ELART at Eden

It’s been a crazy weekend (in a crazy year so far…). A few weeks ago I was invited by the Melodrome stage to take some Shakespeare scenes to The Eden Festival. I said yes – not really knowing what I was letting myself in for! – and I am so glad I did. The Rose Company performed scenes from Richard the Third (detail to follow on http://www.rosecompanytheatre.com) and ELART Productions performed scenes from my “All The World’s A Stage” show – a devised piece which links a range of famous scenes from various Shakespeare scenes with an original, humorous narrative. “All the World’s A Stage” is a show that (pleasingly) refuses to die as the version for The Eden Festival was its fifth incarnation; before this, it has been performed in two different venues in Lancaster, filmed for an Australian fringe theatre festival and presented in Stratford-upon-Avon in the RSC Dell. At the Eden Festival, as has been the case before, the Mechanicals were a hit with all ages, and the manically humorous witches also went down very well, as did a range of Shakespearian insults! It was fantastic to perform on The Melodrome stage (I couldn’t resist performing myself – mainly singing) – and I really hope we can do this all again…!

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As for The Eden Festival as a whole: where else could you see Mr Motivator, Ms Dynamite, The Cat Empire and an eclectic range of other talented groups on a range of stages (one sound system powered by bicycle!) as well as hear Storytelling, watch Improv,  take part in a Bush Rush, juggle, stilt walk etc etc etc?

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What a weekend!

elaru xx

Fun Times

The last few weeks have been all kinds of fun, not least because of Fun Palaces. In case you missed it, see here for all details about this fantastic initiative: http://www.funpalaces.co.uk. It happened for the first time last weekend and I was part of the organising group (nothing so formal as a committee!) for Lancaster’s Fun Palace, which was held in Lancaster Library. The photos below will give some sense of the event, which, though relatively small in many ways – certainly compared to many of the Fun Palaces taking place nationally – seemed to be really enjoyed by all who took part as organisers/event co-ordinators/participants; as the “/” hopefully suggests, the lines between roles were often delightfully blurred.

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The great photos above were taken by the talented @fotometer_uk.

And here is a small taste of the fabulous Sue Parish ukulele orchestra in action. For me, almost more than anything else, they encapsulated Fun Palaces – such a wonderful mix of people of all ages having fun performing, watching and, later, having a go in the workshop section:

Sad you missed it? Don’t worry – Fun Palaces will be back in Lancaster and elsewhere next year. Save the date -first weekend of October; look out for taster events throughout the year; join in the conversation and be part of it – we’re on Facebook and twitter (@lancasterfunpal @funpalaces). We’d love input from anyone about anything!

So, that was Fun Palaces. For Now.

But there’s still fun coming up. I’m waiting for a licence before I can start my next ELART show (news as soon as…) but The Rose Company has been active post-summer. We filmed Iphigenia a couple of weeks ago – an exhausting, but hugely fun time. Editing has still to be done, but it seemed to go well…

And, most pressingly in mind at the moment, on the 19th of October The Rose Company is going to be performing a very short two-actor excerpt from our “I Have A Speech Of Fire” show, a show that we performed at Lancaster Castle in March. We’ve been picked to be part of an evening of Shakespeare and Gender, hosted by Smooth Faced Gentlemen (a fab all-female Shakespearian company) at The Pleasance Theatre, Islington. We are thrilled to have been chosen (filming our audition piece on the canal towpath was “fun” to say the least – Ruth’s later hashtag #interruptedbybikes being entirely apt) and we are looking forward to performing, seeing the work of other companies and meeting some great people. We’ll be rehearsing next week and I can’t wait. Looking forward to revisiting and refining Richard…

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elaru xx

Going Forward

Today is one of my very favourite days of the year: the day the clocks go forward! I love the extra light, the sense of spring – and I don’t mind in the least the slightly bleary feeling due to an hour’s loss of sleep – it’s more than worth it.

This year the clocks going forward has come two weeks after the ending of my most recent theatre project – “I Have A Speech of Fire” performed by The Rose Company in Lancaster Castle’s A-Wing (the ex-prison – reputedly haunted and hugely atmospheric) – but before I have fully got going with my next show – an ELART summer production still in early planning stages, due to be firmed up in the next 3 weeks. I always find “in-between” phases a little strange and disorientating, so used am I to structuring my life around rehearsals and the rhythms of performance. I am, though, at this lovely time of year, enjoying a little extra space to contemplate exciting projects ahead.

More of those in future posts… First, though, just a few pictures from The Rose Company’s last show, mentioned above.

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Prospero

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Cleopatra

Cleopatra

Charmian, Dolabella and Iras - Cleopatra's maids

Charmian, Dolabella and Iras – Cleopatra’s maids

Julia from 2 Gentlemen of Verona

Yours in light –
elaru xx

Connect 14

At the start of 2014, I find myself in a reflective mood.

I still have a (small) handful of days before I have to get fully into work-mode and I am mostly enjoying the unusually quiet pace of life:

– lie-ins
– cinema trips – American Hustle was good!
– reading -among other books, a birthday present of Simon Callow’s Being An Actor, which I first read at university and then lost, is a delight – like re-discovering an old friend
– DVD box sets – we’ve finally begun Game of Thrones (no spoilers, please!)
– seeing friends- I love feeding people (and being fed);
– twitter-ing…

Now I love twitter. Really love it, in fact, in what I am sure could become an unhealthy way if I could afford a pricier mobile phone contract, which allowed me more internet access. I love following people, especially theatre/arts people – interacting with them, finding out about their projects, reading their blogs.

I love it, but I also find it confusing and sometimes intimidating and this is at least part of the reason for my reflective mood, that and a natural – for me at least – slight new year/new beginnings angst. There is so much out there (banal statement of the year award!) that, although I see a lot of theatre and other live performance, I sometimes feel as if I am missing all the really important shows and am not entirely sure where my own (largely northern England-based) work fits in… The possible opportunities can also sometimes seem endless, which, while fantastic, can be scary, as knowing exactly which route to follow (no twitter pun intended) can be very hard to determine – and that’s without having to consider the practical money-making aspects…

So, where does this leave me at the start of 2014?

Well, to be honest, better off (I think/hope) than at the start of 2013. Aided and abetted by twitter – and other social media – ELART and The Rose Company shows were well-supported and well-received in my Lancaster home-city and a range of places around the country last year and we have a new set of dates for Lady Jane Lumley’s Iphigenia starting on January 12th (please see http://www.therosecompany.posthaven.com for full details and ticket links). Twitter also allowed me to have some conversations with people I would never have dared to contact via any other means and gave me the means to contribute to some important arts discussions (albeit in a tiny way) that I would never have had access to in any other way – I hope to continue this type of involvement in 2014.

However, as well as online connections, in 2014, I hope to further the face-to-face contacts that have been hugely valuable in 2013. These include (but are certainly not limited to):

– rehearsal rooms, which clearly abound with face-to-face-ness – I can’t wait to start working with talented performers in rehearsal rooms this year – Iphigenia and beyond
– the freelancers gathering, which started in summer 2013, and has brought about a range of possible projects and useful professional connections; it’s been a great addition to Lancaster life and I look forward to experiencing its development in 2014
– open space conferences – these have been a revelation to me and I can’t get enough of them! I loved the Fun Palaces one in October – and fully intend to play my part in making sure Lancaster has a fun palace in October 2014. I’m also really looking forward to D and D 9 in London at the end of January, which looks to be by far the largest open space I will ever have attended and is likely to give some face-to-face time with some twitter connections

So, on balance, I’m looking forward to meeting and working with an exciting range of people both online and off in 2014 – and hopefully making high-quality work, which resonates with a range of audiences – arguably the most important connection of all (but that’s for another blog post…)

Let’s connect!

elaru xx

Feeling Connected

I’ve just waved my cousin off on a big adventure. He’s emigrating to Australia and starting a new life with his wonderful partner. He’s one of my favourite people in the world; we’re very close and I know I’m going to miss him hugely. But I am very proud of him and thrilled about the adventure upon which he is embarking.

Technology is going to help enormously. All his family and friends will be able to email, facebook, tweet, Skype, phone etc… and once he is fully settled, we won’t feel (I hope) all that disconnected at all. What an amazing world we live in!

So, how does this link to my current theatre project with The Rose Company? Tenuously, but importantly, through the idea of connection. The Rose Company, as stated a few posts ago is newly formed, so we need to get to know each other – to feel connected as a company – to start to trust each other and each other’s ways of working. There is no quick way of doing this, but, hopefully, slowly but surely over the rehearsal period this should begin to happen.

Additionally, though, there is the connection through time to the writer Lady Jane Lumley, who wrote the play we are performing well over 400 years ago, and in her turn she must have felt a connection to the Euripides’ Iphigenia, which apparently premiered in 405 BC! It’s amazing to me how characters from such time-scales can still be so relevant and immediate today, but they are. They really are! I already feel an incredible connection to Iphigenia and Clytemnestra, to name but two – and not just because of the plight they find themselves in. In Lady Jane Lumley’s hands, at least, they are strong, passionate women about whom it is very easy to care and respond strongly to.

Amazingly, to accompany the play – or bookend really, as we are using it at the beginning and end – we are using a tune suggested by a member of the cast: Seikilos Epitaph, which is the oldest surviving complete musical composition in the world – thought to be from the 1st century BC. It’s a beautiful, haunting little melody – entirely appropriate for our production and with lovely moving lyrics which I’ll reproduce when we’ve decided exactly the form they will take for us.

I find the idea of being connected through theatre to dates like 1st century BC (and obviously 405 BC with the Ipigenia premiere) somewhat mind-blowing – and very, very exciting.  

Here are just a few photos of the Rose Company in action in our first rehearsals:

 

 

 

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Yours – connected-ly,

elaru xx