Today, the second rehearsal after Christmas and the New Year, took place over Zoom, for our production of Jack the Ripper. The techincal rehearsals for the broadcast began today, allowing several weeks to get the entire project running smoothly!
And here, for your delectation, are some behind-the-scenes screenshots of some of our incredible cast!
Coming over the next few weeks, we will be uploding the information on our main 2021 casting calls. (Please note that we expect there to also be a number of other smaller digital-only projects, especially while we continue to create digital projects during the Covid crisis. These two major shows look forward to when it is safe, and viable to return to the live stage.
We are excited to announce that the next primary casting calls will be for a production of
William Shakespeare's Henry V, and for an all new stage adaptation of Lew Wallace's classic novel Ben Hur.
At the time of writiing, the Covid pandemic continues unabated, with a shocking "second spike", but in positive news, two vacciences have been approved for national use, and so, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Some levels of lockdown do allow for theatres to open in a socially distanced way, but with rapidly changing infection rates in different regions, as well as the fact that with nessecary social distancing it is impossible to sell enough tickets to a venue to allow for the cast and crew to earn anything, and tight backstage areas where actors and crew are unable to socially distance (and that is before you even look at the mechanics of the interactions on stage!!!)
Until we can perform viably and safely in theatres, our work will remain digital.
Our lineup of live shows (when we can return to the stage) will be tours of
- Jack The Ripper (currently in rehearsals, then a digital performance, which will then be held until we can return to the stage, for a live tour).
- Henry V (subject to being able to return to the theatre during summer 2021, if not there will be a digital-only project linked with some larger national Shakespeare digital events)
- Ben Hur (some work on visual and computer effects will begin summer 2021, requiring the two principals to be cast and contracted early, to have visual effects built around), but rehearsals etc will commence after Henry V, and the shows are hoped to be toured in winter 2021-2022. This will be our biggest and most complex show to date.
Planning has never been so difficult - as it is not a simple case of scheduling one show after another, as in normal times; it is also affected by the undercertainties of the pandemic. This means that dates are still highly uncertain at the moment, even to return to the rehearsal hall.
Following the digital performances of The Lost Girl and Jack The Ripper, we will be having a week of "down time" to assess what the likely timeline is at that point. This means that we hope to start accepting auditions for Henry V, in the middle of Feb 2021. We may also schedule some short-term digital-only plays, if, at that point, it looks as if we will be remaining digtal-only into later summer.
As always we are happy to keep a note of anyone interested in auditioning for us, in order to send a reminder when the audition packs are uploaded.
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
Our casting and production process follows Equity policies, promoting fairness and excellence in running all our productions: Manifesto for Casting | Safe Places Policy | Cast It Here | Inclusive Casting Policy | Performance for All
The show is a researched drama based on a number of the historical theories, surrounding Jack The Ripper, a Victorian serial killer in Whitechapel, London. We never fully reveal who the Ripper is, therefore through the show he is played by different people, all masked the same. The principal main character is the detective Abberline, a brilliant, humanitarian but broken man, tracking down the killer. The show design is stylish, steampunk, and daring. It does not involve any sexual scenes, beyond some of the ladies of the night soliciting on street corners. Originally due to be performed in October 2020, it now looks likely to be moved to Jan/ Feb 2021, due to the Covid outbreak. It will tour Devon and up to Bristol.
We are casting for all roles, This spans all speaking roles; which are male and female roles, all ethnicities very welcome. Actors should be aged over 18, but other than that we welcome (and require) actors of any age - we require a range of ages from 18 or thereabouts up to and including senior citizens in their 70s! Actors must be based in the Devon area or easily able to travel to same, for live rehearsals (after lockdown) and the performances. We do not charge anyone to work with us - indeed we do our utmost to pay our cast and crew via equal profitshare from the ticket sales at the very minimum (with applications in to various funds with the aim of raising full union standard wages for all cast and crew). No roles are "precast".
As a professional company, with national and international arts awards, we require that all actors, regardless of experience, are able and willing to work to the standard consumate with those expectations. Actors must have the ability to attend required rehearsals and performances on time, note and follow directions/ production details, the literacy to read and learn scripts by deadlines without habitual paraphrasing/ improvising, are respectful of other cast and crew, are calm & focussed in rehearsals and shows, and maintain a positive, stress-free workplace enviroment. This is being stated due to incorrect misconceptions about our work being a social club/service drop-in centre, in the past, which caused unwarranted upset and embarrassment on all sides.
In your self tape, which you can record on your phone, laptop, or any device, we are not looking for cinematic brilliance, or for you to second-guess "the right character". We are looking for characterisation and those magical split-seconds where for a second the casting director forgets they are watching an actor, and completely believes that it is the character themselves. Bold choices with the audition material are also encouraged.
You will hear back within the week following the closing date (July 19th) as to the status of your application to the show, regardless of whether selected or otherwise.
Early rehearsals will take place online, using Zoom. When it is safe to do so, and in line with risk assessments and safety procecures checked by Equity, we will begin to return to our rehearsal space at Chestnut Community Centre (downstairs room), in Poplar Close, Brixham.
If you have any questions, please email us on email@example.com, or text the director and company owner, Laura Jury, on 07855 090589.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Apologies for the quiet as we have worked on rearranging auditions, looking at new ways of working, and looking at ways to respond to Covid-19.
To clarify; that is now done. We have agreed on ways to keep our auditions for Jack The Ripper open as sheduled, as well as opening auditions for an online "lockdown" performance of Macbeth.
The big change is that for the time of lockdown (and, if there are any especial demographics that need to isolate for longer), we will be accepting online self-tape auditions. These will have the same requirements as our usual "in-person" auditions - and should the lockdown be safely lifted before the Jack the Ripper auditions in July, then we will revert to our normal "in-person" castings.
We also decided to create a lockdown "online" project, which is a full performance of Macbeth - yes, that show we won international awards for last year and had to tour twice because public demand was so huge. Most of the cast are returning, though we do have a handful of roles open to cast, so if you would like to join us, the details are all below. The great thing about the online Macbeth project? It doesnt matter where you are, as long as you have a digital device running Zoom, and are a strong reliable actor.
(As Jack the Ripper will be live performances at venues (once lockdown is over!) our usual restriction of your needing to be based in South Devon, applies to Jack The Ripper though!)
The usual arrangements of profitshare (until such time as we can find funding or sponsors for full wages, behind the scenes, our admin team are working daily on this!) plus portfolio material (recordings, photos etc) all hold as unchanged.
All our current casting and audition information is over at our AUDITION PAGE
If lockdown continues, there are also a number of other smaller projects that can be done online, that are in the works - and we would love to stay in touch with you; so, if you would like to keep informed on upcoming castings and projects, do please either follow our FACEBOOK PAGE or join our PUBLIC FACEBOOK GROUP
Shows & Performance dates:
Brixham - As you may have seen, most theatres have closed for the time being (our home venue Brixham Theatre is closed until May, as things stand). We have resceduled our performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream there for August (details now updated on our Box Office page).
Brixham Brixfest - our excerpt performance of acts 2 & 3 of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Brixfest in May, is cancelled, as Brixfest, an annual festival celebrating local arts, culture and business itself is cancelled. We will be working with them to perform in 2021 - discussions have already commenced
Plymouth - We are planning to reschedule oour performance st Stoke Damerel Church in Plymouth also to August, but we are currently awaiting a reply from the churchwarden to discuss new dates. When this occurs, all tickets bought for the current date will be honoured, or can be refunded (no quibble), if the new date does not suit.
Bristol - We have discussed with Bristol Shakespeare Festival, who are working on the best case scenario to run still in July. Both the festival and the venue are very happy to have us, and so as things stand, this date will go ahead. If we are forced to postpone, we will postpone until later in August/ September, and then perform "under our own steam".
We are also exploring the possibility of online broadcasts and readings/ performances.
The vast majority of our rehearsals have now moved online, to protect the health of our actiors and crew; using the video-conferencing programm / app, Zoom. Cast and crew should stay in regular contact via email or Facebook with the team, as we send the conference links out to everyone on a twice-weekly basis, and send out updates about online work opportunities for actors for our team.
Castings for Jack the Ripper
Our audition date in late July, remains as-is. We hope that the worst of the crisis will be over by then, but if it is not, we will be looking at alternate ways to cast the show and send out scripts etc to cast. Please keep an eye on our news, social media and the auditions page for any updates. People who have emailed us will be updated as well.
Making online work
In this current crisis, most work for actors and crew has dried up - even big TV series and film shoots have cancelled. This leaves the nations entertainers unable to pay rent or the bills. We are doing our best to help our team with creating various online work opportunities. All we can do is but try, and do our best, rather than giving up.
Our first opportunity for our team is offering online tutoring for adults and children; chiefly in drama and English, but also in other subjects as well, by an expert team of creatives. We are in the process of setting up, but expect to have it done open for business by Sunday March 21st 2020. You can find it at ONLINE TUTORING SERVICE. In the interim, if you would like to be contacted as soon as this service is live, please email us on email@example.com.
You or your loved ones will be able to access expert tutoring, and also support some of our nations entertainers and creatives, during this hard time.
Sidestage photos by Laura at Plymouth
Photos by an audience member (William Kehoe) at Plymouths show.
Updated by our founder