Memories

A year’s end is a natural time to look back and reflect. And, as 2013 has been such a busy and exciting year professionally, there’s a lot to reflect on – far too much for a blog such as this, so I’m just going to focus on the most significant moments-as they seem from this vantage point.

As always in the middle of winter, I find it hard to believe that summer existed (or could exist), but it did, and 2013’s summer had in it one day I will never, ever forget – ELART’s All the World’s A Stage, performed in the RSC’s The Dell at Stratford-upon-Avon. Thinking back about that day, I can still re-create almost every moment:

– Meeting up with the cast on the banks of the Avon – all of us excited about the day ahead, slightly cloudy at that mid-morning time, but soon to become gloriously sunny -the first of many hot days ahead, though we didn’t know that then so the weather seemed particularly special.

– Sitting under a small tree, operating the sound, taking photos and really enjoying watching my cast perform two well-received shows – I’ve rarely, if ever, felt quite so proud.

– Lunch-time frisbee, with its wonderfully surreal quality, also looms large in my memory – I was highly amused by the woman, who, watching 7 men dressed in black (most of the cast) walk purposefully out onto the grass in front of The Dell stage, said excitedly to her friend, “Ooh look – I think they’re going to perform!” and then watched bemusedly as they spent 10 minutes throwing said frisbee around!

It was a truly great day and one that I not unreasonably thought at the time would be the absolute pinnacle of my year. In some ways it was – putting on a Shakespeare show is Stratford is hard to beat – but, astonishingly, The Rose Company’s Iphigenia’s adventures have at least equalled it in terms of their place in my 2013 memories – and in terms of public interest and future potential for an individual show, they have surpassed it.

I have really loved working with Lady Jane Lumley’s Iphigenia in the latter half of 2013 – July to November- and it has been a delight to watch The Rose Company start to bloom.

Highlights have included:

– Our very first show at Reading – I remember just feeling hugely proud of all involved -and, having overcome a range of difficulties, including illnesses, we really felt like a team.

– Fantastic days in Cambridge and UCL, London -a particular thrill was finding out we were performing in the beautiful main UCL building with all the columns at the front – such an appropriate view for anyone coming to watch Greek tragedy!

– The wonderfully warm local reception we have received from Lancaster audiences and critics, who seemed to enjoy our shows in the fabulous Lancaster Castle setting as much as we enjoyed performing there – cells for changing rooms and all!

– Our radio interviews – we were truly grateful for interest from Radio Lancashire and Woman’s Hour and relished the opportunity to be on the shows.

Through all this year’s projects, I have also found the support of friends and family really special and quite humbling. Thank you to all who have come to shows, “liked” on facebook, shared links, re-tweeted on twitter, spread the word about us, sponsored us etc – you know who you are!

And a huge thanks to all who have worked in any way with me on any show/project in 2013 – not just the two productions I have focused on in this blog. I can’t wait to work with you all again next year – and with other friends as well. (You know who you are too!)

A year’s end is a natural time to look back and reflect and a new year is a natural time to look forward. Here’s to 2014 – let’s make more memories!

elaru xx

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The Dell, Part 3 (more clips)

Welcome to part 3 of my coverage of our day at The Dell. This will probably be the final post specifically about The Dell as I start rehearsals tomorrow with The Rose Company (introduced in an earlier post) for Lady Jane Lumley’s Iphigenia, a play we are performing in The Minghella Theatre at Reading University on July 9th.

More on that soon, but, for now The Dell: here follows a series of video clips (once again filmed inexpertly by me – apologies for poor quality at times and some strange cut-offs; a quick cut-off generally means I had to be somewhere else to do something!). However, they certainly give a flavour of our work, so I hope you enjoy them. One of the things I am most pleased about when I view them is the fact that audience laughter and appreciation can clearly be heard – there is nothing more satisfying for a director to hear and sense positive audience response; it’s what we strive for!

The first one is one of the most serious scenes, which worked beautifully on the day: Lord Capulet berating Juliet for refusing to marry Paris.

And now a couple of short clips of the 3 witches in action. Crazy witches!

A burst of Cleopatra (very poor sound quality, I’m afraid, but the acting is fab!).

And finally some Mechanicals – the whole company in action.

I hope you enjoyed getting a taste of the show. Next time (I really, really hope there’s a next time!) come and see The Dell for yourselves.

elaru xxx

The Rose Company

Just a quick blog post to introduce a new venture: The Rose Company, a newly-formed all-female theatre company, of which I am a founder member – one of four.

We already have a project – Iphigenia by Lady Jane Lumley, not only the first known dramatic work by a woman in English, but also the first known translation of the Greek into English. What a great play for a group of female creatives to begin with! I’ve read and re-read it several times so far and am delighted with the immediacy of the story-telling and how “modern” it somehow feels; many lines cut through time, making a strikingly powerful impact. I can’t wait to hear how they sound when performed.

We also have a date and a venue – the Minghella Theatre at Reading University on July 9th, as part of an academic conference. (I’m a little scared about how knowledgeable our audience will be, but we can only do our best!)

Now the real advert bit: although I will detail some Rose Company activity and progress in this blog, most of the information can be found at http://therosecompany.posthaven.com/ and we can be followed on twitter at @therosecompany.

As usual, at the start of a project, I’m itching to get going! (And there is also going to be some very exciting ELART Productions news soon too – I’m just waiting for some final details. Watch this space…)

elaru xx