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Best Practice – Working with Protected Adults

Best Practice – Working with Protected Adults

A question came up at the AGM last year about working practices when considering ‘protected adults’ (please refer to PVG page in the Legislation section of the SCDA website for link to definition of a protected adult) as everything still feels very focussed on child protection.

I agreed to go away and do some research and unfortunately have come up with very little.

There are guidelines on supervising protected adults who want to volunteer for work or for staff working in organisations whose sole purpose is to support vulnerable or protected adults but I couldn’t locate anything that might provide some advice about how to mitigate risks and keep everyone as safe as possible that might be useful.  So… I asked myself “how we can all enjoy the benefits of being involved in drama but keep ourselves safe without being intrusive”

We are all people with different needs and if I were allergic to peanuts or diabetic I would have some responsibility to tell someone in case an emergency situation occurred and I wasn’t able to communicate at that point.  On the other hand it may just be part of my every day life and I wouldn’t think to mention it.  If you have a protected adult in your group they and/or their parent/guardian or carer may not necessarily automatically think to tell you either because it is part of their every day life.

What should you do?

My suggestion is that you ask everyone the same questions about allergies or medical needs and make sure details are available at every rehearsal.  If people choose not to tell you that is their choice, but it does provide that extra bit of security having it properly logged in case of emergency.

Any of us can have an accident in the rehearsal room, it isn’t just young people who might slip or fall – do you have up to date emergency contact details for everyone and an agreed process for logging any accidents?  Why not put this in place now – you need to do this if you are working with children so why not do it for everyone?

Unless your club runs activities aimed at ‘protected adults’ it is almost certain that anything you do will be ‘incidental’ rather than ‘regulated’ work due to being open to everyone therefore not meeting the criteria for the PVG scheme.  However if you do have any doubts on this please contact Volunteer Scotland to get their advice.

Talk to your members – make it as easy as possible for them to let you know if you have any specific needs and share the information with everyone who needs to know (in agreement with the individual).  I think if we are sensitive and responsive that is the best practice and we don’t need someone else to tell us how to do that.

Take a look at the Legislation section of the website and you will find useful resources and templates on the PVG page.  These can easily be adapted for your club and will save you a lot of time.

I am always happy to get your comments and feedback so feel free to respond to this blog or email me on nda@scda.org.uk

See you down the road

Carole

 

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Carole – Aberdeen Antics

Carole – Aberdeen Antics

I love taking the train up to Aberdeen from Glasgow, it passes through some of the most beautiful scenery.  When we arrive on the East Coast passing through Carnoustie (I wave to my friends at the Dibble Tree theatre), Dundee, Arbroath, Montrose and, on this occasion, a misty arrival in Aberdeen.  After a few hours of sitting down I enjoy my walk up to the Arts Centre Aberdeen even if it is raining, there’s always a warm welcome waiting for me.

Unfortunately the planned workshop for Monday evening didn’t happen, we hadn’t taken into account the fact that we had scheduled it for Monday 31 October and apologies were received from people with young children who were trick or treating although by this time the rain was relentless so I think most people were probably quite happy to stay indoors.

Tuesday evening the Aberdeen district workshop was scheduled and I knew that Peter would do his best to ensure that we had a good turnout.  It’s always great to see people from different clubs coming together and alongside the regulars there were some new faces.  I had agreed with Peter that I would deliver a mask workshop which was ready to go – masks purchased.  I had however created a movement workshop for Monday based on a process used by one of the movement directors at the National Theatre and I felt that it may be more beneficial for attendees so I asked Peter if it would be ok to make this last minute change, postponing masks to a later date.

Following some general warm ups and group movement tasks we started working together to create a piece of ‘chorus’ movement working with everyday objects and choreographing individual movements into a cohesive whole.  We then built in some text and looked at dynamics, pace and playing with different versions to see what we liked and what we didn’t think worked so well.  We decided that I should film our ‘final’ version so that we could look at it critically together to allow everyone to see the overall effect.

I think that it gave everyone something to think about and with panto on the horizon I thought this would give a contemporary twist to chorus moments rather than having to only use more traditional ways of choreography.  As always I learned a lot and will definitely market this workshop with some tweaks so if this sounds like something you would like please contact me on nda@scda.org.uk to agree a date.

Unfortunately with me taking on such an intensive role of leading/choreographing I wasn’t able to take photos.  I don’t want to post the short film as it wasn’t performance ready and I haven’t got permission from the attendees – if you want to see how the process works you’ll just have to book a workshop!

Thanks as always to everyone for being so open and generous with me and each other and to Paula and Tom for their usual hospitality, it’s like a home from home!

See you down the road
Carole

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Carole – Off to Orkney

Carole – Off to Orkney

Hopefully you will all know that SCDA is a national organisation and that includes my services.  This resulted in my first ever trip to Orkney.  I had met some SCDA members at a Divisional workshop in Aberdeen last year and we had bumped into each other again at the Scottish final and the SCDA anniversary celebrations this year.  Each time we had chatted about the possibility of me coming up to deliver a workshop and the wheels were set in motion.

After settling on a a weekend at the end of September, our plans were for clubs to perform scenes from a play that could be performed as a ‘work in progress’ and I would workshop elements to explore alternative ways of performance and/or how to take the performance forward to the next level.  This was all to be done with the clear understanding that I was not adjudicating the performances just looking for opportunities to provide some new ideas and, where appropriate, some performance technique.

As the weekend grew closer it because apparent that this approach was not going to be suitable for a number of reasons so we reverted to 2 standalone workshops.  I was asked to deliver something similar to the Aberdeen workshop for one workshop and the other was left to me.  I didn’t want to repeat a workshop so I designed something new based on the central theme of ensemble working.  As I knew that the age range could be from 11 to 111 workshop 1 focussed on some general drama techniques leading to a short devised performances in smaller groups which produced some interesting, and sometimes hilarious results.  The play that had originally been under consideration had elements of choral speaking so I decided to design the 2nd workshop around this with some voice and text work followed again by small groups working to on choral speaking – this also linked the 2 workshops as both required a  high level of collaboration as well as technique.

After a relatively smooth journey my host for the trip, Margaret Sutherland, met me at the airport and the game was afoot!  After dropping my bag Margaret took on the role of tourist guide and we headed off to the first of Orkney’s many interesting attractions.  The light rain didn’t deter us, nor the long queue for the very tasty fish and chips cooked fresh in the portakabin by the water.  I don’t want you to think that my workshops visits are all about the downtime so I will just say that Margaret filled up every spare moment with interesting and informative sights and I cannot thank her enough.  If she had any time spare I know that she would make an excellent tour guide but as we all know, people involved in drama are often the mainstay of many voluntary endeavours and I think she is probably busier now than when she worked full time!

The workshops took place on Saturday and Sunday in the Kirkwall Theatre.  Both days there were around 25 participants – not everyone could come for the two days but it was lovely to see that some people who came on the Saturday weren’t sure if they could make the Sunday but most of them juggled things around as they had such a good time on the Saturday.  I can’t take all the credit for that as I have to say that I think one of the main reasons was the openness, generosity and warmth of everyone who turned up.  I have spoken in earlier blogs about the challenges of working across a large age range in terms of trying to meet the needs of everyone and I am honest about that from the start but it was lovely for me to observe everyone supporting and learning from each other.

Only the participants themselves can tell you what they learned individually from the workshops but every day is a school day for me so here is what I took away from the experience

  •  – people are more than the sum of their parts.  What do I mean by this?  Not only it is a privilege for me to see people working so well together to produce really interesting and entertaining work in the workshop, but as a District I gained a real insight into how they communicate and schedule their productions taking into account potential shared audiences.  They also share resources really effectively (thanks for the guided tour of the props and costume stores as well as workshop and rehearsal spaces in Kirkwall)
  • – geography and timing are important considerations.  As some performers can be affiliated to more than one club, a lot of people do have to travel quite a lot.  I am so grateful that people were willing to come quite a long way for the workshops and to give up their weekend to attend.  I also found out that within a farming community it’s not just a question of considering which day to schedule but also trying to avoid the busy times in the farming calendar – I had been pre-warned that the harvest may be affected by the weather which may have a knock on effect on attendance.  Add tourism and local community events into the mix and you start to see that this is quite a balancing act
  • – age is merely a number.  In the feedback session I asked the group to consider the impact of the mixed age group.  I may include more physical tasks within a youth session and perhaps have gone a bit more deeply into some exercises with an adult group – I asked the question ‘if I were to come back would you change this structure?’  The overwhelming answer was no.  This workshop provided an opportunity not only for different clubs to create something and learn together but that they all enjoyed learning from each other across age.  One of the youngest participants mentioned that he couldn’t think of any other time they would be able to do this.  The most likely opportunity would be a panto rehearsal but with the emphasis on getting the performance ready there would never be the time to exchange ideas and experiment in the same way.  I suppose this all comes back to trying to establish what people want to get out of the workshop in the first place and with such a strong emphasis on community I don’t think I was completely surprised by these comments.

Every time I visit a new club or district I hope that this is the beginning of a relationship and we have already begun considering ‘what next’ so I think this won’t be my last visit to Orkney.

See you down the road.
Carole

 

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Carole – On the right path

Carole – On the right Path(head)

It’s always great to meet new clubs so I was very excited to travel over to Pathhead Players on  lovely sunny evening in August.  Pat Johnson and myself had been in contact regarding the content and had settled on voice as the main focus.  I arrived every so slightly out of breath as, although I had left myself plenty of time to get there I managed to miss the building, even with satnav!

On arrival I found an enthusiastic bunch of people with a big spread of ages.  The younger members would be there for the first part of the evening leaving a small amount of time for the adults on their own at the end.  I always feel a slight trepidation with a group of mixed ages.  I try to make the workshop as challenging as possible but inevitably that means that there are compromises as I want the workshop to be as accessible as possible for everyone.  I need not have worried with Pathhead Players, many of whom had never been in a drama workshop before.  Everyone threw themselves into everything with gusto, it was great fun seeing them all channel their “Luigi’s’ to experiment with volume and to highlight the importance of body language.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and hope that everyone else who came along took away at least one thing that helps them personally.  One of the highlights for me was when someone told me that they weren’t keen on sharing their work, due to a lack of confidence, but at the very end asked if they could still share something.  It is so important to me that the workshop space is safe and supportive and I am so glad that there was enough trust to do this.

Already looking forward to my next visit which I hope will be a weekend day as it always feels too short when I have one evening.  In the meantime here are a couple of photographs to whet your appetite.

Carole

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Carole – Club Development Workshop

Carole -Club Development Workshop

On Monday 15 August I took the long and winding road to Fintry where representatives of 3 clubs were waiting for me – Fintry Amateur Drama, Riverside Drama Club and Thornhill Players.

We had been having conversations for a while about the need to attract new members and audiences – a challenge which I am sure is faced by many SCDA clubs.

Whilst I didn’t think that I had all the answers I was confident that I could help to refine the questions and encourage some joined up thinking to share with each other what already worked and what they could take forward as one group.  As a facilitator in other parts of my working life, I decided to use a model called GROW – this would enable us to look at GOALS (what were the things we would like to look at), REALITY (the current situation), OPTIONS (our ideas to try), WAY FORWARD (agree some actions, who would take them on and importantly when did they think they could make some progress).

After people got themselves into smaller groups with members from each club spread out, everyone started to identify the goals – I am not sure if everyone was as surprised as me at the breadth of things that people raised and I soon realised that it wouldn’t be possible to tackle everything in one hit.  The discussions around new members quickly identified that it was really people in the 20 – 40 age bracket.  People also wanted to talk about the challenges of finding suitable plays and new directors.  There was also quite a high focus on commitment of members and many people strongly felt that they would like to increase the ‘club’ feeling to extend beyond performances.  Marketing including social media reared it’s head as something that many people knew they needed to think about but really didn’t know where to start.

Defining the reality was an opportunity to voice the problems but also allowed us all to see that a lot of things were working really well.  After a tea and coffee break I cracked the whip once more to move people along to the fun part – coming up with ideas on how to tackle the issues.  People could choose which problems they wanted to work on and the ones that were left on the shelf didn’t disappear but it meant that we knew that they were less of a high priority.

I’m not going to paste in all of the fantastic ideas that everyone came up with but I have put everything together and sent that off to the group.  Unfortunately due to time restraints we didn’t get to the very important bit of agreeing who would take things forward with dates pencilled in but nobody could have worked any harder that we did.

I hope to continue to work with the groups to help take things forward and I have added some ideas of my own to the outcomes so I’ll keep you posted on what happens next but it was great to be involved with a group of creative people with lots of experiences that they could bring to the table.  It was also interesting to see how many people who had been involved for many years were able to be so honest themselves about the challenges of trying new things and how important it was to bin the phrase ‘but we’ve always done it that way’.

Did we change the world – probably not.  Did we kick start some new was of thinking – definitely.

Here’s a few pictures of people beavering away.

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Carole – SCDA 90th Anniversary Celebrations

Carole – SCDA 90th Anniversary Celebrations

I headed up the to Pitlochry on Friday 22 July in preparation for the SCDA birthday party on Saturday 23rd.  Although we could go and see the matinee and/or evening production on the 23rd I decided to go with my first love, musical theatre, and see Carousel on the Friday evening.  I met some SCDA folk for dinner in the theatre – lovely set menu designed specifically for the Carousel audience – and headed into the auditorium.  I’m no reviewer so this is just my opinion but I can say there was lots to recommend this show.  I wondered how they would manage to cast the show with such a small company but by and large it really worked.  It was a shame that the ballet was taken out but completely understandable.  There are so many demands on musical theatre professionals today and my only quibble really was the singing from some of the soloists.  Everyone could sing well but contemporary voices are trained for the pieces today and pop/rock style singing doesn’t always do justice to the wonderful tunes of Rogers and Hammerstein.  It was great to see a small orchestra positioned behind a gauze and interesting picture frame – my bottom lip was quivering as the harp chords started up for the well-known standard You’ll Never Walk Alone.  However the star of the show for me was undoubtedly the design and technical aspects of the show.  No spoiler here but the way they managed the Carousel and the integration of the ‘children’ into an all adult cast was ingenious.  If you do go let me know what you think.

After a very comfortable night in a lovely B&B, The Fir Trees (highly recommended) it was back to the theatre on Saturday for an 11.30 am start.  Although the promise of ‘afternoon tea’ was a little strange bearing in mind the timing, this was done to allow people to go into the matinee if they wished.  As with all SCDA events everyone was chatting and mingling straightaway – swapping stories and memories.  The display was contributed to as the morning wore on with clubs bringing along their own memorabilia.  Lots of photos, old programmes, reviews and news articles.  It was really fascinating and lovely to see some of our more mature members pointing themselves out in production photographs from many years ago.

It’s such a lovely bright function room at Pitlochry and the sun was shining down on us through the windows – you almost feel like you are seated outside due to wall of windows.  Very nice sandwiches and cakes, fitting for a light lunch.

Speeches were kept to a minimum which I appreciated but all the important things was said.  I was genuinely surprised when Jackie singled me out for a mention – it was a very nice thing to do!  It would be impossible to thank all of the volunteers throughout the years who have contributed to the ongoing success of SCDA but I think Jackie did a great job!

The highlight for me was probably listening to Martin’s talk about his experiences in the Midsummer Night’s Dream with the RSC.  Although I had been there at the very beginning my involvement wasn’t necessary as the production moved on so there were lots of things that were new to me.  It’s a shame for those of you who missed it as it was not only very amusing it was also interesting to hear about how this kind of huge project was executed.

I believe it was Susan Wales who asked a really interesting question to Martin at the end – had this experience made him want to become a professional actor.  Good question!  Martin’s simple response was ‘no’ and that he was getting back to his club and the things he really loves, directing and acting.  Martin is a very talented and committed amateur theatre-maker and having glimpsed everything that goes around the rehearsals – publicity, measuring, interviews he doesn’t in any way envy the professional actor of today.  He has got loads of things from the experience and hopefully will bring those back into the club.

If you take the title ‘professional’ it conjures up an image of someone highly skilled and potentially being paid for the job.  ‘Amateur’ means ‘for the love of it’ and is unpaid.  Although every club has constraints governed mostly by whether you can cast your show, a club has much more freedom to choose their play and how they want to rehearse and produce it.  They often get to know their regular local audience in a way that a professional company/actor never can and don’t have to take any job that comes up in order to make a living.

So what would you rather be – amateur or professional?

There is also a moral to this tale and that is that you should read SCDA emails and SCDA newsletters as I pass on every opportunity that I find and Martin only knew about the RSC project through an email sent out to all members by us!

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Carole

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Carole – Caithness Cogitations

Carole – Caithness Cogitations

After waking up to the news about Brexit on Friday 24 June, I made my way to Central Station in Glasgow to start my journey up to Caithness for a weekend of workshops in a bit of a daze.  I was joined on the train at Stirling by Heather McLean from Caithness District who had been visiting friends and attending the SCDA Youth Final the previous Saturday.  It was lovely being able to to pass the time together talking about everything under the sun including the momentous vote.  On arrival at Inverness we were told that the train up to Thurso had been cancelled – it was looking very unlikely that I would make it in time to deliver the 2 workshops scheduled for Friday evening.  However, after a 50 minute delay we were moving again.

On discovering the train wasn’t actually going to Thurso and after trying all the different media at our disposal we arranged to be collected from an alternative station.  Needless to say the first group had started by the time I arrived but I summoned up all of my energy and ran into the rehearsal room removing my coat on the way.  I had been asked to focus on the musical Zombie Prom – a pastiche of musicals like Grease and Hairspray and with such a short amount of time I chose to work on energy levels and creating our own version of a hand jive.  Thanks to Alan Gerrard and his wife for sending up some food for me to eat as the second workshop started and someone else did a warm up!  I was in such a rush that I didn’t manage to get any photos but hopefully some are going to wing their way down to me and I can post a couple at a later date.

Saturday arrived and I headed over to Wick – thanks for the lift Heather.  The life of a drama advisor is never predictable and last time I was in Wick the afternoon session with young people was completely oversubscribed and we were bursting at the seams.  This time it was the opposite as my visit clashed with someone’s birthday party and preparations for the Gala.  Good things come in small packages however and with a lot of re-jigging of the plan I spent a great afternoon with 3 lovely, talented and enthusiastic participants who didn’t mind at all that I had to shelve a lot of the activities that require a large group.  I’ve pasted in a couple of photos later on and hopefully you can see that we still managed to have a good time!

Saturday evening was a read-through of the upcoming production of Blithe Spirit.  It wasn’t quite what I had planned but as nothing had gone the way I expected so far during this trip I put the plan to one side.  My job is to deliver what a club wants and needs and the group made the decision on what would be most useful.  At the end of the evening I talked through the research I had put together with a particular focus on status and the manners of the middle and upper classes in the 1930s.  I was particularly proud of my research into ‘how to make a martini’ (the ratios and even the ingredients have changed significantly over the years) with more time we could have tried it out whilst holding a conversation tackling that age old chestnut – how to make the business look natural while you are acting in a scene.  There was a lovely post on the Wick Players Facebook page before I went to bed back in Thurso which left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling – tired but happy.

Sunday and into the final stretch.  Thurso Players afternoon session – improvisation and devising – my speciality.  I have to confess here and now that I become so over-excited that the few photos I did take were far too blurry for me to publish here which is a real shame as the group were so open and experimental even though they all professed to be terrified of improvisation which enabled us all to just play.  I think that I managed to de-bunk some myths and by looking at ways to use improvisation within the rehearsal process as well as a tool to devise new work there was something for everyone.

We upheld the tradition of chinese food before heading into the evening and the director workshop.  I had been asked to ‘go back to basics’ in directing so we looked at director preparation.  There were mostly new people but I wanted to make sure that there was also something for returners so we did some character analysis using a couple of short scenes.  I think that everyone found that the most useful part – taking the theory and putting it into practice.  There’s a photo of us working included here – the messiness of the table is an indication of the creative process and most importantly there was plenty of time within the workshop to answer specific questions.

So in summary Caithness still remains one of the highlights of my year.  A long trip but always worth it.

A special mention goes to Audrey who looked after me in fine style – even helping me to stay on track with my diet by getting all the foods in that I could eat.  We talked long into the nights about theatre and plays and she took me for a couple of nice walks to clear my head in between workshops.  Her hospitality was second to none and she made it as easy as possible for me to just focus on the workshops.

See you down the road.
Carole

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Carole – Blairgowrie – A Home from Home!

Carole – Blairgowrie – A Home from Home!

Arrived in Blairgowrie late afternoon on Saturday to stay with Ruth and Graham.  It would be easy to focus on the workshops first but one of the things I love about visiting clubs around the country is the opportunity to stay with club members and this was no exception.  With fabulous views and a warm welcome, I settled into the a lovely meal provided by Ruth (thanks for helping me stick to my diet) and an evening talking all things theatre.  So many subjects came up in conversation that Graham started to make notes and I’ve since sent through lots of bits and pieces that I hope will be useful, particularly when we got onto the subject of trying to find ways to broaden the horizons of the young club members through theatre visits!  I always reflect on the fact that my role is not just about workshops and I love to hear about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to challenges for clubs so that I can try to help.

Sunday morning arrived and, fortified by a fabulous breakfast, we headed down to the cub premises, The Kirk.  Graham and Ruth had talked me through the plans that the club have for major renovations and it was great to put the plans into context by being inside the building.  In particular the upstairs area was completely fabulous, a huge treasure trove of props and costumes.  I imagine that the people who take care of costumes could go straight to the relevant rail if asked to find any costume.  I did wonder if there were any gems there that the club could consider selling to add to the renovation fund but I think that there are some things that are more valuable than money!

Gradually the young people turned up for the morning workshop – 9 in total which we think wasn’t too bad for a sunny Sunday morning!  We had so much fun and I loved the way the group worked together despite the span of ages.  A couple of newbies came along as well so the club will be hoping they become members in time for the next production.  I am always surprised by  what happens in any workshop and it was great to hear from the young people during the feedback session talking so clearly about what they enjoyed but also what they had learned.

A short lunch break and the adults were up – a nice size group of 10.  Lots of laughter followed with some of the warm-up games and exercises and then we tried to put things into practice working in pairs using a very short script.  Just like school classes, I agreed to using the outdoors as a working space so that people could enjoy the sunshine.  The space around the building is an old graveyard with fabulous views but everyone kept their mind on the task, very impressive.

We all enjoyed watching each performance, thanks to a lot of good comedy timing there was some moments of absolutely hilarity – I think we will all remember the characters inspired by Gogglebox!

The sharing at the end was lovely, especially hearing how some people had been nervous and apprehensive before the workshop but were completely relaxed having enjoyed an afternoon of play and fun and learning some new things about themselves, other members of the club and drama in general along the way.

Here are some photos to whet your appetite – we’ve already started discussing “what next?” so I don’t think it will be too long before I will be travelling back up the A9 to my new friends in Blairgowrie.

Carole
May 2016

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It was great to see lots of familiar faces attending the festival.  I think that the audience numbers were good every night and the theatre was a great venue from that perspective.  I’ve not heard any bad stories about behind the scenes so hopefully all of the clubs had a good experience.

Unfortunately I could’t be there on the Thursday due to my poorly cat and I wish that I had seen all of the productions.  I was there on Friday and Saturday however and I concur with the Adjudicator who expressed how pleased he was to see some comedy in the festival.

Can we be honest – I wonder if we all do the same thing as people involved in performance.  I find myself scrutinising what I am watching and continuously asking myself questions like “Why did they do that” and sometimes “I wouldn’t have thought of doing it like that” (which can be positive or negative from my own personal perspective).  I also think about the difficulty of seeing through the play to appreciate what each club did with the material they had.  When I am out and about delivering workshops I talk to clubs about the choices they make and pose the question “How do you pick plays for a festival.  Do you try to go for something that you think will work well or that you’ve seen in a festival yourself or do you go for something that you really want to do, even if it feels risky”.  There is no right answer to this I think it just depends on each club and you can’t ignore the reality of the challenges that go alongside the get in and the time restrictions that go hand in hand with a festival.

I had seen the winning play in Aberdeen and I knew that it was going to be hard to beat, but it was quite risky – very little in the way of set or lighting effects.  As someone who has a short attention span they could so easily have lost me as there is a lot of talking but the dynamic direction and the strength of performance from both of the actors, neither upstaging the other, was a joy to watch.

I am sure if I had read the play I would never have picked it – 2 people talking – where’s the drama?  BUT it just goes to show why plays are to be performed and experienced, they are not just to be read in the same way that you would a book.

I wish the team lots of luck in the British final – they are very worthy winners and I am sure will represent Scotland very well.  Good luck to everyone involved!!

Carole

 

Published: April 28, 2016 

On Friday 1 April I went to the Citizens Theatre to watch the A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Play for the Nation.  The production was part of the RSC Open Stages project that has been running for a few years now.

The RSC first worked with 23 clubs in Scotland, many of the SCDA members, in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland and the focus was on a range of skills development.  It was a lot of fun and those of us that took part all got so much out of it.

In the 2nd stage the RSC worked with 8 clubs in Scotland – although they had space for up to 12 but the uptake was quite low despite lots of marketing by me and other voluntary organisations  – there were a couple of SCDA members again who took part.  The focus was very much on developing Directors and the partner was Dundee Rep.

The recent production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream included a small group of amateur theatre actors who played the mechanicals with Bottom being played by one of our members, Martin Turner, taking on the role of Bottom.  Needless to say it was a fantastic production and I took away lots of things to consider for future workshops – all of the amateur players were amazing (as well as supporting Martin one of my friends was also involved in the role of Snout).  The professionals weren’t bad either!

I really enjoyed the build up through social media, there was such a sense of occasion with small rehearsal snippets and interviews as well as quizzes and cast interviews.  Although the RSC obviously have a department of people looking after publicity it struck me that this is something that is inexpensive and can really have an impact on your audience, assuming that they are using social media!  Some clubs already do this very well I just wonder if it is all too easy to underestimate the impact of this kind of story building before the curtain goes up?

Related to this subject of amateur/theatre collaborations, I was interested to read a blog by Andy McGregor – if you are a member of Largs players you will definitely know him.  Andy is an actor, educator, director, like many people working in the profession, and is asking questions about the future of theatre particularly when it comes to mounting new work and taking risks.  He is talking about real collaborations with amateurs and his own perspective on what form that collaboration might take.

I do know that some clubs already work with professionals in many ways from skills development either from workshops with me or other tutors to employing professional directors.  However the cost can be prohibitive and maybe some of Andy’s ideas, particularly if linked to box office income, might be attractive.  This would obviously depend on a whole host of factors relating to size of venue and production but might be worth thinking about.

I would really love to hear what you think about Andy’s blog  – maybe we could get a discussion going here on the SCDA website!!

http://andyrmcgregor.blogspot.co.uk

Carole

 

Published: April 28, 2016