BSC Address

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


It's amazing how often the public will ask you if you are exhausted after seeing you in a show. The answer is 'very rarely'.

In my current production, I am on stage for about 55 minutes, and only start talking after another 15 minutes minutes. Am I exhausted afterwards? No, not really. Acting is not like going down the Welsh mines. And now that we are in Malta with THE RETURN, enjoying an amazing adventure at The St James Cavalier Theatre, I feel less and less like a miner!

There is however one role which I can state quite confidently is the most exhausting part in the British theatre. And that is the role of Dad in GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE. You are only on stage for 20 minutes but it feels like you have climbed a mountain. Our current climber is Jim Low and you can see him this week in New Town. Catch him at the stage door after the show and ask him if he is exhausted. He will only just have enough breath to answer!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Kensuke's Kingdom reviews

First reviews for KENSUKE'S KINGDOM are out:  
The Stage newspaper says it’s “a joy to watch!” and the Birmingham Mail says its “a powerful piece of children’s theatre”.  
Today we are pleased to announce The Birmingham Stage Company are providing up to 4 free tickets for a performance of KENSUKE'S KINGDOM to ex-Longbridge workers who are still out of work, as a gesture of support for people experiencing difficulties this Christmas. The performance will be 22 December at 2.30pm. Anyone wishing to receive these tickets should go the Central Library ticket shop with proof they were at Longbridge.   With all best wishes from The Birmingham Stage Company!


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The critics have been...

The critics have been (and are still coming) to KENSUKE'S KINGDOM so we will discover shortly what they think of it. If any of you haven’t experienced what it is like to be judged for your work – and that judgement to be made public to millions of people – it’s an interesting experience to say the least. KENSUKE'S KINGDOM is being reviewed nationally and locally – look out locally for The Evening Mail or nationally The Sunday Telegraph among others. Meanwhile HORRIBLE HISTORIES has been nominated Best Special Entertainment by Manchester Evening News. I have never attended an awards ceremony before but I can already imagine the experience – it must be similar to reading reviews!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Kensuke's Kingdom

Time has told! This simple tale of a boy lost on an island
has proved a total hit. On the very first performance of KENSUKE'S KINGDOM the children sat transfixed by the adventure. One of the teachers, who has seen nine BSC
productions, said this was her favourite show! You might think I would be unconditionally delighted by this news, but despite my pleasure, I also wonder if I have any idea of how to produce a show! After all, this production has no songs, no magic, no special effects, no audience participation, no puppets - nothing in fact that one would normally seek to hold the children's attention. It is relying purely on the art of story-telling. It is a chastening lesson that all you really need is a great story - and I should have known that Michael Morpurgo knew what he was doing when he created this story. Stuart Paterson has done a brilliant job in transferring it to the stage and the creative team behind the show have produced some extraordinary work! It is as pure as children's theatre could be and I am delighted that it has all come together so well. If you see the show, please post your comments. We'd love to know what you think of it!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Theatre is a strange business...

Theatre is a strange business. I get so many questions about what we're doing and why we're doing it that the blog seemed the perfect way to provide the answers. So here I am three days before we open our production of KENSUKE'S KINGDOM. The real challenge with theatre for children is that they are merciless. If children are bored they don't follow theatrical convention and read the programme or gaze up at the ceiling or quietly fall asleep. If children are bored, they talk. Or go to the loo. Or throw sweets. This seems an eminently proper way of expressing boredom in a theatre. I would encourage everyone attending West End shows, productions at the RSC or their  local theatre to follow their child's example. If ever you should find yourself wishing you were strolling naked around the Antarctic rather than watching the particular show you've mistakenly tumbled into, make it known to everyone involved: talk, throw sweets, ring your friends on your mobile, get up and stretch your legs. It is surely the correct response to boredom. So every time we produce a children's show, I sit anxiously at the back of the stalls, listening for any moment when the children could start to fidget. At the first sign of impending distraction, we immediately address the scene in question to ensure it keeps their attention. Hopefully by the end of the first week we have eradicated any moments where our drama loses tension. It is terrifying but rewarding. Success means we can relax as the coaches pull up outside the theatre, knowing that thousands of children will be safe in our dramatic hands. But there are three days to go and, as always, I have no way of knowing if this time we will succeed. Time will tell.