Tag Archive | "projection"

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Filskit Theatre: Imaginate

Posted on 21 May 2013 by Filskit Theatre


Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

Well, what a week it’s been here at Filskit Theatre Company. Between the three of us we have spent roughly 32 hours on trains, seen 24 performances of eight shows and consumed what must be gallons of tea. But it was all for a very worthy cause, as we attended the Imaginate Children’s Theatre Festival in Edinburgh.

Whilst this was our first time at the festival, Imaginate itself has been around for quite a long time: in their own words, “Every year the Festival presents the finest selection of shows from Scotland and across the world; each and every one adding their own wonderful character and zest to a programme of exciting and stimulating shows to suit children and adults of every age.” And boy, they’re not kidding. It was an exciting, international programme bringing together shows from as far flung as the USA (Intergalactic Nemesis).

The festival is open to the public and many a school group giggled along to shows such as Chalk About by Christine Devaney (Curious Seed) and Leandro Kees. Along with family audiences, these festivals are always popular with people in the theatre industry such as venue programmers, as they’re a great way of watching a large range of diverse, new work in a condensed period of time. The traditional route for this is through the purchase of a delegate pass. There are various delegate packages available, depending on how long you wish to attend for and how many shows you wish to see. We attended the Take Off Festival in Durham as delegates back in November and had an amazing experience. But, as you can imagine, these delegate passes certainly do not come cheap and when you add on train tickets, accommodation and food to the ever-increasing costs, it’s no wonder that small, newly-formed companies are often under-represented on the delegate list.

Luckily for us, we were thrown a lifeline. Instead of buying our delegate passes, we all attended the festival as volunteers. Our various duties included meeting school groups, front of house work and answering phones. In return, we got to enjoy the Imaginate experience, fully equipped with shows, talks, networking events and even a ceilidh. As a young company, we are always keen to see other shows – it can help shape your own work and inspire you to push the boundaries of your practice. For us, this was such a fascinating process. We could view a cross-section of contemporary dance, puppetry, comedy and projection, suitable for a range of age groups and all in one city.

One of the things that we like most about attending theatre festivals is being surprised: we all go with a list of shows in our heads that we think we are going to absolutely love, but sometimes it is the unexpected ones that really make an impression. One of our highlights from Imaginate has to be Maas Theater en Dans’ Wanted: Rabbit from the Netherlands: very funny and very, well…Dutch! Another favourite of ours was The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean by Scottish artist Shona Reppe, a quirky piece with great pace and an excellent design.

At a recent Theatre for Young Audiences event at Rose Bruford College, there was a lot of praise for children’s theatre from Europe, particularly from the Netherlands and Belgium. There is no denying that European work is innovative, beautifully simple and very well done, so we can completely understand its popularity within the industry. The big question for us is how can emerging TYA companies from England capture this quality in our own work? How can we allow ourselves to be less conservative and take more risks? One thing that seems to be working for Scotland and Imaginate is exposing new TYA companies to this work early on, by supporting them in attending TYA festivals both at home and abroad. This exchange makes perfect sense to us. Whether you see moments that inspire you or that make you think “let’s never do that”, the work that you see will impact that which you create. So, which European festival to visit first… hmm.

Image: Einstein Bikes

Filskit Theatre

Filskit Theatre

Filskit Theatre are an all-female ensemble with a passion for micro-projection. The company, Sarah Gee, Katy Costigan and Victoria Dyson, have been making work together since 2008. As graduates of the European Theatre Arts course at Rose Bruford they were brought together by their shared love of projection and cake.

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Review: Queen of the Nile

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Laura Turner


It’s not often that a play combines gags about anything and everything from food poisoning to dildos with one of the most significant political movements of the twenty-first century. Queen of the Nile, with its onslaught of jokes coming thick and fast and its setting amidst the Arab Spring, is certainly the first I’ve seen to tackle such a tricky dichotomy.

Tim Fountain’s new play at Hull Truck departs quickly from the rain-battered windows of a Wakefield flat in favour of sunnier Egyptian shores; we’re off to a promising start as Lizzie Roper’s Debbie swaps flipping burgers for the bright lights and cultural delights of Luxor. In these early scenes, the comedy of Debbie’s lacklustre life in England and the cringeworthy habits of Brits abroad is well-observed and quite pacey. By turns stroppy, deflated, excitable and fun, Roper brings colour to 40-year-old Debbie as it soon becomes clear she is not so interested in the Pyramids or sailing down the Nile as she is boozing it up and taking trips to Banana Island.

“Banana Island” is just one of a multitude of innuendo-laden gags, often from the mouth of self-confessed “queen” Mr Lesley, played by Dudley Sutton. He voices a plethora of the play’s “things you can’t say” and luxuriates in his character’s taste for speaking frankly, crudely and lewdly. Sutton works hard to bridge the gap between this levity and the underlying motives of a connivingly persuasive character and there is an interesting invitation here to consider what lies beneath the surface, as the tone shifts towards something darker and more sinister.

And the tone certainly does shift. Throughout the play, each scene is intercut with a clever use of projection that establishes context and keeps us up-to-date with the developments of the oncoming revolution. But there is a dilemma here, as the characters seem oddly unaffected by this life-changing political movement in the Middle East. Perhaps this is a comment on the blindness of the characters, so wrapped up in their own problems that they can’t see the bigger picture like we, the audience, can. Yet the comedy begins to sit uneasily alongside the sounds of bombing and guns in the distance, giving rise to questions of whether this is a comedy about a woman falling for a man too young for her, or a political commentary designed to make its audience feel uneasy and ask difficult questions about the role of tourism and expatriots in this area.

There’s no denying there are laughs to be had here, but amidst the dildos and bananas, the best are moments of wittier word play, delivered brilliantly by the cast. There are one-liners aplenty throughout, but it is perhaps Roper’s raucous declaration that her relationship with Mahmoud is not “friction” but “fact” that raised one of the biggest belly laughs of the night. Mention must be made of Michelle Butterly, playing Debbie’s gym bunny best friend Jan to perfection, as well as the brilliant Asif Khan who offers the most emotionally complex and assured performance of the play as Mahmoud.

With an effective design and a strong cast of four, if Queen of the Nile feels slightly inharmonious in tone and theme, this doesn’t detract from the laughs in the auditorium — not to mention gasps, if the press night audience is anything to go by.

Queen of the Nile is playing at Hull Truck Theatre until 11 May. For tickets and more information see the Hull Truck website.


Image credit: Hull Truck Theatre

Laura Turner

Laura Turner

Laura trained as a writer with Hull Truck Theatre, BBC New Talent and the Royal Court Theatre. She has worked extensively with touring theatre company Chapterhouse, where she is currently Writer in Residence. Laura has previously written for BBC EastEnders: E20 and her adaptation of Jane Eyre toured theatres with Hull Truck Theatre Company at the start of 2013. She is now working on an original play for the theatre, as well as projects with Bolton Octagon, Middle Child Theatre and The Ashton Group, Cumbria. She has been long-listed for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwrighting and the Adrienne Benham Award.

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Competition: Win tickets to The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey at Battersea Arts Centre

Posted on 02 February 2013 by A Younger Theatre

We love a bit of puppetry, we love a bit of illustration, and we love a bit of Battersea Arts Centre, which is why we are offering you the chance to win tickets to see The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey on Friday 15 February! Read the blurb below to learn a bit more about the show – it sounds pretty amazing if you ask us - or scroll down to enter.

Paper Cinema

The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey
14 Feb – 9 Mar 7.30pm (Sat matinees 2.30pm)
Battersea Arts Centre
Tickets £15, £10 concs

The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey returns to Battersea Arts Centre after a highly successful national tour.

Raging storms and supernatural forces prevail over one man’s almighty quest to get home. Homer’s cornerstone of literature is vividly told with beautiful illustration and masterful puppetry. Cinematic projection and cunning tricks transform a suitcase full of cut-out paper puppets into an array of living characters and striking landscapes. A silent film is created before your eyes, set to a captivating live score from exceptional musicians.

Enter The Competition:
Fill in the form below and submit it by 4.00pm on Monday 11 February.

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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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Fringe guest blog: It’s all over…for now

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Ellen Carr

So that was it: that blurry patchwork month of 47 shows that will slowly begin to knit themselves together into a more coherent whole in my mind was Edinburgh Fringe 2012. Witness Theatre’s The Darkroom has been performed 24 times with an audience every time – which is quite an achievement considering the struggle with audiences young companies faced this year.

Since writing my previous blog in the happy haze of early Fringe, I can now confidently say that Edinburgh is a huge challenge and talk about these challenges with a little authority. Edinburgh Fringe is a brilliant place where your work will get noticed and given much sought-after support – but only if it’s really really good. If, like us, it’s your first time at Edinburgh as a company then it’s likely to be a different place entirely. It can be brutal and utterly lovely all in the same day (much like the weather).

Witness Theatre has dealt with a mixed bag of reviews, audiences ranging in number from two to 27, crises of faith on the Royal Mile and a cast member illness that resulted in my debut Fringe performance. Not to mention the technical difficulties only to be expected when playing with projected film in a Fringe show.

I think a lot of people (and I’m not exempting us from this) go to Edinburgh expecting things to go really well (or in fact just well). The show will run smoothly, audiences will magically appear and golden opportunities will rain down from the sky. Well, yes, in such a theatrical melee opportunity is present, but it is there for the finding and not the taking, and sometimes it comes in different (smaller) guises than you were expecting.

Naively, when we made our way to Edinburgh our heads were filled with dreams of rave reviews, awards and (primarily) Witness Theatre getting noticed and becoming something. What our experience over the past month has taught us is that becoming that something is entirely down to yourselves. Our Edinburgh journey has not ended with us being picked up and taken under anybody’s wing, but with us becoming more determined, focused, driven and aware of what we want the company and our work to be.

The best of the reviews we received have included vast amounts of constructive criticism that we can use to develop our future work. None of them are the kind of reviews a commercially-driven show would want to receive, but for an emerging company in their first year they’re perfect. It is the comments on our promise – along with a lovely mention in Lyn Gardner’s blog – that are the opportunities we will take away from Edinburgh. Opportunities to grow and develop into a stronger company delivering more focused work for next year.

Will there be a next year for Witness Theatre at Edinburgh Fringe? Definitely, and we will take the following lessons with us. Firstly, be organised – even if you think you are already you can probably be ten times more so. Socialise and make the most of being around so many brilliant people (but be aware you have to get up and be organised the next morning!) Be prepared for every crisis – it probably will happen. Finally, only attempt to tackle Edinburgh if you’re absolutely 100% madly head-over-heels in love with what you do. To quote performer Tess Waters from Lyn Gardner’s blog on how to survive Edinburgh Fringe: “the secret of fringe success is a passion for what you’re doing”.

For more about Witness Theatre and their future work, visit their website at or follow them at

Image credit: Witness Theatre

Ellen Carr

Ellen Carr

Ellen is Artistic Director of Witness Theatre, a company she established after graduating from the University of Sussex in 2011. Ellen writes, directs and produces for Witness Theatre and spends the rest of her time doing more writing. She is currently writing her own blog witnesstoexperience daily, contributes regular features to One Stop Arts and can also be found writing the occasional screenplay.

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