Theatre Review: Kinky Boots at The Adelphi, London.

Performance Date: 9th August 2017 Related image

Based on the 2005 film and inspired by the true story of Steve Pateman's shoe factory, Kinky Boots, has taken the theatre world by storm. From the moment the show opened the energy on stage was electric with it's vibrant costumes, energetic choreography and exceptional score. It is a true extravaganza.

The Price and Son shoe factory has been run by Charlie's family for generations; his father is pushing him to run the business in Northampton as he grows up. Meanwhile, a young Lola is trying on her first pair of heels. The two boys playing young Charlie (Timmy Gasiorek) and young Lola (Xanti Mbonzongwana) are only on stage for one song but they make a huge impact in establishing the childhood experiences of the two characters. The boys performed with maturity. Xanti's vocals as young Lola were amazing.

Charlie Price a very likable character and every-man of the show was played by, David Hunter. The semi finalist of ITV's Superstar showed sheer emotion and passion during the performance of 'Soul of a Man'; it was completely believable and you could see that once he finished the solo he was exhausted from putting everything into it; this was consistent with his performance during the whole show.

However, the star of the show was Simon-Anthony Rhoden providing the show with its comic relief took on the role of the witty and flamboyant drag queen Lola. While helping to save the struggling shoe factory with her elaborate designs Lola gives the show it's comic relief and WOW-factor. The sassy and energetic numbers 'Lola' and 'The Sex is in the Heel' stole the show. Simon's vocal range and quality were truly astonishing; especially in 'Hold me in your heart' a heartfelt song that showed a vulnerable side to Lola that the audience don't get to see very often.

Lola is often followed by the Angels; a group of glamorous Drag Queens that light up the stage with impressive dance routines, especially in six inch heels!

The show also had a great group of supporting roles; Verity Rushworth as Lauren gave us an entertaining rendition of 'The History of Wrong Guys'. The stubborn and blokey Don effectively portrayed by Alan Mehdizadeh allowed the show to address the grittier issues of accepting people for who they are relating the show to 'men, women and those who are yet to make up their minds'.

Although the subject matter could be somewhat saucy the show manages to keep it family friendly making it the perfect show for everyone to see. The cast leaves the audience with the important and inspiring message that 'you can change the world if you change your mind'.

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Cast (In order of appearance):
Mr.Price: Anthony Reed
Young Charlie:
Timmy Gasiorek
Young Lola:
Xanti Mbonzongwana
Simon Senior:
Robert Grose 
Nicola:
Cordelia Farnworth
Charlie Price: David Hunter
George: Michael Hobbs
Don: Alan Mehdizadeh
Lauren: Verity Rushworth
Pat: Rosie Glossop
Harry:
Jordan Fox
Lola:
Simon-Anthony Rhoden
Angels: Jed Berry, Jemal Felix, George Grayson,
Adam Lake, Jon Reynolds, Tom Scanlon
Trish: Melissa Jacques 
Richard Bailey:
Dale Evans
Milan Stage Manager:
Jane Milligan

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Thank you for reading  @thedramastudentblog

If there are any questions please leave a comment.

 

Drama Student Tips: Cheap Resources.

In my first year at university I have realised that being a Drama student can be expensive. Not because of living costs (e.g.food, accommodation and transport) but because the cost of buying costumes, props for performances and text books for the course can take up a large part of your student loan. In this post I want to give my top tips on how to find the cheapest resources for your course.


Costumes:

1. Make the most out of local charity shops:
Charity shops are amazing for finding cheap clothing. Most of the best costumes I have owned have been bought fro charity shops. You have such a variety to choose from and because your not paying a lot for an item of clothing you don’t mind if it gets ruined during a performance.

2. Throwing away old clothing? Don’t throw away everything. 
When I’ve been in shows in the past I’ve thrown away old clothing a week before and then realised I should have kept a certain top or skirt because I could have used it as part of my costume. It is so annoying when this happens, so, my advice would to be think about what your are throwing away. If you can use it again keep it in a box somewhere;you will have a supply of costumes and save yourself some money.

3. Learn to sew. 
Some of my best accessories for costumes have been sewn from old pieces of fabric and jewelry. Get yourself a sewing kit; it only needs to be very basic and a glue gun. Use the glue gun to stick on any decorations like sequins, rhinestones, lace etc

 

Props:

1. Make the most out of your Universities prop cupboard.
Don’t go out and buy any props for your performance until you have scoured the prop cupboard at your University. You never know what hidden gems you might find in there. They might have exactly what you are looking for.

2. Charity shops, charity props. 
Again, I cannot express how important it is to look around local charity shops in the city centre. You might pay a couple of pounds and find all of the props you need for your performance.

3. Ask your friends.
If you are looking for props asks your friends. They are most likely going to be your best recourse. Whether you need to borrow a pair of slippers or a whisk…it is likely that they will have something you can make use of.

 

Text Books

1.Gl-Amazon.
Amazon has some amazing books for as little a 1p. Yeah, you have to pay £2.50 for postage but for the quality of the books your are getting it’s not a massive deal. You might be paying £2.51 for a book that is worth £30 brand new.

2. Go to the library.
It is so important that you go to the library as soon as your given an essay to complete. If your leaving your work till the last minute chances are all of the best books have been taken from the library and you will only only have articles online. The books with best references always go first. You need a variety of resources.

3. Second hand books.
Go to your nearest charity shop and ask if they have any books on Theatre. The Charity shops in the town centre near my university have an amazing selection of books that have been donated by past students. I only found out about this shop at the end of my first year and I wish that I had found it sooner!

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Thank you for reading @thedramastudentblog

If there are any questions, please leave a comment.

Gecko Physical Theatre Company.

The award winning and internationally acclaimed Physical Theatre Company; Gecko was founded by artistic director Amit Lahav in 2001 with the aim to create physical and visual theatre that has the audience at the heart of the narrative at all times. Their work is mostly open to interpretation; for an audience member this can make their work quite ambiguous, however, you begin to find commonalities between your own life and the story unfolding on stage.

Following an organic process of creation to devise a new piece of work the company go through extremely focused periods of experimentation; working with new choreography, making brave choices and learning from their mistakes. They incorporate sonic and technical progress alongside the development of the choreography to ensure the end product is very slick and well rehearsed. One of the elements of Geckos creation process that I find particularly interesting is that they continue to develop their work while they are touring. I love the idea that the performance that one audience sees is not the same as what another audience will see because the piece is constantly evolving.

Geckos show ‘Institute’ is the best piece of physical theatre I have ever seen.The show toured to the Northern Stage in 2015; the performance was amazing, every element of the piece had a purpose and the way the lighting, sound and choreography worked together was faultless.  Seeing this performance opened a door for me and helped me realise the type of theatre that I wanted a career in. Since then the majority of pieces I have worked on at College or University are Physical Theatre performances. If you ever get a chance to see one of Gecko’s shows I would highly recommend doing so. This performance was set around the theme of ‘caring’; aiming to make the audience think about what it means to care and explore human behavior.  The company paired up with Suffolk Mind and worked with mental health networks to delve further into the issues of mental well-being for the performance.

After watching the performance we stayed for a post-show discussion which was really useful in understanding the process and intention behind the piece. One individual asked about what the performance was about and Amit replied, that it depended on what the performance meant to you as an individual and how you interpreted it. I found this really inspiring as it meant that each person that had watched the piece experienced something different on a personal level and related to the performance in their own way.

Here is the trailer for Geckos’ show ‘Institute’:

Geckos Shows :
-The Wedding
– Institute
– Missing
– BBC Time of Your Life
– The Overcoat
– The Arab and the Jew
– The Race
– Taylor’s Dummies

You can view Gecko’s past performances in full on their website, with trailers for shows that are touring:
http://geckotheatre.com/


A day in the life of a Theatre Manager.


After speaking with Gecko Physical Theatre Company’s manager, Belinda Farrell, we decided to set up a Q&A as to what life is like for a Theatre Company Manager.

What type of training would you advise an aspiring theatre manager to have?
Understanding finance is always hugely useful as so much of what you do comes down to the money so it’s an incredibly valuable skill to have.  There are courses you can do to train to be an arts manager which I would think would be very useful.  You can also work your way up through the ranks.  We had an intern for six months at Gecko and he’s just got his first job as Production and Marketing Assistant which is great news.  He did our internship and a further 3 month internship in London to build up his experience.  So a lot of the time you learn on the job once you get a foot on the ladder.  Get as much experience as you can and remember a lot of experience is transferable.

How did your career as a theatre manager start?
I was in a youth theatre when I was a teen which sparked my interest in the theatre world and meant I went to college to study drama and English.  The course was very hands on with lots of opportunities to get involved in productions outside the course.  While acting wasn’t ultimately for me I got my first [paid] job working as a technical assistant stage manager, which gave me my necessary (at that time) Equity Card, and then kept going on that side of things with different contracts, some in theatres, some with touring companies. I was given an opportunity to organise a festival at Theatr Clwyd, while I was a stage manager there and this gave me some additional planning and management skills which helped me move into an administrator role with a theatre in education company.   Then I moved from job to job every few years.

What is a typical day in the life of a theatre manager like?
As a general manager, it’s your job to manage the business of the company so you might be speaking to the landlord about the rent, or reconciling budgets, writing reports or business planning.  I support the board of directors as well and prepare the board meetings.  If you have a team, you will be making sure they’re doing their jobs and everything is going well for them, so looking after the HR side of things.  It’s generally a 9-5 sort of job with occasional evenings and weekends depending on what’s going on.  The job also depends on the sort of company you’re working for as the requirements may vary.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
The multitasking!  Trying to juggle lots of jobs and dealing with unexpected issues that arise on a regular basis.

What is the best aspect of your job?
We have a fantastic team of people at Gecko!  From the performers and technical team, to the office team and management, everyone is hugely dedicated and works incredibly hard to support the shows which are brilliant (of course!).  And while the multitasking can be difficult, it also brings variety to the job which can be very exciting.  And the shows are amazing!  (Have I said that already?!)

What is it like to be the manager of Gecko Physical Theatre Company?
At Gecko, we have an Artistic Director, an Executive Producer, Projects and Participation Manager, Company Administrator and General Manager who are all permanent.  We also have the performers, technicians, two associate directors and a finance manager who are all freelance. Amit Lahav, our Artistic Director, founded the company in 2001 and creates all Gecko’s shows.  Roz, our Executive Producer, produces all the shows, raising money by applying for different funding organisations and responding to different opportunities that arise.  For example in 2015 we applied and were commissioned to produce a new half hour show for live broadcast and Amit created The Time of Your Life which was aired on BBC4 as part of Live From Television Centre. Roz also applied to the British Council to be part of the Shakespeare Lives project and our co-production with Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre [SDAC], The Dreamer, ran in Shanghai in 2016 and is now on at The Pleasance Grand as part of the Edinburgh Festival until 15th August. The Dreamer was created by our Associate Director Rich Rusk and one of our core performers, Chris Evans.  They both went to Shanghai to work with the performers and technical team at SDAC.

It’s mainly me, our Projects and Participation Manager, Pippa and Company Administrator Manwah in the office and it’s always really busy!  Gecko does a lot of education workshops and projects as well as the shows and Pippa manages there and there’s always lots to sort out for those.  Pippa also works very closely with Roz and does a lot of Producing work.  With a cast of nine in The Wedding there’s a huge amount of travel and accommodation details to arrange which is what Manwah’s doing at the moment.

I’m currently working on the business plan which we need to have drafted for the board meeting at the end of September.  We’re funded by the Arts Council England as part of their national portfolio (NPO) and heard recently that we will continue to receive funding for 2018-22.  So there’s lots of planning and policies to write and refresh for that.

What is Geckos’ up and coming show based on and where will it be touring?
Our latest show is The Wedding which explores the marriage between the individual and the state, asking questions of this relationship. It interrogates social isolation and what it means to be stateless, engaging with current issues of the rise of populism across Europe and beyond, mass migration and refugee status.   It will be touring to HOME in Manchester, 12-16 September; Exeter Northcott, 21-23 September; Lighthouse Poole, 3 October; Hall for Cornwall 6-7 October.  We were successful with an Arts Council Strategic Touring bid which means The Wedding will be touring nationally from January to March 2018 and venues include Watford Palace, Nottingham Playhouse, Derby Theatre and the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton.  We’re in the process of confirming a further four venues so keep an eye on our websitewww.geckotheatre.com, and hopefully we’ll be coming to a venue somewhere near you!

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I would like to thank Gecko Physical Theatre Company for their collaboration on this post. Thank you for reading @thedramastudentblog

If there are any questions please comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

The Drama Student Survey.

When I was applying for university in 2016 I was torn between Criminology and Drama. After much deliberation, I eventually applied to go to Leeds University to study Criminology for three years. I deferred my entry by a year because at the time I didn’t feel ready to go to University. So, to cut a long story short… I decided that Criminology wasn’t the degree for me and doing a gap year wasn’t the best decision either. I did my research on a couple of Universities to find a course that suited me for Drama. By this point I had left it so late that I ended up gaining a place through clearing and arranged my accommodation and student loan in about a week. Something that most students do over the space of a couple of months, so as you can imagine I was a little bit stressed. Anyway, I got it all arranged and started studying Drama and Performance at the University of Worcester in September 2016.

I felt that when I was applying to University I didn’t really have much guidance when considering Drama as a degree. So, I am dedicating this post to those students who feel or have felt the same way. I have spoken to different people to gain information about their experiences, applying for courses and any advice they would give potential students and much more.

Below is a survey of all the questions I wanted answers to when considering Drama as a degree or auditioning for stage school.

I hope it helps!

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Name:
Georgia Elizabeth
Age: 19
University: University of Worcester
Course: Drama and Performance

What helped you to decide you wanted to study Drama as a degree?
I have always been passionate about Drama and it has always been my favorite subject, so for me I didn't need help. I always knew it was something that I wanted to do.

What do you enjoy about studying Drama at University? 
I enjoy the versatility and freedom we have to explore different ideas and practitioners. In first year, I was able to look at several different plays and learn many new techniques which gave me the freedom to create a new piece of work. This was different from school because after a while you learn everything and just wait for your exam, whereas, at Uni there's always more to do.

Why did you you choose the University of Worcester? 
I chose Worcester because I liked the look of the modules and it seemed like we would get to learn different skills in every lecture. Also I appreciated the fact that we were allowed to make a lot of our own decisions yet still receive help from lecturers and tutors.

How has doing Drama helped you develop as a person?
It has helped me to be more resilient as a whole and build on team work. It is very similar to any other working environment as we often work in groups we are constantly relying on each other therefore we all have to be empathetic and resilient when dealing with each other, which is something I have been developing whilst studying Drama.

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Name:
Callum Jordan
Age:19
University: University of Cumbria
Course: Performing Arts

Why did you chose to study Performing Arts at the University of Cumbria?
To me, the course just offered something which not many other did. As well as developing my performance skills in Acting, Dance and Musical Theatre.  I also get the opportunity to collaborate with visiting directors to create unique productions within a professional working environment. In each production as well, I am also challenged with a technical role such as lighting design or marketing so it feels like we're really being trained to be employable in a variety of field withing the industry.

What type of modules do you study on your course?
My course includes Drama, Musical Theatre, Dance Theatre, Design and Stagecraft as well as Contextual Studies.

What was the audition process like for your course?
I took part in a group movement workshop in which we did a vocal and physical warm up; were taught a small piece of choreography and we had to apply some voice work to it, to later perform in small ensemble groups. We then had one-to-one auditions in which you had to prepare a contemporary musical theatre song to perform and an acting monologue. The lecturers were friendly and made me feel at ease with positive feedback and asked me questions about what I wanted from the course to assure me that i'd be making the right decision for myself as a performer.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of being a Performing Arts student?
Probably the hours of commitment it takes to create a production! In our recent production, we were sometimes working from 9am till 8pm with out directors and then having to do jobs and plan for our technical roles in any spare that we had! But that's all part of the job at the end of the day, putting blood, sweat and tears towards a deadline with the goal of putting on a show! It all pays off when you have that amazing end product in front of an audience.

What category of Performing Arts do you enjoy the most and why?
That's a difficult one because I'm so passionate about every single things but I'd probably have to go with acting! It's the thing I've done the longest out of everything to do with performing but still the thing I'm learning the most about everyday with my university course! There's so many different methods and practitioners that I can still benefit and learn so much from when creating a character. I've learnt a lot about acting through through studying musical theatre and dance – every skill that you learn along the way is valuable for something!

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Name: Grace Lilley
Age: 18
Drama School: RADA (starting September 2017)

What Drama Schools did you audition for?
I auditioned for 8 schools:
Central School of Speech and Drama,Rose Bruford, RADA, Guildhall, ArtsEd, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and two Universities in Manchester; Chichester and Manchester Met.

Why did you choose those schools?
I was really keen to audition for a lot for a lot of different schools with it being my first year, as I really wanted to get a sense of everything that was out there and make sure I had different experiences of what it could be like training at different schools. I chose them because of the reputation that I knew they had with actor training, as well as recommendations from friends that have studied at some of the schools.

What was the application process like for your chosen schools?
A lot of it was done through online applications, I think RADA was the only one that wasn't – for that I had to print application forms from the website and manually fill them out and post them. In terms of online applications it was a split between UCAS (the universities, GSA, Central and Rose Bruford) and completing forms on the websites of the schools (Guildhall, LAMDA, ArtsEd, AADA). Once my actual applications were sent the schools contacted me with preliminary audition dates and the requirements – some schools called for one Shakespeare monologue and one contemporary, with the definitions of that time scale varying. For example, some schools classify contemporary as anything written after 1960, whilst others might say 1980. Some schools called for more, maybe two of each, but in my experience they rarely ask to see all of them. The length of the auditions also varied between the schools – I remember my LAMDA audition lasted around fifteen minutes, as they saw two of my pieces and then conducted a short interview about why I wanted to train as an actor and what I was currently studying at college. However, my GSA audition featured a short workshop and Q&A session as well, and whilst they only asked for one of our prepared pieces the audition lasted close to three hours. Once the first rounds where over it was just a matter of waiting to hear back, and again the time frames varied a lot – whilst I received the result of my ArtsEd audition, I didn't hear from Rose Bruford for three weeks. Some schools might have two rounds to their application processes, but RADA's BA Acting course has the longest auditions that I know of with four rounds.

Did you receive any guidance from  your college when applying for drama school or did you do a lot of it independently? 
I definitely did a lot of it independently – my college were very helpful in setting up my UCAS-based applications and helping me with my personal statement and references, and my drama teachers were wonderful with helping me select monologues and offering me any constructive criticism as I was rehearsing my pieces, but in terms of the actual applications I did the majority of them without help.

Which schools did you get accepted by?
I was accepted by AADA and Chichester for their three year degree courses, and by Rose Bruford, GSA and RADA for their foundation courses.

What do you think makes a successful audition?
I'd say above everything else, preparation – know your lines and blocking, read your play (maybe even multiple times) and understand the context of it and your characters role and development throughout it, and even research the school alumni, and their respective work. Confidence is a really big factor as well, and a willingness to experiment and take risks with what you show the audition panel. I'd also say an awareness of how you might be coming off – the school want to see that you can collaborate well with both your teachers and other actors, so going in and being friendly, open and constructive with other people auditioning will say a lot about someone as a potential student.

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Name: Melissa Boyle (Blogger @TheDramaStudentBlog)
Age: 19
University: University of Worcester
Course: Drama and Performance

Why is drama so important to you?
Since being very young I always wanted to perform. I would always put on shows for family member in the living room at Christmas. So, drama and performing has always been part of my life. Joining a youth theatre was the best move I made towards developing my skills, I grew not only as a performer but as a person. I gained so much confidence, made amazing friends and have some of the best memories. So, drama is so important to me because it has had such a huge impact on me throughout my life.

Why did you choose to study drama at university?
When looking at courses I kept thinking about what would have the most career prospects for me and after a while I realised it was the wrong way to do things. I needed to study a degree subject that I was passionate about and not force myself into doing something because there was more chance of a job at the end of it. Drama has always been a huge part of my life and now I know what I want to do and where I want to go after I finish my degree; I feel that I have made the right decision.

Why did you choose Worcester University?
I chose Worcester University’s drama course because I felt that it was more suited to the way I like to learn. The course Is very practical, in the sense that; you do a lot of lectures in the drama studio really experimenting with different practitioner’s methods and devising your own work. But, just because the course is practically based it doesn’t mean that it is easier than a course with more written work. The written side of the course also plays a huge part in your overall success on the course as well, from creating portfolios to writing essays. Doing your own independent research is key! So, yeah… the balance between the written work and the practical work works great for me. It is all about finding out the best thing for you!

What is life like as a Drama student at University?
At the beginning of a semester life is quite easy, you have a couple of essays some research to do… which isn’t a bad thing for me because I love to spend time in the library. But towards the end of a semester life as a Drama student can sometimes be quite stressful if I am honest. Especially when it comes to assessment week and you have three or four different performances to rehearse for. Trying to fit all your rehearsals in and find time to write your essays can sometimes seem impossible. But once that is over and you finally feel like everything is coming together you feel like a weight has been lifted of your shoulders and you can get back to a more relaxed state.

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Name: Elijah Young
Age: 19
Auditioned for stage schools all over England.

Why did you choose to audition for stage school rather than apply to study Drama at University? 
This is a question I get asked a lot actually haha! I knew for a long time during my education that Uni wasn't the right scene for me and I also knew that that if I ever decided to go it would be for the wrong reasons. Auditioning has been a struggle and there's been many times where I've wanted to give in and just go to Uni like people had told me to. But I just know for me as a an actor and for my potential career it's the necessary training for the industry. For me personally, drama school is exactly everything I've wanted to do in further education.

Which auditions did you enjoy the most and why? 
As soon as I started making friends and actually speaking to people at auditions the more I began to enjoy them! My first ever audition I was that nervous I didn't speak to a soul and I had the most miserable time. Making friends at auditions is a bizarre concept because you're essentially becoming besties with your competition, but it doesn't feel like that. I think it's the best thing you can do. Meeting people and hearing their experiences chills you out; especially when it's a full day audition you need the company to support you and keep you going. You can learn so much from other people and in some cases even snag good monologues!

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of auditioning for stage school? 
Don't limit yourself to just auditioning in London. There are brilliant schools in all parts of the UK, some that I would even say have better training than the ones in London. Don't judge a school by word-of-mouth before you've been there and experienced the audition. Be open to suprising yourself at how much you might enjoy a place you thought you wouldn't fit. I auditioned at a school said to be the current best and I hated every minute I was there yet I fell in love with a school I initially thought wasn't right for me. I always go by the rule that there's no such thing as a perfect drama school but there a drama school that's perfect for you.

Do you still want to pursue acting or have you discovered other aspects of performing/theatre that take your interest?
Acting will always be a passion and I never want there to come a time where the door is closed for me. However, I have recently acknowledged the fact that I don't want to limit myself to being just an actor but also an artist in control of my own craft. I'm as equally as passionate about writing and directing as I am about acting. For example, I just recently was the movement director of a production and I've also began to write my own play which have both been challenging and exciting. Artistic expression in other elements of Theatre is something all actors should explore, I believe it makes us all better actors.

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Thank you for reading: @TheDramaStudentBlog

If there are any questions, please leave a comment.

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