2016 in Pictures

2016 has been a busy year.

In January, the Rose Company dominated with Arts Council funded Research and Development on the battle scenes of Coriolanus. Working with a talented team of women started the year off in an excitingly challenging way.

 

Both The Rose Company and ELART Productions were involved in the Bard By The Beach Shakespeare Festival in April. The Rose Company provided an afternoon workshop and a series of Shakespeare “statues” that came to life, delivering monologues when an audience appeared in front of them. ELART Productions presented Shakespeare’s Seven Ages (pictured below in rehearsal) – and this was the start of a run of ELART Shakespeare – perfect for #Shakespeare400!

 

June saw a return visit to The Eden Festival in Scotland with our Shakespeare extracts show All The World’s A Stage. We had a great time and it was a joy to perform on the fabulous Melodrome again, this time in the Chas Ambler Would.

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream came next in two different venues – a charity performance in St John’s Hospice Midsummer Marquee, followed by a sell-out evening performance in Lancaster Library. This was the biggest cast I had worked with for ages and the energy and fun was fantastic all through as should be clear from the pictures below, taken in a range of rehearsals  and the Dress Run.

 

Kendal Yarns followed at the end of July  and what an experience that turned out to be – I still can’t believe how much was achieved in a fortnight! Concisely here, as blogged in much greater detail earlier, it was an absolutely brilliant community festival.

 

The day after Kendal Yarns we performed All The World’s A Stage on the Melodrome Mobile Stage again. While in some ways the timing wasn’t perfect (I was exhausted!), it was a particularly special event for two reasons: firstly, I’d wanted to put something on in Lancaster Castle courtyard for ages – what a location on a sunny day! – and secondly, two of my goddaughters were in the audience.

 

The ELART Mechanicals had one final 2016 outing and enjoyed playing in Warton St Oswald’s church for a charity 16th birthday concert for – and organised by – the youngest member (I think) of A Midsummer Night’s Dream cast. After this, the third Lancaster Fun Palace opened its doors at the start of October for the now regular (yay!) annual celebration of arts, science and community. See http://www.funpalaces.co.uk for full information – and get in touch to get involved…

 

Finally at the end of November, came an event in aid of Lancaster and Morecambe City of Sanctuary – a charity close to my heart.

 

And that was 2016. During what I’m sure many of us will agree has been a challenging year, I have managed mostly to retain a sense of positivity and hope – in no small part due to the events listed here. Thanks to every single person who has been any part at all of any one – onstage, offstage, audience etc… Theatre and the Arts could not be more important than now and there are already several ELART and other events in the pipeline for the new year, but more warmly welcomed – collaborations, commissions etc… Get in touch, however fledgling the idea. Let’s work together!

All the best for the festive season and beyond.

elaru xx

 

 

Advertisements

Dream Team

One of the great joys of putting on a play is working with a group of great people. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is proving no exception. Here are ELART’s Dream Team in rehearsal.

The Fairies

 

The Lovers

 

 

The Mechanicals

 

The Court

Shows: June 26th St John’s Hospice 2pm  and Lancaster Library July 1st 7.30pm.

Hope to see you there!

elaru xx

Dreaming

Life is busy and complicated. Again. So, trying to put even a short production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream together is a challenge to say the least. Having said that, it’s a challenge I’m very pleased to be undertaking, not least because one of our two forthcoming performances is a charity performance for St John’s Hospice (2pm Sunday June 26th) and the other is at one of my favourite community spaces – Lancaster Library (7.30pm Friday July 1st).

I’ve got a talented and committed cast. They’re hard-working and lovely to create with – willing to trust me and each other and try almost anything, which is vital in a process of this nature. I’m expecting a lot of them, I know; rehearsal time is at a premium, so I need them to work out of rehearsal, individually,  in a really professional way, learning lines, thinking about and developing character, finding characterisation and then bringing all that work to rehearsal to play and refine further. They’re coping, pulling together – and there are some lovely things happening already. With an intensive week ahead, I think we’re going to be ready. Just!

We really hope you’re going to join us.

Tickets are –

£7.50 (lower for children) for St John’s Hospice, available from http://www.sjhospice.org.uk/event/a-midsummer-nights-dream/

£5 for Lancaster Library, availailable from Lancaster Library or by emailing emma@elartproductions.co.uk

Or just turn up on the door!

To whet your appetite, here are a few rehearsal pics from a fun rehearsal last night:

Sweet Dreams.

elaru xx

 

 

As easy as A B C… (Mr Lear and Mr Thumb)

Mr Thumb's A 001

I’m mid-way through painting an A. It’s a prop for Memorandum. It’s yellow. Very yellow. And it will soon be yellow and red. I haven’t painted anything for years and I’m really enjoying this simple task.

The A is used in a range of scenes set in the Ptydepe classroom. Ptydepe is an artificial language that is introduced into the company in the play with the aim of making office communications simpler and more precise. All the employees have to learn Ptydepe and, thus, they have to attend classes. These classes are taught by Mr Lear and the classroom scenes are some of the funniest in the play as – for the most part – they are sheer nonsense.

I say “for the most part” because through these scenes, I do think Havel is satirising poor teaching and useless learning. Mr Lear is the kind of teacher who simply lectures (the scenes are largely monologues). He doesn’t notice if his students misbehave. He doesn’t really seem to care if they learn, though he is very pleased to be able to give an A to the only keen student in the class – Mr Thumb – who shows off his knowledge to the teacher by simply repeating back exactly what has been said, however nonsensical . Mr Lear  just enjoys the sound of his own voice and, though commendably passionate about his subject, makes no attempt to connect with the class in front of him. He appears to live in an almost completely theoretical world and doesn’t ever use real-life, relevant examples to bring the lesson to life for the students, such as those used in the best modern classrooms today.

Here he is in action with some of his class:

Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 042 Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 051 Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 052 Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 054 Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 081 Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 044 Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 048

All for One (Stroll, Savant and Helena)

The staff of the Translation Centre in “Memorandum” are a fairly tight-knit trio. The laid back, appetite-driven, Otto Stroll is in apparently in charge, but the, perhaps, more dynamic Dr Alex Savant and Chairman Nellie, often move events forward – or at least onwards in a circular manner… All of them serve to frustrate both Gross and Ballas at various points in the play, though not necessarily deliberately, and, for me, they represent the type of workers who get on – energetically or otherwise – with the task in hand, and are quite happy to exist in their own little departmental bubble; they don’t, however, really think in any long-term or wide-reaching manner or do much, if anything, on initiative. In some ways, then, quite ideal employees, especially for a dictatorial manager (or deputy)… but, in others, the worst sort – can they be relied on, if things go wrong?

Memorandum Rehearsal 11th April 2015 013 Memorandum Rehearsal 11th April 2015 080 Memorandum Rehearsal 11th April 2015 128 Memorandum Rehearsal 11th April 2015 208 Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 015 Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 003 Memorandum Rehearsal 11th April 2015 444

At the Helm (Mr Gross)

Leading on from my last blog post, another major idea explored wittily in Memorandum is leadership and management. What is good leadership? Who makes a good boss? Is it a person with ideas s/he is willing to drive through at any price, or one with emotional intelligence and an empathy with his/her employees? Linked to this, should the leader carry the weight of responsibility for everything that happens in his/her organisation – even the things of which s/he is unaware? (Should s/he be unaware of anything – or is that a weakness…?) Mr Gross, the Managing Director – as he often announces – has to grapple with these questions and more during the events of the play. He certainly has a busy few days!

Memorandum Rehearsal 11th April 2015 470 Memorandum Rehearsal 11th April 2015 560 Memorandum Rehearsal 11th April 2015 191 Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 028 Memorandum Rehearsal 12th April 2015 038