Category Archives: Festival

Theatre, but not as we know it

At the 2017 Edinburgh festival we saw Middle Child’s All We Ever Wanted was Everything late one night at Summerhall, in a circular tent and it was packed. Gig theatre, (a mash up of theatre [new writing] and an [original] music gig) as it is termed has brought new young audiences into the theatre and you can see why, there’s an energy that goes beyond the norm and it’s infectious.

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Last night we headed to the Lost Gardens of Heligan to another circular tent for the start of Kneehigh’s Asylum summer season which started with Ubu Karaoke. This was a retelling  of Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry and modern classic songs that aid the telling of the story to a twenty-first century audience. The title may imply that people have to get onstage and sing along but that is a false assumption, the cast always lead the songs, which are surtitled and the audience sings along as one. In fact from the start, the usual rules of theatre are left aside. Gone was the 15-20 minute interval and we were told there was a 5 minute breather, we could come and go throughout the show, the doors of the tent were always open and the bar alongside the stage was available throughout the performance. The audience were sitting, standing and dancing; even partaking of games during the Ubu Olympics but never was anyone asked to do anything they didn’t want to do. The whole event was relaxed for everyone and the audience loved it. The analogy of Ubu, who gets to be king by a devious route, wan’t lost on anyone in the audience and nothing had to be spelt out for us to see the modern day equivalents. The fact that it was so relevant to what is happening now made people sing louder, sing like no-one was watching because no-one was watching, we were all partaking. When Ubu was first produced in 1896 it caused a riot and last night the riot was contained within the audience as they formed armies to follow their leaders. If you are on holiday in Cornwall or live in the south west GO. This isn’t gig theatre, its not even karaoke theatre, Knee-high call it ‘promenade musical’ but its something deeper and at this moment in time its obvious that people need it.

Ubu Karaoke is on at the Lost Gardens of Heligan from now until Saturday 25th August

More info here http://www.kneehigh.co.uk/show/UBU-Karaoke.php

Re blogged from https://seafieldview.wordpress.com

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Vera’s ‘popping up’ in the Plymouth Fringe

Coffee With Vera

May 29 @ 6:30pm7:30pm & May 30th @ 2pm- 3pm

 

Ruth Mitchell

Venue: Plymouth Synagogue
Running time: 45-60 minutes
Recommended age: 12+

Coffee with Vera is a performance inspired by 1960s coffee mornings created by gathering stories from the oldest Ashkenazi Synagogue in continuous use in the English-speaking world; the Plymouth synagogue.

The character of Vera Jockleson co-hosts a coffee morning with Ruth and recounts how this form of social gathering was a monthly fund raiser for the Ladies Guild. Through Vera we hear of past events and stories whilst at the same time Ruth tries to connect her own history to the place by searching for her (possible) Jewish relatives.

A leading actor for 25 years, in 1993 Ruth created the role of Helga, a German Jewish mother in the Verity Bargate award winning play Kindertransport by Diane Samuels. The assumption that she was a Jewish actor gave her the impetus in 2013 to look for those cultural connections.

Awarded the Intellect postgraduate award in 2013 and the 2014 Wildfire Critics Choice Award at Exeter Ignite, Coffee with Vera now returns to its spiritual home.

List of this weeks Hidden Stories:Hidden Places audio trails

I’ve been working with my ripple colleague Derek Frood to make audio trails for some Heritage open days, the national event is this coming weekend.

It is also the first week of the Jewish Heritage Days 2017 and here are three events where our cemetery audio trails can be heard.

Thursday 7 September Plymouth Cemetery Audio Trail.

2pm. Listen to the audios in the synagogue vestry and then take a walk up to the cemetery to see the graves. Free event but booking advised for numbers. Contact Jerry Sibley 07753 267616 or 01752 263162

Thursday 7th September Phonic FM Exeter

6-8pm. I will be appearing on Phonic FM’s first Culture Club.  Listen live on Phonic FM: 106.8FM in Exeter; phonic.fmworldwide. Listen again at www.mixcloud.com/phoniccr.

Sunday 9th September Exeter Audio Trail

Synagogue open 11-3 have a tour of the synagogue and listen to our audios with your refreshments. There will also be a film running to illustrate one of our stories.

Sunday 9th September Falmouth Presentation

12.30pm. Derek and I will be talking about how we unearthed stories from the Plymouth cemetery and how they turned into a project called Hidden Stories: Hidden Places. Places are free but we are asking people to sign up here http://thepoly.org/whats-on/event/491/hidden-stories-hidden-places

Sunday 9th September Falmouth Audio Trail

2-4pm in the Ponsharden Cemetery our audio trail will be part of a talk and walk in both the Jewish cemetery and it’s neighbour, the Dissenter’s burial ground. Derek and I will be there in person to hand out the headphones.

#ripple’s Hidden Stories: Hidden Places @PolyFalmouth

On Sunday September 10th I will be giving a presentation with my ripple colleague Derek Frood about our Hidden Stories: Hidden Places project. This grew out of our Plymouth Cemetery Audio trail, which took place in a hidden Jewish cemetery on Plymouth Hoe in 2016. After the unexpected success of the trail within the Plymouth Art Weekender we continued the research into Exeter and Falmouth and the outcome are two audio trails one for each place. On the 10th of September there will be a chance to hear them within the Jewish Heritage week and the Heritage Open Days. In Exeter you can hear the audio stories within the Synagogue which is open on the Sunday afternoon and in Falmouth you can walk around the Ponsharden burial ground between 2-4pm.

Before the cemetery opens we will be chatting about our research at the Falmouth Poly, how the three trails have cultural connections but how we’ve tried to make them creatively different; from spoken biographies in Plymouth to a more in depth story telling for Falmouth. The talk starts at 12.30 and should last roughly 50 minutes to an hour which will give people time to then head to the Ponsharden burial ground for the tour. This is a FREE event but we ask that people sign up so we can monitor numbers. Thanks

http://thepoly.org/whats-on/event/491/hidden-stories-hidden-places

http://www.dissenters.moonfruit.com/open-day/4587242113

Hidden Stories: Hidden Places is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England , Exeter City Council small grants scheme and  Feast Cornwall a programme that makes great art happen across Cornwall.

Let Me Look At you Edinburgh [preview]

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I’ve been working with a good friend and amazing performer Mark Pinkosh, it’s been interesting partly because he lives in Los Angeles for most of the year. So far we have had three weeks face to face split up over 2017 and months of distance dramaturgy in-between without seeing one another. This, in hindsight, has been a rather good way of working because coming back to the text with space in between makes you see it with fresh eyes, and work that’s created in the heat of the moment can sometimes look somewhat cooler after the initial creative splurge. It’s made the job of dramaturgy much easier and everyone has had a hand in the development. We started by sitting down and recording anecdotes of Mark and his husband Godfrey’s years of the ‘gay movement’ which celebrates this year with the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act. Then we sifted through them alongside historical factoids and Godfrey would write them up in his cabin in LA and in his own inimitable way. Mark would then travel back over to Plymouth and we would look at what we had and play with the text adding and cutting when needed. We noted though that in the current climate, on both sides of the pond, things haven’t changed that much and in some places like the middle east, it has taken a backwards step and therefore it feels very relevant. The show called Let Me Look At You opens at the Edinburgh Festival at the Pleasance, Bunker 2 at 11.15 am August 2nd – 28th but we are previewing one show only at the Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol on Wednesday 26th July at 5pm. Please come along and give us some feedback either to the Wardrobe or at the Pleasance, you won’t be disappointed. Mark and Godfrey work on stage as Starving Artists and are double Fringe First winners. When they started taking their work to Edinburgh over twenty years ago Mark was the first recipient of The Stage’s Award for Acting Excellence and in those days it was just the one award. So its going to be a bit of a homecoming but I am very excited about being part of this show and am looking forward to seeing it on its feet in Bristol on the 26th.

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Starting to find our Hidden stories:Hidden places

Last year, with my colleague Derek Frood, we made an audio trail within a hidden Jewish cemetery in Plymouth but what we thought would be a quiet weekend, with a handful of curious people, turned into a kind of marathon. Around 120 people turned up each day and those who didn’t have smart phones or headphones waited patiently for one of the 15 MP3s to become available.

Knowing there was the potential for further trails and realising now there was a thirst for hidden stories in hidden places we put a bid into the Arts Council to research and develop more stories across the south west. This will include working with the Exeter synagogue and their family history group for their cemetery  off Magadalen Road and Kehillat Kernow, (the Jewish Council of Cornwall) with the Friends of Ponsharden Cemetery, to research the Jewish & Dissenters cemetery in Falmouth (see above, images taken by Derek Frood on our site visit there last week).

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Once we have collected our stories we will go into a studio with sound technicians, the wonderful people at Stage Technical Services in Exeter and investigate different ways of recording them to make our finished trails.

Currently the Plymouth audio trail is uploaded onto an MP3 and each story is a different track meaning  you can be in charge of your own wanderings and move to whatever part of the graveyard you want to go to. Alternatively you can listen on a smartphone via Soundcloud; operating the trail on your own phone makes it easier to navigate for a lot of people.

The idea that people could wander around listening to a soundtrack meant that the peace and stillness of the site remained which is something we felt was important. As people waited they could take in the site, see people making the tour but at the same time remain oblivious to the audio they were watching them listen to. This had a particular powerful affect on one audience member in Plymouth last year…

“The music and voices really made the people ‘come alive’ the particular reference about the physicality of the Stonehouse police suddenly jolted me into the realisation that I was standing on the remains of that particular body and I found that a very powerful moment. The other thing that impacted on me was noticing the other listeners. They were randomly dotted around the cemetery, solemn statues, heads bent down like they were watching over the dead; every so often they would slowly move to a new grave and take up their positions again. It’s difficult to put into words, but it felt like a strange transposition, the dead being brought to life by the stories while the living had become immobile listening to them”.

“… difficult to put into words”, they managed to do so very eloquently.

Over the next few months we will be collecting our stories and will update our findings on our website here.

With thanks to Arts Council South West, Exeter City Council and Feast Cornwall for funding to develop Hidden Stories: Hidden Places.

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The old Jewish cemetery in Plymouth will be open for audio trails during the Plymouth History Festival, every Sunday between 11-3pm and booking is essential, so we can keep those waiting times down.  All details are here and below.

OLD JEWISH CEMETERY AUDIO TRAIL
The Old Jewish Cemetery, Lambhay Hill, Plymouth PL1 2NP
Sunday 7, 14, 21 and 28 May and 4 June, 11am-4pm (last entry at 3pm)
Tours take place at quarter past, half past, quarter to and on the hour
Located on Plymouth’s historic Hoe, in the shadow of The Citadel, lies a hidden secret: The Old Jewish Cemetery. Contained within high stone walls it has always remained hidden from public view. The only clue to its existence is an insignificant door. With the aid of funding from Vital Sparks and Drakes Foundation, recorded with Stage Technical Services and hosted by the Plymouth Hebrew Congregation, an audio trail has been created in the garden cemetery by Ruth Mitchell and Derek Frood, aka Ripple. It brings to life the lives of those buried within this hidden gem. In 1740 this plot was a family garden; today it is a calm oasis that hides a wealth of history and culture.

If you are coming please bring your smart phone and headphones (its by far the best way to hear them downloadable at https://soundcloud.com/ripple-theatre) or use the MP3 players that will be available on the day. Please note: The Cemetery includes entry and exit steps with uneven terrain throughout and therefore is not suitable for those with limited mobility. For those unable to attend the Cemetery, an opportunity to hear the audio trail at the Synagogue Vestry is available on Tuesday 23 May.
Free / Donations very welcome / Booking essential due to limited spaces via 07753 267616 or phccaretaker@yahoo.co.uk

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The Orchard – opening the Calm Down Dear Festival at the Bike Shed Theatre 4.10.16

Dreadnought South West
The Orchard
Tuesday 4th Oct 2016 at 19:00, Bike Shed Theatre

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This is a performed reading of a script in development, with live music and song, and will be followed by an invitation to debate the work in conversation with the cast & team.

The Orchard is an imagined meeting between two extraordinary political leaders and thinkers:  Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst.  Radical women who definitely wanted to smash the patriarchal values preventing them being seen as citizens with a right to vote.  Their methods divided them and so the play considers what that means in terms of sacrifice and solidarity.

Exeter-based Dreadnought South West is developing its latest show, The Orchard, prior to a SW tour and as part of the Rebellious Sounds project. If you missed their first show, Oxygen (‘beautiful & uplifting’ THE STAGE) then make sure you book your seat for this one-night-only sharing.
http://www.dreadnoughtsouthwest.org.uk
Our aim is to produce high-quality feminist theatre, arts and heritage work that inspires, educates and raises awareness of often unheard and unseen courage. We also want to engage audiences in a dialogue about the way we work and about the work itself. If you’re interested in how theatre is being made, interested in the content or in stories of activism, then we would love to meet with you after the reading for a conversation.

Dreadnought SW is supported by Arts Council England, Exeter City Council, Fawcett Devon and the Elmgrant Trust.
This event is part of the Calm Down, Dear Festival in collaboration with Camden People’s Theatre.
Writer: Natalie McGrath
Director/Dramaturg: Josie Sutcliffe
Composer: Claire Ingleheart/ Musician: Sarah Moody
Actors: Ruth Mitchell, Saskia Portway & Michelle Ridings
Producer: Charlie Parker