Daisy’s ‘Oh Whistle’ Work Experience

During the school summer break Director Theresa Keogh held a script development week on Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You – a new stage adaptation of the M. R. James classic ghost story by visionary writer David Rudkin. Year 11 student Daisy Rogers from Lady Manners School, Bakewell attended an early reading and shared her insight at the beginning of the production process.

Coming to the read-through of Oh Whistle And I’ll Come To You was really great and a hugely appreciated experience. Just being able to sit and meet the team and cast was amazing.

Seeing how the team worked together was a real inspiration, as was seeing how professional actors read the play on script. If the play had just been read to me in a normal tone and voice I don’t think I would have understood it, but because the actors read it in character in different expressive voices it came alive in my head instead.

After the read through I was lucky enough to sit in on the chat between the team. This opened my eyes to how much work and planning goes on behind a production. I always thought a set would be simple to design, but who knew that the prospect of having a sheet on the stage, or how many projectors to use, if any, would be so difficult to decide. I now know and appreciate the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a production. Being there to experience the early stages of the play has left me thinking more about a career in theatre, especially as I came out with my head drowning with ideas of how you could get the set to work.

Thank you so much for letting me be there for such an amazing experience. I am looking forward to following the process and seeing how the production develops.

A few months on, Daisy returned to New Perspectives for some work experience during the rehearsal period for Oh Whistle And I’ll Come To You. It was a chance for her to see the words come off the page, and see the show physically materialise. She updated us on her experience of the process.

Having seen the beginning stages of Oh Whistle, And I’ll Come To You at the first read through, it was great to come and see how much the show had changed and developed.

I came into the rehearsal room on the first day to see a magnificent, yet unfinalised, set. This was great to see as I had been there when they were discussing how to do the set and how it would look. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Cecilia (the set designer) and Theresa (the director). In this time, they were working out how to get certain parts of the set to work. I enjoyed being part of that and watching and helping the development. It had given me a great insight into how a set is designed and I am now becoming very interested the aspect of theatre design.

I am interested in directing a small show, and watching the development of Oh Whistle has given me some great ideas and pointers on how to do it. It was interesting to see how professionals create a show and how much expression they put into their characters.

On my second day, I spent most of the day helping upstairs, getting an idea of how the advertising and social side of a production is managed. I helped by creating a spreadsheet about social media marketing. It was a good experience to see how the ‘hidden’ side of theatre works.

By the end of my three days at New Perspectives I felt at home and felt like I had been accepted as part of the team and was having fun conversations about the play with the cast and crew. I am very grateful to have been able to spend time at New Perspectives and it has taught me a lot about how a show is developed. Thank you to everyone at New Perspectives for involving me and letting me have such a great experience. I am really looking forward to seeing the final production.

Here are some pictures I took while I was watching the rehearsals.

You can see Oh Whistle, And I’ll Come To You in its finished state on tour from now until Saturday 10 December.

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Charlie’s ‘Oh Whistle’ Work Experience

On 17th October, Charlie Harris, a yr. 11 student from Toot Hill School, joined us for a week of work experience. He arrived at an exciting time, having just started rehearsals for Oh Whistle, And I’ll Come To You. Charlie was in a unique position, joining the team of creatives helping to build the show; he has written about his time with the team, and what he learned.

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“My time at New Perspectives Theatre Company was fun and interactive in a multitude of ways; each one I enjoyed more than the last. I started my week by joining the cast and crew for a read through of the script for their new show Oh Whistle, And I’ll Come To You. By the end of the read through I felt confused about the script and what it meant but with the help of the director and actors I quickly managed to overcome this and to gain a thorough understanding of the themes and meaning. In the afternoon, after a lovely and engaging lunch where I had an opportunity to chat with the actors and to learn more about life as an actor, we researched the life of the author of the original short story – a man called M. R. James. We learnt about his childhood and why he began to write short stories, after this we thought of some questions we had about the script and tried to pool our knowledge and answer them ourselves; often this could not be done so we resorted to sending off some questions to the author of the script, David Rudkin.

During the next day David had replied with answers to the questions we sent him so we all read through his notes, learning a lot as we went. After this we read through the original short story authored by M. R. James, giving us all an extra level of understanding of the script and a deeper insight into the reasons why James wrote the story. However, it also created a few more problems for us, such as understanding the philosophy referenced in the script, this included trying to decipher the meaning (and pronunciation!) of the words ‘identity’, ‘ostension’ and ‘hypostasis’!

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(L-R) Actors Jack Wilkinson and Mark Jardine in rehearsals

For the next three days we got into the bit which I enjoyed the most: we started to block through the script and started acting which, as an aspiring actor myself, really helped me understand some of the fundamentals of acting but also some more complex techniques. I really felt at home and a member of the company at this point as I was able to fully voice my opinion and thoughts on every scene. Also even though I was not acting, just by watching the two actors at work I learned so much and was able to progress my skills by leaps and bounds.

During my time at New Perspectives I felt at home and valued; it was such a nice space to work in and to be in. Even though I was just there for work experience everyone accepted me as if I was a permanent member of the team. I enjoyed the experience immensely and learnt so much and for that I am very thankful to the theatre for allowing me to join them.”

New Perspectives is hosting a Rehearsal Lunch on Saturday 5th November, 12.15 – 2pm, giving everyone the opportunity to have their own behind-the-scenes creative experience.  We invite you to observe a rehearsal session, followed by a continental buffet lunch with the director and cast. Learn more about the event and book your place online, or contact Claudia on 0115 973 9123 or claudia@newperspectives.co.uk.

Learning the Ropes with New Perspectives

This week, we have been joined by Lauren, who was with us for some work experience in the world of theatre. As this has been the week of the EP Company tour of This Place, she has done a spectacular job of helping out at each venue and during rehearsals, and learned a lot along the way! We asked her to write a blog about her experiences:

My name is Lauren, and this week I have been doing my work experience at New Perspectives. It has been an amazing week and I have learnt a lot about the theatre industry that will help me in the future.

Day One was spent at the office in Basford, where I was introduced to all the staff. I had the opportunity to watch the final technical rehearsal for this year’s Emerging Perspectives Company’s production of This Place. The show contained three original short plays, written and performed by emerging East Midlands talent. I found it really interesting to observe the rehearsal, and witness the technical aspect of putting together a production, and the decisions that have to be made.

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On Tuesday, I travelled with the company to the Bonington Theatre in Arnold. I helped to dress the set with Theresa, the Director, and was taught how to rig the stage lights by Alisia, one of the actors in This Place. It was fascinating to see the amount of work that went into setting up the stage and all of the equipment. As part of Emerging Perspectives, the actors were being taught about the technical side of theatre by Mandy, the Production Manager, so I learnt a lot about the whole process. I’ve always been interested in what happens backstage before the shows, and this gave me an insight into what working in theatre is really like.

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Wednesday took the company to The Old Library in Mansfield where, once again, I helped to set up the rails and props for the performance. Darrell, the Stage Manager, taught me a lot about the stage lights. I learnt about the three different types of lights (profile, Fresnel and par can) and how to focus them by altering the angle and direction, soft focus and hard focus, and then using the shutters (on a profile light) or by opening and closing the box (on a Fresnel light). However, on profile lights, you have to use the opposite shutter to whatever direction you want the lights adjusted. It was slightly tricky at first, mainly because I thought I was going to fall off the ladder, but once I knew what I was doing, I found it quite easy. In addition, I watched the full performance, which I thought was brilliant and thoroughly enjoyed! I liked how all the props were hanging from rails onstage, and I thought the use of space was really creative. The acting was also amazing. Seeing the entire process of arriving, setting up, technical checks and then the actual performance was a completely new experience for me, as normally when I go to the theatre, I never think about what has happened before the show starts.

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We went to St Peter’s Church in Thurgarton on Thursday, which provided the company with several challenges. The stage space inside the church was very small, so the set and lights had to be stripped back. The moving platform remained in the van, along with one of the rails and several stage lights. Theresa, Hope and the actors had to run through every scene change and make adjustments to the set and their entrances and exits, so that nobody clashed in the small stage area. I took part in the actor’s warm-up, which was very funny and bizarre, although nobody else batted an eyelid. Ryan’s warm-up was especially “interesting”. The church itself and surrounding landscape were beautiful, and provided a really nice atmosphere for the performance.

This was my favourite performance, as I have never witnessed a show in such a unique setting before. Watching the cast and crew adapt to such a space was also really interesting, and gave me an insight into the challenges involved with touring theatre. For instance, an unexpected performer made several surprise appearances in the form of the neighbour’s cat, who had managed to sneak into the building, and made several comical attempts to take centre stage. The actors continued despite the distraction, and showed no visible reaction to the incident, which I would have found very difficult.

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Overall, I have had a really fun, exciting experience. I’ve always been a huge fan of the theatre, and this experience has definitely made me want to pursue my passion in college and perhaps as a career. I have learnt so much and I feel like I’ve gained an understanding into a world I previously knew nothing about. All of the people I met were very lovely and welcoming, and I am very thankful to them for taking time out from their jobs to teach me about theatre. I’ve really enjoyed meeting everyone.

Thank you New Perspectives for the best work experience ever!

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Lauren Aitken, Year 10, Kirk Hallam Community Academy