Theatre In The Square
It has been a busy time for Theatre in the Square this last few months with auditions for three productions and the rehearsal of the first of those productions.
Brian Davies has been invited to direct Hedda Gabler in a new adaptation of the play by Patrick Marber. Rehearsals are well under way for the play which performs at Incognito Theatre.
The next audition was for Rosie Fiore-Burt's adaptation of Dracula by Bram Stoker. She will direct the play for performance in December at the Bridwell Theatre. This exciting adaptation sticks much closer to the novel than any previous play or film. With dramatic live sound effects, a brilliant cast, puppets and live music, this looks like a production not to be missed.
We return to Minack in September 2020 and have chosen Robert Alderman to adapt and direct Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford. Auditions for our Minack production have to be completed a year ahead of the performance to allow the cast to make accommodation and travel arrangements.
All three productions have now been cast.
The Herd by Rory Kinnear was the group's Spring production and was directed by Colin Joseph. Audiences gathered in a venue last visited by the group in 2000, Dyne House, Highgate School, although this was the drama centre rather than the main auditorium. They appreciated a play that was probably unfamiliar to them in which a family gather to celebrate the 21st birthday of a disabled son. An experienced cast did the excellent script full justice.
Last month saw Robert Alderman return to the well-tried Moliere/Roger McGough team and direct a production of Tartuffe at Theatro Technis. Despite the competition from the National Theatre and the RSC staging other adaptations of the play around the same time, we thought our show looked pretty good and audiences seem to enjoy themselves. The play gave opportunities to a number of new recruits to the group, all of whom did well.
Short Play Showcase
Our second Short Play Showcase, the format which is designed to give those with an ambition to direct a first opportunity to do so, and thereby to boost our numbers of eligible directors took place from 25 to 28 July 2018 at the United Reformed Church, Pond Square Highgate.
Sanyu Nakasi and Graham Chestney did well in their first seats in the director’s chair, supported by the more experienced Linda Shannon. The audience were not only treated to established short plays (Deckchairs, Between Mouthfuls and The Proposal) but a new play by Rosie Fiore-Birt (The
Rabbit at the Rosemary Branch Theatre
For our Spring 2018 production Colin Joseph returned as Director for Nina Raine’s award winning ‘Rabbit’. With a small cast of six this was ideally suited for a venue we have previously used, the ‘Rosemary Branch’ in Islington. The cast did a tremendous job with this modern play about relationships and it was hugely enjoyed by the audience. It was also great to welcome two new members making their debut in this show and performing to the same high standard as we saw from our more familiar actors. Audience numbers were good for this production.
Christmas at Armchair Radio Theatre
Robert Alderman wrote and directed a fourth Armchair Radio Theatre spoof especially for Christmas complete with the usual clipped accents and comical sound effects, and with a mix of old faces and new members participating. We tried a new venue for this production ‘The Red Hedgehog’ in Highgate.
Both audience and cast enjoyed the radio plays and spoof adverts, which included last minute shopping for goats, a ghost story, and the Rileys at Christmas together with adverts for Rightways British Sherry.
50th Anniversary and Christmas Celebrations
We are 50 years old this year but, with a full year of productions, it was not until the end of the year that we could find time to celebrate. We were so close to Christmas that we combined it with our Christmas party which was held at The Bull in Highgate.
All our members were invited but we also invited former members who had made a significant contribution to the group. It was a great opportunity for members old and new to chat and reminisce. Judy Burgess, one of the founding members, was given the honour of cutting the celebration cake. Alan Hooper surprised us all by giving us a DVD of some early productions (which we will endeavour to find a way to show here on our web site).
Cyrano in Cornwall
It has been a very long while since we took such a large contingent of cast, crew and friends to the Minack, so many of our members will have been involved in some capacity with Cyrano de Bergerac.
I am happy to tell you that the show was very well received by all our audiences, and that attendances were good enough to ensure a satisfactory return for all the hard work. This despite the fact that we did not enjoy the perfect, idyllic weather that we experienced three years ago. A roll-call has happily confirmed that none of our members was actually blown off the cliff or dissolved by rain, but we did encounter some inhospitable conditions.
Fortunately the audience, ensconced in their waterproofs in that wonderful English way, did not appear to mind and awarded us extra brownie points for soldiering on (literally, as the battle scene seemed particularly prone to onslaughts from the weather). It is a theatrical experience unlike any other, and if you never been, I encourage you to do so when we return to the Minack. Meanwhile, congratulations to John Savage (our director) and all those who conspired to make the whole week so memorable.
Photographs can be found by clicking >HERE<
We start the year with the sad news of the death of Alan Jobson. Alan was such a character and we will always remember him very fondly and certainly never forget his Falstaff in 'Love, Lust and Lies'...a part he was born to play! We have some great photos of him in various roles which we will share.
It is so very sad to hear this but we are consoled in the knowledge that he remained so active in theatre throughout and derived and gave so much pleasure from that. Also that he no longer has to miss his beloved wife whose loss we all know never got any easier for him despite the passing years.
Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
2 January 2016
A November Quiz and a Christmas Get Together
Our monthly social gathering at the Bull in Highgate took a different direction in November when gather for a quiz. It is quite a number of years since we last tested our theatre and general knowledge. Breaking conveniently into four groups of of four, the teams were tested on history and geography, art and literature, dramatic synopsis, music and entertainment and theatre. We will avoid reporting who were the clever clogs and who earned the 'wooden spoon' but only that everyone had a great evening.
On December 10 our end of year gathering was a more informal affair at the Old White Lion in East Finchley. It was a time to drink and chat and review what 2015 had brought and 2016 held in store.
Our next 'Pub Performance' will be at the end of January when we will return to play reading with Moliere's The Hypochondriac which are looking to perform in summer 2016. This is a private read-through for members only to determine it's suitability.
14 December 2015
How to Disappear ... Completed
The group's production of How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found has completed and has proved to be every bit as successful as we had expected. There were exceptional performances from the cast but especially from Matthew Pert who took the lead role of Charlie and barely left the stage throughout the performance.
This was our first performance at this venue and we had to get use to the new theatre space but cast and crew rose to the challenge. The audiences were drawn into the intriguing, disquieting drama, appreciating the poignant, darkly humerous dialogue and complex issues.
Well done to director Colin Joseph, cast and crew for taking the group artistically in a different direction and proving that we are accomplished in a wide range of dramatic styles, contemporary as well as traditional theatre.
What the Dickens
Dickens featured in our 2014 season with our production of Great Expectations. So when Linda Shannon suggested that we make a visit to the Dickens Museum for a costumed guided tour we asked her to make the arrangements. Seven of us made the trip to Doughty Street in Bloomsbury area of London.
We were greeted at the door by the housemaid who informed us that Mr & Mrs Dickens were in Broadstairs and that she would be happy to show us around. It was a delightful tour full of delightfully recounted anecdotes which put over a lot of information in a most engaging manner. It was uncanny to find ourselves in the study where Dickens had written The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, the drawing room where guests were entertained and the bedroom where his sister-in-law had died unexpectedly.
Robert Alderman - 22 November 2015
TintS Members Make a Difference
Just a few hours work for most of us and two evenings for Margaret Johnson but it made all the difference to the end result; a training film for Mind and several other charities on how the gift aid scheme works for items donated to gift shops. The film was the creative work of Peter Franklyn. Susannah, Adam, Guy, Robert, Dani, Nim, Jade, Colin, Graham, John, Alison and the aforementioned Margaret all lent their acting talents in the film that you can see below. (Not available for iPhone or Android devices - so click on this link instead >MIND< )
Robert Alderman - 15 October 2015
TintS invade the BBC!
Sunday mornings can often be boring. Not so for ten Tints’ members who, on 27th September, did a tour of the BBC buildings, read the television news, did the weather forecast and recorded a radio play. Well, they were all dummy performances of course, but it was all great fun. We learned about how news was gathered and presented, along with the long history and traditions of the BBC. We sat in the radio theatre, where many famous people had performed, from the Goons to Elton John, and many had begun illustrious careers there.
Talking of illustrious, Nim helped to read the news and Alison D presented the weather [without a script – brilliant!], while Alison L and your correspondent took part in a recording of a short spoof horror play with Alison D backing us up with a number of sound effects. We ended by all sitting on the green sofa of the One Show. Our guide, Simon, let us in to all sorts of secrets as to how things are done and we came away with much greater insight as to what goes on behind the scenes. Not only that, he was interested in our next production and we-emailed him the flyer – who knows where that could lead!
Linda Shannon - 27 September, 2015
For TintS members, the summer social season may not include Henley, Wimbledon and Glyndebourne, but is just as stylish. After our sunny picnic in Waterlow Park last weekend, we hit the streets of London on Wednesday 26 August, 2015 for our literary pub walk. Slightly misnamed, because there was only one pub on the route (though we made up for that afterwards) but also because we learned about a lot more than London literary figures. As well as hearing about Dickens, Thackeray, T S Eliot, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf and many others, our guide expounded on everything from the numerous ailments of George III (and the extreme remedies used to treat them) to Johnny Depp's connection with Great Ormond Street Hospital.
There is still time to get involved in the TintS social whirl. On Thursday (3rd September) we set off to explore London again on our murder mystery trail. Linda will be sending round joining instructions, and we hope to see a lot of you there.
Colin Joseph - 28 August, 2015
We were lucky again for our annual visit to Waterlow Park as the weather (which has been mixed this summer) blessed us with a minor heart wave. We found ourselves a shaded area and settled for the afternoon in relative seclusion. As usual there was far too much food and such a wonderful choice.
When we were replete, we started to read our chosen play, 'Lystistrata', for our own amusement. While there was a good turnout, there were not quite enough readers to match the available roles, so many had to double up and, by the end of act two, the men were reading the women's roles and visa versa. There was much hilarity and mirth as the bawdy comedy unfolded and we all agreed it had been a jolly good afternoon. Some then repaired to The Bull, who were having their birthday party.
Thanks to Guy for making the arrangements and to Jane for organising the reading.
See Membership Events to see what's coming up and join in our social events.
Robert Alderman - 24 August 2015
There were a large number of people attending the the auditions for 'How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found' more than twice as many as the parts available. Not only that but the standard was exceptionally high making the casting decisions difficult to make. This has meant that a number of those auditioning have been unlucky not to have been cast.
The cast finally chosen are as follows: -
Charlie ... Matthew Pert.
Sophie ... Sinead Brown
Mike ... Pete Franklyn
All the other roles will be played by Adam Baxter, Elicia Davies, Alison Dobin, Stephen Forster, Matt Lavender, Jade Linlee, Guyene Muneesamy and Lara Southwell.
Congratulations to all the successful candidates and well done to all who auditioned.
Colin Joseph - 17 August 2015
On Sunday 16 August a few of us indulged in a little luxury (well we thought we'd earned it) when we gathered at The Waldorf Astoria for a Champagne Tea.
In the opulent surroundings of this luxury hotel with crystal chandeliers, mirrored walls and uniformed waiting staff, we were shown to a table (resplendent in white linen) and sat in comfort close to a harpist who kept us entertained with some of Debussy's 'greatest hits'. We started with a glass of champagne which was refreshing on a warm day. Dainty sandwiches followed (including that most English of fayre, cucumber). There was more if we wanted and we didn't disappoint.
There was a fine selection of loose-leaf tea available served in a bone china tea pot for each person and a clever device called a tea strainer (for those of you used to tea bags) which removed the leaves as the tea was poured into bone china tea cups.
Finally, a three-tiered cake stand arrived with a splendid array of delicate pastries, cakes, entremet and scones (with cream and strawberry conserve).
The conversation that flowed during tea was varied but dominated (as you may expect) by matters theatrical. We toasted the group and wished it continuing success it its theatrical exploits.
Thank you Linda for making all the arrangements.
Robert Alderman - 17 August 2015
For one night only Theatre in the Square members got to be RSC actors/musicians and I think it is fair to say that everyone involved had a wonderful time. The RSC were incredibly welcoming and supportive and treated everyone like VIPs, looking after our every need.
Over the weekend, TintS had dedicated rehearsals with several directors and a session with their head of voice and text in addition to incredible technical support and a mass warm up on the stage before the show. They also laid on a fabulous post show party! Everyone was impressed with how hospitable and friendly the RSC professionals all were, especially as they had all given up their free time to run the event.
There were around 140 people involved in the showcase from around the UK and it was wonderful to meet so many enthusiastic am-drammers and to see the quality of everyone's work. The atmosphere was all very celebratory backstage. It was also lovely that several people involved in our original production made the trip to Stratford to support the group and were able to join us for the post-show party.
From the perspective of the performance, our excerpt from 'What She Will' had a brilliant reception from the audience and great feedback from the RSC. As director, I was incredibly proud of all the cast and musicians who put on a really professional show and got the loudest applause of the night!
The showcase was a fantastic end to this two year long project and all it remains for me to do is to thank all the very many people involved, from coming to the initial workshops to all the cast, musicians and crew of the production. I think it is a testament to the commitment and enthusiasm of the group that the whole project has been such a success and that the RSC has defined TintS through its selection for participation in the showcase as one of the 'leading amateur companies' in the country!
To see more photgraphs of the showcase, click HERE.
Jane Jones - 13 August 2015
Last Updated: 16 January 2018