If you like to read my interview with Darren Hutchinson you can read the full interview by going onto my second blog, 24/7 Theatre on 24MM, which covers my placement with Dremscop and my experience.
with nerves running through me and determination, I was on my way to Salford Quays to the headquarters of Dreamscope TV, where I would be working with the team to film the evolution of the festival. I was there to Meet Darren Hutchinson, founder of Dreamscope and who I would be working closely with in my placement at the company. There I would ask him the many questions that I needed answering and to prepare myself for what was to come.
If you like to read my interview with Darren Hutchinson you can read the full interview by going onto my second blog, 24/7 Theatre on 24MM, which covers my placement with Dremscop and my experience.
Having being placed with to work with Dremacope on the process of the Festival's growth. I have created a separate blog to follow my experience working with Dreamscope and the things I learned as well the background action leading towards the opening of the Festival.
As titled above the blog is titled, 24/7 Theatre on 24MM. Make sure to keep your eye out to link pages that will lead you deeper into my placement with Dreamscope and the different roles I played within the team.
Location: Costa Coffee-Manchester City Centre
I met Anne Marie at the Costa Coffee located in the Manchester Piccadilly area. We were meeting today to discuss my preparation for my placement with Dreamscope Tv and to discuss what I hoped to achieve with both with the placement and what I what I wanted to do after the Foot in the Door Scheme.
We met inside at 1pm and begun our conversation. I told Anne Marie that I was hoping to get a hands on experience with the company and have the opportunity to use the equipment and gain the knowledge to understand how to use certain equipment for future use. Anne-Marie suggested that I message Darren of Dreamscope and organise a meeting so I could have a better knowledge of my role in the team and what I would be doing during the festival. It would also give me an insight into how a film company like Dreamscope get involved with projects and commericalise their work and activities.
Anne-Marie began to ask me what I it was film making was my career goal in life. I explained to her that I was an Actor first but I wanted to expand and stretch my creativity into different aspects, contain many skills in both writing and directing. I have always been keen in film making, having worked on a number of short films and television sets as an extra I have always been fascinated by the director and his teams ambition in telling a story and using a variety of techniques and experimentation. I feel that with film making I could share a story with people not just in the Northwest but around England at festivals and trying to always create something new and unexpected that you knew you had.
Anne-Marie appeared impressed by my ambition and the methods I was using to keep active as a creative person and suggested a few options that could help me develop.
Location: The Adelphi Building, University of Salford
Arriving at the Adelphi Building, outside the University of Salford, it felt good to be back at my old space where I did my three years of studying Performance and Theatre. Reaching the top floor of the building and entering room AC 221, the large rehearsal space and where the workshop for Stage Management was being held by Shannon Stoneham.
Mentor: Shannon Stoneham
Shannon Stoneham is a northern based theatre producer and director and has been involved in a number of theatre projects, big and small and has many experience and is respected in the theatre world.
Shannon workshop was a full, detailed insight on the role of a Stage Manager and the different roles and approaches in creating a theatre show from script to stage. Everything we needed to know in producing a play from understanding the subject of the piece, how much would it cost to perform, gathering cast and crew, where the performance would be held, costume, rehearsals, how to get funding and props and how to organise a budget. Everything that was key in bringing a piece together was all covered with Shannon giving examples of working in that environment and what to expect from each rehearsal or experience.
Shannon brought in a scrapbook filled with drawings and photos of sets from shows she had managed and the preparation that was involved as well as notes and critiques from each rehearsal. She also brought in a collection of miniature set designs.
Lighting+ Health & Safety
Mentor: Mark Creamer
Mark Creamer is a skilled lighting and sound engineer who works at the University as well as being a key team member of the 24:7 Theatre Festival.
Creamer's workshop was based around an insight look of what a lighting technician includes as well as the importance of Health and Safety of every performance. Like Shannon, Mark gave us a detailed insight into working as a lighting technician from working with the director in how communication is key in deciding the correct colour pallet and lighting style for a particular scene.
Next we looked at Health & Safety and how it was important to look out for everyone on team and make and write stage evaluations, pointing out hanzards on and behind the stage so it wouldn't cause harm to the performer of the audience. It was also the Stage Mananger job to agree if the action was safe or not and had the power to deny the action to happen on stage unless there was an alternative like portraying fire on stage.
Location: Escalator Cafe
Meeting at the planned location on time, I met my team and we were all lead to the the big Conference room where Annika and Kate, co-founder of Colour the Clouds Theatre were setting their presentation on stage.Once we were all sat down the presentation began. The presentation first covered on the history of the Foot in the Door, from its early beginning and how it had developed into a key feature of the Festival. How to pay a invoice property, working freelance and the many people who in last year's scheme have taken their new skills and used them to develop in selective careers within the arts industry.
The second half of the presentation covered the goals of Newtworking. How working alongside people and keeping in contact with those individuals can lead to more job opportunities and to work with new and interesting people that can help you develop a strong career in the arts. We also covered the basis of presentation, how to present yourself in a professional manner and how your personality can have a strong effect in a business environment. This led into an exercise in which we had to right four names of people who we met in networking and how they could us develop in creating new business opportunities and new contacts. Afterwards we began discussing that once we were put into our placements we had to keep a strong communication with them by having basic meeting, meeting up for coffee and speaking to them like a person and not just a business partner.
After a short lunch break we continued the presentation.
We began discussing being representatives of 24:7 and how to show this in professional e-mails or in other representations or media. We were shown examples of how to write an e-mail professionally and how not to write one. Many from past members of the Foot in the Door scheme.
We watched a Youtube documentary called 'Don't post it on facebook' which showcased how business partners use social media to look at the background of a person to understand their personality. It taught us how to separate your business life and social life and how you must be careful what you post online.
We were introduced to the Arts Awards. A special program in which we would each create a project and keep a portfolio of our process. the subject could cover anything from working your experiences working within the festival or the selected apprenticeship you were put into. We could cover other subjects outside the festival. We could use different methods to show our process from online blogs, files, notebooks or other. These would be used to inspire others to join the Foot in the door scheme and your skill set.
After the presentation we were told to wait outside and one by one we would be told which company we would be working with and what are role would include. I was chosen to work with Dreamscope TV company. My role included filming the festival with the a professional film making company. I was very pleased to hear this as it was my top choice and knew it would help me develop as a film maker.
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, my name is Luke Richards. At a young age I have always been creative from writing short stories of pure randomness or pretending to fight crime as the red power ranger in the school playground. Coming from a small town in the south side of Manchester, you had to find different ways to entertain yourself, especially in a working class town like Hyde.
But it hasn’t been easy. Being born with a facial disfigurement, I was bullied on a number of occasions which affected my confidence. I was also very shy and found it difficult to talk to people, always looking down and mumbling most of my words. But I was determined to overcome my fears and push myself to achieve this. My parents supported me by taking me to a local theatre company and with each class my confidence began to grow, I was finding it easy to approach people and have a full conversation with another person. I became hardworking, motivated and grew a positive attitude. This would also be my first step in building my interest in theatre.
With each production I was involved I was taken by the hard work and commitment of each member. I was amazed at the commitment and preparation each member brought to the production and how they worked closely each other from the Stage Manager take notes on each prop to the sound and lighting team that would work with director to create the mood and atmosphere of the selected scene. I would watch each production member work and during breaks I would ask them number of questions to get a better understanding on how they approached each task and the requirements needed to create an effective performance. When not performing I would even get involved with another production and take on certain job roles, whether sitting in the lighting booth and controlling the lights or working backstage during rehearsals and taking notes on selective cues and items needed.
With each project I was involved with I would make sure to write down what I had learned and take it with me if involved with other future productions. I would attend theatre performances around Manchester, whether it is The Royal Exchange’s performance of Punk Rock or a local theatre company’s production of Wuthering Heights. I would remember what I had written down and take notes on what I saw on the stage and behind the stage and study each action to see if I would do anything similar or take a different approach.
I consider myself a performer first but since starting collage my interest in writing began to expand and develop. During lunch break’s I would write little scripts which grew into a full two part murder mystery spoof called It’s a Wonderful Murder, continuing to push myself in developing something new and sharpening my childhood hobby into something productive. I would share my scripts with my friends and tutors and they would each give me feedback and what were the strongest and weakest aspects of the script. With each feedback I received it motivated me to keep writing and research other works in order to grow as a writer.
During my time studying at the University of Salford, I began to develop a strong interest in working as a collective and working alongside people who shared the same interest in developing new shows either it be a dark abstract performance that studied the flaws of human society or a fast pace farce about a dinner party between a rich and poor couple which ends in one massive pie fight. The group and I would work closely together on each production. From planning the story of the piece, the structure of each scene and what requirements would be needed prop or tech wise. With each rehearsal we would swap roles, one day I would be the director of the piece, talking with the cast about how to stage the scene and the next day I could be sorting out the publicity for the show and creating posters and using social media to persuade people to come and support our show. With each rehearsal I would learn the do’s and don’ts of each role, learning from each mistake or achievement and telling myself, ‘how I would approach it next time to create a flawless show each night?’ I would ask for feedback from both friends and tutors and write down the key points that were said.
A second interest that I developed was my approach to working on a media production. With each production I worked on I would observe how each team member would perform each task. How the person with the mic would make sure to catch the dialogue between the cast members, how the director staged a scene. From taking a basic storyboard and translating it in front of the camera. I was fascinated with the time that each member took to make sure that everything was perfect and were prepared to record again if any problems occurred. After filming was completed I would sit with the director in the editing room and watch him closely on how he edited the scenes together, which programmes to use such as Final edit pro and how the final product looked after completion.
With these collected skills I began developing a performance for last year’s Manchester Fringe Festival called This is Manchester. Being part of a professional theatre event was a milestone in my development and understanding. It opened my eyes on what needed to be done and how to work within professional environment, from creating a press package to be used for the festival’s website and published articles. Requiring and negotiationing the performance space with the owners of the selected venue and creating a strong communication between you, the venue owners and the people running the festival. I created the publicity for the show from creating the posters, getting them printed and going around Manchester to selected cafe’s and venues that would let me stick the posters up and for the aimed audience. I made sure that people were aware of the performance on social media by creating little teaser trailers for the piece and production photos showing the development I did for the piece.
Since Graduation and the start of this year I have concentrated on developing my writing and directing. One of my scripts was shortlisted for Contact Compacts last year and my script, The Madcap Laughs has been selected for the Now Part of Festival this year. Next month I will be begin production on a short film as both writer and director and the process casting the piece as well as gaining support of the northern based production company who are producing the piece with me, Sic Infit Productions.
In the future I would to be consider as a performer but extend that field as a writer and director of both theatre/ tv and film and create a production team that works with local and new collaborators to develop new and interested shows for a new generation of audiences. I would also like to company to support people who share the same ambition but either live in deprived areas or themselves suffer a psychical or mental disability and inspire them to know that it doesn’t matter if your disfigured or suffer from minor autism, if I can come this far, so can they, Because art doesn’t judge.
Thank you for your time
Location, The Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays
Mentor: Anne Marie Crowher/ Aliki Chapple
The Lowry Theatre is one of the most dynamic and respected theatre spaces in the Northwest. This would be the location for where we would present our speeches to a number of theatre creatives, directors, writers and associates. One of them would choose us to join them and work alongside them during the days leading up to the 24:7 Theatre Festival.
We all met in the cafe area of the Lowry, having cups of tea and coffee and general conversation. Looking at the posters for shows that were going to perform at the venue. Later Anne Marie arrived and let us to the room where we would prepare. We each got into a circle and begun discussing how we've been and what new interesting things we did or learned.
We started the exercise with a few warm up sessions. This including walking around the room counting 7 items within the room that were colored green. After that we were put into groups and together we had to create and design a theatre group, a logo and what shows we intended to create. We were each given a piece of tin foil and were told to use it to create our logo. My group and I decided that our company would focus on creating abstract, and experimental stage adaptions based of classic films and novels like Frankenstein and Hitchcock's Psycho , bringing a different take on the well known. We called our Alternative Theatre and with our logo it would be a opposite reflective alphabets, so from one angle it would say AT from the opposite side it would say still spell AT.
Following from that workshop we were put into groups of two and were asked to grab a program or poster for a show and discuss that intrigued to see that show and its appeal. My partner and I chose the Dial M for Murder poster and explained that it appealed to us because it was a stage adaptation of a well known Alfred Hitchcock feature film and both being fans of film making would like to see how they adapted this material from screen to stage.
Mentor 2: Aliki Chapple
After a quick break, Aliki arrived. Aliki asked us how were feeling, which we all replied both nervous but confident. She started her session with a few breathing exercises that we previously done with her and a stretches to make our bodies loose and control our breathing. With our bodies stretched and our diaphragms exercised we begun to share our edited and polished speeches and performed them to our group and Aliki. After each speech Aliki gave us constructive feedback and methods that would help us present the speeches with more life and for our personalities to shine.
After the exercise Aliki told us to keep calm, take your time and most importantly be yourself when you present your speeches to the guest.
After lunch, a strong coffee later, we were introduced to the members and others who were associated with 24:7 team like David Slack, theatre director Ian Townsend, James Harker whose piece was performing in the festival and many more. My friend Tom Byrne was there was well as he was there to represent Scallywags Theatre company, a group that focuses on children's theatre.
Once all the attendees arrived, we all sat down and Annika welcomed everyone who attended. One by one we would each get a small introduction from Annika and whilst we would give our speeches, the attendee's would with notes on what they liked about speech, what they thought of us and what we could do to improve our speech.
When it was my time to present my speech, I felt calm and confident and remembered the exercises that Anne-Marie, Akiel (who was there) and Aliki had taught me. I gave my speech, making sure to tell the key details (coming from a working class background to becoming an actor and wanting to direct theatre and film) and making sure that I kept my speech alive from my presentation and that I showed appeal. At one point a phone went off and I had to wait until it put on silent. Which gave me more time to remember what I was saying and to control my breathing.
When I finished my speech and received an applaud from the audience and returned to my seat to listen to the other speeches. Once all the speeches were told we all got up and shook hands and received our notes from the attendees, all who gave us praise and respect to present to them.
my notes were all positive words which said that I 'had great experience and clear motivation'. Another note said that my speech had a 'nice pace and tone'. The only criticism from one speech said that my speech cam over as a bit 'rehearsed'.
When all the attendees left, we all made our way to the bar section of the Lowry and waiting for us were a number of wine glasses and two bottles of red and white wine. We all cheered each other and to a job well done. We all decided to create a Facebook group to share notes and keep in contact with each other and share out progress. It was comically called 'Footies 2015-Check in Bitches'.
I felt a great sense of achievement and, having the courage to stand in front of theatre and business professionals and to give a speech in front of them, as a professional and hoping to expand my knowledge.
Now was the time to wait and see which attendee would select me to work with them for the Festival.
Location: Methodist Centre, Northern Quarter.
Mentor: Aliki Chapple
Arriving at the centre, in the heart of Manchester's artsy and diverse area. Entering the Methodist centre across from the Manchester coffee shop, we were led into a large space where we would be doing our next step in our training. Today we would be working with Aliki again from last week's training.
We started the session with a few stretches and breathing exercises that Aliki had taught us in order to get us prepared for the day. Afterwards we began playing a few concentration games. In one game we had to sit in different areas of the room and one by one we had to swap chairs while another person would rush to take your seat if unguarded. The purpose of the game was to work as a team and communicate with each other without talking, so using eye contact and knowing when to move whilst being supported by the other person.
Next we played a creative game in which we were all in circle and we get a 'mysterious package' and had to act out the weight of the item and it could be anything we wanted from a kite, a rock or a bee etc.
Now fully awake and prepared we all did a daily update, telling our group what we had been up to over the week and what we thought of the workshop and looking forward to what we were going to do today. From there Aliki informed us that today we were going to work on our speeches for the presentation tomorrow with the people involved with the placements.
We were given 10 minutes alone to write our speeches and reflect on what we had learned. Aliki would assist us if we needed any help with wording or to develop our speeches.
After lunch we all sat in a row and one by one we would get up and read our rough drafts. Aliki would time us to make sure we did not go over 5 minutes as she would provide creative feedback that could help us improve our speeches. When I first read my darft I was quite nervous, I was rushing in a few sections and some wording needed development. Aliki started by giving me positive feedback. She told me my speech showed my personality and enjoyed the flow on how it followed my upbringing from a working town like Hyde and how I've always aspired to work in different fields of creativity from acting and directing short films. She also liked the use of engaging words and how it showed that I worked well in a team.
However she did suggest that I should look into breathing exercises to control my nerves and take my time in delivery. A second critique was to end the piece with a strong ending, showing the audience what particular career path I want to follow and what I hope to achieve.
After everyone gave their speeches and were given feedback, Aliki congratulated us for pushing ourselves into standing up and presenting our rough speeches. She believed that we can do well in the presentation tomorrow and that each one of us shows a vast growth of talent and how we have gone from shy people in a small room within a fire station to outspoken speakers and close friends.
We ended the session with a few breathing sessions and stretches and thanked Aliki for her services. She informed us that she would be with us at The Lowry tomorrow for the presentations and help us with our speeches if we needed assistance on the day.
Location: Wellington Fire Station
Mentor: Anne-Marie Crowher
Back the station for another day of training, the subject we focused on today was story telling, how to tell a story professionally and bring life to it. We started the day the same way as usual with breathing exercises and in a circle discuss what we were up to and what we thought of the training so far. We all agreed that the training was helping us develop not just as individuals but as speakers and confidence building in what we do or who we talk to.
We started the exercise by being put int groups of two and the subject that we have reached the age of 100 and we had to make a speech, a reflective speech about our life and achievements. We each shared our speeches and share feedback on what we thought. We then reflected on each oters speeches and would ask each other the following questions.
We would ask each other these questions and what we were hoping to reflect in the speeches.
My speech focused out the positive and negatives of my life and how they have helped me to be a better man and achieve my goal.
The next exercise we did was in a group of three we would start a random argument that would continue for five minutes and then we had to resolve it. We had to this by using the same questioning and answering techniques we learned yesterday at the Library. My argument, alongside Matt and Judith, focused on a couple trying to decide what film to see, Mad Max or A Royal Night Out? We both gave our argument on why each film interested us and why we should see it. In the end we agreed that we could either see the films with other friends and family or see another film.
During lunch we were asked to draw a spider diagram of all the things that inspired us both as a person and creatively. We all went to the pub across from the fire station and begun drawing and creating our diagrams, in with detailed designs, stories and drawings. After lunch we were put into groups of five and we would each show our spider diagrams. Each diagram was instyled in a different, from one reflecting a river to another being styled as a funfair map. My was styled as a large circle, leading from birth and my experiences which have made me who I am today. Each one breaking into different sections based on hobbies and life experiences, the ups and downs. It felt we were all connecting and opening up with each other while explaining every moment we had drawn in our diagrams. We shared our diagrams with everyone and explained them to our group.
Storytelling Workshop: Part II
Mentor: Akiel Chinelo
Akiel Chinelo is a Manchester based story teller and spoken poetry performer who is known for his poems and stories based around certain subjects like prison life, the Manchester Hacienda era, the pirate radio stations in Levenshulme and much more. Akiel would be teaching us on how to tell and create a story. Akiel brought a bag of items and one by one we would each go over to the bag and pull out an item. I pulled out a small toy boat. In a circle, Akiel asked us to take a true story from the person next to us and to tell that story but to include the item in the story. Jenny told me her story of when her mum bought her a pet dog and she saw him running around the garden. Her item was a coin and I told her the story of when I lost my parents on holiday when I was young. When telling jenny's story I told them that the toy boat was the first item the dog played with outside. Jenny took my story and said that the penny was the item that distracted me and made me get lost.
After listening to everyone's stories, Akiel asked us our names and to tell us two interesting facts about ourselves. I told him my name and that I played bass and I've started writing more since being on the workshop.
Once everyone told their names and facts, Akiel advised us to use these techniques and facts for our presentations. He said it was important for your personality to show through your speeches and not to put on an act. How toy had to be genuine and not treat your audience like morons. By doing this our stories would flow easier and the more deatiled we added would show them our skills and reflect our personality.
We thanked Akiel for his motivational words and teachings and were informed by Anne Marie that our next lesson would be held next Monday at the Methodist centre in Northern Quarter.
Location: Manchester Piccadilly
Mentor: Anne-Marie Crowher
A different background from where we did our training for the last two days. Me all met in the heart of Manchester Piccadilly. We began as usual by, in a circle would tell each other what we thought of the workshop so far both personally and within the art world.
Anne-Marie begun the session by introducing us to a new training exercise which we called the Walking Planning game. The purpose of the game was to planning a starting point and an ending spot of your own choice (from the cafe Nero on the park towards the big wheel for example). What would you do is say what your personal goal was (I want to be a director) and with each step towards the ending point you can stop at certain points and discuss, how you were going to get there, who you could work with to achieve this goal and when you reached the end you would review what you said to get where you are in achieving your dream goal. This exercise helped us think and plan our career paths and understand what actions and choices that we must make in order to get to the end.
We were split into groups of two or three and we each have a go at the game. My group and I did the game at the Royal Exchange Theatre.
After lunch we all met outside the national Library in the heart of Manchester. There we played a game where we were separated into two groups, blue group and red group. I was within the blue group alongside four of my teammates. We game focused on trust and in the game, the rules follows:
We each had the choice of choosing two icons '+' or '-'
Each group can win a point by either selecting either plus and the other team choosing the minus. If one team chose plus they win a point if the other team chose minus. If both teams chose both the same symbol the they each would lose two points. The team was allowed to come together and have a conversation, a peace talk in a sense. The game continued for about twenty minutes, with our team winning by three points more than the other team.
The next exercise we did focused on asking a natural question and how you can dvelop that in order to receive a better and more in depth answer instead of a basic 'yes' and 'no' answer. It required us to bring ask our question, but with more detail in order to achieve this answer. Anne told us that we shouldn't start a question with a 'Why?' as it is mainly used to justify yourself and that we should try to avoid saying that within a question.
one exercise, Anne-Marie brought a small cake and we had to create a deep question about the cake 'Do you think the lemon tasting in the cake is delicious or would suggest that more can be done with it to make it sweeter?'. In another exercise, we were each given a piece of paper with a question on it; for example mine said 'Why don't you want to date someoen your own age?'. We had to construct a alternative way of asking that question. We were put into groups of three and we each discussed what ways we could ask the question without using the word 'why?' and make it feel like we were attacking the person we were asking and or less negative. We had five minutes to do this.
After 5 Minutes my group and I came up with the alternative examples of the original question:
1st: What do you like about older woman/men?
Although better than the original question, we were asked why would we say the word 'older'. As this would mainly target the fact that the person's age instead of the individual.
The second alternative question was
Best version: What do you like about her/him?
This was better due to the fact it focuses on the person in question and doesn't intimidate the person being asked or focuses on one of the issues.
At the end of the session we were given homework. We had to construct a three to five minute presentation about ourselves for the opening evening in which we would have to present to a number of people who were involved with the Scheme and who we would be working with as our placements and throughout the festival.