“Seeing your ideas come to life… is so rewarding and addictive.”

Following our ACTS: REACTS residency at Wimbledon College of Art in 2016, we are keen to support local young creatives as they develop both creatively and on their journey to a career in the theatre industry – so we were pleased to be able to support recent Wimbledon College graduates Cecilija Berg and Nadine Froehlich as they worked with us on our 2017 productions. You can read about Cecilija’s work with us as Costume Assistant on Cosi Fan Tutte and here we caught up with Nadine to find out a bit more about why she became a theatre designer, how she worked on Reunion & Dark Pony and what she’s up to next:

 

Nadine Froehlich

Where did you study and what course did you do?
I trained on the Theatre Design course at Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL.

What made you want to become a Theatre Designer? What do you enjoy most about it?
I always saw myself as an artist, working on big paintings and drawings. What I enjoyed most of all was the process, researching themes that start to form a concept, but making paintings as a final piece didn’t seem enough for me.

When I started to explore all the different types of art related pathways I was introduced to Theatre making. I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly what it was, but there was something about this specific art and design that clicked with me. As a theatre designer the script is your foundation that you begin to interpret and pick out key bits that you want to explore and research. This process of research is so fascinating and then you start to think about space and what you can do with it. Making a miniature model is one of my favourite skills I picked up. It took me a while to get my head out of 2D and into 3D. A model box is like a theatre designer’s baby, an artwork you have worked on for so long, but its purpose is to communicate your idea clearly and accurately, and not the final piece. The final piece is the live productions with a mix of what everyone brought to the piece. Seeing your ideas come to life in a play/dance/musical, whatever style of performance is so rewarding and addictive.

How did you work with Designer Bex Kemp for ‘Reunion & Dark Pony’?
Once I got involved with ‘Reunion and Dark Pony’ I met Bex on my first meeting and we later went to visit the first 3 libraries so that Bex could give me the rundown of what she and Jo had already discussed.

What was your role during the performances?
My role was design assistant. Once I had visited all of the libraries with Bex and went through all the plans on how we will need to set them up each night, it was my role to then be in charge each night on the get ins and get outs.

What was the most challenging thing about working on the production?
The most challenging thing about working on this production was probably sourcing some of the remaining props that were still needed, trying to look for the most suitable style.

What was the most exciting thing about working on the production?
The most exciting thing about working on the production was being in a different location every night and setting up the spaces in sometimes quite limited times.

What are you up to next?
I have met a new theatre company that are in plans to produce a show this summer and I was asked to design the set and costumes.

2017 A year in review

St Teresa’s Primary School opera workshop

It’s the start of a new year so it’s that time of year that gets you thinking about what you’ve achieved over the last year. We had a big year in 2017 with two massively successful productions – Cosi Fan Tutte and Reunion & Dark Pony – both of which included professional performances, workshops for young people, and for Cosi also sessions for the elderly, not to mention re-writing the music and libretto for the high street! We loved working with so many shops, cafes, supermarkets and libraries for performances, especially being part of National Libraries Week for our Reunion & Dark Pony production. Our Cosi Fan Tutte further embedded our work in our home borough of Merton, while Reunion & Dark Pony took us further across South London to Southwark, Lambeth and Wandsworth as well as our first performances in the new Merton Arts Space in Wimbledon Library.  Read more

Looking back on Reunion & Dark Pony…

A few weeks ago we had a fantastic time being part of National Libraries Week presenting our Reunion & Dark Pony production. Libraries are such amazing spaces and to be part of a national week of events showcasing a wide range of fun activities and events that libraries can be used for was just brilliant.

We had lovely feedback both from reviewers and audiences about our site-specific performances of these fantastic plays. As one reviewer commented: ‘The company couldn’t have chosen a more suitable author for this purpose than the one who once said “My alma mater is the Chicago Public Library. I got what little educational foundation I got in the third-floor reading room, under the tutelage of a Coca-Cola sign”.’ (Everything Theatre)

One of the aims of the project was to bring new people into these fantastic library spaces – perhaps theatregoers who may not also be accessing library services – and we had some lovely feedback from people including someone who isn’t a library member commenting: “I didn’t know about this place and now I love it!”

We also wanted to bring theatre closer to people who might otherwise struggle to access theatre perhaps because of distance, cost or disability and so were thrilled by feedback such as this: Read more

Free kids drama workshops during half term!

This workshop was in 2017

Raynes Park High School Workshop

We’re excited to offer drama workshops for young people aged 8-12 in libraries this half term to inspire them in the magic of storytelling.

 

As part of our current libraries project which has included performances of David Mamet’s Reunion and Dark Pony after hours in six atmospheric South London libraries, we are now offering free drama workshops for young people in three libraries this half term. With fun drama games and exercises to develop their writing, acting and storytelling, we aim to excite young people about bringing stories to life and creating new stories. Read more

Ex-alcoholic fathers and Indian braves

Reunion & Dark Pony Rehearsal

We’ve had an exciting start to rehearsals for our David Mamet libraries production! David Schaal, Siu-see Hung and myself have been detectives searching through the incredible detail of the history of the characters’ lives in Reunion. Bernie and Carol have not seen each other in 20 years since he left her and her mother when she was a child, and this first meeting of trying to work out if they can have a relationship in the future brings up so much detail from their past lives, sometimes painful, sometimes funny, often moving, and always intriguing. There’s so much detail to sift through and we’ve had our lists of facts about the characters’ past lives and the questions where we’ve had to work things out to make sense of their past or make up our own detail to create a fully rounded backstory for the actors. David Mamet has put so much detail into the lives of these two characters – Bernie, ex-alcoholic, ex-tail gunner in the war, and lineman on the Cape outside Boston, Massachusetts and his daughter Carol, whose relationship with her mother, with her new older husband Gerry and his two children from his previous marriage, that it is a joy to work through it all in rehearsals to bring these characters fully alive to you in performance. We also have to work out what the characters want at each moment – what their intentions are – and how these intentions towards each other change at various points in the play. Read more

We have a Winner!

Congratulations to ‘Tessa Newby’ for winning two tickets to Reunion & Dark Pony. We asked people to sign up to our newsletter over the summer and during our last production ‘Cosi Fan Tutte‘ and Tessa was the lucky name out of the hat!

Reunion & Dark Pony is on between 9th – 15th Oct. Reunion tells a story about an ex-alcoholic father, reconciling with his daughter for the first time in 20 years. In Dark Pony a father tells his child a magical fairy tale about the friendship between an Indian Brave and his Dark Pony.

 

Aged 16-25 & based in South London?

This event was in 2017

Do you want a sneak peek into rehearsals?

Do you want to be involved in a professional theatre production?

Are you interested in learning about acting, directing, theatre design, stage management or box office? Then come join our fun team! We are looking for reliable, enthusiastic volunteers with an interest in theatre and libraries to help us create Reunion and Dark Pony for site-specific performances in six different libraries across South London.

No experience is necessary as all training will be provided. We’d ask you to help us at least one performance during 9th – 15th October when we’d cover your travel expenses. And you’d be invited to come to rehearsals during the week commencing 2nd October to see how our actors, director and designer bring the plays to life and to meet for a chat with our Artistic Director to discuss how we can advise you on your future goals.

Travel expenses will be covered. Read more

Announcing the cast of Reunion & Dark Pony

Find out more…

We are excited to announce our cast for Reunion & Dark Pony by David Mamet. These two short plays of David Mamet’s early work are about father and daughter relationships. Reunion realistically observes a meeting between an estranged father and daughter who have not seen each other in years, while Dark Pony playfully explores a father telling his child a magical story. Performing these plays in beautiful library spaces across South London

David Schaal’s many TV credits include The Inbetweeners and The Office, while theatre credits include Rabbits (Park Theatre) and A Steady Rain (Arcola Theatre). Siu-see Hung rejoins Baseless Fabric following her involvement in their production of A First Class Death for VAULT Festival. Other recent credits include Chinglish (Park Theatre) and I Wish To Die Singing (Finborough).

Find out more…

Read more

Designing a production for six libraries across South London

Clapham Library

Clapham Library

So our design process for Reunion and Dark Pony is well underway! Our exciting Set & Costume designer Bex Kemp and I have started the process of thinking about how you design these plays for six different libraries! Read more about Bex’s previous work here.

We’ve been reading and discussing the plays, pulling out things we think are interesting and possibly useful to think about as well as visiting all of the libraries together. Each library is quite different so the plays will be a different experience in each library, each with its own problems to be solved and exciting, beautiful or unique elements to make the most of. We need to work out how the plays can work best in each of the six libraries to make the most of each individual space as well as telling the stories of these two plays as best as we can. Read more