Fri 16 Aug 2019
Bleak House is a powerfully physical, gothic retelling of the Dickens’ novel that follows Esther Summerson’s search for family and identity set against a brutal legal system hell bent on destroying those beneath it. Pickpockets, prostitutes, rowdy drunks and con artists all feature, immersing us into a dank Victorian Britain, recreating the dark and dismal world of the lower orders of London.
What is your role?
I play Esther Summerson, whose story we follow throughout the play.
How would you describe your character(s)?
Esther Summerson is a kindhearted young woman, full of love and potential. She is desperately trying to find her place in this world. A quiet observer, an unassuming leader, a promising narrator, Esther is a deeply loyal friend to those she encounters along her way. Her past makes her melancholic, but the thought of a better future keeps her moving forwards and when faced with new adventures in an unknown city, full of danger and many challenges, “nevertheless, she has high hopes!”
How did you get to work with David Glass?
I got to audition for Bleak House during my third year at Bath Spa University and I knew from the minute I walked into the audition room that I wanted to be a part of the David Glass Ensemble. The fact that this show still feels special two years on, is a testament to David and the ethos he creates within the ensemble. He is a brave and compassionate artist, who leads by example and doesn’t compromise his integrity. A David Glass rehearsal room is unpredictable, liberating and full of magic. All of which he is able to translate into the show. I have never met another theatre maker quite like David, I don’t think I will again, but I’m very glad that I did.
Why should people come to see the show?
It’s an epic story told from the perspective of a young woman trying to find her voice within a changing world, where the highest positions of power are dominated by men. It’s about power, corruption, greed and injustice set in dank Victorian London. It’s about class and struggle and the lives of the many inhabitants affected by its brutal legal system. It’s a world away from modern day London, yet it’s every but the same.
Admit it, did you ever read the full book?
I’ll admit this. The first time around, I mainly read Esther’s narrative and binged watched the entire BBC series (which I loved) and tried to read the rest during rehearsals. This time however, as soon as the tour was confirmed, I started slowly re-reading the novel. I mean I should be finished by September, its only 989 pages!
P.S….. We currently have an early bird offer for Bleak House, so grab your tickets HERE
Tue 16 Jul 2019
“It’s 6pm. The doors are open. I am going to write a book about this. A book about the goings on of tonight. A book that is only ours, with no adults allowed to twist and turn the events.”
More than two years on from the Manchester Arena terror attack, 10:31, MCR reflects on the impact the tragedy has had on the younger generations. Presenting a collage verbatim play that mixes voices and stories from different age groups, different backgrounds, different beliefs, and different times. All of these linked by the journey of Girl One and her quest to write a book about the events of the night.
A homegrown show by MA Graduate Fabiana Sforza will be hitting Fringe Festival this August. I decided to get the details from the cast member Rio Topley, on what Fringe can expect.
Questions with Rio:
1. What drew you to accept this role in the play?
When I got asked to be in the play I was extremely flattered because the first show was eight cast members and was over summer last year. I knew that Fabs put in a lot of research and effort into the show. So asking to be a part of it was very rewarding *Rio gleams at this point* and nice.
2. The show is based around the traumatic/tragic events that happened at the Manchester arena. What was it like reading through the script for the first time?
So reading the script for the first time, we all sat in Fab’s house, had some food and drinks and all got together and read the script. She just finished it and because I had been in the first show, reading it again it was just, it meant a lot more as I performed it once; it was just more special that I was able to perform it again.
I’ve never been in a verbatim play before the words that you’re reading are the words that connect to someone who was there or lived in Manchester. It was just really raw, it hit home.
3. Compared to reading the script how was it to perform such an emotionally raw play?
Going from 8 people to 3 we weren’t sure how it was going to work but performing it especially with Kieran and Megan, we get on so well we have such a natural connection when we perform. There are moments in rehearsal when we have to take a step back, but Fabs is really great. Before and after rehearsals we listen to some upbeat songs and then, have time to get into the mood/ atmosphere.
Fabs makes it a safe place to perform in because the show is really raw and emotional it’s good to have that safe place to perform in. It makes performing hard and emotional stuff easier. Along with creating a safe place, it is important that we remember we are talking on behalf of someone, not taking the trauma and making it our own.
4. MCR is a verbatim piece of theatre. Why do you feel this is important?
I feel that verbatim theatre in general, but specifically, this play is important because it gives a voice to young people especially the generation we’re in now. We’re kind of called ‘snowflakes’ we’re not really taken seriously and I feel that this verbatim play, gives a voice to young people on topics that they usually don’t get given a voice to talk about. It is kind of politically based as well. I just think it is important because it will make people who have come to watch it think about the things, it raises questions that sometimes people don’t want to answer or avoid. So I think that’s why it’s important.
5. What can people expect from this show?
*This answer starts with a very juicy “ooooooooooo” from both of us*
Not wanting to give too much away but I think that people can expect to see a really honest, truly challenging piece of theatre. I think it is going to be enjoyable, I know we’ve really enjoyed performing it. I know Fabs has put her life and soul into creating it. So I feel like people can expect to see a show that’s made with love and to be shocked in a good positive way.
It’s got a mixture of things, real talk, a few movement pieces, and psychical theatre. So yeah it’s exciting. So people can expect to feel the love.
6. Lastly on a scale of 1 to 10 how excited are you to be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
I am like a 12 excited to be performing at Edinburgh Fringe. It’s the first show in 3 to 4 years from Colchester campus that’s been taken to Edinburgh and it’s nice to start that up again. Hopefully, it will inspire other people to believe in their shows and want to share it with other people. So I’m EXTREMELY excited.
*To which then we start to speak like evil geniuses and tap our fingers together*
That concludes my interview with Rio Topley.
Make sure to book tickets to this amazing show at Fringe festival Aug 12 – 17! https://bit.ly/2XGP2Wd
Can’t wait till then? Well 10.31 MCR are doing a pre-show at Drayton Arms Theatre on Fri 2 Aug of at 7 pm https://bit.ly/2FS7h0N
The Lakeside Theatre has lots of amazing homegrown shows on in the autumn term. Make sure you keep an eye out on our website and for the brand new brochure, to see what’s on. Who knows you may see them at Fringe in the future.
Marketing Frontrunner at Lakeside Theatre
Tue 9 Apr 2019
We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the opening performances of The Mystery of Raddlesham Mumps this week.
FUN FACT: You can now download a FREE game which is the prequel to the story.
Just head to Google Play, search ‘Raddlesham Mumps’ and start playing!
Fri 15 Mar 2019
Tonight, Essex band and rising stars, Rubber Jaw, will take to our stage to perform their brand new single ‘Freaking Out’ for the first time. We ask Rio what makes the Lakeside Theatre the perfect new venue for live music.
I haven’t been to a gig in ages, and seeing Sam Eagle at Lakeside last month was a great way to get back into it. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to relax with friends and listen to music live. The whole night had such a warm and comfortable atmosphere and Sam’s talent just seemed effortless.
Before this, the last gig I remember going to was in Nottingham. It was so busy I could barely move – it wasn’t an enjoyable experience for the amount I was paying.
But at Lakeside, the staff are friendly, the venue is intimate but yet still spacious and best and it’s crazy good value for money.
I’m so excited for tonight’s gig, just knowing I’ll be one of the people in Lakeside tonight seeing them perform their new single, ‘Freaking Out’, for the very first time.
I have a feeling it’s going to be a good night.
See you there!
(Lakeside Frontrunner and Theatre Studies Student)
Psssst, are you at student? Get your £5 tickets HERE.
Tue 5 Mar 2019
As part of an international tour, Edinburgh Fringe smash-hit Medea Electronica brings its unique and primal energy to Lakeside Theatre this Thursday 7 March, 7.30pm.
We catch up with creator and leading lady, Mella Faye…
What or who got you interested theatre?
The first piece of theatre that really had an impact on me was an early performance of The Red Shoes by Kneehigh Theatre Company. I was about 12 years old. It was staged outside in a beautiful park, and it was raining, and we were sat under umbrellas. I fell in love with the world they created, and the commitment from each one of the performers. It was hugely impactful.
Are your family involved in theatre?
Our parents weren’t in theatre, but 3 out of 6 siblings are professional theatre makers. We often work together, which is always so much fun, and reminds me of all the antics we used to get up to as children! I’m the oldest and so was quite often the director, and somewhere there are a bunch of home videos that include some pure family gold.
What formal training have you done?
I’ve got a diploma in Jazz studies and a Post Grad Diploma in Arts Policy and Management. My performance training has come from workshopping. I’ve done a lot of clowning training (not that you’d guess it from this show!) and also workshopped with Gecko theatre.
Do you have any specialist skills that you work into your repertoire?
I’m a musician and toured extensively in my early 20’s. The work I make with Pecho Mama is music driven. We are a band and a theatre company, and I set up the company in order to re-engage with music making.
Which experience/role do you regard as the highlight of your career to date?
The highlight is always the last thing I’ve done, and Medea Electronica is my most recent work. Taking it to Edinburgh was a definite highlight – playing to crowds that are so hungry for theatre was exhilarating.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
I was 20 years old and there was a group of us performer friends living in Mexico. We were invited to create something for an international production in a giant water park. There were thousands of people watching…
We had devised this Scottish dance and were all wearing kilts. Our chief Scot, began to lose his kilt during the dance, it just kept slipping lower and lower. I got the giggles uncontrollably, to the point where I lost control of my bladder. I was paralysed on stage, crying my eyes out laughing and squeezing my knees together to stop the flow. It still makes me laugh out loud remembering it.
What role would you most like to play and why?
Louise in the stage play of Thelma and Louise.
Big plans for the future?
The day after our performance at Lakeside Theatre we are off to perform in Peru!
The one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were a student…
The more you practice something the better you’ll get at it.
Summarise the show in 3 words.
Electrifying, powerhouse, gig-theatre. (Is that cheating?)
See Pecho Mama reinvigorate this classic greek tragedy in this gig-theatre performance with original soundtrack.
Mon 4 Feb 2019
We meet James Rowland, the creator of hilarious new show A Hundred Different Words for Love.
What or who got you interested theatre?
When I was five years old I was obsessed with Robin Hood and Knights so my Dad introduced me to the Lawrence Olivier film of Henry V. I was instantly hooked and watched it every day. That makes me sound like a little twerp doesn’t it?
Oh well, it’s the truth. I’m a nerd.
Were any members of your family involved in the theatre?
No, but my dad was a musician so financial, emotional and intellectual instability were instilled in me from a very young age.
Who’s the most inspiring person you’ve worked with?
I’m constantly inspired by and in awe of my incredible friends, and I try to work with them as much as possible. The shows I have made are (I hope) inflected with their greatness.
What formal training have you done?
I went to Drama Centre in London, I made lots of friends and spent an awful lot of time in the pub. it was excellent and I learned a great deal about people and pints… and art of course. Mainly art.
Most embarrassing moment on stage?
All the time I suppose, from being naked to making myself laugh, or rather letting the audience make me laugh!
Highlight of your career?
Having my shows Team Viking, A Hundred Different Words for Love and Revelations published.
(The book is called “Songs of Friendship” available in all good bookshops now).
I never thought I’d make a book so the reality of it hasn’t really sunk in.
Big plans for the future?
I think all plans for the future are big plans… and yes, I hope to continue to tour my first three shows nationally and internationally as well as making more things that audiences enjoy with my friends.
Tell us one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were a student…
Worry less, and if you can’t do that at least stop worrying about worrying.
Summarise your show in 3 words.
Funny. Sad. Love.
We can’t wait to see the show this Valentine’s Day!
Tue 29 Jan 2019
Josh Middleton is an accordionist who joined multi-award winning Don Kipper in 2013.
He tells us about his passion for music and his most embarrassing moment on stage…
Summarise a Don Kipper performance in three words.
Fiery, soulful, propulsive.
What or who got you interested in Jewish and Roma music-making?
Each member of the band has their own journey into these styles of music, mine was through the accordion.
There’s virtuosity, combined with emotion and subtlety in both these styles.
Tell us about your musical training…
I have a degree in ethnomusicology but my ‘training’ is mostly on the job! I’ve been gigging for puppet shows with my family’s business Puppet Theatre Barge since I was 12.
Who’s the most inspiring person you’ve performed with?
Probably Frank London, his energy is infectious and his ability to get the best out of each member of his ensemble is inspiring. He was a real privilege to play with.
Do you have any specialist skills that you work into your repertoire during performances to keep energy in the room?
I guess I add my own style of performance which stems from the theatre world I grew up in. Basically, never play with your eyes on your feet, always play out to the audience.
Which experience do you regard as the highlight of your career to date (apart from returning to Lakeside Theatre of course!)
Playing at the BBC3 stage at the World of Music Arts and Dance Festival (WOMAD) to over 1000 people – it was amazing!
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
I was once playing in a band (not to be named) and the singer started in the wrong key. He then proceeded to yell at the sound guy and storm off stage, leaving the rest of us standing there. That was the end of the gig.
One piece of advice you wish someone had told you as a student?
To use my little finger on my left hand! It’s an accordion thing…
Want to see Josh perform?
Thu 10 Jan 2019
We speak to Tazi Amey, a second year drama student and director of A History of Breathing – our first studio show of 2019.
1) What got you interested in theatre?
I’ve been in local theatre productions for as long as I can remember but it wasn’t until i watched some ‘Starkid’ Productions online that I realised working in theatre is what I wanted to do with my life.
2) Who is most inspiring person you’ve worked with and why?
I recently worked as chaperone backstage on a professional pantomime at Lowestoft Marina Theatre with Anthony Sahota who played the title role of Peter Pan. Watching him interact with the cast and crew was amazing. The most inspiring thing was seeing how to spoke to the younger members of the cast, telling them to never give up on their dreams even if the path gets difficult.
3) Tell us about your course and your experience at Essex
I study drama which has been a really interesting course so far and has helped me think about what I want to do in the future. I’m trying to get involved in as much as I can to have a good experience while at University joining societies, vTeam and the SU Crew.
4) If you were an actor, what role would you most like to play and why?
I don’t really have an ideal role although I would like to perform in pantomimes. It’s one of my favourite forms of theatre – I just love the joy it brings people.
5) What’s your dream job?
6) Any useful tips to pass on to students aspiring to put on some work in the studio?
Don’t stress, just make sure you have a strong production team and cast then everything will fall into place.
7) One piece of advice you wish someone had told you in your first year at Essex.
Your future will change and it’s nothing to be scared about. I came to Essex thinking I wanted to act and instead in first few months I actually discovered that I love working in tech and stage management. Don’t waste time panicking about what you want to do, it will find you.
CLICK HERE to find out more about Tazi’s show A History of Breathing.
Tue 11 Dec 2018
Get your ticket to this year’s pantomime RIGHT HERE.
Mon 10 Dec 2018
Rio here with your latest Pantomime update…
Journey to Oz opens THIS WEEK and we’re super excited.
The cast and crew have been working hard to create the Wizard’s giant head and it’s now complete – we’ve finally got the eyes and mouth moving! (Here’s a sneaky peek of some of the set design…but you’ll have to come to the show to see the final masterpiece).
On top of all this set building, the cast are getting into shape with long dance and singing rehearsals and loving every single minute of it. (Take a look at them in action below!)
We finished choreography for the classic pantomime fight scene, which is sure to make you giggle (there are bananas, fluffy hand cuffs and some epic dance moves).
We’ve completed a run through of the show and I couldn’t be prouder of the work everyone’s putting in. It’s so rewarding watching everyone enjoy the process and we’re still finding the jokes funny, even after hearing them a hundred times!
Keep an eye on our socials for more updates this week and don’t forget to BOOK YOUR TICKET to join us down the yellow brick road!
Tippitty Swoon! See you soon.
(Lakeside Theatre Frontrunner and ‘Journey to Oz’ Director )