January 2024 Edition
Artistic Director Blog
So here we are in the 2024 part of the season. I hope you all had a wonderful time over the last couple of weeks – of course you did! But now it’s back to the main script: work, 12 weeks to Easter and – fortunately – loads more shows at the QMT. Huzzah!
Both Bleak Expectations and Elsie and Norm’s Macbeth are rehearsing away and that’s exciting. Big Spirit are just about to cast The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman – an important piece of verbatim theatre (documentary style), and the Juniors are perfecting their Shakespeare with Romeo & Juliet, plus we still have two smashing BP shows casting soon – Low Level Panic and Present Laughter, so look out for the audition notices.
It’s wonderful that the QMT offers such a diversity of plays each season and that the venue is also home to a thriving film club, has regular comedy nights that always sell out and, now, National Theatre Live has been added to the mix. It’s a programme that many professional theatres would be proud to present.
Friday nights are back on the bill for members and their friends. On Friday 12th there is an actors workshop on impro skills – something most actors dread. Well here you can learn how the professionals do impro – all the skills you’ll ever need. And it’s free! Starts at 7.45 until 9.30pm. The bar is open too if you’d like a drink. Perfect!
Yes Xmas is over but don’t despair – the QMT never stops rocking ‘n’ rolling. Oh by the way – we still need some help front of house so please please please volunteer to help on the bar or stewarding. It’s a very sociable way to spend an evening and you get lots of goodies from the Theatre as a thank you. What am I saying? That we’d love to see you very soon. We’re all part of the QMT family, after all.
And as Tiny Tim said: ‘God bless us, every one’
The QMT continues to provide opportunities for actors and directors of all ages to learn more about their craft. The workshops, which are led by experienced drama teachers, are quite free but are limited to 14 participants so booking is essential.
Each workshop is on a Friday evening, and we will arrange for the bar to be open so that you can chat with each other and the teacher informally after the event.
In these days of lifelong learning, it is important to engage with new ideas whether you are a seasoned performer/director or someone who is just starting out. Each session will presume no prior knowledge so please don’t feel you have to have had a certain amount of experience to join in. The workshops are fun and suitable for everybody – all you need to do is book a place and come along. We look forward to welcoming you!
Friday 12 January 7.45-9.30pm
Improv (improvisation) for Actors – trainer: Emily Murphy
Improv is to acting what jazz is to music – it brings out the playfulness of the performer and, literally, anything goes! However, some actors find impro – free acting – daunting and so it can be unless you learn a few simple rules that suddenly release the inner creative monster you have within you. Emily grew up in Hitchin and lives here with her family. She attended the Central School of Speech and Drama, is a busy actor and has been teaching impro since 2012. She is running more improv classes in Hitchin over 2024 so this might just be your introduction to a brand-new hobby! More details about improv here: https://improvboost.wordpress.com/improv-tv
The next workshop is on Friday 16 February 7.45-9.30pm
Director’s Workshop – Finding new ways to present older Plays Trainer: tba
I think the old idea in amateur theatre was to copy, as far as you could, the West End production you may have seen a few years earlier. Just to help you along with this thought, acting editions of the plays include all the moves and action of that original production so the director could just blithely follow the instructions. The only thing is the resulting amateur version could look a bit – what shall we say – a bit underwhelming? In this workshop we will take some older scripts and think again about what the modern director can do to make the resulting show as fresh as a daisy!
Elsie & Norm’s Macbeth
Tuesday 23rd January to Saturday 27th January 2024
written by John Christopher-Wood
directed by Allie-Marie Hunter
Elsie and Norm have decided to stage a production of Macbeth in their living-room. After a spot of judicious re-writing by Norm and undaunted by the large cast, Elsie and Norm set out to act ‘one of the greatest pieces of literature what has ever been wrote in the English language’.
Remember active member’s get £2 off every ticket you buy (and FREE tickets if you volunteer front of house!)
Audition News: Low Level Panic
- Audition dates: Monday 29th and Wednesday 31st January 7:45pm
- Rehearsal nights: Tuesdays and Thursdays
- Performance Dates: Tuesday 30th April – Saturday 4th May 2024
Clare McIntyre’s play Low Level Panic is considered a modern feminist classic, examining the effects of society’s objectification of women. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in association with the Women’s Playhouse Trust on 11 February 1988, winning the Samuel Beckett Award the following year.
The play is set in a bathroom in a house shared by three women: Jo and Mary (both in their twenties) and Celia (‘possibly older but not much’). There are two scenes set outside the house, and the voices of two men are heard in scene two. Jo is worried that she is fat; she doesn’t have as much sex as she would like but fantasises about having rough sex with lorry drivers and being a beautiful, mute woman with amazing legs having sex with a yacht-owning millionaire. Mary, however, is the recent victim of a sexual assault, and wonders if the way she was dressed contributed to her assault. Celia believes that the right shade of eye shadow can secure life-long happiness. Forced to share the bathroom, the three women confide in each other, as well as with the mirrors, revealing their private fantasies and anxieties.
Bancroft Juniors present Romeo & Juliet
Thursday 8th February to Friday 9th February 2024
WIlliam Shakespeare’s timeless classic presented by The Bancroft Juniors.
Following on from last year’s sell-out production of “Iphegenia” this brilliant group of 8-13 year olds are now tackling Shakespeare’s timeless classic tale of feuding gangs, Romeo & Juliet. Giving it a fresh update to appeal to a modern and young audience.
Audition News: Present Laughter
- Audition Dates March 11th and 13th at 7.45pm
- Performance Dates June 10th to 15th
- Rehearsals Monday and Weds with some Sunday mornings up to the run
‘I’m always acting,’ declares Garry Essendine, Noël Coward’s famous, in demand and occasionally overwrought protagonist in Present Laughter. In a blur of people, wit, booze and charm he blusters and brags his way through life, batting off adoring fans and obsessed lovers with a smidgen of Shelley.
As he prepares to embark on an overseas tour, star actor Garry Essendine’s colourful life is in danger of spiralling out of control. Engulfed by an escalating identity crisis as his many and various relationships compete for his attention, both men and women want to seduce him, he must placate his ex-wife and his long serving secretary. Garry’s few remaining days at home are a chaotic whirlwind of love, sex, panic and soul-searching.
Present Laughter is a giddy and surprisingly modern reflection on fame, desire and loneliness written by Noel Coward in 1939, Noel himself played the original Garry Essendine. Most recently the part was played by Andrew Scott, supported by Sophie Thompson and Indira Varma.
This production will be set in the Swinging Sixties – think Sandy Shaw, Twiggy, The Stones and The Kinks
Many congratulations to our December £50 winner – well done, Sue. You will also notice that we have two £25 prizes this month. After I mailed the cheques out last month, I was advised that the £25 winner – Ken Burton – had sadly passed away during the year. So as this is the Season of giving, I thought it would be good idea to redraw that £25 prize, so congratulations to Sarah Chapman.
By the time you read this, Christmas will no doubt be well and truly over. I am yet to see Peter Pan but am very much looking forward to what I understand is an amazing production. So I will leave this piece by wishing you everything you desire for 2024.
We have also just had confirmation that the 200 Club is now covered by the Fundraising Regulation AUthority – which means we can look to advertise it wider than our core membership and hopefully increase participation and funds.
Many congratulations to last months winners.
- £50 – Sue Mellor
- £25 – Sarah Chapman
- £25 – Sue Mason
- £20 – Andrew Carmichael
- £15 – Lucy Farley
- £10 – Peter Linnet
If you’d like to join the 200 Club and maybe win a little something, plus help raise funds for the theatre – you can do this online or by emailing me directly.
200 Club – email@example.com
Remember we have another Pint-Sized Plays evening currently being planned – Friday 23 February 2024 – if you like to take part, write something, direct something, act in something – please get in touch with Emma Northcott.