Tag Archive | "Oval House Theatre"

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Review: D

Posted on 19 July 2011 by Amy Marchant

This open air promenade performance from production company Truth about Youth explores friendship, loyalty and the challenges of a second chance. A group of teenagers are thrown into turmoil after the death of one of their crew, D, who seems to have been something of a heartbreaker and a well-loved lad about town. The audience soon build up this image of his character through monologues delivered by his lovers, friends and family who talk to the audience; a style that worked at certain moments, but at others felt clunky. After a shaky start the performance quickly improved, as the emotional hold that D held over the imaginations of these characters was at times very moving – their suffering became painfully visible after the tragic car accident that killed him.

The audience were led from location to location, sometimes by stewards and at others by the actors themselves, who initiated changes of scene through conversations and interaction with other characters. For me, the highlight of the evening was when an argument erupted between two characters across the busy the Kennington Road, a scene which totally achieved the violence and tension of a public display of aggression. Even passers-by were slowing down to watch, with the huddle of audience members clutching programmes being the only clue that this wasn’t a genuine moment. Sometimes the transitions were clumsy, though, as characters would storm off whilst talking on their mobile, leaving their audience behind. I found myself jogging at points in order to catch the dialogue, which could have been avoided if the actors were able to slow down – although perhaps this was intended to create excitement.

I cannot help but think that a lighter story line would have helped this young company, which clearly has an eye for comedy and can handle the difficulties of performing in busy, public areas. In performance spaces such as the one it had chosen, one cannot control the audience’s attention wholly and it would have worked better if the company could have embraced this as a feature of their performance, including the public rather than pretending they weren’t there. Ultimately this story could have been staged very well in a theatre, and I didn’t think that the expansive and open-aired form they had chosen was particularly suited to the intimate, character-driven plot. However, as the piece developed I found myself empathising increasingly with the story and moved by some superb acting and competent writing. This is a real achievement from Truth about Youth which certainly has the talent and initiative to change the perceptions of youth culture through theatre.




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Review: Something or Nothing

Posted on 23 February 2011 by Jake Orr

There is something rather profound to be discovered in Guy Dartnell’s solo show, Something or Nothing. It is deeply reflective, pointing the  spectator to look at himself as a performer, as a human and as audience. Dartnell gives a frank and honest collection of stories and fragmented moments within his life, questioning and challenging the notion of what “I” is.

He speaks of thought, and consciousness, of the interplay between his experiences growing up and his adult being now. Dartnell separates the inner “I” and places it within a single beam of light, a place where whatever happens, we as an audience are meant to forget. He questions why he is making a show, a one-man show, questioning what “I” is, and ultimately declaring that he is presenting nothing more than an egotistical form of himself to the audience. Throughout Something or Nothing Dartnell returns to this idea, allowing the pressures that he imposes on himself to be vocalised.

As a whole, the performance is meditative. It soothes the audience into a state where Dartnell’s questioning of himself as a performer allows us to question our own lives. As he draws outlines of his body against a blackboard, he takes us through the techniques he has attempted to relieve the pressure that has literally been building up on his spine. It is only through massage that he learns that he is always attempting to do things himself, he struggles with letting go, letting go of his body. When he does, it becomes a “flux of sensation”. This flux flows through Something or Nothing, giving way to the fragmented moments and stories Dartnell delivers.

The use of projection to illustrate the meditative state he enters to release the pressures of the world is exquisite. Coupled with the chalk drawings and the blending of music with voice over, as an audience we begin to understand what Dartnell is getting at. Sometimes it is our questioning of who and what we are that weighs us down, when, really, we might have to accept that we aren’t actually anything at all. We just are.

Something or Nothing is a tender, witty, reflective and masterfully alluring performance . Dartnell clearly understands the fine fabrics that not only makes performance so preternatural, but makes us human -  constantly questioning beings. I urge you to see, experience and understand Dartnell’s theatre.

Something or Nothing is playing at the Oval House Theatre until 26th February before a national tour. More information on Guy Dartnell’s website here.

Jake Orr

Jake Orr

Jake is the Artistic Director and Founder of A Younger Theatre. He is a freelance writer and blogger, a theatre marketer and a digital producer. He is also Co-Curator of Dialogue.

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Review: Suffocation

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Tilly Michell

pparently if you cut off the oxygen supply to your brain, you experience a brief moment, right before you pass out, of total euphoria. It’s a dangerous game to play, but for some, the feeling is worth it.

Suffocation, a new play by Arinze Kene, examines the murky relationship between sex, violence and self harm within the eternal, adolescent quest for a free high. Set at a twentieth birthday party, the narrative dips between humour and horror as Emeka and his mates try to make sense of the events surrounding the recent asphyxiation of one of their group.

Emeka, keen to keep the peace and prevent his friends from trashing his mum’s living room, attempts to lighten the mood with Jack Daniels and Chukka Khan, but the image of the hospitalised Imogene soon begins to fixate and consume the small party.

Kene, an actor/playwright best known for his role as the muscle-bound Connor Stanley in EastEnders, has here produced a script which demonstrates why he has been tipped by the Offies Awards as one of the most promising young writers of 2011. His interest in what he calls the “portrayal of the urban experience”, combined with a focused commitment to modern character construction, make the social dynamics of this play plausible yet entertainingly unpredictable.

His characters project a likeable, well-rounded image of youth culture, and are nicely played by the troupe of actors whose pleasingly unstudied style lend stellar lines such as “Hey fam, I’m gonna do a shit in your mum’s toilet…” an authenticity which is extremely amusing. This initial level of realism proves central to the development of the plot, as the audience is gradually shown how an adolescent sexual fantasy can lead to sadism and murder.

The notion of the ‘asphyxiation high’ is handled by director Toby Clarke through a series of surreal montages, which reflect the character’s obsessions and insecurities. These sequences are accompanied by the unnerving sound of a rushing train, and for the most part manage to avoid veering into the mawkish.

Unfortunately, within its closing moments, Suffocation descends needlessly into melodrama, climaxing in a scene that bears more resemblance to the soap opera tactics of Skins, than the subtextual realism with which the play began. This is a shame, and left me wondering whether, were it not confined to a single act, Suffocation might have gone on to address the complex issues surrounding the modern fetishisation of violence more rationally.

This said, Suffocation remains a good example of fresh, youth-centred writing, and fully deserved its place as the headline piece for 33% London, the Oval House Theatre’s annual festival celebrating diversity and talent within the capital’s burgeoning young arts scene.

Well acted and flecked with brief moments of brilliance, ‘Suffocation’ needs work, but has the potential to go on and create a real buzz on the theatre circuit amongst young and older audiences alike.

33% London is taking place at the Oval House Theatre until 22nd January. For more information see their website here.

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Theatre Internships: The List

Posted on 22 January 2010 by A Younger Theatre

Theatre Internships

Are you looking for an internship to get experience in working in theatre? Perhaps you’re a recent graduate or student looking for training and work experience. Featured below are a list of the best available internships across London theatre’s and theatre companies. Click on the website address listed to be taken to the individual internship page.

Please note that the ones listed below are london based.
This list was last updated in November ’13

Actor’s Touring Company
Type: Digital Placement
Length: 3 months
Info: Digital placement for 3 months. Voluntary role but travel expenses paid for. 3 days a week.

Almeida Theatre
Length: 6 months
Info: Two internships, paid. Must be unemployed and live in Islington.

Arcola Theatre
Type: Front of House and Event Management / Technical Production / Marketing and Arts Admin / Youth and Community / Arcola Engery Sustainability
Length: 3 months
Info: Unpaid, expected to work 3 days a week, normal hours are 10am-6pm. Multiple areas of internships so choose carefully.

Arts Admin
Type: Producing Traineeship
Length: 1 year
Info: Paid bursary to the traineeship, only runs once a year. Apply in November of each year.

Type: Communications / Administration / Artistic Director Assistant
Length: 3 months
Info: Unpaid, only listed on website when required. All year round volunteering opportunities in Ushering and Assisting on performances available.

Type: Digital Marketing / Marketing
Length: 3 months
Info: Unpaid, but lunch voucher and travel expenses (travel card zone 1-6) paid for. Various internships, but only listed on website when there is one available, so check regularly. Working in various departments.

Bush Theatre
Type: Administration
Length: 3 months
Info: General administration in a theatre environment, including office work, marketing and literary departments. Paid, only listed on website when required.

The Corner Shop PR
Type: Marketing / Press
Length: 2-6 months
Info: Minimum 2 days per week but can be very flexible. Travel (London zones 1-4) and £10 per diem expenses paid.
Normal hours 10am -6pm. Combines project-specific work on current campaigns with administrative support.

Courtyard Theatre
Type: Ushering / Administration / Marketing and Promotions / Front of House
Length: Ongoing
Info: Not an Internship, but voluntary work in a variety of roles. Very open to flexible working.

Donmar Warehouse
Type: Administration / Stage Management
Length: 2 months
Info: Internship either in office work or production work. Office work includes administration, marketing, and development. Production work includes assisting Assistant Stage Manager with props, research, and sourcing as well as assisting rehearsals.

Finborough Theatre
Type: Administration / Production
Length: 3 months +
Info: Unpaid, four days a week. Working closely with the General Manager and Artistic Director in the theatre office, or with production companies doing stage management work. Chance to work further beyond internship placement.

Fuel Theatre
Type: Production / Technical
Length: 3 months
Info: Paid internship. Available for graduates of a recent technical/production course.

The Gate Theatre
Type: Intern in all departments.
Length: 3 months
Info: Unpaid, working in a variety of different areas including: marketing, producing, general management, education and script development.

Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre
Type: Project Assistant / Company Intern
Length: 3 months
Info: Expenses paid, working in a variety of roles within the organisation, supporting and developing.

Institute of Contemporary Arts
Type: Communications (PR)
Length: 2.5 days over 3 months
Info:  Working as the press intern within the communications department. Voluntary.

Type: Placement in Development, Digital Communications, Executive or Producing
Length: 3 months
Info: Voluntary, 3 days a week but travel expenses and lunch can be claimed of £10 per day. Recruitment every 3 months.

Little Angel Theatre
Type: Administration and Marketing Intern
Length: 3 months
Info: Unpaid, working in the theatre office, assisting in administration and marketing tasks.

Michael Grandage Company
Type: Associate
Info: Opportunity to work with the Michael Grandage Company. Only posted on website when required.

Minor Entertainment
Type: Production and administration
Length: 8 months (January – September)
Info: Full-time, paid opportunity in our busy production office, with a focus on customer service, admin and marketing. Advertised Nov-Dec, see website for more information.

Mousetrap Theatre Projects
Type: General Internship
Length: 3 months
Info: Popular internship working with Mousetrap Theatre Projects. Voluntary.

The Open Air Theatre
Type: Administration Student Placement
Length: Up to 3 months
Info: The administration department offers a placement to a university student where the placement is a required part of their course. All student placements are voluntary and unpaid, although reasonable expenses will be paid.

The Print Room
Type: Theatre Administration
Length: 3 months
Info: Travel, and lunch expenses only. Voluntary theatre administration internship working closely with the artistic director and theatre department in administration tasks.

Oval House Theatre
Info: Only listed on website when required.

Pleasance Theatre
Type: Production Assistant / Administration / Marketing / Programming
Length: 3 months
Info: Different requirements and responsibilities for each role. Times and commitments vary too. All unpaid. See website for extensive list of information.

Polka Theatre
Type: Marketing and Press
Length: 3 – 6 months
Info: Working closely with head of marketing and press, you’ll work for 2 days for 3-6 months. Unpaid. Only listed on the website when required.

Rich Mix
Type: Marketing and Media Internship
Length: 6 months
Info: PAID internship working 40 hours a week. Supporting and promoting activities of Rich Mix with the Marketing and Media team.

Shakespeares Globe
Type: Fundraiser
Length: 3 to 6 months.
Info: Can apply all year around, but must have a strong interest in fundraising.

Type: Communications
Length: 3 to 4 months.
Info: 4 days a week. Working with both Press and Marketing assisting on the communication of the Globe brand.

Soho Theatre
Type: Marketing
Length: 3 months
Info: Internships only listed on the website when they are required.

Tara Arts
Type: Marketing and Press, Arts Management and Production
Length: 2-3 months
Info: 3 days a week working in either marketing & press, management or production at Tara Arts.

Unicorn Theatre
Type: Marketing and Admin / Digital
Length: 1 month, flexible hours
Info: Assisting in a brand new festival coming this summer. Voluntary role but expenses paid for.

A Younger Theatre

A Younger Theatre

A Younger Theatre (AYT) is a platform for young people to express their views on theatre and performance. The site is maintained, edited and published by under 26 year olds who all have a passion for theatre.

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