Meeting Fiz – Junkyard’s Erin Doherty

JunkYard. Photo by Mark Douet _31B5750.jpg

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.

 

Junkyard Rehearsal Diary – Week 5

I can’t believe how quickly these last few weeks have flown by. It feels like only yesterday when we all met for the first time at the meet and greet and now here we are. We have a show on our hands people! 🙂

As last weeks usually go there has been a lot of activity – The musicians joined us for most of the week to rehearse all of the songs and embed them within the scenes; a day was dedicated to hair cuts/dyes and styling (honestly, it felt like Stars in Their Eyes!). We changed and tightened the movement and worked the transitions to make them slicker and more interesting; we had an afternoon of filming for marketing.  Goodness, this week definitely required good organisation. I have to give a shout out to our DSM Jen who has managed the room fantastically with its constant comings and goings (with my help obviously 😉 *cough cough*).

We had our first stagger-through which was really useful for everyone. Jeremy has worked hard with the company on individual scenes so it was great to start pulling all the scenes together into bigger chunks stopping only to tweak bits and pieces. It was great practice for the company and great for us as Creatives to see the full picture. We then dived into our first run through (Eeek!)  joined by a few extra guests from Headlong and I’m glad to say that  it went really well.

Now call me a nerd but I love making notes. I love Detail. Detail Detail Detail. If I could marry Detail I would Lol. But what I love more is when actors implement notes given and you see performances taken to the next level because of those finer details. This was definitely the case when we had our second run-through on Friday which in a way felt like a bigger event –  maybe because it was the final run-through before heading down to Bristol or maybe because we had a larger audience courtesy of the production’s co-producers, which can be completely nerve-wracking but is a necessary stage in any rehearsal process. What is certain though is that everyone Stepped. Up. Their. Game. Listen, if this is what we’re working with at this stage I have no doubt that everyone will knock it out of the park when the show finally kicks of in T – minus 4 days.

Bye Bye London. Hello Bristol. Tech. Previews. Press Night. Here we go!

Speak soon!

Michal x

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.

Junkyard Rehearsal Diary – Week 4

“We’re cooking now” – the perfect statement to round up week four of rehearsals (thanks Kevin) – and we really are cooking up a delicious pot of musical goodness. Every week we’re given new treats; a talented company, a rehearsal set, a trip to the Vench in Bristol and a new trailer. This week we were joined by our musicians and spent half a day, led by our composer Stephen, integrating the band and the company. I’m happy to report that they played nice. N’aww.

As for the rest of the week… we got through the whole play and by early next week – we will have gone through the play twice. We’ve been lucky to have had a five week rehearsal period because it’s meant that the scenes have been given the time and focus that they need. You know one thing that I love about rehearsals is the continuous discovery of story, key moments, character journeys and of the deeper meaning of songs.  There are various modes of storytelling in this production and with the time given we’ve built a strong language – it’s been such a pleasure to be a part of its unfolding.

I can’t wait to share more about costumes. Everytime I go into the production office, I sneak a peak at the rail of clothes – teasing me from the corner of the room – and try and guess what belongs to whom. At least I have a permanent reference by way of fashion vision boards in the rehearsal room to give me a taste of what each character will look like. No doubt, the costumes will play a big part in providing a strong contextual basis for the era in which Junkyard is set, which is important I think – Looking at the ‘then’ to take into the ‘now.’ It will also be interesting to see how the actors transform when they put their characters’ threads on. I have no doubt that they will wear the clothes and not let the clothes wear them. I butchered that quote but you get my drift.

Anywho, week five, the final week in London before heading to Bristol for tech and Press Night. It will be another week of hard-work, discovery and teamwork. *Rubs hands together* Let’s go get’ em.

Michal x

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.

Junkyard Rehearsal Diary – Week 3

What I really love about this production is it’s rhythm and groove – and rightly so! It is a musical after all. So it was quite a treat to start the week with a groove session to see what types of rhythms were waiting to burst out of everyone – which was a’plenty. Stephen and Musical Director Tayo continued to work hard with the company incorporating songs into Jeremy’s staging-process. It’s amazing to see how the songs lift off and extend within the space; Stephen is truly excellent at what he does and his ability to ease the company into unfamiliar territory has been a pleasure to watch. Well done to the company for being able to absorb all the information so far!

This week I’ve been on top of the logistics of the production keeping tabs on what goes where and when and for how long. We’re getting more slick and keeping the communication channels flowing has been instrumental to our success. There’s a nice chilled vibe this week and it’s been interesting to watch Jeremy work with the actors and demonstrate his ability to communicate his ideas with flexibility, flair and (my favourite word again) fun. Every line is met with precision and detail and the actors are encouraged to try things out and go with their instincts. I like this visceral approach!

We’ve also been working hard to use every nook and cranny available on the set and we’ve explored dynamic ways to present the locations within the production.  It made me think about how much a set can be a character in it’s own right offering so many choices. With so much inspiration around it’s no wonder the creative juices have been flowing and ideas have been firing from all corners of the rehearsal room. It’s been an exciting collaborative experience and everyone’s committed to Jeremy’s vision.

The week has flown by yet again. We ended the week with a Saturday morning session with our movement director working on getting those moves super sleek. I have a really great feeling about this production and I hope that audiences who come and see the show really feel the energy and love that has gone into it.

Until next week!

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.

Building the ‘Junkyard’ set with Chiara Stephenson

With the set now built and rehearsals continuing to heat up, we jumped at the chance to catch up with Junkyard Set and Costume Designer Chiara Stephenson. Here she reveals the inspiration behind the show’s interactive set and how it all comes together.


Hi, I’m Chiara and I’m fortunate enough to be the Set and Costume Designer on Junkyard.

The thing I always enjoy when working on any new production is carrying out all the research. I love letting new ideas stew in my brain and with Junkyard that’s basically meant marinating in all sorts of old books and images of the 70s to really understand the look and feel of the time. It was a delight to discover all the bonkers structures and playgrounds the kids of the 60s and 70s created, well before ‘Health and Safety’ kicked in. The precarious and dangerous nature of their constructions was what I found most inspiring, as was their fearlessness in jumping off them from ahigh.

Following a visit to the Lockleaze playground the play is based on and talking with some of the old workers, I was also really inspired by the way they’ve reincarnated ‘The Vench’ over the years. Each time the playground got damaged or vandalised, their attitude was just ‘f**k it, let’s rebuild it bigger and better’. That defiant attitude is something we’ve really tried to capture in the show, along with that sense of danger and precariousness.

junkyard-3  junkyard-4

I actually used to play at an adventure playground myself as a youngster. The Battersea Park playground in London was always my go to. I don’t know if it’s because I was a lot smaller, but I remember the playground being epic in size and much more dangerous. In fact one of my earliest memories at my nursery as a 3-4 year old was being given a few bits of small wood and a hammer and nails. The freedom and trust was great and something I think you don’t find so much these days.

Junkyard is unique to anything I’ve ever worked on because we’re giving our actors similar free-reign to build the whole set themselves. The show starts with what is seemingly a pile of junk on the ground but, over the course of Act 1, each of the kids get to channel their madly creative spirits into constructing the junkyard playground itself. The design relies on huge levels of interaction from the actors. It’s a real logistical challenge for everyone so if we pull it off its definitely a salute to the cast more than me.

junkyard-14  junkyard-25

Working on this show with Director Jeremy Herrin has been amazing. He’s a heavyweight really and I’ve had the amazing chance to throw all sorts of ideas his way, trusting that he’ll sieve out all the dodgy ones and pick out the keepers. He’s totally game for lots of play and experimentation. The one thing we are not short of in the making of this show is ideas, and silly ideas at that. Which ones will actually end up in the show, we’ll just have to wait and see…

I’d love to tell you the funniest moment so far, but with this production it really is impossible to answer! These moments are all too frequent due to the playful nature of the show and everyone working on it. It really does feel like we are all a bunch of kids mucking about in a playground as we weave the show into something explosive and exciting. Hopefully that will all come across on-stage and the audience will enjoy everything we’ve created!


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