Archives For The Little White Town Of Never Weary

That’s A Wrap

June 12, 2016 — 49 Comments
Thats-A-Wrap

Packing Away The Set For The Last Time

What a wonderful experience! Over 20 shows completed across various venues in Scotland, reaching out to different primary schools and families from even further afield. It has really been a joy.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the company and all the team at Scottish Opera Education. I have learnt so many wonderful things that I can take with me and use throughout my training and in any future productions that I participate in.

Performing for children aged 5-8 has been a real treat, even though it feels like I have exhausted all my smiling muscles, and yet the experience has left me with my batteries feeling fully recharged and I now feel so full of life.

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Every Time a new group came to watch we had to tell the story as if it was our first performance, to keep the magic alive and our energies high. It was interesting to see how each group interacted with the story and it was so rewarding to see their reactions, gleeful laughter and imaginative ideas on how to help us fix up the town. I have smelt shoes, broken baguettes, folded paper fortune tellers, banged sweeties and eventually solved the problem with my trusty glue stick.

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This experience has also helped me to think on my feet and answer questions from the audience very fast. It reinforced how much I love performing and how important it is to make opera and classical music accessible and enjoyable for children and hopefully foster a love of these beautiful works. I think this is so important because we need to keep the art form fresh and inviting to new audiences and encourage them to become regular visitors to opera productions in the future.

I do hope that I can work more on opera for children and collaborate with other talented performers in order to tell these imaginative stories through spoken word, music, singing and actions.

I am looking forward to starting the rehearsals next week for Opera Britain’s production of Don Giovanni and I get to explore my vampish side for the role of Zerlina.  This is such a contrast to the last few weeks and should also prove to be great fun. Next Saturday the 18th June the whole cast is putting on a fund raiser and we all get to perform some of our favourite songs, it should prove to be a fun evening.

Opera Gala

My Final Week

June 6, 2016 — 69 Comments

This is my final week at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and performing in ‘The Little White Town of Never Weary’. I have six days; three days in Aberdeen and three in Glenrothes up to and including Saturday 11th June 2016 where we have two public performances.

It’s been an amazing experience, the work is very collaborative which I love and relies on us working closely together and engaging with the audience of very enthusiastic young children. Whilst at the Royal Conservative of Scotland I’ve had access to working with a cross-discipline network of people and this was excellent preparation for me. The company is made up of myself, two very multi-talented actors John Kielty and Frances Thorburn and a brilliant percussionist/drummer Stuart Semple. We are so lucky to be supported by a great team from Scottish Opera who have made this all possible.

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The production has had some lovely reviews and at one of the performances I was assessed as part of my performance portfolio for my degree so fingers crossed 🙂

Reviews:
http://www.southsideadvertiser.biz/scottish-opera-the-little-white-town-of-never-weary.htm

https://mumbletheatre.net/2016/06/02/the-little-white-town-of-never-weary/

Last night ( Sunday 5th June ) we travelled together to Aberdeen and I am looking forward to our dates in this beautiful city.

Then on to Glenrothes culminating with our final public performances on Saturday 11th June at Auchmuty High School, Dovecot Road, Glenrothes KY7 5JL.

Coming up next is Don Giovanni on 25th June 2016 and I get to perform the role of Zerlina whose costumes are inspired by the film “Grease” so I get to dress up like Olivia Newton-John’s character Sandy 🙂

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This week I have had such a wonderful time! Continuous blue skies with a sprinkling of sun rays and the opportunity to perform for a variety of audiences.

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On Monday morning, before taking ‘The Little White Town of Never Weary’ on tour we performed the show at the Scottish Opera Studios in Glasgow, for staff of the institution and a local primary school. My lovely teacher Judith Howarth also came along to support me and gave me some great pointers to aid my singing.

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Francis Thorburn, Me, Stuart Semple and John Kielty ( copyright Tim Morozzo )

This was very exciting as it was our first public practise in costume to iron out any wrinkles, but more importantly to make sure it was entertaining for the target audience of 5-8 year old children. To add to the nerves, it was recorded for Scottish Opera records and the wonderful photographer Tim Morozzo took some snaps of it for promotion. The piece ran smoothly and the children were really enthusiastic and enjoyed the jokes which was very exciting ahead of our first public performances. As a company we were able to relax into the characters and take more risks during the later run. After the performance we stayed in costume and created this short video to advertise the show. It was fun to work with camera! A new experience for me.

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Iain Piercy ( one of the set designers )

On Wednesday morning at 10:00 I performed my final recital of my undergraduate degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It took place in the Stephenson Hall and some of my family were able to come and watch, along with some friends and staff from the school. Who all gave me lovely feedback afterwards. I performed alongside George Todica, who did an amazing job of the accompaniment. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I will always remember the lessons I have learnt during my time at the RCS.

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After this I got changed quickly and made a mad dash to the Scottish Opera Building and I travelled to Kirkcudbright with Jane and Ian who very kindly took me with them so I didn’t have to drive after my adrenaline filled morning. We had a lovely trip in the most beautiful countryside. After lunch I went straight into a rehearsal in the new performance space so that the company and I were ready for our opening performance on Thursday morning.

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In between performances we were able to relax in the beautiful town, everyone was wonderful company. We took some lovely walks around the town and I visited the toll booth clock and Jessie M King’s house which both inspired the stage design for the opera.

By Saturday lunchtime we had performed five shows and then my family and George and Alex came and watched the public show in the afternoon. It was such a treat to perform for them and they got stuck in and helped the young children with the art workshop that takes place during the performance. After that the company and I took down the stage and started to pack it all into the van like a huge game of Tetris! Once completed we hit the road ready for a restful Sunday today.

This coming week we are performing two shows in Musselburgh and three in Falkirk.

I’m really excited to announce that I am working with Scottish Opera’s Education Department on their touring production of ‘The Little White Town of Never Weary’.

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It is an interactive show for 5-8 year olds and their families. The tale is inspired by the illustrated story of the same name by “Glasgow Girl” and artist, Jessie M King; next year will be the 100th anniversary of the publication of the book.

In the interactive music adventure I play Jessie Junior who meets some fabulous characters; Gilbert; Dame Lucky; Sweetie Meg; and Boofoo the Talking Cat together we repair the town made from ‘cardboard’. The story will challenge and encourage the children to think about the area around them and how the buildings were they all live help to create a wonderful place to grow up.

It ties in nicely with 2016 being Scotland’s year of innovation, architecture and design. It has been a pleasure to work with the whole team over the past two weeks and I’m looking forward to our last week of production next week.

We will be going on tour to Kirkcudbright, Musselburgh, Falkirk, Aberdeen & Glenrothes from 26 May to 10 June. It will be a wonderful way to celebrate the end of my undergraduate degree and get some experience working in a company. I’m very grateful to Scottish Opera for the Experience.

Here are some pictures from rehearsal with my fellow performers, Francis Thorburn, John Kielty and Stuart Semple, learning so much from these guys, as well as my wonderful director Julie Brown and Music Director and Composer the fabulous Karen McIver. To help make our rehearsals run smoothly we have worked with Katy Nicolson, Paul Nobel and Dougal Gudim our talented technical stage management team. I wish I could show you a photo of the set its exciting and will intrigue the children, but you don’t need to be seven to watch it! It has been such a treat to work with such lovely people. I can’t wait to start again on Monday.

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Stuart Semple, Me, Francis Thorburn and John Kielty

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Karen McIver, Me, Julie Brown, Stuart Semple, Francis Thorburn and John Kielty

After a busy full week, as I’m also keeping on top of my preparations for my final recital, I was able to watch Scottish Opera’s ‘Mikado’ by Gilbert and Sullivan on Saturday night at the Theatre Royal. This brilliant comic opera by the British duo was incredibly humorous and fun to watch from curtain up to the bows.

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On my way in to the Theatre Royal to watch ‘The Mikado’

The comic timing between the company seemed effortless and was very effective in producing lots of tummy tickling moments. The set was fantastic and looked like a colourful Chinese pop-up book on super large scale. I particularly liked the giant skeleton and the male chorus of decapitated heads! Special congrats to cast and the Scottish Opera team for pulling the show together despite the unexpected and superbly executed fire alarm evacuation.

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Outside during the evacuation

It made the night even more memorable and unique especially when Pooh-Bah warns Ko-Ko of the imminent arrival of the Mikado by exclaiming ‘This isn’t a false alarm!’ causing rapturous laughter from all of the audience. This show is now on tour around Scotland and is going to Newcastle upon Tyne, Bristol and Southampton if you need cheering up or just a good laugh go to see this show 🙂

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