Medea – a word from the rehearsal room

Medea at Bristol Old Vic - Michelle Fox and Akiya Henry (Medea + Maddy) in rehearsals - Photographer Jack Offord - 7278

Michelle Fox (left) with Akiya Henry in rehearsals for Medea at Bristol Old Vic. Photo by Jack Offord.

We’ve been working like Trojans for the past four weeks, it’s been a bit of a blur! Between the six members of the acting company, we’re fully immersed in devising the music and movement in collaboration with George Mann (our Director) and everyone else in the rehearsal room. It takes a lot of time and energy, but hopefully it’ll be worth the pay off!

With so many women in the room, we’ve been helping each other through long days rehearsing, and coming up with some great ideas – even down to making the decision to put a snack selection in the corner of the room… (an excellent choice I believe).

Our version of Medea is a clash between the ancient world of Medea, and the modern world of Maddy. Writer Chino Odimba has worked on Maddy’s story, which sits perfectly alongside Robin Robertson’s translation of the ancient myth.

I’m playing three different characters – two in the ancient world and one in the modern world. The ancient text is all sung, and the chorus sings and underscores the entire show. No mean feat! We’re also trying to look after ourselves and keep everything sustainable for a seven show week.

I think it’s going to be a really great show and not what people will expect.

The female power is emanating out of this play, and the last couple of weeks in the rehearsal room before we open in the Theatre should be very interesting.

by Michelle Fox

Medea plays at Bristol Old Vic Theatre 5-27 May. For more info and to book tickets, click here.

Ready for the BIG weekend?

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So here it is – Blah Blah Blah’s Big Weekend Blog. Alliteration at its finest. Blah Blah Blah has been in existence for, oooh, around 6 years now. Our monthly nights of spoken word chicanery regularly sell out – a quick hurrah if you please – and last year we introduced the magnificence that is the Big Weekend. We were not satisfied with a measly 10 shows a year but needed to bung in a good concentrated dollop of all that is sacred in performance poetry. So three days on the trot. THREE days of words, verse, superlative performers, rhyming, improvising, laughter, chatter, heckling, a couple of sniffles, much clapping, some feet stomping and a whole lotta beer.

For you regular fans of the Blah then you will know our host and programmer is the sterling Anna Freeman – a freedom fighter for the gingers of this world and a canvas for Bristol’s finest tattoos. She is also pretty nifty with words and she will be our guide during the three days of the Big Weekend. She is also the brains behind putting the weekend together, so when you see her in the bar then buy her a pint for just being awesome.

This year’s Big Weekend is being held at our mate’s house – the extraordinary Wardrobe Theatre in Old Market and we are dead pleased to be able to work with them whilst our usual gaff, Bristol Old Vic, is having its redevelopment.

Tongue_Fu_BBW_web_carousel.jpgAnd we have invited back some of our old poetry chums to help us with the weekend, like the sensation that is Tongue Fu. Last time they were with Blah the audience wouldn’t let them get off the stage. A band, some poets and a rather lush and charming master of the revels leads to an anarchic night of irreverence


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Cecilia Knapp on the Saturday afternoon promises to be dead special with music, beatboxing and beautifully funny stories. It is a perfect Saturday afternoon, just perfect.


Writing_Workshop_BBW_web_carousel.jpgDo the inspiring writers’ workshop in the morning with the lovely Roundhouse folk (yes from that there London) and see Celicia’s show in the afternoon all for one price. Look just bring your tent with you and stay all weekend. We’d love to have you.


Vanessa_Kisuule_BBW_web_carousel.jpgBristol poet, Vanessa Kisuule will have her old typewriter ready to go as she will type you a poem on whatever subject you like. Give her an idea and she will produce poetry for the soul. Just for you. Who else can offer that?


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Stand Up and Slam hit Bristol and take over the city with their whirlwind night of madness – a hit at Edinburgh Fringe these guys will take your funny bone and tickle it until it screams for you to stop. Saturday doesn’t get any better.


The_Sleep_Show_BBW_web_carousel.jpgAnd then on the third day there was…. drum roll… Rob Auton. One of our favourite folk and a massive hit with the Blah audience. The Guardian called him the Brian Cox of the poetry world – I don’t know what he thinks of that. Why don’t we ask him when he brings his extraordinary show on sleep to the Wardrobe stage?

So put aside the weekend, think of nothing but Blah. Bathe in the waters of spoken word, join the congregation, raise your pint and settle in for one of the highlights of Bristol’s year.

We are ruddy pleased to say that the weekend is selling like…. um…. hotcakes? Have you ever had a hot cake? No me neither. Just saying do book your tickets to ensure you’re with us. There will be poetry, there will be laughter, there will be tons of loud clapping, there will be no tears, there will be wassailing. At a time like this (thanks Mr T, you know who you are) just submerge yourself in the healing weekend that is big and is Blah.


For more information about Blah’s Big Weekend and to book tickets, click here.

Disabled Access Weekend at Bristol Old Vic: Looking to the future

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Every Arts location should be open to all. Open to explore, experience, and enjoy.

That’s why at Bristol Old Vic, as we venture towards the reopening of our exciting new Front of House space in 2018, we are continuing to keep the importance of accessibility at the forefront of our minds.

Having a 250 year old building certainly comes with its set of challenges when looking at accessibility, so we endeavour to ensure that all customers and audience members have a stress-free experience with us – from booking and general enquiries, through to their visit.

In the coming year, our website will be given a bit of a spring clean, but we still have plenty of info right at the touch of the button that could make your trip easier, and something that we are proud to continually add to and update.

Currently, the accessibility page of our website has info on seating, dates and details of specific access performances, and the logistics of visiting us. We are also working on a step count, photos that will show the route around our space, and hopefully some videos that might help familiarise you with the venue before you come along.

We have a dedicated mailing list to keep you updated on all our access performances as well as some extra tit bits about the work that we create and perform here. Additionally we have a dedicated access email address to contact, should you have any queries of your own.

Further to this, we are keen to take advantage of the opportunities we have to engage with you, our audiences, on a more regular basis.

Therefore, this weekend (9-11 Mar) and in support of Disabled Access Weekend, we are excited to offer you the chance to come and talk with us, and find out more about what we are working towards.

At 12.15pm on Sat 11 Mar, our Chief Executive, Emma Stenning, will be talking about the final stage of our redevelopment, our plans for the new Front of House areas and how we are approaching its accessibility to customers. This is an open talk and free to anyone who wants to come along. This talk will be held in the Backstage Bar of Bristol Old Vic, accessed via the Rackhay (BS1 4HJ). The talk will last approx. 20 mins and other staff with be free to chat with until 2.30pm.

Following the talk, our BSL matinee performance of Junkyard starts at 2.30pm. Tickets for Access Customers are £10 each and companions go free. You can book your place by visiting our Box office or giving us a call on 0117 9877877.

Junkyard Rehearsal Diary – Week 6

Honey we’re Home!

Tech week always makes my heart beat a little faster and harder because it means we’re getting closer to finally sharing it with audiences. What will they think? Will they love it, hate it, laugh at the jokes, be touched by the tender moments or will they *blink blink scratch heads* at the whole thing? You just never know! I suppose that’s the beauty and curse of finally opening the doors to meet the unknown.  We’ve been working hard though and it feels so good to meet our gawjuss set in all its glory and enjoy the splendours of the design elements coming together to sprinkle gold dust on what has been achieved so far.

Songs have been changed, text has been slashed and new text inserted, movement has been tightened up, costumes have been poked and prodded – no stone has been left unturned. Everyone’s battered but the commitment to Junkyard continues to drive everything forward. It’s been a tough week and there’s been a fair few changes but nothing has been in vain.

The actors have been absolute stars and I always think of them as a sort of breed of demi-god because the stamina and strength demonstrated has been..well godly lol… Still they experiment, still they remain fully focused and highly charged, still they have fun and look out for each other. They have worked so hard and I’m sure that everything that has been achieved from the 16th of January till now will reap its full rewards. Previews are about to come thick and fast and Press Night forever looms but of course this will only be the beginning. As the weeks pass and the show continues its journey on to Theatr Clwyd and The Rose, Kingston more discoveries will be made and the production will continue to grow and soar. I’m pleased that I’ll be witness to it all.

It’s been so lovely to share a few thoughts over this period and I’ll be sad to say goodbye *sniff sniff.* But it’s time to give birth. One final push and we’ll soon be holding a new baby in our arms:

….Her name is JUNKYARD…

Michal xx

Written by Michal Keyamo
Originally published at: https://headlong.co.uk/work/junkyard


Bristol Old Vic’s Spring Season continues with Junkyard 24 Feb-18 Mar. For more info and to book tickets, click here.

Meeting Fiz – Junkyard’s Erin Doherty

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Ahead of previews this week, we managed to pull Bristol Old Vic Theatre School alumni Erin Doherty away from rehearsals for a quick chat about all things Junkyard. Here she fills us in on what to expect from her character Fiz in our latest Spring Season show.


Tell us a little bit about Junkyard
Junkyard is about a group of kids who have been given up on and tells the story of someone coming into their lives and giving them something to believe in (although the path to believing in it may not be as slick as that sentence!)

Can you tell us a bit about Fiz?
Fiz is a thirteen-year-old force to be reckoned with. She makes her own rules, and lets you know about them. She will not be told what to do or how to behave. Fiz lives at home with her Mum and older sister of two years, Debbie. She is determined to end up like neither of them.

How would you describe the music in Junkyard?
Genius.

Are you excited about returning to Bristol Old Vic?
I cannot wait. I love it here. Bristol will always remain a very special place because of training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for three years, it’s home.

Did you play on adventure playgrounds when you were growing up? Do you have any funny stories?
As a matter of fact, I did! My sister and I went to loads of different ones when we were growing up. I vaguely remember getting the physics of a seesaw wrong once and thrusting my face into the handlebar… I’ve not seesawed since.

What’s been the funniest moment that’s happened in the rehearsal room so far?
I must say, with Jeremy, the rehearsal room is always laughing. He is brilliant and hilarious and it’s infectious.


Bristol Old Vic’s Spring Season continues with Junkyard 24 Feb-18 Mar. For more info and to book tickets, click here.