Brave New Worlds - Week 2

My second week on placement was our production week at Asylum. Due to bookings in the space we had to be prepared to do some gets in/out during the week, usually with an hour to do them in. When not performing, time spent in the space was used rehearsing, adjusting to the space and making any technical corrections necessary.

Our first day at Asylum consisted of get in, tech, dress and show in the evening.

A heat wave during the week caused a few problems for us in the space as there was no air conditioning and some of the few windows there were had been blacked out. I suggested taking more frequent breaks and only rehearsing in costume when it was absolutely necessary, in order to combat the heat and ensure everyone had as much energy as possible for the performances. Fans were stategically placed in our backstage area and near equipment in an attempt to stop laptops from overheating (again!).

This week in the space defiantly gave me more experience in skills I think it is very important for a stage manager to have, such as problem solving/trouble shooting, adapting to a new space and dealing with quick gets in and strikes.

Brave New Worlds - Week 1

My first week on placement was spent rehearsaling and exploring the show at Ovalhouse.

On the first day, I met the company and the sound and lighting designers they were collaborating with - Demetrio and Darren. We spent time getting to know one another, what we do and talking about how the process will be over the next two weeks.

During the process of introducing ourselves, I was asked what a stage manager is by two members of the team, as they had not worked with or heard of a stage manager before. This was very strange for me as I was unaware that the role of a stage manager wasn’t present within a lot of European theatre.

Rehearsals were spent working on different sections of the piece, re-choreographing and re-blocking specific moments. Throughout the week I noted blocking and began establishing a ‘script’ of the piece. This became particularly useful to the group as it helped us to establish what we had explored, what worked and what didn’t and to help the actors readjust to the new blocking. 

We also met the technical team at Ovalhouse, who I worked more closely with during the second week.

I feel this first week made me look at the role of a stage manager and what it is I specifically do and I believe it helped me to gain a better understanding. They are another set of eyes, someone who supports the process and ellevates pressure, they ensure that the performances remain true to the original vision of the directors/designer/company.

Brave New Worlds - The Beginning

Brave New Worlds was founded by Kate Lane, Valentina Ceschi and Gouda Jaruseviciute. BNW explores objects, space and the body to develop a visual dramaturg. They explore an theme, concept or idea visually by experiementing with the body and various objects and materials in rehearsals in order to establish a visual dramaturg.

BNW’s credits include Trinity and Utopia.

For my placement, I came in as a stage manager for BNW’s residency at Ovalhouse, London. The residency was and R&D period for Trinity, which was then performed at Asylum, the derelict chapel of an asylum in Peckham. Trinity focuses on the depiction of the female form and how this has changed and been sexualised throughout time.

My expectations of the placement only developed once the process had full began. I became very interested in seeing how a stage manager would fit into a process that was not only heavily design-led, but had also been established and performed multiple times before. My experience in theatre thus far had seen me as part of the entire creative journey, rather than part way through. I was also very interested to experience, not only working outside of the university setting, but also performing in a completely different envirmoment to a theatre or black box space.

Placement Dates: 12/06/2017 - 22/06/2017