Saturday, 5 December 2009

First Performance 5th December

Do you want to hear a story???

Today was our first performance at Ham House.
And what a day it was.
For a first performance i feel that as a group we all performed and handled the audience really well, taking into account we did not know how the day was going to pan out.
At first the day began slowly with only one or two familys walking around but as the day went on more people arrived and were really interested in what we all had to offer.
I was in the bathroom telling my snowman story, because the bathroom is slightly off from the rest of the rooms not many people were venturing into the room in which i was waiting to tell my story. But once a few people came in and listened to my story more people followed and at one time i told my story to a large group of familys.
I seemed to find that people were walking around in big groups, and most of the time i was telling my story to big groups of people, and then no one would come to listen to my story for about 15mins.
I did find myself telling the story slightly differerent when i had different numbers of people listening. At one time i just had one child and her dad listening; my storytelling would change and become more personal to them.

The facepainting was my favourite part to my day which i found slightly surprising. I really enjoyed painting the childrens faces with lots of different designs, and i found myself talking to the children and interacting with them alot more then when i was storytelling. I even told my story to one of the children whilst i was painting her face, because she would not sit still, i asked her if she would like to hear a story while i painted a snowman on her face. Painting a snowman and telling a story about about a snowman was a really nice way to connect the two.

There was alot of really nice feedback about our presence today at Ham House and i found that what i was told by different people has really helped me think about how i can improve my performance for the following dates.
There are a few changes that as a group we have decided to change for tomorrows performance and fingers crossed the changes will make the great performances we gave today even better :)

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Drama in the Community - 20th November

What Story??? What Space???

In todays lesson we discussed what the plan of action was going to be for the forth coming weeks leading up to our performances and the performances themselves.
We made a plan and everyone confirmed their availability so that the timetable and the running orders could be made so that we all knew exactly what everyone was doing on the day of the performances.
This was really helpful to me because i was able to set my mind at rest and i now have a clear view as what is happening.
Me and Sharmilia are working as a pair and are telling the story together.
Because Sharmilia is only performing on the first week im going to adapt the story that we have so that im able to tell it without her on the other weekends.

We worked on our storytelling for the remainder of the lesson and we all decided on which space would suit out stories best. I decided that our story would be best told in the bathroom because it relates to our story itself, and therefore it can be imagined better by the children if the space they are in is recognisible.

Through out the lesson i was hearing little bits of other peoples stories and i was really pleased to hear how different they were from everyones in the group. Even though they are all about christmas they are very diverse and different. This is fab because it will definatly keep the audience, especially the children, interested.
Also another great idea is that there are going to be 'driffters', people who are going to walk about and just begin to tell their stories to anyone anywhere.

I have a really positive feeling about these performances and i hope that the people who come to Ham House and listen to our stories really enjoy them and get them in to the CHRISTMAS CHEER!!!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Drama in the Community - 23rd October

The Nation Trust Film Office.

In todays lesson a man called Harvey came into out lecture to talk to us about The National Trust Film Office, and how it functions as a company.

We learnt that the filming in grounds and houses owned by the National Trust can range from Student Films, to fashion photo shoots to documentaries to TV Dramas to Blockbuster Films.
Crews that use the grounds can range from 1 to 150 at any one time, so PREPARATION is one of the main factors that needs to be thought of when allowing such a mass of working people into a historic house etc.

So why let filming happen on Nation Trust property???

That is the main reason for allowing film crews to use the National Trust property.
As the National Trust is a Charity it needs as much money as possible to keep up and running.
Also the films etc that is produced on the grounds create alot of visitor interest. People from the public come to many of the grounds of the Nation Trust and pay entry because it has featured in a big film etc.

We were also told about all the different complication that can occur when film crews are using the grounds and houses.
We were shown into the house and were taken into the Great Hall and were asked what we would move and protect if a film crew were using the space.
We were able to visualise where the film crews would set up their equiptmewnt and the damages that could occur with misuse of objects.
We were told of damages and what the companys would have to pay for if damages arised.

I found this really interesting, because i myself have worked with a film crew at a National Trust stately home in Cornwall, called Lanhydrock House. I had a small part in Antiques Roadshow when they used the grounds for filming. The programme wanted to film some history of the house to show in the programme, and i auditioned for a part of the kitchen staff and was given the part.
I had no idea of the complexity of arrangements that went into organising filming at a National Trust property.
As part of the actors you dont get to see that side.
I didnt realise that health and safety was a major issue with the film crew. As i was in the kitchens we had the fire alight and pots cooking away on the stove. At the time i didnt know that there were people on the side lines ready with fire extinguishers and fire blankets. It does seem a bit obvious now but when your their filming and part of the crew you dont really think of the actual place you are filming you are concentrating more on doing you job and doing it well.

The preparation that is done before during and after filming is huge and very important.

Story Ideas!!!

Nearing the end of the lesson we showed each other our ideas for a short story that could be shown at the christmas festival.
Me and Sharmila worked together to create a story about a Autumn Fairy who helped a young lady who used to live in Ham House hundreds of years ago.
We used the idea of a pumpkin and that the seed of a pumpkin can be the making of your dreams, if you believe enough than it can come true.
We used aspects of Cinderella and Aladin to create the body of the story and the meaning speaks for itself.


Friday, 16 October 2009

Drama in the Community - 16th October

Cardboard Citizens!!!

At the first section of the lesson today we discussed the performance by 'Cardboard Citizens' who performed in the theatre on monday.
As a group we discussed the techniques and forms of theatre that they used as a company and how those types of theatre work in a community and how they can get audience members involved in the performance.

Who to work with?

We also quickly scanned across the fact that many people, companies and organisations have heard about us as St. Marys and are interested in working with us and using our skils and theatre makers to help their cause whatever it is.
I would like to hear about each of these oppertunities in more details if we have some time in one lesson soon. I think as a group we should get together and discuss the different ways in which we can use theatre to help and work with different people.


Gary Colland who is the Property Manager at Ham House spoke to us for nearly an hour in todays lesson about how the Nation Trust works etc.
He used a series of slides that were projected for us to see and explained to us the different aspects of the Nation Trust.
The National Trust was founded in 1895.
Currentky there are about 200 historic houses owned and managed by the National Trust.
They are the largest land owner in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
They have 4,000 paid imployees and 50,000 volunteers working with them.
They are the largest conservation organisation in Europe.
At present they have over 3,500,000 Nation Trust Members.
The National Trust is a charity and can only keep running with the help from grants and the help from the general public.

Ham House for example costs about £700,000 a year to run and mantain. Without the contributions for many areas Ham House would not be able to be kept open for the public to enjoy, this would be a enormous loss to Richmond and to England.
It is such a gorgeous estate and should be viewed and love for centuries to come.


For the majority of the lesson we were taken on a tour of the Gradens by the Head Gardener.
We looked at the Cheery garden, the South gardens, the Wilderness gardens and the Kitchen gardens.
Each of these gardens were used for many different reasons in the 17 Century.
I found this a very interesting tour of the gardens because i was given an insight on how the house and the people living in the house used the gardens all those years ago and how the gardens were used top promote their wealth to people visiting them.

Because i have now seen and walked through the gardens i can see different stories and pieces of different theatre that can be shown and performed in the actual grounds.
This i feel would be a different and inspiring ingredient for the christmas festivities at Ham House.


Drama in Community - 9th October


Today we began the lesson in the Orangery room at Ham House.
As a group we discussed the different aspects of work that we shall be doing in the lesson and lessons to come.

We were priviledged to be shown around Ham House by a member of the team.
The tour focused on reminding us that the house was once lived in and was very much full of life.
I found myself looking at each room and imagining what went on there when William Murray's family lived there back in 1610. Where they ate, slept and exercised?

As i was walking around the grand rooms of the house i used the intense atmosphere to create different characters and different stories in different rooms.

One of my favourite rooms was one of the attic bedrooms where the servants slept. The room was very small and basic with very few materilas and furnature.
This room was solely fo sleeping in, there was nothing in the rooms that entertained or comforted the servants.

The kitchens and the larder were other rooms of interest for me and i could see myself using the space to create great pieces of theatre. Making pieces of theatre and telling stories about the workers and the servants were more interesting to me that using characters like William and Elizabeth because i felt that i could relate more to the workers and i felt that they had more of a story about them that was interesting.


Mark gave us information about a company called 'Spiral'.
I found this very very very interesting and i was really interested in thge project that we can particicate in december. Im desperate to go out and work with them. Its sounds like such a new and fresh way of working that i dont think im used to, and it would be brilliant to work with them and gain a different aspect of making theatre.

From their website i found out that;
Spiral lives and works from rural La Rioja, Spain, developing participatory, multicultural theatre projects in site specific contexts. Much of their work takes place in beautiful locations and places of significant historical importance. At Spiral they work with local communities, theatre students and with those who have a passion for theatre. Projects and workshops can last from a few days to years. And for this reason every outcome and performance is unique.

Spiral makes theatre and performances in all sorts of places. Museums, windmills, archaeological sites, abandoned villages, forests, village squares, classrooms, old folks residencies, community centres… everywhere can be places in which their workshops and performances take shape. Participants can be school children or village neighbours. All their performances are designed to be popular, participative and festive. The more there are the better.