your thoughts about the process….
Next is Elevate with Ringwood and Burgate Schools- three weeks with 25 young people creating a touring production from scratch and then taking it out in the blue van to other schools- all very exciting! This year the theme is young people and their relationship with alcohol- should be interesting…..Read More >>
Come to the Lights in Andover on 27th April and see all of the work that our Associate Director David Haworth and Harrow Way School and Winton School have been doing in the build up to the autumn tour of For the Record, and how best to present people’s love of music.
The schools have been choreographing their chosen tracks with Junior Jones and creating films with City Eye and our Writer’s Group have created monologues and scenes for the event as well. There will also be two professional actors performing with the young people: Chris Talman and Kate Adams.Read More >>
So, we had our preview and it went extraordinarily well- people really seemed moved by it and wanting to talk about the writing and the production afterwards.
A fantastic night – with a really mixed age group all getting something from it. I do think this is a special show.Read More >>
And so here we are making the final things work- adding the film and checking the lights and any final costume alterations. The film works really well with the set pieces- adding an edge I think.
So now we are going to do 2 dress rehearsals which are just for us before we open the doors tomorrow night for the first preview audience….Read More >>
So we did two runs of the play yesterday and most of the show feels very solid. I am still questioning the beginnning in terms of how we show that it is essentially a conversation being had off stage not on- but we will find it.
There were some really emotional moments yesterday- lump in the throat time when Stacey delivered her Dead Dad speech and Mike’s pony in the forest and Mel’s stabbing- so many moments that really hit you.Read More >>
So here we are- working through the play moment to moment- challenging all of the blocking and who we think these people are. Gary was with us on Friday and was really pleased with that he saw- it was also great to have him in to clarify bits of the text and test what we were doing. He grinned for the whole day…
The next part of the week will be about running and running: scenes, acts ( still not sure where the interval should go) and then placing the technical stuff on top of all of that: film. lighting and sound.Read More >>
So last week was all about testing the conventions of the play and how to go back and forth with direct speech and natural dialogue. This week is all about character work and fleshing them out.
For the past two days I have had the actors tied to eachother with rope, in terms of the 2 couples, to see what that gives us in terms of feeling trapped and needing to be aware of the other person at all times as well as negotiate the space with someone else attached to you.Read More >>
What an extraordinary week it has been. The actors arrived on Monday and we did a read through and talked through the model of the set and concept of the visuals.
With lots of tea and biscuits we talked about the play and how brilliant the writing is. Then for three days we tusseled with the script- seeing what worked and what didn’t. The constant refrain was: the simpler the better.Read More >>
So here we are with 5 new actors ( Mike, Stacey, Melody, Maggie and Tim) and a fantastic new script by Gary Owen- which is mad, witty and gorgeous.
The day was full of laughter as the read through brought to light even more humour in the script.
And so the challenge begins: episodic structure, characters talking to us and eachother and their thoughts aloud, non-linear timeline- lots of things to discover and work through.
Ashputtel- the Cinderella story is now out on the road. It has been a fantastic rehearsal period working with 5 very talented actor musicians and all the artists involved: Junior Jones choreographing, Claire Harvey creating the puppets, Arts University College Bournemouth students working hard on the 3 ball gowns and Becky Applin creating a beautiful score for the whole piece. Not to mention Dom, Emma and David working tirelessly making the set, costume, props, lights and projections work
The show previewed at our base and got a warm reception and now all of the set, lights, costumes, actors and Dom are in a van off around the County.Read More >>
Well, here we are at our third dress rehearsal with the Youth Theatre coming to see it- our first audience. I am now really wanting to know if we are telling the story clearly and whether the visuals are linking up.
The actors are working very hard at getting on top of all of the things they have to do: quick changes ( Sophie has about 7!) playing and putting down instruments, moving the set around, placing puppets, knives, toes and heels…. the list is endless.Read More >>
Well, here we are at the end of the third week and it has been a long one! The week began with choreography and ended with lights, sound and projections- all looking and sounding fab.
We have gone projection mad, ( all cleverly sourced by Dom), so that we have stars and snow and fireworks and leaves and birds- you name it, its there! So Thursday night we plotted the entire show and Friday we teched with the actors in full costume.Read More >>
So it is the final week of rehearsal and we preview in a week’s time. This rehearsal period has flown! We are starting our third week with a run through and just seeing what we have got and what still needs detailing. This week will be about running and running the sequences and then adding all of the technical aspects around it.
We are also joined this week by our Interact ASM Emma- which is great- another pair of hands to get this show on the road ( literally!)
Junior will be back in today polishing off the dances- he has been adding more and more modern moves into the courtly dances- for example one opens with them walking like cat walk models- lots of fun.Read More >>
We are now at the end of our second week of rehearsals. It has been a week of music and choreography and birds! Becky Applin was with us for 2 days working through the whole play in terms of the soundscape and the combination of live and recorded sound.
Junior Jones has been with us for 2 sessions making the Winter Dance very King and I and the other 2 Feasts much more courtly- lots of fun, although I did ache like mad after the first session as he kept using me to demonstrate!
So now we are continuing our detailed look through the rest of Act 2 ready for our second full run of the show.
So, now we are on our second week of rehearsals and this week is all about detail and making sure the instruments are a part of the characters i.e the Prince is the violin, Ashputtel is the flute etc.
We will also have our first session with the choreographer Junior Jones – who popped in on Friday and saw our stagger through – and Becky Applin will be back going through all of the music and making sure that the recorded pieces are ready.Read More >>
So, we are at the end of our first week and we will finish the blocking,( but not the choreography), by the end of the day and attempt our first stagger through of the whole play.
I have some very talented actor musicians in the cast who are playing 3 flutes, 2 clarinets, a mandolin, a violin and a cello- all sounding amazing.Read More >>
Well, here we are on the 3rd day of rehearsal. All of the music has been looked at- although I also seem to be asking for strange and wonderful things to happen as soundscape as we work through as well!
We have blocked 10 pages of the script- very sketchy and will continue with the rest of Act one by the end of today- hopefully!
The actors are being wonderfully inventive as I ask them to improvise with 2 lots of steps, a large frame and a small one on a 4 metre square rostra...
So it is now the first week of Ashputtel rehearsals and the lovely actors have arrived. The first day has been about introducing the actors to the world of the play and the music- Becky Applin has once again composed a beautiful score which will be performed live as well as recorded.
The students from the costume department of the Arts University College, Bournemouth have also been with us doing fittings for the 3 Ashputtel dresses which they are making- gorgeous.Read More >>
We had the most extraordinary nights at Hurst Castle on Tuesday and Wednesday. The weather was so beautiful that we had a stunning sunset which created the most perfect backdrop for Phileas Fogg to be on his sail boat- absolutely magical!
The light stayed with us as well- all the way through the scenes in the Castle grounds and then completely fading as we reached the theatre.
They were such lovely evenings- it really felt as though the audience was out to have a good time and even the lady with the broken foot gallantly hobbled her way around on the first night.Read More >>
Well, so far the audiences seem to be enjoying the show. We have had incredibly good feedback. One member of the audience wrote to me to say that the show is ’ a feast of wit, slapstick, enormous ingenuity in setting, consummate characterisation and brilliant rapidity in changing character’.
What more can we ask for?
If you have seen the show please send us your thoughts- we are always interested in hearing from you.
Well the next challenge is the Hurst Castle performances.
Well, here we are in the final week with the preview tomorrow night and the Youth Theatre of Forest Forge coming to see an open dress tonight.
The last run went very well – just some teething problems with the set moving on the floor cloth – I am wanting the blocks to move easily and swiftly and so we are now experimenting with laminate on the bottom of the blocks!Read More >>
We are now getting to crunch time with a week to go before we open.
We did a run of the entire show on Saturday which went very well, but was a tad faltering as we all tried to remember which boat/train/elephant we were about to get onto next!
Costumes are also beginning to appear as well as THE BAG – which is very exciting! And the furniture is slowly turning a deep mahogany!
This is also the week that lighting will be going in and my film noir moments will be being realised- I am SO excited about the fact that the clock provides my Orson Welles moment!
Well, we are now coming to the end of our second week and we have consolidated the work we did last week. These last few days have been all about detailing and the journey of the hat and cane! i.e where on earth Fogg puts his personal props at any time!
We have been playing more with the Stomp idea- the Reform club begins with our tribute to Stomp using a pipe, pack of cards and glass of whisky!Read More >>
Well, we have finished the first week of rehearsal and all is going well. The week was taken up with blocking the entire show – which is very technical as each piece of set becomes a different form of transport etc and becomes an interesting memory test of which boat are we on now!
The week began with a meet and greet with the company and then a read through and design presentation. I think the set is going to work brilliantly and is highly inventive.Read More >>
Well, we are off and running and having fun with elephants! The big challenge this week is how I do a train chase with a sideboard and on a 4 metre square stage – oh the joys of epic theatre!Read More >>
Well, the first female Artistic Director of Forest Forge Theatre Company may not have the world-shaking impact of the first black American President, but I feel empathy for Barack Obama as he finds his feet with his new job!
The last few months have been a heady mix of meeting lots of people from all walks of life and absorbing as much information as I can from all the many supporters of this theatre company which has touched people’s lives for nearly 30 years.Read More >>
How excited am I- in a week’s time 5 actors will arrive and we will begin rehearsals for The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. We have a fantastic script from the pen of Russ Tunney, ( the Nuffield Theatre’s Associate Director), and a beautiful score by Rebecca Applin, ( who did all of the music for last year’s shows), and I will once again be joined by Junior Jones in choreographing some mad ice skating sequences!
David and Dom are in the workshop, as I write, painting the set and working out secret passageways!
SO looking forward to starting….. expect a lot if Kate Bush references from this moment on…. ’they’re in the trees… they’re coming!!!!!!Read More >>