Among the challenges, were quite unexpected ones. Of course all our actors and crew are working from home, so you think that it is a fairly simple affair to mail out costumes. However, with the current Covid situation in the UK, there are a number of major postal delays, and while Queen Elizabeth and Bess Throckmorton recieved their gowns as made by Dorothy Grace Laity, our poor Sir Walter Raleigh's outfit was caught up in postal delays and our stage manager hadnt recieved it, meaning that poor Sir Walter had no clothes! After a frantic day involving emails, phonecalls, and brainstorming how to bodge a smart tudor outfit with "things around the house" like shirts, pashminas, toilet roll and wired christmas ribbon, the wonderful Amy Burton Smith came to our rescue and lent an outfit!
We had all the usual fun - when gathering to put work together online, you have all kinds of issues - after all our actors and crew are all working with whatever computer or phone devices they have at home, and a chroma greenscreen that cost £10 on ebay - or a plain wall, to project the digital backdrops. So things like dropped internet signal, intermittant microphones which continued to resist every bit of techincal tweaking and toubleshooting, aand similar challenges, meant that we decided in order to provide a reliable performance, to pre-record this performance.
And so, after overcoming a selection of challenges peculiar to digitally producing Tudor era theatre, we are delighted to be looking forward to the streaming of our latest digital theatre offering, Sir Walter's Women, by writer Rachel O Neill.
As in the synopsis of our BOX OFFICE, (yes where tickets are available if you havent got one yet!)
This is a one-act drama about the life of Sir Walter Raleigh as he manoeuvres his status as a favourite of Elizabeth I to satisfy his political ambitions. Into the Court arrives Bess Throckmorton. They fall in love and marry in secret, to the great and lasting displeasure of the Queen. The Queen dies and the envious James I comes to power and the play ends with Sir Walter's incarceration, trial and execution.
It has proven a busy and challenging week getting the production ready, but it is now all ready and our cast & crew - not to mention the author of course - cant wait for you to enjoy it over the weekend.
As with all our shows, every penny from ticket sales is used to pay our actors and crew - each recieves an equal share. So with your ticket purchases, you are also helping keep amazing, talented, professional creatives in work, during the hardest times that the theatre industry has ever faced. THANK YOU!!
The edits themselves have been kept very simple, to allow for an experience as close to a live digital performance as possible. In our live performances, we always use scene title cards between scenes, to allow time for the actors to change backdrops, costumes or anything else. We continued that tradition, and the only other edit was to boost and equalise the sound from one cast members microphone, which had an intermittant volume drop that no amount of system tweaks could rectify.
The scenes were then dropped together in a simple edit and rendered out. The down side is that it is not live. The plus side is that less things like dropped signals or unexpected tech malfunctions can happen.
Twelve months ago, we would have never thought of creating or streaming performance in this way, but with the pandemic, we were determined to keep working and keep creating. Using Zoom to create theatre and keep working was the only safe way to do this. We can't wait to get back to the physical stage, and we have some really exciting projects coming up for when we can get back to touring, but we are also keeping busy in the meantime. Thanks to an amazing bunch of people!