Monthly Archives: August 2011

mid * point: Acting for Screen

Acting for Screen is a new acting workshop in Birmingham. Untill now there has been no other classes specifically for screen acting in Birmingham.

Acting for Screen is running classes at the Midlands Arts Centre from September 2011. The courses operates in terms of 12 weekly classes where group members participate in a range of pertinent activities from improvisation to script work, all filmed on camera and critiqued in class.

For more information please visit: www.actingforscreen.com

or email info@actingforscreen.com / 07585 956955


Off Stage & On-line: Off Stage & On-line 2011-08-31 14:05:21


The final design presentation for The Glass Menagerie. The craft and production departments and the designer and director meet to discuss the model. Made at a scale of 1:25, it’s always a delightful object, full of tiny furniture and beautiful images. In this case, The Glass Menagerie will be made and open in the round at the New Vic, and then transfer to our partners Oldham Coliseum, where the stage is end on.

It’s fascinating to see a set moving from the round (where one wants to put as little as possible on the stage, and none of it ever comes alive until there are actors and movement) to end-on (where one wants to create beautiful images and just sit back and look at them without actors cluttering up the picture!).

Off Stage & On-line: Off Stage & On-line 2011-08-30 10:04:39


The first day of our Alice in Wonderland summer school. Fifty-two sparky young people gather for a week of acting, singing and dancing. Today is full of variety, with some get-to-know-you theatre games in the morning followed by learning The Jabberwock and then exploring some ballet dancing – the song all vicious and threatening, the dance all light and elegant: a delicious contrast.

As a shrinking violet who always sat quietly at the back of the class hoping no one would speak to or notice me, I have such admiration for the courage these young people display in putting all their skills and abilities on the line in front of their peers and us. And especially when they’re working outside of their personal comfort zone, be that acting, singing or dancing, to see their commitment and determination to take on board new skills.

Off Stage & On-line: Off Stage & On-line 2011-08-30 10:04:39


The first day of our Alice in Wonderland summer school. Fifty-two sparky young people gather for a week of acting, singing and dancing. Today is full of variety, with some get-to-know-you theatre games in the morning followed by learning The Jabberwock and then exploring some ballet dancing – the song all vicious and threatening, the dance all light and elegant: a delicious contrast.

As a shrinking violet who always sat quietly at the back of the class hoping no one would speak to or notice me, I have such admiration for the courage these young people display in putting all their skills and abilities on the line in front of their peers and us. And especially when they’re working outside of their personal comfort zone, be that acting, singing or dancing, to see their commitment and determination to take on board new skills.

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: A few of Gerv Havill’s favourite things

Ikon Gallery in Birmingham runs an occasional series called These are a few of my favourite things in which notable cultural figures in the City/Region share eight of their favourite art things with a live audience and talk a bit around their choices. Last night Gerv Havill was in the hot seat. He was there as co-founder of the fantastic Moseley Folk Festival – which opens this year on 2nd September – but it was his position as boss of Mission Print that lay behind the majority of his choices.

He opened with a photograph of Masshouse Circus (just up from Mission Print HQ) as it was being demolished, then came the outside of the Mission Print building, painted over two days by a team of Brazilian graffiti artists, a piece be a friend painted as a wedding present was in there, along with a piece his company had printed for Banksy, a very limited edition book he hand printed for an artist friend (I should really have been taking notes and got some names!). There was also a print of an engaging satirical version of Velásquez’s Las Meninas by Equipo Crónica

His final choice was the Moseley Folk Festival itself for which he showed a beautiful short Super 8 film made by the late Trish Keenan (see above). Buried in the middle of all this was Lurid and Insane by one Stan’s Cafe. My memory is blurred but I think it was Gerv’s enthusiasm for this show which meant that we eventually asked him if he fancied joining our board of directors, a position he has held ever since, adding to the great list of good works the man does for the arts. A worth Ikon Poster Boy.

Off Stage & On-line: Off Stage & On-line 2011-08-24 15:55:34


I’ve worn so many headphones, I imagine I sense them permanently on my ears. I’ve spent as much time promenading as I’ve spent sitting. I passed an afternoon and part of an evening wondering whether both actors and seats have gone out of fashion.

I’m at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where theatre companies have discovered the effectiveness of audio theatre. As a radio writer, it’s something I’m keen on too, and last year’s Enroute, which took me on an intricate journey up and down wynds, to see the view from the top of a multi-storey car park, through alleyways and shopping centres, into record shops and hotels whilst receiving instructions by SMS, listening to poetry and music MP3s and lugging my all-day-bag, raincoat and umbrella was one of my most moving and memorable Festival experiences ever.

One piece is a radio play that takes us on a few brief walks to a few uninspiring rooms containing a few small paper sculptures stuck together with masking tape. Another proves that audio theatre can involve live actors by inviting us to eavesdrop on private conversations in public spaces. And it’s not only the shows that rely on the headphones experience that are fascinated with audio. An ethometric museum in an underground tunnel is a weird experience – lots of little machines spinning and rolling and revolving and emitting ethereal sounds as they do so. A garden shed containing a sound installation. A number of shows where performers speak to us in small auditoria that can accommodate the human voice perfectly well, yet use microphones and amplification instead.

Of course almost all the spaces at the Fringe are non-theatre spaces (with the exception of the Traverse, which is a purpose-built and fully resourced proper theatre, so I always think of it as Off-Fringe); but this year lots of the spaces aren’t even pretending to be theatres. There are gardens, and streets; those tunnels I mentioned; caravans; and a turkey of a show in the School of Anatomy, which nonetheless provides a wonderful venue. When lecture halls and nightclubs and gyms are disguised as venues, they don’t do always do it very well; and again I’m reminded that I’m at the shorter end of the spectrum, because at my height, sitting even three rows back I’m staring at the back of a cranium and resigning myself to listening rather than watching. Pperhaps that explains the craze for audio. Nevertheless, you sit in the front row at your peril. Too much chance, here, that you’ll be invited to feed ‘as starlings do’ from a performer’s mouth, or that a naked man will sit in your lap, that you’ll find yourself in the path of an exploding fizzy Coke fountain.

Eighteen shows in three days included 1927’s sardonic The Animals and Children Took to the Streets, which has taken on new resonance since the nation’s youth did indeed take to the streets; Blind Summit’s virtuoso stand-up puppetry in The Table; coked-up Action Hero’s provocative Watch Me Fall, the Coke here being the Real Thing; a charmingly inventive telling of Ovid’s Metamorphosis by Pants on Fire; some snappy writing in One Million Tiny Plays About Britain; and a reinvention by veteran theatre makers Red Shift, breaking new ground despite the fall of the funding guillotine.

Created in Birmingham » Theatre: Tin Box Theatre

Tin Box Theatre are:

A Birmingham based theatre company who create immersive theatre that explores inventive uses of storytelling, visual theatre and site-specific performance

They’re the group that did a show called Stop The Clocks at Newman Brothers Coffin Works recently, if you remember that. They do the Facebook and Twitter thing too.

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Graeme Rose's Blog: Invisible Show II – opening

Red Shift’s Invisible Show II opened yesterday in the hustle and bustle of a sunny Pleasance Courtyard. Whilst the intimate scenes aim to discretely disappear into the crowd, a large and enthusiastic audience ensure that the focus of the pack is tight in on the action. For many, part of the game of the show is identifying the performers. But this has the effect of creating an audience for the audience, with the non-headphoned public drawn in through curiosity. The Pleasance team have been fantastically supportive of the show, not least the security, who are on alert should any unwitting member of the public choose to intervene in one of the show’s more fractious encounters.

In this pic, Jill’s character makes a heart-rending phone-call in a corner of the Courtyard…The Invisible Show II performs each day in Pleasance Courtyard until the 27th August. Performance times are 11.30am, 2pm and 4.30pm. The show lasts 50mins. Tickets can be booked here


mid * point: Workshops from Box of Frogs with James Lloyd

Box of Frogs are delighted and excited to announce  have secured the services of Lloydie (James Lloyd) from MissImp in Nottingham (http://missimp.co.uk/) to run a one-day workshop on Longform Improvisation.  The workshop will be at the Blue Orange Theatre (http://www.blueorangetheatre.co.uk/) on Saturday 24th September, and the cost is a measly £10 for the.  Places are limited to 20, so get in early.

 

If you’re not sure what that Longform Impro is, it’s a format that aims at producing more than short, funny game-based sketches, but rather creates whole improvised stories and plays, that run from anything from a few minutes to over an hour.  You’ll learn loads, and you’ll have a lot of fun.  The workshop is suitable for those who already have some experience of improvisation.

 

Places will be allocated on a first-come/first-served basis – well actually, on a first-pay/first-reserved basis.

 

If you are interested, email jon@boxoffrogsimpro.co.uk and you’ll be notified where and how to send the payment to reserve your slot.

 

 

Jon Trevor

www.boxofrogsimpro.co.uk


Graeme Rose's Blog: secret gig

Anger, Envy and Rage combine in a frenzy of rock energy at the Edinburgh Festival this coming week. Kindle showcase The Furies at Forest Cafe in two highly unpublicised gigs within 24 hours of each other. The events will take place at;

12.30am (half-midnight) on the night of wednesday 24th August

11pm (the following evening) thursday 25th August

Over the past 5 years Forest Fringe has become the exciting and spontaneous alternative to the established Edinburgh Fringe. Audiences have been growing over the past few years, drawn by a refreshing programme of artist-led activity that offers counter-culture to the machinery of the performance mainstream.

Part of the allure of the Forest Fringe is that you don’t always know what you will be served up. The vibe is one of risk and surprise. Sadly, and despite its increasing popularity, this will be the last Forest Fringe in its Bristo Place home. Without  a new purchaser for the building, the current overseers PriceWaterhouseCooper have refused to extend the lease, preferring to leave the building empty beyond this year’s Festival. This will be a huge loss for the Edinburgh Fringe. Read more from the FF website.