Tag Archives: mystery plays

Goodbye 2014

17 Jan

Wow, so I haven’t updated this blog in ages, so I thought I would write a short post even just to jog my memory and remind me that I DID do theatre last year! Actually, it’ll be remembering it all and sorting it into vague dates that will be the hard bit!

My year in theatre 2014..

January- Auditioned for The Stepmother with YSCP and got the part of Lois Relph. This took up most of the first third of the year and was a brilliant experience. Also continued work with YTR Youth Theatre 16+.

February- See above!

March- See above!

April- The Stepmother at York Theatre Royal. So much love for this play and the people involved.

May- Entered my first Script Factor heat with my play Butter-side Up and won the round!

Butter side up John Saunders

June- In rehearsals for July…

July- A very busy month! It was the final of Script Factor at York Theatre Royal, and my play Going Up got the runner up place which I was really happy about.

Going Up - John Saunders

Then more acting with The Envelope Project and Richard Kay’s play Good Grief. Then there was The York Mystery Plays, acting as Annas in YSCP’s production Christ before Annas and Caiaphas – just about managing to escape the rain and eating many satsumas disdainfully in the process.

August- Assistant Directed on a YTR Play in a Week – Persephone, which was a really fun summer project. Also took Going Up to the Arts Barge Riverside Festival, although we’ll know to have microphones next time!

September- Took Butter-side Up to Leeds Corn Exchange as part of West Yorkshire Theatre Network’s NEXUS festival. It was a fantastic experience to take a little play of mine to an arts festival and get some good feedback – it was performed under my company Bird on Head. I also started assisting with the 8-11s at Youth Theatre.

October- In rehearsals for November…

November- Treading the boards again with York Shakespeare Project as the pretty sadistic Morgan in All’s Well That Ends Well. Some great people and a play in the round, which was really fun to do.

December- Co-writing and co-directing the school play for the Christmas concert! And also receiving some exciting news regarding 2015…

And some of the things I watched..

– The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (National Theatre in Cinemas)

– The Crucible (Old Vic)

– 1984 (Headlong)

– Bondagers (Lyceum Edinburgh)

– Where the White Stops (ANTLER)

– The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatre Mill)

– Fiddler on the Roof (Hull New)

– Les Miserables (Rowntree)

– Twelfth Night (YSP)

– A Number (YTR)

– Blithe Spirit (YTR)

– The Wind in the Willows (YTR)

– Betrayal (YTR)

– Mother Goose (YTR)

TakeOver13 Festival Blog 1

30 Sep

What TakeOver is and how I came to be involved with it

I’m so excited to have been appointed Associate Director for the next TakeOver Festival at the York Theatre Royal which will be happening over three weeks next March, July and the Autumn. The first TakeOver festival was in 2009 and was a massive experiment. Nothing had been seen like it before on that scale. Essentially what happens is that for two or more weeks, the regular staff of the theatre hand over the reigns to a bunch of under 25 year olds who take over the running of the theatre. For these few weeks they are in charge. Each new member of TakeOver staff is given a mentor – so for example the theatre’s Associate Director will be mine – to keep them on the right track and to teach them the ins and outs of their job.

I was involved with the first TakeOver because I was in Equus performed by the theatre’s Young Actors Company and through that I heard about the other exciting things going on and decided to help front of house and a bit in marketing. You can even see me on the TakeOver page on YTR’s website http://www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/page/takeover.php – fun times! Since then, I’ve wanted to be involved on a larger scale, especially because I have since decided that I would really like to have a career in the industry, but I have always been away at uni.. until now! I was aware that there may be another TakeOver coming up so during the end of my degree I checked the website to see if the Senior Management roles were being advertised. Luckily for me, they were, and the dates were perfect to fit in with my masters in York!

The Senior Management team roles are: Artistic Director, Producer, Associate Director, Communications Manager, Production Manager and General Manager. I was torn between a couple of the roles but I soon decided that Associate Director would be the right one for me to apply for. It is essentially heading up Creative Engagement (basically work in and with the local community and Education) with directing and programming thrown in as well. As I am interested in directing as well as education and young people I thought it would be perfect and (during finals.. oops..) I sat down to fill in the application form.


Having set my heart on being involved somehow I was really excited to hear I’d got an interview soon after I had finished university and come back to York. I was interviewed by the Associate Director of YTR, Juliet, and two lovely members of the TakeOver board (more about them in a moment). The interview was relaxed but challenging enough to make me really think what I wanted to get out of TakeOver and what I could offer them. I enjoyed it but as with exams and auditions, I never can tell how interviews have really gone until I know the verdict! I was amazed and thrilled when I heard the next day that I was hired!

Next Steps

It was a while until I heard anything else because the other members of the team had to be recruited and many of their interviews couldn’t be conducted until after the mystery plays frenzy had died down because of their mentors being involved with it. I was invited to a Board Meeting late August but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. As the Senior Management team came together we were given each others details and began to introduce ourselves and on 19th September we had our first big TakeOver day. Only four of the six SMT could make it but it was still good to put faces to names! Firstly we each individually had meetings with our mentors. We discussed my job description and what it meant and I met the rest of the Creative Engagement staff (some of whom I already knew) in their office. Next it was time for a meet and greet with tea and biscuits and members of YTR staff and TakeOver staff followed by a tour of the YTR buildings (so fun to stand on the stage again!). Finally we got to meet the TakeOver Board. There are about 15 members of the board, all under the age of 25 and headed up by a Chair and two Vice Chairs. They help oversee what the SMT do and give us advice with programming ideas etc. It was such an exciting atmosphere with a lot of ages and different levels of experiences and interests around the table and there was some great cake! We talked about the mission for TakeOver and what sort of things would be happening in the near future.

Programming time!

Apparently for the first TakeOver week in March, we have to have chosen what shows and workshops we want to book pretty soon (as in, imminently) for it to make the main YTR brochure. We can have our own print as well of course, but this is a really good way to reach the YTR’s usual audience to let them know what will be going on. As a team, we already have a lot of ideas, and we need more than enough because there’s a fair chance that a lot of it we won’t be able to get due to unavailability, budget etc. Straight after the board meeting, we had a quick pub brainstorm (the best kind) and then all our initial ideas and more were typed up so we could all google and youtube everything. On the 27th September, I was in the theatre in the morning helping with a schools workshop for a lively Year 3 class who were going to watch Tutti Frutti’s Rapunzel in the afternoon (I snuck in too and it was charming) and in the evening, three of the SMT met up to talk through the ideas. On 3rd Oct we have to present them to the board to see what they think and to get some feedback. I’m sure they’ll be very honest with their opinions and I’m looking forward to it!


Long post I know, but writing about TakeOver will help me as well – to order my thoughts and work out what’s to be done next! Any questions or ideas about what you’d like to see, just comment!

Summer project: The York Mystery Plays

2 Jul

Now that my (first) degree is over and I have more time to be doing theatrical stuff I will hopefully be updating my blog more regularly, especially because I hope to study a Masters in Theatre in the coming academic year!

For now, my plug is the York Mystery Plays 2012 (you can follow them on twitter @yorkmystery2012 ). I’m now in rehearsals as a member of the ensemble and it’s looking spectacular, not least because the stage itself is going to be massive but also because there are so many talented people involved. The production is professional but the cast (apart from two) is made up of members of the community… but if I hadn’t had told you that, you wouldn’t have guessed!

It’s on from 2nd August – 27th August and is taking place out of doors in the Museum Gardens. Tickets can be booked through York Theatre Royal.

So if you’re sick of the Olympics already like I am, or just fancy an awesome production of a brilliant story, come along! And I can promise you that you at least will stay dry…

And if you come along when the Carpenters are performing, I can also promise some fantastic faces such as this (taken during the Waggon Mystery Plays 2010…):

Review: Two Planks and a Passion

11 Jul

York Theatre Royal’s and Riding Lights’ Two Planks and a Passion – the third of the former’s main house ensemble plays – is a credit to York and to regional theatre. A charming and entertaining script by Anthony Minghella, a large and talented community cast and atmospheric music by Christopher Madin give this production (on until 16th July) a big heart.

Set in York and based around King Richard II’s visit to the city and to the mystery plays in the late 14th Century, the play focuses just as much on the royals (played by professionals) as on the ‘normal’ citizens of York and on the competition between two of the guilds putting on two of the plays.  Ambitiously, there are two community casts, totalling over 50, which are alternating the run and the cast I saw (the Taylors) had been impeccably cast; there wasn’t a weak link. Most impressively, voice projection, even discounting the fact that it was a largely amateur cast in the round, was spot on – here we have, quite clearly, professional amateurs. Rory Mulvihill and Rebecca Beattie, in particular, have great vocal presence.

The cast have clearly thought hard about their characters as there were some great nuances and subtleties to certain performances. It almost goes without saying that Jonathan Race (as King Richard), Michael Lambourne (as Oxford) and Emily Pithon (as Queen Anne) were on form but it was to the community cast’s credit that they did not seem to ‘stand out’ so significantly as to be distracting. Gemma Shelton, playing a wife of one of the players, gave a very truthful performance and Paul Stonehouse, as the non-too-holy Father Melton, was pitch perfect.

The promised spectacle of the 2012 Mystery Plays in York will need to build on the success of Two Planks and a Passion but it is without a doubt a great introduction to the project and an entertaining, if slightly over-long, stand alone production.

This review is also posted here: http://www.ayoungertheatre.com/review-two-planks-and-a-passion-york-theatre-royal/