Halloween and a video project.
For Hallloween, supported by Arts Council funding via Torbay Culture, we created Spooky Tales of Brixham, a series of short stories, told in the first person by actors playing Brixham ghosts, based on local folklore. It has gone remarkably well, with fantastic audience feedback.
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.
A project by some of our team members, this adaptation of the full, original text, creative challenge exploring 'further developing on the idea of creating digital performance and new techniques of expressing characters, with the roles being split between two actors. Through painstaking character development, innovative performance, video editing, and use of online media tools, this production is going to be one which presents a traditional comedy, in a very new, modern way.
We are also working with Ivybridge Community Arts on a local history production that they have created,
planning ahead for further online theatre productions in the New Year (and as long as Covid nessecitates that we work online. Some very exciting projects are in various stages of planning, from castiing to being written, behind the scenes!
We have had a number of casting enquiries recently. We currently have open castings for specific roles within our production of DH Lawrence's The Lost Girl, to complete the compliment of actors. Anyone wishing to audition for those roles, please visit our "auditions" page as we are accepting auditions for the next ten days or so for those roles.
During December/January, the next big show auditions will be made live on the same site, and announced here in the news page as well as on our official company social media.
We have recieved a number of enquiries this autumn seeking auditions and "have a go" acting roles in our shows, specifically for children. As announced back in the summer, and as stated on our website in the audtions page, we were forced to close our doors to accepting new child actors, for the time being, for a number of reasons, including repeated concerns that children working with us were not being correctly chaperoned by their parents, and a deluge of very bizarre social media requests (reported to the authorities) requesting us to illegally traffic children from a number of countries, to the UK. In the interests of everyones well-being, safety and legality, we ended up with no choice to close the doors to new child actors. As always we reiterate; we are not a childrens theatre company, although the majority of our shows are suitable viewing for all ages, and we do only cast child roles, where a child is specifically required for a role, which is not the case in every show.
At the moment, with Covid, all auditions take place using self-tapes. We have found that email systems can be very sporadic in filing submitted auditions sent via file-transfer systems to different folders, including the spam folder. While we do our utmost to be vigilant and pick up the auditions, we are still concerned that some may slip through the net, which is not fair on everyones hard work, and therefore we are working on finding an accessible, easy system which allows for easier submission and more efficient casting director access. If you have sent a tape, but not had a response, please always check in with us.
Ticket sales. - As a professional company, we rely on ticket and programme sales to pay our actor and crew. If, due to social distancing, audiences are cut to 20-30, there is no way that we can even hope to break even on the show, much less pay anyone. The only way in which this could be done, is to charge extortinate amounts per ticket - which would be unlikely to fill seats anyway.
Distancing for cast and crew - The current advice that we have recieved from our Equity contact, is that actors have to be fully socially distanced from one another on stage, which means in turn that we cannot have a natural dramatic dynamic on stage. Furthermore, every actor has to have thier own dressing room (most venues cannot accomodate this), and live in a "bubble" of a hired hotel before, during and after the show - there is no way to afford this. (Also what about families, other work/ committments, etc?)
Venues - Many venues are closed, due to the lack of viability in being open under these circumstances.
And while we are all looking forward to a safe return to the live stage, it needs to be safe for the actors, crews, audiences and venue staff alike; and viable.
Until then, all our work will take place online.
And we have a message to the Friends of The South Devon Players, a fundraising arm run by volunteers who support our work.
This year did not launch things as planned - while we were planning for social events, and all sorts of "perks" for the membership, Covid, and our scramble to keep the company ticking over, knocked that on the head.
We are however now looking at creatiing "zoom socials" where you will be able to join, socialise, chat, and meet some of the cast and crew. None of these are mandatory for anyone, but will be an option to remain in contact.
We will also be looking at various other "digital" perks, until we can get back into the live spaces, and the original plans, with an emailed announcement soon.
If you would like to support our company's groundbreaking theatre work, and join the Friends, it is only £10 per year, and please pop over to the Supporters Trust . Every penny raised goes into creating new theatre work; costumes, equipment, publicity materialls, venue hire - and when we get to that stage, union-pay-rates for our actors and crew.