Get your tickets here https://www.southdevonplayers.com/box-office.html
An absolutely fab rehearsal today for our production of Shakespeare’s Henry V , coming to your device next month as part of Bristol Shakespeare Festival.
Get your tickets here https://www.southdevonplayers.com/box-office.html
Behold! a rehearsal clip from June 9th 2021, Henry V Act 2 scene 4, with Tanya Wylie as the Dauphin and Steve Walsh as the French King.
Director's note: Love the use of the wine-glass!
The show is coming to a screen near you July 24/25th as a streamed performance of the full production, as part of Bristol Shakespeare Festival, and then later in August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Show and booking information at https://www.southdevonplayers.com/box-office.html
The tickets for our production of Henry V at Bristol Shakespeare Festival are now available through two outlets. You can either buy via the Festival at
Or via our website at https://www.southdevonplayers.com/box-office.html!!!
We hope to see you there!
As we look towards busier times again after the pandemic, we are also looking for people who would like to get involved with us, behind the scenes, to help create shows, and increase access to our work. The roles we are looking to fill vary hugely in commitment and theme, but as long as you are based in the relevant area, are reliable & communicative, and love the arts, then we should get along very happily indeed. Please read on to find out what we are looking to fill. If you would like an informal chat about any of these roles, do please drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org, at any time.
*NB, at the moment, due to lack of funding, all of these roles are voluntary. We hope, eventually, to be able to make all of these roles paid positions by dint of raising the funds to do so! Sadly with the Brixham Pannier Market being permanently closed by the town council, we have lost our large second-hand book stall, meaning that we are having to create new sources of fundraising even for basic things like rehearsal space, from scratch.
We would also like to be very clear that we take Covid-safety extremely seriously. While some roles can be done, or at least prepared for, from home and can therefore start sooner rather than later, any roles that involve working out and about with others/ in groups will only begin when it is safe to do so - we estimate August onwards. In the meantime, training and preparation, as far as can be done remotely over Zoom etc, will happen for those roles in preparation. All of our "face to face" work in groups will have Covid-safety measures in place.
Last week was the first week of Zoom-based rehearsals (rehearsals 2 & 3) for our production of Shakespeare's Henry V.
The actors are already doing brilliantly, with characterisations, and action already starting to show through, and while of course this is the earliest days of the rehearsal process, and there is everything to yet work on, there is some strong work already coming through. As a director I am loving the expression in the tones.
As part of our planned upgrade to blogging our shows, and including an education pack for each show from this production onwards, we are going to be sharing a lot of behind-the-scenes clips from rehearsals and interviews, as we work through the process.
One of the challenges with performing in this way, is that very often, the actors are limited by constrained space at home, and while, later, green-screens will allow for production backdrops (we are working on the acting side of things first), the actors are expressing the majority of the action, expression and reactions/ interactions, theough head to chest images on zoom, and entering/ leaving the frame. They are also able to react to stimuli that their characters may percieve around them, off camera (which we will see in future videos).
Therefore, in many ways. the acting, being closer to the camera, and therefore to the percieved view of the audience.
The text and modern translation from the No Fear Shakespeare website HERE
Follow the other updates for this production HERE
Fortune is Bardolph’s foe, and frowns on him;
For he hath stolen a pax, and hanged must ’a be,--
A damned death!
Let gallows gape for dog; let man go free,
And let not hemp his windpipe suffocate.
But Exeter hath given the doom of death
For pax of little price.
Therefore, go speak; the Duke will hear thy voice;
And let not Bardolph’s vital thread be cut
With edge of penny cord and vile reproach.
Speak, captain, for his life, and I will thee requite.
Anchient Pistol, I do partly understand your meaning.
Why then, rejoice therefore.
Certainly, anchient, it is not a thing to rejoice at; for if, look you, he were my brother, I would desire the Duke to use his good pleasure, and put him to execution; for discipline ought to be used.
Die and be damn’d! and fico for thy friendship!
It is well.
The fig of Spain.
Details of the crowdfund can be found at https://crowdfunder.co.uk/benhursdp
The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, has caused the continued postponement and cancellation of live shows for well over a year, for every performance venue in the UK. Now, the UK government has published an expected roadmap of eventually being able to reopen the theatres by the end of the year.
Ben Hur is the Players' big returning big project, returning to theatrical "normality" after Covid. It is also the company's biggest/ most ambitious show to date, pushing performance, technical, set, lighting and costuming ingenuity to new heights, bringing this beautiful tale to the stage.
Based on the famous novel by Lew Wallace, Ben Hur is set in the first century AD. Judah Ben Hur, a young nobleman of Jerusalem; a city under the occupation of the Roman Empire; is accused of attempting to murder the Roman governor, by his erstwhile closest boyhood friend, Massala, now a Roman commander. Sentenced to life as a galley slave; a sentence which usually led to death within months, Judah survives, and after a pirate attack on the Roman navy in the Agean sea, travels to Rome a hero, having saved the life of the Roman commander in his escape. He once more returns to Jerusalem, seeking his mother and sister, who were imprisoned for the same attack, and finds no trace of them. He does however, find Massala, and blinded by rage, challenges Massala at the annual arena "Games". Massala is killed in the games, with his dying breath, reveals to Judah that his mother and sister were in fact released and driven from the city as lepers. With all hope, and all lust for revenge, gone, Judah is lost, but fate is not finished with him. He eventually finds his mother and sister, who are miraculously healed by a preacher, who has recently come to the city........
A historical drama set in Biblical times, the tale of Ben Hur is interwoven with the life and death of Jesus Christ, who appears twice in the drama. This is ultimately a powerful tale of hope and love, set within the dramatic and often brutal times of the Roman Empire.
The script features a wide range of strong, memorable characters, both male and female, with a large age range, carefully crafted into a show which will not only explore ambitious creative and inclusive theatre-making, but also a show, that regardless of any religious or political belief of the part of the audience members, will remain a powerful, beautiful memory for years to come.
Subject to coming safely out of the pandemic, and in accordance with the UK government's expected roadmap to national recovery from the pandemic, allowing for rehearsals and performances from August onwards, the Players expect to cast the show in August 2021, when they will also begin rehearsals, twice a week (Wednesdays and Sundays) in the room they rent in their local community centre. The show will be toured to local & regional venues, including theatres, churches, and other spaces, during the spring of 2022. The team usually perform in at least 4 towns and cities, ranging from their home town of Brixham, up to Bristol, but they are also hoping to expand the tour this time for such an exciting show, and are actively seeking new venues. The team will also be filming the show for online broadcast through our website. Should dates of recovery from the pandemic change nationally or regionally, the project dates may change in line with that, but this project will go ahead.
The South Devon Players Theatre & Film Company is an internationally awardwinning theatre company based in the beautiful fishing port of Brixham, in South Devon (hence the company name!) in the southwest peninsula of England. Founded in the winter of 2005-6, to create theatre opportunities for local actors in an area of high poverty and deprivation, the South Devon Players specialise in carefully researched historical dramas; often new writing based on new historical research, Shakespeare, and as in this case, staged adaptations of classical literature. Bringing these stories alive on the stage, brings historical research, and some of the great classical tales, to life in an accessible, colourful, experiential format - so much more different than the black and white of the pages of a book.
An inclusive, female led company, the company welcomes actors and crew at all levels of previous experience, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, education, or other kinds of identities/ demographics. The Players hold the belief that talent and professionalism is everywhere, and needs only a chance to shine. The only requirements of the company is that those who join the team have the desire and drive to create groundbreaking top-quality theatre, work positively in a team environment, developing and sharing skills, and that good manners, positivity, reliability and kindness are paramount .
The Players are launching the crowdfund for this project to help support their return to the live stage, with funds going towards costumes, props, and the costs of production, as well as funds towards payments for the actors and crew, facilitating a high quality and positive project to return from the lockdowns and Covid crisis.
The South Devon Players Theatre and Film Company, are developing a proud tradition of creating world-class historical and classical dramas. In 2019, their production of Macbeth, was booked for a second tour and won an international theatre award in New York for its professionalism and creativity. Laura Jury, the director of that production of Macbeth, & many of the Player's shows, and founder of the theatre company, has returned to lead this new project. Laura has also recently been selected to appear in an online Shakespeare project by the Globe Theatre. With lockdown, the Players have been using the internet to perform and stream digital theatre from Brixham, around the world to global audiences, with growing excellent feedback.
It has been a long few days deciding on the show castings for Henry V. The show needs a large cast, even with doubling of roles, and the standard of the auditions were, without fail, exceptional.
After several days of soul-searching, we have finalised the casting for this show. With digital shows coming up in the summer and live performances later in the autumn, this is is going to be a thrilling new project for everyone.
We are delighted to welcome the cast:
Actor 1: Chorus, Duke of York, Sir Thomas Erpingham, Jamy, French Soldier, French Court Attendant – Allison Abbott
Actor 2: King Henry V – Rich Sandford
Actor 3: Humphrey of Gloucester, Sir Thomas Grey – Eve Germaine (may be asked to understudy Katherine as well, for Sarah)
Actor 4: John of Bedford, Williams, Duke of Britain, Duke of Berri – Christophe Monplaisir
Actor 5: Thomas of Clarence, Dauphin – Jamie Hoskin
Actor 6: Duke of Exeter, Rambures – Sarah Gregori
Actor 7: Earl of Westmorland, Fluellen, - Samuel Swaffield
Actor 8: Earl of Warwick, Bates, Bardolph, Constable of France – Jenny Coverack
Actor 9: Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard of Cambridge, Macmorris, King Charles of France, Duke of Bourbon, Grandpré – Anthony Webster
Actor 10: Earl of Salisbury, Bishop of Ely, Lord Scroop, – Laura Jury
M Actor 11: Pistol, Ambassador of France, English Herald, Duke of Orleans – Ben Butler
Actor 12: Williams, Nym, Duke of Brugundy, Governor of Harfleur, Montjoy – Alex Stewart
Actor 13: Boy, French Messenger – Lily Elliott
Actor 13: Gower -Sadhbh Saoirse
Actor 14: Alice, Hostess – Parascovia Everett
Actor 15: Katherine – Sarah Hobbs
There is a lot of news for a short period of time, that affects most of our shows.
First of all, we are delighted to announce that our first ever Arts Council funded project, True Tales of Spooky Brixham, is now live for public ticket sales. We had a great session with most of the recording work last week, and are doing the final pickups tomorrow. This project will be fundraising for Brixham Theatre, our nearest local theatre, where we always perform for each show tour.
Secondly, theres Jack The Ripper. The live theatre shows were originally planned for the end of January (at Brixham Theatre) but with the governments expectation that Coovid restrictions will go on for another six months, and Brixham Theatre not reopening until May 1st 2021, we will be running a virtual performance in early Feb 2021 (tickets on sale soon), prior to the rebooked tour dates in May for the live performances of Jack the Ripper as originally planned. All venues originally booked will be contacted by the end of the week to rebook.
With this schedule in place, we can also announce that in, the early New Year , we will be castings for our second "live" post-covid show, Shakespeare's Henry V. The dates for this show run will be dictated by our inclusion with Bristol Shakespeare Festival, ideally live, or otherwise as an online show.
With our virtual season, there have been some date changes. The Lost Girl (script by Germaine Shames, based on the novel by DH Lawrence) is being rescheduled for mid January 2021. Between some internal live broadcast logistics, and a delay caused by struggling to cast the older roles, (a new casting advert will go out shortly for those roles) we have postponed the project so that it can be done to best effect and quality..
The other autumn virtual shows, Sir Walter's Women, and The Taming of the Shrew, are unaffected.
Our non-exclusive casting agency also remains open. While our books are closed to actors who have not worked with us (we work on being able to provide personal reccomendations from having ourselves worked with people), our actors are largely available for remote/ home-taped/ virtual/ voice over work, or castings on known Covid-secure sets. Please note that if seeking actors through us, these are all experienced professionals, and must be paid as such.
We have some new work coming in through the agency at the moment, and suitable team members will be approached over the next week or so for the work, which will all be done over Zoom.
We are also in the process of developing a welcome book for those who join our teams for one or more productions. For those newer to working professionally, or who are unsure what to expect, this outlines how things work and organisation expectations, aiming to answer frequently asked questions, and be an easy to access guide. This will be finished by Christmas.
And that's all for the moment. Stay safe, keep battling along, and never stop revelling in creativity!
Hello all! Lots of news at this end, re the online and offline shows, rehearsals, paperwork, plans and changes for the future. Everything is as positive as can be expected in these crazy Covid-times.
Midsummer Night's Dream (Live shows)
I apologise for the radio silence on this. This is a reiteration that the live shows will most definitely happen, however long it take, and a HUGE thank you to all cast and crew and venues for sticking together. At the moment we are looking, with lots of hope and wishful thinking, for an autumn run. This will be dependent on safety and legality at the time. We would look to have at least a month’s notice so that we can rehearse, and get things ready, quite intensively, for the shows at our full usual standard. As the shows WILL happen when it is safe to do so, we are asking all cast and crew to remain familiar with their lines and characterisations, as there is not likely to be time for "re-learning" when we are able to get the shows back; I find remaining familiar just involves a good focussed read and run over my lines once a week. When we get to live rehearsals with the final dates for shows, those rehearsals will need to be intensive logistics, blocking, and tech,. Lines etc will need to be already known. There will not be a performance at Brixham Theatre, as Brixham Theatre is remaining closed until Jan 2021, due to the pandemic, as the theatre needs several months marketing ahead of time and has very high local demographics of older people who need to isolate even more than the rest of us. I am however looking at alternative venues in Torbay.
In addition at least one of the live performances (I am aiming for the Bristol one) will be live streamed to audiences who still prefer to isolate.
Jack The Ripper (Live shows)
This show is going ahead. We are casting as planned this summer (although through the use of self-tapes instead of "in person" auditions, though an audition over Zoom or Facebook call can be arranged if someone feels unable to video their audition.). Initial rehearsals will be online, over Zoom.
The performances are likely to be moved to late January 2021 (discussions taking place over the next weeks), when most surviving theatres, as is currently thought, will reopen. We will also be doing a live streamed online performance in the meantime, and again, one of the venue performances will also be streamed to those who may still be isolating. We are not casting "online only" actors for this show, as we want to be able to present the same actors to all audiences, on and offline. We would love to hear from regular and new actors who would like to be considered for a role (all the details are over on the auditions page.)
The 2021 programme of live shows, all being well, is fully planned, and may tip over into early 2022. There is a very exciting line-up of work, including more Shakespeare (which is already booked in for the 2021 Bristol Shakespeare Festival) and historical dramas. These will be announced formally once there is more clarity on the Covid-affected timing of the current shows.
Later in July, our rehearsal venue will be available for limited use under current official guidelines. We hope to return by the beginning of August. There will be stringent safety (distancing, cleanliness) guidelines in place which will be mandatory to be followed for anyone attending. We have currently sent these to Equity for checking, and will have a finalised safety document outlining safety procedures which everyone will be required to follow, before we confirm a return to any physical rehearsal space.
We would like to be very clear that even when this return happens, attendance at the physical space will be optional. Any cast member not wishing to attend in person for any reason, will instead be able to attend the rehearsal from their own home, over Zoom. Physical attendance at rehearsals will become mandatory again, when it is fully safe to do so and we are in the final stages of getting back to live touring (for blocking etc). As long as full attendance happens, whether physical or online, at rehearsals, then we are happy!
The main rehearsal dates for our main shows remain the same; Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Where shows overlap there may be one show being rehearsed on one day, and one on the other.
Until we are able to return to physical rehearsals in full force, any trainee/first-timer crew roles will have to either be postponed, or take place solely online.
For the time being we will not be able to accept guests at physical rehearsals. Due to space being at a premium with social distancing, only actors and senior crew involved in the scenes being rehearsed will be able to attend. Family members or friends who are not in the production, will not be able to come and "sit in".
COVID Online Season
We are in the final stages of planning the show line-up for a season of online Zoom-based "Virtual theatre" which will be live streamed to audiences during the autumn, with a wonderful mixture of new and established shows. We already have a wonderful Shakespeare production being planned, and a piece of new writing by a guest author who normally works in the Broadway circuit and is very excited to expand her work over to the UK. Following a call for new work, we are also reading through a number of other very exciting submissions, to select one or two, for the season. Casting calls for all available roles will be released as soon as possible, in line with our usual profit share & portfolio content line-up. Rehearsal times for these may vary from our usual times.
It should be noted that we have updated the policy document pertaining to fight choreography and weapons use, in order to clarify best practice and our expectations. It can be found in our governance documents. With the upcoming two year programme of shows involving a high percentage of shows with action and fight scenes, it was deemed important to re-clarify.
We often have people join our team who are new to professional acting, who may have come from either an amateur background or indeed who have never performed before. Even for those us who have been performing for 20 or 30 years, you never ever stop learning. All levels of experience are equally welcome, however we have often found a huge discrepancy in expectations of professional theatre, which unfortunately can, without any negative intentions from anyone, create friction. In an ideal world with the relevant funding and qualified personnel, we would run free training classes at our rehearsal hall, however this is not currently possible, and therefore we have opened the Training Zone on Facebook, which all of our cast and crew who own a Facebook account, regardless of experience, will be asked to join from Jack The Ripper onwards, where we can share learning, best practice, and help with questions or skills gaps. After all, we pride ourselves on having some of the best raw talent in Devon, and making sure that we are all as finely honed performers and crew as possible, will serve to build everyone's individual careers, and the team as a whole. The Training Zone group can be found here. If you have a question, however basic or advanced, this is the best place to ask and discuss, and find resources.
For those people not on Facebook, we will forward the contents into emails.
From this point on, for the first six months with the company, new personnel will be required to complete monthly skills assessments with one of our senior staff. After six months satisfactory completion, new team members will be reviewed 6mts later, then, as with all of our team, will be reviewed on an annual basis. This will allow us to focus on continuous development of everyone working with us.
Market Stall, Ebay & Friends’ Scheme
With Brixham Pannier Market reopening later this month, we are reopening our book stall at the market on Wednesdays. This will have our usual wide variety of fiction and factual books, with new books added each week. The market takes place in the Scala Hall, part of the Brixham Town Hall complex, in the town centre by Bolton Cross.
We have also opened a dedicated Ebay store, which will sell donated items and any items that we are clearing out, to fundraise for the company. We will be re-launching our used-stamp appeal shortly as well. The ebay account is at https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/southdevonplayers.
“Friends Of” Scheme
Our ‘Friends of’ Scheme remains available. Full details on the website. Email email@example.com to sign up.
Following a spate of high-double-figures of highly concerning incidents of children contacting us without the knowledge of their parents for shows, providing dangerous amounts of personal information including secret contacts away from parents, and even requests for illegal trafficking from abroad (all of which have been reported to the child protection authorities in the relevant area to the child's residence, and anti-slavery organisations when from abroad), and incidents where parents have not been aware of chaperoning laws (in some cases being unaware even of the existence of such laws, let alone of the actual nuanced regulations and responsibilities), we have had to take the difficult decision to close our doors to child actors for the time being.
Dealing with these enquiries (sometimes two or three in one day) where children and parents are wilfully endangering children cause us huge amounts of worry & concern, it eats up hours of production time, from our small team, and we are unable to continue to cope without endangering our productions and company.
If we have shows or projects requiring child actors, we will contact a pool of three teenage actors with whom we have worked with this summer, who have established high-level professional skills & reliability, who will be invited to audition for any child roles that come up with new or peripheral projects. For anyone who wishes to read our child protection policy, which remains in force as a non-negotiable production document and regularly updated in line with new legislation, the document may be found in our governance documents section.
It should be noted that the coming two year forecast of shows after A Midsummer Night's Dream, (which is already cast as of Feb 2020, with two child actors involved) will not require child actors.
If local child actors wish to find alternative opportunities, we highly recommend Dramatically Different youth theatre run by the lovely Rachel Swain as an excellent practical team for children and teens, which works towards two full-scale productions per year in Brixham Theatre, as well as other local events, or alternatively, on a wider scale, you may wish to look at the Young Company at Plymouth Theatre Royal.
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