This weekend, the main filming took place for our local folklore project. Funded as part of the Arts Council England's Create To Recover programme, this project provides paid work for four local actors, as well as a writer/director, and an editor/ camera person, a fantastic thing especially in these times!
The project brings to life four local spooky tales which have existed in the local folklore of Brixham for decades, and centuries; which will be released in time for Halloween.
With the Covid restrictions, as well as safety concerns around filming in public places where not all members of the public may socially distace, and the fact that some of the team live with relatives in "at-risk" categories, it was decided to record entirely over Zoom. Using costumes, props, greenscreens, home lighting and digital backdrops of our in-house collection of original Victorian postcards of Brixham, the cast created performances from their homes, each taking on a character from Brixham's colourful past.
Who is the broken man who forever mourns his son? What was the ruse the smugglers used to get contraband to Totnes? What did the young sailor do when his beloved was not allowed to marry him? Who is it who is seen to this day around a well known local landmark? Find out, as these stories are brought to life. Humour, tragedy,love and indomitable spirit are all brought to life in these tales, taking place around locations in the town which you can visit yourself.
The screening details will be available soon, and in the meantime, editing is well underway.
A few people of late have asked us why, as a professional touring theatre company, we have not returned to live rehearsals and theatres following the Government's annoucement that theatre can return with socially distanced audiences. However, following industry-standard safety advice, this is not feasible. While we fully intend to return to live, as opposed to online, shows as soon as we possibly can, the situation outlined below, is current as of the date of publication; and from the recent official press conferences is expected to continue for some months.
For theatre shows, it is very simple. We rely on ticket sales to pay our actors and crew. If, for example a 200 seat theatre, to maintain social distancing, can only admit 20 audience members, we are unable to pay our cast and crew. Not paying your cast and crew, and becoming an amdram club, is not something we are willing to entertain as an option.
Outdoor venues need to have strict marshalling, distanced areas, specialist equipment (which we do not own), as well as strict backstage procedures, and are not currently an option due to people-power and equuipment.
Behind the scenes, backstage procedures reccomended by unions, and the Health & Safety Execuitive, require single occupancy dressing rooms, one way systems, performing through masks or visors. Physically, theatres do not have that kind of space backstage, where they can be rather cramped, and historical dramas do not lend themselves well to performing through masks and visors .
Casts and crews should also isolate in a bubble for the length of the show, and for a time before and after, requiring the hiring of a house or a hotel. Many of us have second jobs, which we cannot afford to take the time off from especially if we are not able to earn from the shows, and the company does not own the funds to hire a house or hotel.
In rehearsals, actors must stand in taped areas, enforcing the 2M distancing, as well as wearing masks, with staggered breaks. They also should not face one another while speaking in case of exhaling in the direction of the other person. This makes it impossible for any natural dramatic performance.
Finally, there is the general directive to work from home where you can, and to avoid putting vulnerable people at risk. Many of us work more than one job, or live in households where we have a relative who relies on another job, or who is in an at-risk category. By exposing ourselves, we also put them at heightened risk.
We understand that some theatre companies and drama schools have returned to creating work, or classes, but it is not something that we find we can safely do for our people.
This is our big update on our projects and what we are doing while this Covid situation continues around the world. Please read on to find out the latest on our online shows, offline shows, and other activities.
As things stand, the UK goverment have just brought in what is commonly known as the Rule of Six (meaning that only six people can meet up in a space), as infections nationally are on the rise.
--- Returning to live shows
For now, our first returning shows are being booked for Jan/ Feb 2021, with our production of Jack The Ripper. That is hoping that it will be safe for theatres to reopen by then. If there are delays on this, we will postpone. In the meantime, our cast are busily rehearsing and fine-tuning the show. We are currently rehearsing soley on Zoom. As things stand, physical rehearsals are not viable. We would need to be 2metres apart at all times, facing forward away from one another, which is impossible to create a natural show between different characters. While we will return once it is safe to do so (and viable to rehearse in a suitable way), at the moment it is all over Zoom.
We have a great autumn season of four shows, Tickets on sale via our box office HERE for all of the shows, with synopses, and breakdowns, with brilliant transatlantic casts. Every penny from ticket sales will be shared equally among the cast and crew of the show - after all, this is all about creating work for actors and creatives during these tough times.
Should the covid crisis run into the New Year, any delays in returning to the physical stage, will lead to a winter/ spring Online Season.
---The Spooky Tales of Brixham
With Arts Council funding, from Torbay Culture, our team are creating a video of local spooky ghost stories. With a Halloween broadcast, tickets will be on sale from the beginning of October, and all funds raised will go to our friends at Brixham Theatre.
---Professional actors available
We have a fantastic team of actors who are available for (paid) voiceover work, home-recording for zoom projects. If you have a casting call, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We are committed to doing our best to create work for our actors and crew.
We are using the time as usefully as possible. Studying and developing new trends in marketing theatre, creating new technology for our live shows, developing new resources to assist new actors joining the
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