INKBLOC Ensemble Rehearsal Diary – Week 7

Intensive rehearsals continue ahead of INKBLOC Ensemble’s debut show LEGO BeachHere, company member Krista spills all the beans about the very latest INKBLOC shenanigans.


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This is it. The half way mark has been reached. There’s no turning back. It’s all very dramatic. The company entered the room on a mildly sunny Monday morning with their battle armour at the ready. Producer Amy has schedules in hand, MD Alison juggles every quirky instrument ever made, whilst costume designer Jennie wears her measuring tape like a neck scarf. And me you ask? Well I had a peanut butter and jam sandwich in one hand and a notebook larger than life in the other. What more does an associate director need?

After Mondays rehearsal we filmed a video explaining how to get to 1532 Performing Arts Centre, the space in which LEGO Beach will set sail into the world, and like tuna swimming around the ocean we know you’re going to be hooked.

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It’s been a tiring week for every member of the company as we plough through scene by scene, cleverly guided by our much loved director Claire Crawford. ‘The anoraks’, played by the ensemble, have been a focus for us in the rehearsal room this week. They are at the core of our piece, tying loose ends together and driving the action forward as the plot thickens for Lou and Jo. If our piece was a song it would definitely be a mix between Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ and Survivors ‘Eye of the Tiger’. Intrigued? I would be as well.

On Thursday afternoon we all headed over to Monica Wills House to visit the chat-back group we had previously done an intergenerational project with. Once everybody had had a cup of tea, one too many biscuits and a natter we shared a few snippets from material we’ve created. It went down a treat.

It’s been a busy week to say the least, but it’s all part of the fun that comes with being an INKBLOC member. We’re moving full steam ahead into week 7 of rehearsals and there’s only one question on everyone’s mind…will be beat our high score of 50 in fives?


INKBLOC Ensemble are this year’s resident Made in Bristol company – Bristol Old Vic’s theatre training course for ages 18-25. For more information about the programme, click here.

INKBLOC Ensemble Rehearsal Diary – Week 5

Intensive rehearsals have begun ahead of INKBLOC Ensemble’s debut show LEGO BeachHere, company member Amy spills all the beans about the very latest INKBLOC shenanigans.


Week 5 - Intense rehearsal (1)Things are hotting up in Bristol, and I don’t just mean the weather! INKBLOC have successfully completed their first week of intensive rehearsals!  They do call them intense for a reason and this week did not disappoint.

We have had Genevieve our set designer extraordinaire busy sketching and creating our distinctive set. She has done an amazing job in manipulating primary colours to bring to life a world where artificiality meets the natural, drawing on the playful aspects of Lego to build a bold design concept for the show.

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Krista and Claire, after a week of leading and facilitating the company’s exploration of ensemble, character and setting have come up with clear objective to achieve every week in order to have the show ready for July. Their adaptability and energy is perfect for keeping the company focused and thinking, what would we do without them?

As a new company we are ever evolving our style and the way we devise work. Our musical director and our movement directors have been working closely in the room together, with the musicians observing as the ensemble explore and produce sections of movement. This is a fantastic way to develop a consistent theme for our piece as it allows the musicians to compose in light of the emotional peaks and troughs of the movement.

Week 5 - Intense rehearsal (3)Interspersed between all of this has been individual and group rehearsal leading up to the end of our week: The Friday Fundraiser! INKBLOC’s ‘Big Night Out’ took place last Friday, and what a night it was! With amazing performances from the company and guest performer Imogen Palmer, a crazy quiz with awesome prizes and sneak song previews from the show it was certainly a night to remember. The best part is we smashed our fundraising target! Thank you to all that came along and those who supported from a far.

Seeing what we have achieve in just one week makes me incredibly proud to be part of such an amazing company. It is refreshing to wake up on a Monday morning excited about going into work. I cannot wait for the weeks to come!


INKBLOC Ensemble are this year’s resident Made in Bristol company – Bristol Old Vic’s theatre training course for ages 18-25. For more information about the programme, click here.

INKBLOC Ensemble Rehearsal Diary – Week 4

As INKBLOC Ensemble hurtle ahead with their theatrical vision we get a Week 4 update from company member Casey Lloyd. Here we find out all about their preparations ahead of their debut show LEGO Beach


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As we approached the final week before intensive rehearsal, the excitement and buzz has certainly entered the rehearsal room for INKBLOC.

Having created some rather interesting work last week, we took focus on creating work based around the character’s given circumstances and whereabouts during the cargo spill. Claire and Krista, Our Director and Assistant Director, had instructed the members to create a free-written solo piece, answering questions such as “Where were you when the spill happened?” and “How has this event affected your life?”. We then took all these characters different stories and looked at bringing them to life in small ensembles. This particularly brought light to some of the questions surrounding character interaction, characterisation within an ensemble and narrative storytelling, with all members amalgamating a plethora of theatrical devices and techniques to stage each character’s journey.

On Friday, we spent the afternoon discussing all things plot, character and narrative with Tom Morris, the Artistic Director of the Bristol Old Vic. Tom in particular lead discussion from a “what if” and “why” perspective, really helping us to develop and finalise our plot and characters. This had particularly helped unpick any current confusion within the narrative and gave us a specific and clear focus for the next week ahead.

Stay tuned next week as we enter our intensive rehearsal period, as I’m sure as ever that through the great works of Claire, Krista and all members, there will be lots of exciting progressions made, as we hurtle towards our production of LEGO Beach!


INKBLOC Ensemble are this year’s resident Made in Bristol company – Bristol Old Vic’s theatre training course for ages 18-25. For more information about the programme, click here.

INKBLOC Ensemble Rehearsal Diary – Week 3

As INKBLOC Ensemble hurtle ahead with their theatrical vision we get a Week 3 update from company member Alison Cowling. Here we find out all about the real life story that has inspired their debut show LEGO Beach…


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This has been a super productive week for all things INKBLOC and Lego Beach. Workshopping ideas of who the ensemble are was the focus for our workshop on Thursday. We explored the ensemble as the sea and as Lego hunters who are commenting on the action (bunch of nosy parkers!)

On Friday we focused on the real-life Lego hunters looking at the popular Lego Lost at Sea facebook page. We used stories of people’s posts about what they had found to create scenes, which was a blast to bring these stories of exploration and discovery to life! The influence of the Lego within the hunting community seems so huge!

This week, I especially loved creating a sea shanty with INKBLOC, inspired by The Ballina Whalers and some classic sea shanties. Sung by the sea ensemble, the lyrics came from our free writing exercise “I didn’t ask for coloured tides, but once off shore a ship I sank”.

Claire, our director, has done a sterling job leading us through loads of exercises and it’s been so much fun devising so much music, movement and characters and working out what we like as an ensemble. It’s great to see and feel our style starting to emerge!


INKBLOC Ensemble are this year’s resident company with Made in Bristol – Bristol Old Vic Young Company’s theatre training course for ages 18-25. For more information about the programme, click here.

Julius Caesar Rehearsal Diary – Week 4

Stage four: Walking into Running

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This fourth week, the company carried on working on detailing the scenes (Walking) before joining them together to find the flow (Running).

The work on the storm scene was deepened in order to create the reality of this storm that is unlike any other. Simon worked with Eleanor (Casca) to find an external conflict whose strength continually prevents her from advancing in space. We also incorporated improvised drum sounds to create the sound of the storm in the rehearsal room. The storm became an obstacle to fight against in order to speak and be heard. It conjured up the essence of the situation making Casca a prey of nature’s temper. We also worked on imagining an audience that were skeptical of Casca’s supernatural visions, to give her a psychological as well as a physical obstacle, and on the muscularity of the text once we had found the dynamism of the situation.

The question of the gender of Brutus’s young attendant, Lucius, arose as the character is played by a woman. Alice is playing four parts (Lucius, Cobbler, Cinna the poet, A Plebeian) and it is important that each of them is distinctive. But would we  be telling a different story if Lucius were Lucia? We realised that making the attendant female would actually reinforce Brutus’s liberal personality bringing up an orphaned girl and giving her access to a world mainly governed by men and trusting her strength to be part of this manly world. Lucius therefore became Lucia.

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As part of the walking phase, we deepened the work on the funeral song and the waltz in the ghosts scene. For both, it was essential to focus on the nature of the situations: the loss of a leader from the plebeian’s point of view, and the memory of the intimate relationship of Brutus and Portia.

Mid-week, the company went to rehearse the crowd scenesAt the Old Vic, to learn how the Plebeains can use the auditorium – a key feature of our production, which will surround the audience with noise and action. It was fantastic to see Simon’s vision: making full use of the whole theatre space. Sadly our company was not complete for this session as we Were unable to call our “Supers”’ (The supernumerary actors playing Plebeians, senators and soldiers) playing the other plebeians. However it gave us a pretty clear idea of the challenges and excitement of theJulius Caesar crowds. We carried on rehearsing with the Supers in the evenings and this time we introduced them to their weapons and we played with physicality: how to carry a gun, how to move with a gun, the weight of it but also the impact after shooting. We also organised a singing session for the Supers with Eleanor (Casca; Musical Director) to learn the funeral song.

We finished the week by working with our fight director Jonathan Waller on the battle scenes and ran a part of the play. We are really looking forward to having the whole company – professionals, students and supers – together next week, and to move into our new rehearsal space, high in the Old Vic building itself!

Written by Charlotte Marigot

Photography by Simon Purse


This June we reunite with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School to present Shakespeare’s riveting political drama Julius Caesar. For more info and to book tickets, click here.