Tag Archives: York Shakespeare Project

2016: reminiscing

29 Dec

As we reach the end of 2017 and I take a bit of time to sort things out and tie up loose ends, I like to look back on theatrical adventures throughout the year.. then I realised that on this blog I didn’t do it for 2016! I realise this sort of post is not really interesting to anyone else but I like to do it as it means I have a record somewhere other than my head of the things I got up to.

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I’m going to do 2016 first and hope my memory serves me ok.

So.. ACTING: I was in 3 plays –

Thaisa/Bawd/Fisherman in Pericles with YSP in the Spring

Lucy in The Beggar’s Opera with York Theatre Royal for their Secret Play in May.

Lysandra/Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Well Fangled in July.

[Then teacher training took over for a while..]


I adapted and directed Much Ado About Nothing for my school’s Drama group concert.

I also assisted on A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Youth Theatre and assisted on Gates of Gold with Wildgoose Theatre (more from them in 2017).

No writing this year! At least nothing performed.

I did do some filming for I Am Tim (for their episode, The Hugalope) and did some radio recording for Henry V though.

And some things I WATCHED (unlikely to be an exhaustive list!):

When We Are Married, 9 to 5, The Rivals, The Mystery Plays, Let it Be, The Mai, Wild, Barnbow Canaries, Rent, King Lear, The Donmar’s Shakespeare Trilogy.

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2016: Without a doubt, a trip to Stratford Upon Avon to perform Pericles on their outdoor stage, The Dell. Belting out Once More Unto the Breach at the top of a deserted Middleham Castle for Radio York. Being invited to the York Cultural Awards as Henry V was shortlisted for an award. As an audience member, watching Harriet Walter and her band of sisters in Julius Caesar, Henry IV and The Tempest in the Kings Cross Theatre (Donmar Warehouse). Best £50 I’ve ever spent. Thoroughly inspired. 

LOWLIGHTS: Getting phone and purse nicked backstage, dripping with sweat in Friargate during the year’s heatwave, not meeting Harriet Walter.



2015 – A Theatrical Year.

4 Mar

So, as I did after 2014, I felt it was time to write a summary of theatrical exploits in 2015. As I said before, a lot of this is for me to look back and reflect on what went on, and to look forward to the next lot of fun! So without further ado..


January- Started the directing journey for Drums in the Night by auditioning the cast.

I entered my short script Blu to Script Factor and won the heat.

February- Rehearsals for Drums in the Night began. I was flattered and excited to be working with such a strong cast and crew on a text which I had studied in the original German at university.


March- See above!

April- Drums in the Night opened at Friargate Theatre. It was fantastic to be back in the directing chair but the joy of the play was everything coming together as I had envisaged thanks to lots of hard work from everyone.

May- Drums in the Night came to a close and I had my audition for Henry V..

June- Henry V rehearsals start!

July- This always seems to end up being a busy month!

We had the Drama Club Summer play at school – called The School Trip which I co-wrote and co-directed.

Also, it was the 8-11 Youth Theatre’s performance of The Hairdo That Got Away which was great fun.

I put on Blu as part of The Love Arts Festival at Friargate Theatre with my company Bird on Head Theatre.


.. and it was the Script Factor final. I wrote a play called The Absolute which was based on the theme of Relativity and was about a couple’s relationship, told from after one of their deaths. It came second place!


August- Henry V rehearsals started up again.

September- See above. That was literally my life for the second half of the year.

I also began to co-run Script York.

October- Henry V with my Barnbows. What more can I say? I loved loved loved this experience. It is hard to put it into words.

November- A bit of a rest but with Script Factor and some Shakespeare meet ups thrown in!

December- Assisting on the school production of The Wizard of Oz to round off the year.

And some of the things I watched..

– South Pacific (York Theatre Royal)

– Les Acteurs et La Dispute (TFTV York)

-Hamlet (Royal Exchange in cinemas)

-Romeo and Juliet (Flanagen Collective)

– Shakespeare in his Cups (YTR)

– Timon of Athens (YSP)

– The Comedy of Errors (Handlebards)

– High Society (Old Vic)

– Henry V (RSC Schools/Hull Truck)

– The Maids (Hedgepig)

– Richard II (Bronzehead)

– In Fog and Falling Snow (YTR/NRM)

– The Railway Children (YTR/NRM)

– Avenue Q (West End tour/GOH)

– Bend it Like Beckham (Phoenix Theatre)

– Dick Whittington and his Meerkat (YTR/NRM)

– The Great Gatsby (The Guild of Misrule)


And 2016??

The first project of 2016 is Pericles with The York Shakespeare Project in April. More about that soon…




Henry on the wireless.. #ysphenry

23 Oct

Listen to Maggie (Henry V Director) and me talking about the play and the experience of setting it in World War One with an all-female cast. (From 2minutes 30secs in).

See my last post for details of tickets – on in York until 31st October.

Henry V – Upstage York – 21st-31st October.

14 Oct

I’m currently playing Henry V in this production at Upstage (41 Monkgate York). Watch our trailer, like our page and come along!

YSP Henry Facebook Page

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)

TakeOver and beyond…

18 Jan

2014. Wow. I’m a little bit behind with this blogging business aren’t I?!

TakeOver stuff…

I realise that the last time I blogged was around week two of three of TakeOver festival. The third week came and went in October, during which I ran a Play in a Day session for 10-14 year olds based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was, in the words of one of my wonderful actors, an “absolutely tutley awesome” day!

I am very grateful to have been involved in the whole process on a Senior Management level, and proud of what the whole team achieved. To have such a hands on experience in a professional theatre (York Theatre Royal) for over a year, including the three intensive weeks which we programmed and managed ourselves, was at times exhausting and frustrating, but at others extremely exciting and an invaluable insight into how a theatre works. Beyond that, I met lots of amazing people and saw some brilliant shows, most of which would never have come to York if it wasn’t for us. Some personal highlights include the irreverent Self Service by Milk Presents, Bitch Boxer written and performed by the multi-talented Charlotte Josephine and Titus Andronicus by the all-female Smooth Faced Gentlemen, who basically came on stage and defined why I want to do theatre.

I’m sure I will have more thoughts on TakeOver as the evaluation process still continues, but I felt a little blog post to round things off at this stage would do nicely. Also it’s kind of a way to make up for not being able to attend a discussion day today.

Non TakeOver stuff…

Towards the end of TakeOver I also completed my MA in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance, which I graduate from next week.

I also assisted for a short while on A Winter’s Tale by Common Ground, adapted and directed by two of my university tutors, which will be touring York and rural Yorkshire in the coming months. I’m looking forward to seeing how it has developed since I last saw it in its exciting early stages a few months ago.

I’ve also got more actively involved in the York Shakespeare Project, performing in their Measure for Measure in November, and becoming a committee member.

November also saw Twice Upon A Time performed in the York Theatre Royal studio by the 16+ Youth Theatre, on which I assistant directed. I love doing Youth Theatre, it never feels like work!

Finally, my first theatrical endeavour of 2014 will be taking the title role in Githa Sowerby’s The Stepmother, to be performed in March at York Theatre Royal which is hugely exciting! More about that in my next post…

Summer’s lease hath all too short a date

21 Aug

As my long summer suddenly speeds towards its end and my approaching birthday once again warns me that I don’t actually have that long until I need to begin studying again, I felt now would be a good time to continue to put off said studying and write a blog post about my theatre experiences this summer.

Summer is the time of year where many theatres close to prepare for the new season but is also the time when audiences get to sample the delights of open air or site specific theatre.

In July, I went to the grounds of Ripley Castle to experience my first Sprite Productions show; ‘Macbeth’. I say ‘experience’ because this was more than just a play. I have seen, and performed in, the Scottish play countless times and can quite geekily quote passages off by heart, but the set up of this particular production, directed by Charlotte Bennett, made the audience see this well known play with a fresh pair of eyes.  ‘Macbeth’ was a real day out – we sat in the grounds to eat our picnic before being ushered by the three weird sisters to the first location; this was to be a promenade performance through the woods which surround the castle and lake. The audience moved between large areas which represented battlefields to more secluded and intimate corners of the wood for Macbeth’s palace and the witches’ lair and even were invited to sit down and eat the food at a banquet table for the scene where Banquo’s ghost appears. There was not a weak link in the cast – Catherine Pugh as one of the weird sisters was a small but standout performance – and every detail had obviously been clearly thought about. I look forward to getting up to Ripley to see future Sprite productions.

The very next day I was on to more of the Bard! This time, back in York but still outdoors (Rowntree Park) for the York Shakespeare Project’s latest offering of ‘Much Ado about Nothing’. The project, made up of mostly amateur actors but often employing professional directors, aims to stage all of Shakespeare’s plays in a twenty year period (of which it is now half way through). As is the case with British weather, the performance we had originally booked for was rained off but happily we managed to catch it on their last night. What I like most about the project as an audience member is that it always looks as if the cast are having a really good time and are passionate about what they are doing. Yes, there was the odd line stumbled upon and a couple of projection issues but it was fun and enjoyable. The director had chosen to set the play in post war Britain which worked rather well and the songs and dances that were included were well choreographed. Stand out performer was Sebastian Hulkkov as Benedick. He really did the character justice and seemed the most at ease with Shakespeare’s verse. An entertaining evening.

I’ve been getting into a bit of Shakespeare myself with a summer workshop at Upstage Centre where we performed ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. It was a challenge to get a show up in a short amount of time with an age range from 8 years old to 20 (me!) but it was rewarding for everyone when we had a very appreciative audience who weren’t afraid to laugh! I enjoyed playing two roles- Lysander and Starveling – it was fun to be playing a man again!

So, it’s been a bit of a Shakespeare overload this summer (not that I’m complaining!). I’ve also seen York Theatre Royal’s summer show in the main house in the round, ‘Peter Pan’. Since ‘The Railway Children’ in 2008, the theatre has created a reputation for good family shows in the summer months (adapted from well known favourites by Mike Kenny) and this didn’t disappoint, although I have to say that ‘The Railway Children’ is still my favourite (it’s now in London and Canada). Unlike ‘Wind in the Willows’ last year which really drew you in with the storytelling, at times ‘Peter Pan’ almost threatened to descend into panto which clearly entertained the children in the house and the Down’s boy that came with us loved Martin Barrass as Smee and the big crocodile at the end. I enjoyed the Belt Up actors as the pirates and the youth cast were also very accomplished. As usual, the stage design, effects and costumes were obviously well researched and executed. ‘Peter Pan’ didn’t exactly blow me away but it is a magical family show for a summer evening, rain or shine! (On until Saturday 3rd September).