NOVEMBER 2022 EDITION
As part of our 40th Year in 2023, we are thrilled to be able to announce a special Gala Celebration on Saturday 8th July 2023.
This is going to be a black-tie dinner & dance with music, entertainment and dancing. It will be one of many events during the year where we come together and celebrate The QMT and its role in the local community. Tickets will be on sale soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
ARTISTIC DIRECTORS BLOG
The theatre is humming – I’m not sure what tune but I do know I like it. With Dick Whittington in each Monday and Wednesday rehearsing away and Equus, our February production, meeting every Tuesday and Thursday. The magnificent Emma Saunders is stage-managing both shows – how does she do it! Thank you Emma! And with Elliott getting ready for Company, which is auditioning soon, the season is really beginning to get into its stride.
In the Play selection committee, we are looking beyond the frontiers of July 2023, onto the new lands of our next season. This is where you come in – if you have any ideas of productions you would like to see – not necessarily ones you would want to direct – this is the time to get writing (email@example.com) and send in some titles. There are quite a few titles already on our list but it’s great to hear from you so we can really pick a season that is representative not only of the best plays that are around, but also prompted by our membership.
Talking about directing – have you ever felt you would love to direct but wonder whether you could actually do it? If so, the Director classes which are coming up in the Spring are for you. There are 5 sessions to be run by different experienced directors, all taking place on a Friday night when the bar is open! As part of the training, you will be given a short directors’ handbook. If you are interested, sign up when the dates are advertised. And, as a taster, there is an article about directing in this issue of The GreenRoom.
We really look forward to seeing you soon at the QMT!
CASTING NEWS – EQUUS
The first main-house production of our 40th Year at The QMT, EQUUS by Peter Shaffer, has been cast. Tickets will be on sale very soon, but massive congratulations to the following Bancroft Players!
Dysart – Charles Plester
Hester – Ali Hancock
Alan – George Adams
Jill – Lola Malone
Frank (Dad) Doug Brooker
Dora (Mum) Claudia O’Connell
Dalton – Keith Swainston
Nurse – Emma O’Connell
NEWS FROM THE EC
So, over the last month we’ve had a couple of meetings to discuss some of the priorities for the year ahead. Just as a reminder those priorites are:
- Converting to to the CIO
- Membership Recruitment
- Celebration our 40th Year.
The first of the meetings was actually a workshop to discuss the management structure for CIO and various roles that are needed to ensure we can operate as a theatre. Shonali facilitated the workshop and the outcomes of that will be shared in the next few weeks.
The next meeting was our regular EC meeting, but with a single focus on our Finances. We covered the following during that session.
- The operational impacts of the Cost of Living crisis – this was to ensure we can continue to operate
- The good news here is that we have a healthy financial situation, even with the current pressures, but we will continue to look at where we can make savings and improve how we do things to save unecessary spending
- Large projects that we want to focus on in the coming months/years that will need additional investment
- More on this in the next edition, but we have a long list of about 8 initiatives that we believe will help take us forward and improve the theatre and the experience for our members and patrons – we are just getting some initial estimates together before anything is announced
- Contingency/Financial Reserves for any unplanned incident
- Again the good news here is that we have good reserves to tackle any major incident that would not be covered by our insurances
REMEMBER! We have the first of our EC Surgery in a couple of weeks, on Friday 25th November. The bar will be open, so please do make sure you pop in for a drink and a chance to ask any questions or hear from members of the EC.
What does a Stage Director Do?
I thought as an introduction to the Director workshops, I’d start with a couple of articles about Directing a Stage Play. So here is is the first of 5 things that are important for any director to be successful. Of course, there are probably 55 things or even 555 pointers we could come up with but let’s start with these, shall we:
Choose a play you like and feel excited about
Well that’s pretty obvious, you might think – but it isn’t always the case. Sometimes we just direct a play because someone asks us to and while we don’t have any feeling for the piece we can think: ‘You know what – I’ll do it anyway…’.
Those projects rarely fare well. The first thing to say is that director’s enthusiasm for the play or musical is the energy that will kick-start the cast into being enthusiastic too. You may have seen the show in London or just had a passion for the piece since reading it at school – either way, you start with some kind of vision about the way you see your production. Of course, you are not going to slavishly follow the way it was done at the National Theatre although you may take some inspiration from that, but you have some ideas, you have a picture in your mind… Good – that’s what you need, that’s vital.
Staging your Play
What is your stage going to look like? There are I suppose three or four stage configurations you might consider although not all of them work in all spaces.. Even today most plays are mounted on a proscenium stage and this space runs to it’s own rules (more on that in the Workshops). Proscenium is brilliant if you need a complex set as large pieces of scenery can be brought on and off quickly so most big West End shows prefer it. The other popular staging is a thrust stage where the audience are usually on three sides. This is sometimes used by directors in our Studio space and is an alternative layout for that area. Thrust calls for less set (of course) and you have to make sure that sight lines are unimpaired by large things on the stage. The benefit is that the audience are much closer to the action although there is always the chance they may be distracted by the audience sitting opposite. The next stage format is rarer but worth considering and that is the so-called ‘traverse’ theatre, with the audience sitting either side of the stage. Now this does call for some deft direction as the audience might see a lot of backs if you’re not careful but it can be surprisingly effective. Finally a stage form that I think only I and one other director has ever used in the QMT and that is ‘promenade’, where the audience follow the actors around the space from scene to scene. It’s hard to direct because you are really staging several little plays in different spaces and beside – it calls for oodles of space. But promenade is definitely exciting for an audience who become more like participants in the event than they otherwise would.
Well, I hope that’s a helpful introduction. The next three points: visualisation and blocking; techniques that help actors get into role and building a company that works happily together, will be covered next time.
CASTING NEWS – ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST
The first of our Studio productions for our 40th Year has also just been cast – well done to Hannah for bringing this talented bunch together and congratulations to the following Bancroft Players:
Maniac – Scott Henderson
Inspector Bertozzi – Ollie Moorhead
Superintendent – Ian Colpitts
Inspector in the Sports Jacket – Bea Wood
Constable – James Hart
Maria Feletti – Shefali Kharabanda
ROAD by JIM CARTWRIGHT
Road was the play that got Jim Cartwright onto the road of success (gettit?). It’s a murky world he portrays in this grimy rundown street, with desperate people leading forgotten lives. And yet what Cartwright finds is that the events in which they get caught up, as mundane as they seem, are the stuff of Greek tragedy. Here the boy who refuses to get up until politicians listen to him, the scally lad who rides the crest of a wave all the way to the gutter, the girls who are wise beyond their tender years, brought up in the school of hard knocks. The gallery of characters is enormous, the play deeply affecting at so many levels. Although it’s forty years old, the story is so very relevant today with the cost of living spiraling and some communities again brought to the edge of a poverty we haven’t seen for a generation.
Another gritty, magnificent piece of Theatre from Big Spirit. Please come along and support these gifted young performers – you’ll be part of a unique theatrical event and love every minute of it!
WEDNESDAY 16th – SATURDAY 19th NOVEMBER at 7.45pm
Remember you get your members’ discount on Big Spirit tickets too!
Still waiting for that rush of new members! It is now so easy to join – whilst I realise times are getting tough, £12 a year would really help the theatre. Please think about it.
Congratulations to our October winners.
- Peter Linnett – £25.00
- Lyn Bryars – £20.00
- Sarah Chapman – £15.00
- Anthony Golding – £10.00
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
16th – 19th – 7.45pm
Big Spirit Production
Road by Jim Cartwright
25th – 7.30pm
MEMBER’S SOCIAL EVENING & EC SURGERY
Dick Whittington Production Weekend
16th – 17th
Dick Whittington Production Weekend
21st – 7.30pm
QMT CHRISTMAS QUIZ
17th – 21st
Accidental Death of an Anarchist