We are delighted to announce that Gillian Twaite won the Inspiring Creative Practitioner Award 2011 for her work at Devonshire Infants in Smethwick. She has worked with the school over the past four years, most recently storytelling and ‘time travelling’ with Reception.
Posts Tagged ‘Gillian Twaite’
Phew! We did it. After an exciting but very long day yesterday we are OSP are relaxing with a hot cross bun and a nice cup of Earl Grey this afternoon.
For those of you who are not regular readers of this blog, we have been planning a video for ‘Friends of St.Peters’ in Wolfhamcote (a small village in south Warwickshire). Christine Sanderson had the idea of creating an educational resource for local schools about the church and the area. We looked at various models but in the end they plumped for a video which could be used both by schools (together with a downloadable the script) and by the parish to make the public more aware of the church and area’s history.
(L-R Jenny, Bungle, Art, Ben, Gillian)
A Warwickshire film company were brought on board to film and edit the footage and I wrote the script and project managed the planning and preparations.
During the planning, I met with Jo Cross of the Churches Conservation Trust who offered guidance and some funding to enable the project to be completed with all the extras (like a portable loo at the location – which ironically was the only thing that didn’t go to plan – it arrived nearly 3 hours late, which with more than 40 people down there at one point was less than satisfactory)
Actors, Costume Supervisor (Jenny Pulley) and an excellent runner (well done Ben – you were a star!) were appointed and Christine made connections with an early English Choir (or Quire as they are known) who came along appropriately dressed together with the most interesting instruments to provide the music.
Now all we had to contend with was the weather!! And for those of you who are reading this from the other side of the world, it has rained for nearly 40 days and 40 nights of late and the location had been a complete quagmire only 24 hours earlier. Thankfully we were blessed with sunshine which dried out the worst of it and whilst many of us were in wellies, the long dresses and cavelier hats were spared both rain and sludge (much to Jenny, our costume supervisors relief).
The day started early (welcome to the world of filming) so to make the most of the day, however events over took us when the film crew were involved in a car accident en route. Thankfully nobody was hurt, however it did mean that we were running late from the start of the day so the pressure was on to ensure we got through what was an action packed day with numerous locations in and around the church area.
Again having good weather enabled us to film all day and gave us at least an hour longer than we might otherwise have had. We also managed to get some electricity into the church (with cables from a local farm house – thank you!) which meant that we were able to pick up some final shots inside at the end of the day using the lights.
(Gareth and Dai running lines in situ)
We started the day with Gareth Wyn-Jones (who was playing the time team type character, similar to Tony Robinson) and Dai Weaver (the local historian) filming what was the most difficult piece of dialogue over by the railway track. After we had this scene under our belt we headed down to nearer the church to do the Jurassic period dialogue (together with a HUGE fossel – and I am not being rude about one of the team!) whilst the actors and Quire started to arrive at Christine and Brian’s house. (We had decided that due to the inclement weather during the past few weeks that it was better to have everyone up at the house – which had been turned into a film set with the conservatory for the quire to rehearse their pieces, dressing rooms, hair design room, a green room and constant refreshments/ food. Down by the church there was also a trailer with cooking facilities for soup and tea on set.)
(Laura Edghill & Laurence Saunders discussing their scene as Laura curls her hair)
It had been decided that two people would ferry people to the locations when they were called on their mobiles to say we were ready. This also meant that we could ensure that the noise levels / cars appearing in shot etc were kept to a minimum. It was a 10 minute walk from the house to the church so as the weather was good, there was the option to walk and lift costumes out of the mud if wanted.
Mid morning there was some confusion when the Quire arrived at the church at the original time that they were scheduled to rehearse/ be recorded (the but due to the delay in our schedule we were just about to film a scene with Gareth and Dai, just outside the doors of the church, which meant they did have to sit very quietly in what was a freezing church – no heating in the 1600’s – for quite a while) but in the end it turned out well as Zak Hamza who was making the story of the making of the video was able to interview them in appropriate surroundings.
(Zak capturing the story behind the story)
The extras (many from the local yoga group) joined us for the baptism scene (during the civil war) so we had a full church at this point to witness lovely underplayed performances by Laura and Laurence as the Lord and Lady of the Manor; ably captured by Bungle the Sound Engineer and the acting debut of Brian Sanderson who stood in at the vicar (and who it was agreed by all , had an excellent voice for the church!).
Laura’s hat played a starring role in the scene; now I am not saying that Laura has a big head but lets say despite me hitting the hat (!) to try and make it go on more firmly it managed to do a 180 degree turn into camera of its own fruition just at the vital moment at the end of the scene when she looked at the door!
(Fiona Allison and Andrea Cobham as ladies in 1711 gossiping about Queen Anne)
The lesson is never work with felt hats with feathers , flies….. or horses! In the afternoon Fiona endured a shot with a fly jumping between her beautifully lacquered ringlets (created by the very talented Sue Haynes) and her eyelash and later in the day, Keith Fredericks was doing a Medieval scene with Jake Fitzpatrick on the mound where the village once stood when a group of horses (unfortunately wearing 21st Century blankets) decided they they wanted to get into the shot. Rather like those people who wave at the camera behind a presenter in a shopping centre they paraded around until Keith decided to imbibe his Lord of the Manor status and order them away. The crew laughed so much at the figure of someone dressed rather like Merlin, with a scroll held aloft, running towards and ’shooing’ horses who thought it was a new game, that unfortunately the moment was not captured on camera!
(Keith as Lord Thorkil looking stern!)
We finished as darkness fell and the last costumes were returned, the lights and cameras were packed away and we returned to the house shattered but also very pleased with a good days work.
The final cut won’t be available for a month or so but with the extra special effects and the pick up shots that Art the film maker gets today we should have an end product we are happy with.
Thanks to all the cast and crew who made the day such a productive and happy one.
<(Anthony Miles & Anthony Fearnley as Royalists)
(Extras as the crowd waiting to see Queen Anne)>
(Jake as the Medieval man servant to Lord Thorkill looking very brow beaten next to the elegant Civil War Soldiers – costumes provided by’ Vintage Years’ of Leicester)
I will leave the last word to Christine who was the driving force behind the project from conception:
” Everybody worked so well together as a team, they all turned up on time and did what they were supposed to do, really well and there was such a lovely atmosphere. If the rest of the country worked like this we wouldn’t be in a mess.”
The past week has been very positive for us here at OSP. Gareth Wyn-Jones and myself have been working with the Audiology Department at Aston University to help their 1st and 2nd year students develop their patient skills. This is a collaboration which started last year and is proving very successful. We work with the students initially in pairs, using typical examples of types of patients they might come across; followed by constructive feedback.
We have been looking at the initial consultation, the follow up appointment and explaining the fitting of a hearing aid to a new patient. A couple of students also actually tested our ears; I am pleased to say that we both have good hearing (despite Gareth’s many visits to rock concerts over the years and my constant chatting on my mobile phone!! Actually both of these were picked up in the results but neither brought our levels below the threshold of normal hearing.) At the beginning of the Year 1 sessions we saw for the first time the training video we filmed for the department last year including how it was incorporated within class based teaching by Sarah and Emma. We are filming some more scenarios later in the month. More of that later.
There are a lot of tired limbs at Wolf Central. Yesterday our magnificent team lugged the not insubstantial setup three flights of stairs at 8.30 in the morning to the REP rehearsal room which has become our home for the next 4 days. This was at the end of an intensive week of rehearsals which had ended with a few of us supporting local theatre company Friction Theatre’s production of Mother Courage at the Old Rep.
The show was very good although there was a moment in the middle which we might have confused both the audience and the actors who were speaking directly to us at the time where we all sat bolt upright and looked at each other and laughed. The line? “By Hook or by Crook” ! (I didn’t realise I had been quoting Brecht, when I named the show).
Our first week worked very well as a rehearsal model. We would like to take the accolade of being extremely canny, but it was circumstance (and the lack of a room where we could play our instruments for 2 days that propelled us into this way of working. We spent the first day mostly working on the songs and musical arrangements (together with filming sections see earlier post). this was followed by a longer day (10 – 7) where we pulled the script apart and did detailed work on each section up to scene 8. Day 3 we continued with script work and consolidated our knowledge. This included a run in the afternoon to Sharon our Project Manager. Then on day 4 Gerard worked all morning on the script (whilst I visited our set making team in Wednesbury) and I worked in the afternoon with the cast, on specific sections of text which needed more development. On Friday we brought the music and script elements together and found that we had come on by leaps and bounds and were able to look at technicalities of how we could get a particular performer to their instrument to play at a particular time etc. At the end of the week we were all very happy where we were and to quote on of the actor ” It’s all going so well and I feel on top of it. Its never usually like this, I am a bit worried that i am not stressed yet”.
This is something that Gerard and I echoed at the end of yesterday; we expected for there to be stressful times and there really haven’t been. Yes we have all worked extremely hard and we have had obstacles to overcome but the ethos and commitment of everyone involved has been unparalled. Everyone is giving of their best and putting in more than expected of them to make this a success. Gerard and I don’t take this lightly; no one is getting paid very much but everyone is completely professional, supportive and dedicated. Andy the set designer cycled in on his Saturday morning to help Liam construct the set; all the actors have gone home at the end of a long intensive day and worked some more so that they can take it further the next day; they also stayed behind at the end of a very long day yesterday and composed a new Pirate song fr Abi and LJ. Liam who only needed to come in this week has given hours and hours of his time over the past few weeks to ensure that the technical side of the production (which is by no means small) is working as well as it can be. Stuart (the film maker) was up until gone midnight on Friday night finalising a disc so that we could work with it yesterday. Both of our Interns Jodie and Alison have put in hours of work for no payment and have become very much a part of the creative team. This coming week as we add in the movable set, costumes, masks and props will be full on and I am sure will have the odd hiccup but the positivity emanating from every corner of the room will help us through.
On another note, I must just mention the support of the theatre and civic community both large and small in Birmingham, who have been extremely generous with both their time and space; making life easy for us and allowing us a huge amount of support in kind: Birmingham Rep, The Wine Republic, Birmingham Hippodrome and Dance Exchange, Birmingham Library Theatre, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Box Office, West Midlands Police to name a few. Birmingham Equity and Midpoint have publicised the show by email as well and there are individuals within Education who have also had belief in us and promoted the show too (which has resulted in a current schools audience of 60 for the dress and 104 for the premiere on Friday Afternoon. Tickets are still available to please book, it would be great to have a full house).
Today is a day of well earned rest for the team. We have a few things to do (programme details and a final script) but we are all conserving our energies for production week. None of us are running the half marathon which is happening in Brum today – but to Debs, Juliet, Rob, Sarah and all those who are ….. we are with you in spirit!
Last night was memorable for a number of reasons. Firstly we were very fortunate to have such a magnificent back drop for our shoot both inside and out. We shot the wolf protestors for an earlier clip which went without a hitch (unless you count the rather long halt in the proceedings when the street cleaning vehicle came along).
Pyn brought Shirley Sheep to join us and she had her first role (worn by Rachel, who had to be guided in and out by the others) – telling the world that ‘Agatha is innocent!’
We then started filming in doors. The costumes looked great (especially Abi’s Dress) and we were delighted to be joined by Deborah Tracey a great new actress who is destined for great things. She took my script by the collar and made it her own; using a Ruby Wax-esque character to interview the celebrities. All was going well until one of our performers was taken very ill and an ambulance had to be called. We are pleased to report that she has made a full recovery and we got enough to make a version of the scene that we wanted.
(Photos: Protestors: Glen Hannah, Rachel Childs, Fiona Allison. Inside on stairs: Deborah Tracey, Fiona Allison, Salmaan Ahmed, Laura Edghill)
This weekend its tidying up the lose edges and ensuring as many schools and groups as we could think of have been contacted . Then its into rehearsals at full pelt.
Well production fortnight is almost upon us and things are running to plan (am saying that with fingers crossed!) We have a new ASM, Zak, who we would like to welcome to the team , (thanks to Mark Presdee for recommending) . Andy, Liam and Alison are working hard on the set, over in Wednesbury and I have found the shimmery backdrop at a good price. The masks are almost finished and will be ready for the shoots on Friday and Monday; Jodie has had her first fitting session with the actors (Laura and Ash) and the costumes are looking great. She will be with us on our evening shoot at the Council House on Friday along with Fiona, Salmaan, Glen, Pearl & Lewis, our wonderful film actors, who have kindly given their time. We are still trying to pin down our celebrity interviewer , some protestors and a group of crying girls for Georgie Porgy – anyone interested please get in touch with us here at Wolf Central!
This week I have typed up the Visual (AV) cue sheet and the props/stage dressing list which have been distributed to the relevant people. Today I have a list of 30 things to do which I am about to start – its a bit like having lots of things on the stove and its about checking which needs too be looked after next but not leaving anything too long so it boils dry.
Book Tickets – Book Tickets! Tell your friends!
Well with only a month until the premiere we are incredibly busy at wolf central. This week has seen us develop new songs and lyrics – special mention must go to the ‘Pepper Song’ which is our most panto-like number with actions and hopefully juggling of peppers by Dan! (And a bit of audience participation with the tongue twister too). We have also chosen and met with our Wardrobe and Scenic Design interns – Jodie and Alison both of whom are really talented and motivated individuals. We are also lucky to have Rachel Childs as our ASM. Rachel has worked at the Library Theatre in the past and will be a great help to the production.
Wednesday I visited B & Q in Selly Oak who have kindly donated some paint and wallpaper for our set. We also got the sales figures for Arts Fest; we sold 50 tickets mostly for the 2.30 performance. Its a great start but we want to be at least half full for both performances – so buy your tickets now! (www.birminghamboxoffice.com)
We have contacted more schools for the Friday performance and have had 2 schools book and one school also book a follow up workshop; which we are very happy about.
Yesterday was our 2nd development day. We need to say a bit thank you to the Wine Republic at the Rep for giving us a rehearsal space. It was a hot sunny day outside but inside we were also having a very good day. We concentrated on the music, with Gerard creating harmonies and the actor-musicians making a lovely sound.
In particular the opening song ‘Don’t Blame it on the Wolf’ is, as Liam our stage manager said, “really atmospheric”. After lunch we put the whole play with music and vocalising the scene/lighting/sound / film elements together so that we could all (including the production team who had joined us) get a feel of what the mountain is that we have to climb. After this I had a production meeting whilst Gerard worked on the music some more.
From a personal point of view, with my writers’ head on; there are quite a few changes I want to make. Certain sections need to be less wordy and some thematic hints need to be made clearer in order that everyone can make sense of the denoument. A really really useful day which has got us all fired up.
To quote Liam ” I am much happier than when I arrived this afternoon and I was fairly happy about it then”.
And so to work!