Monday, 10 December 2012

Freddy Rehearsals 1

Benj Symes - Artistic Director and Actor


Finally we're here! After 18 months of R+D playing, planning, talking, writing, striving..


And it's been a good first week.


Jon, Nix and I have been rehearsing upstairs at 47 Fore Street whilst Lottie has been busy researching, planning, organising, finding, and making soup. We've had strategy meetings with Nix and Becca about Venues and Promotion/ Tour Booking, meetings with Steven (our new Intern) about marketing and evaluation, and phone chats with Sophie our designer, and John and Charlotte who will be helping with the make. Becca and Steven will be mainly working from our hotdesk in Hall for Cornwall (where we are now an 'associate theatre company'.) We've had meetings with UCF also, a Business Assist partner who are providing us with their technician to design the lighting for our shows, and also with scaffolding companies about the set.


I think we balanced well the creative with the practical this week. We attended to the things that we needed to and not worried about things still out of our control. We have covered in some depth all the scenes exclusive to the ones that interact with the film, and had a chance to work on the two songs in the show. We've also looked at how to portray the crow judges, playing with using tailcoats, manipulating them to show them attacking Freddy. We spent a good day in Penryn College rehearsing in front of a Year 12 student group and listening to their ideas. And we've done some more filming for Aubade!


At the same time Jon has done some work on SFX whilst we have maintained a weather watch on the ever pressing admin (which Nix and I have labelled 'badmin', or 'madmin' if it's guerilla style out and about – ie Nix in Peranwell Station carpark at 8.30am on her laptop in the driver's seat of the van, parked up I stress!) For me it's been early mornings and late nights, thinking, drawing, making notes. Making sure that all areas are integrating. Everything is now set to start working with the primary elements of set in the Tolmen Centre for the next 4 weeks leading up to the show. Fingers crossed.


The first week always feels a little strange. It's easy to assume that it will all be good! We go through scenes and find ourselves saying things like, 'so that's where the dance goes – we'll sort that out later' or 'so, at that point that amazing bit of hilarious and poignant stage action happens – we'll sort that out later'!! We also perhaps don't push that hard, probably in case we find out something horrible that we have missed, or forgotten! But actually I feel that this is ok right now. We needed some space to settle in to the project and prepare for what is to come, and we all needed a week that wasn't hectic, over-tiring, or pressured. There will be a lot of tech to sort in this play, and so we ave given ourselves 5 weeks instead of our usual 3. And we'll need it. But I also think that the tech sortign and likely delays will allow for Nix and I to keep working on our characters and any unfinished 'business' (dance steps etc.) and mean that all elements of the whole project have time to tighten up together.


It's been good to be at the house with the core crew, allowing us to get centred and come close together at the start of what will be an exciting and full journey...


Friday, 20 July 2012

Young Performer?


cube theatre are looking for young people to join our ensemble production of Macbeth.  We are holding an informal audition workshop and information session about the production this coming Sunday.   

WHEN:  Sunday 22nd July, from 10am-midday

WHERE: Burrell Theatre, Trennick Lane, Truro, TR1 1TH.

1)      FREERUNNING GROUP: (athletic/dancers/gymnasts/freerunners) will meet one evening a week throughout august (4 sessions) and then full days in production week.

2)      YOUNGER GROUP:  (age 11-13) will meet for 2 hrs on a Sunday afternoon throughout august, then one or two full days in production week (September)

3)      TEENAGE GROUP: (age 14-17 years) will meet on Sunday afternoons (4 hrs) throughout august, full days in production weeks (September).

Macbeth has performances at Sterts Arts Centre (near Liskeard) and the Minack Theatre (Porthcurno) in September, and young people can opt to participate at one or both of these venues.  The show will involve a large cast of professional and community actors, and is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring performers to be involved in a professional production on their doorstep.

The workshop will be very informal, and should be good fun as well as a relaxed introduction to this type of audition, should you be interested in pursuing a career in the industry later on.    

If you are interested in joining us for the workshop, please email with your name, age and a contact number, or get in touch by telephone on 07585 601563. Please could parents/guardian drop in at midday to sign consent forms and have an opportunity to talk about the project with the directors. More specific information about rehearsal dates will be available at that session.  

Many thanks,

Nix Wood

creative producer

cube theatre

07585 601563

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Monday, 21 May 2012

Day on the Road

Friday 18th May, 2012

Pinocchio & Wooden Heart at Polruan today, as part of the Sunnyside Festival. Its our last Cornish date of WH...after almost 18 months of touring the two shows throughout the UK. Its going to be a hectic day- looking forward to it!

10.30am  Trailer is hitched up to the landrover, and we're on our way! A rather exciting ferry trip across the river from Fowey...Pinocchio enjoyed meeting a rather friendly mallard on the boat.

12.15pm Arrive, meet the promoter and scope out the venue. Small hiccup! The rather beautiful but slightly impractical narrow streets of Polruan weren't built for our 34 ft trailer, we can't get to the venue with the vehicle! Benj makes the impossible possible...and manages to reverse the trailer down a windy street, with about a thumb-sized gap on either side. Still about 150m away though! Now for a bit of a monster get-in.... we're going to use the venue's staging, but we still have a lot of heavy kit to manoeuvre. Steel toe-caps and rigging-gloves on!

3.15pm  Thanks to some additional help from lovely techicians Matt & David, we have finished the get in! And now for a welcome 45 minute lunch at the village pub. Couldn't resist filming our hilly struggle from the trailer to the hall... listen out for some comedy chuntering!

4.30pm Pinocchio  performance. Just under a 100 audience in the hall, it was a good one! Here's a jolly Lottie in the dressing room with minutes to go before the show.

6.00pm Now for the changeover...time is tight before the next performance, so the lovely promoter Tony lends us his car so we can ferry the many suitcases that make up our Pinocchio set back up to the trailer, allowing us to do the build for Wooden Heart  in record time. We run through a tech-heavy scene (we always like to work at least one extract on stage after we've had a gap between refresh actor's memories, as much as checking the sounds levels!) and suddenly its 7pm. Just time for getting into costume, do a quick warm up, and have a cup of tea whilst the audience are coming in.

7.30pm Wooden Heart performance. Its an emotional journey- the story really hits home for us, and we're still finding new and interesting things in the text 18 months after our first show. Its a great response from the audience- and we're really pleased to have such a warm reaction for the last gig in our home county. No rest for the wicked though...time for the Get Out!

10.00pm Lots of cable coiling, heavy lifting and slightly hysterical laughing later...we're packed up, and ready to go! Its been a tough day physically, and we're all ready for some quality sleep. And after losing our way, a brief fuel crisis, and a satisfying late night sandwich for dinner....we finally arrive back in Truro at 1.15am!

Another cube day on the road done & dusted...hard but rewarding, and we've once again met some lovely people along the way. Thanks to Polruan, and also to CarntoCove for supporting the event.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

SPACE Residency

We have just spent an amazing week at the SPACE (Somerset Performing Arts Centre for Education) in Taunton, working with some brilliant and talented students.  It was a chance for cube to do some serious R&D, with SPACE students providing ideas and trying them out practically.  We are performing Macbeth in September, with a large chorus in addition to key principals, and we wanted to find out some of the exciting things that could be achieved with large numbers of animated performers. 

We made some key discoveries.  One was that we like the ‘covered in mud and slime’ look!  Thanks to Beth, Gena, Josh and Flynn for being prepared to plaster themselves in mud for the sake of art.  We filmed some scenes with students made up like Somme survivors, and the results were pretty amazing.  There were also some magical moments of ensemble physicality that we will definitely be exploring further when we start rehearsing in August.

The week at SPACE was a stimulating and uplifting experience.  It is an inspiring place to work in, led by highly motivated staff, and the students are up for anything.  They threw themselves into every activity, and had some great creative ideas which in turn stimulated our creativity.  It’s also good to be kept on your toes – we knew that working with dedicated and imaginative students like these we would have to be at the top of our game.  So, a mutually stimulating and enriching experience.  We made big strides in our R&D, and the students had the experience of working with a professional theatre company, helping them develop their repertoire.

We also spent some time working with the students on Aubade (working title), one of our touring projects planned for spring 2013. More on this project coming soon!

Top 5 feedback quotes from SPACE students (in no particular order)

1- "cube theatres work is immensely meaningful and amazing to be a part of"

2- "What I found most enjoyable/beneficial/fulfilling was filming Aubade...and making up our own dance/movement"

3- "I loved working with a well known script but seeing it in a differant way"

4- "I really like how you work as a are innovative, interesting and awesome"

5- "3 things that I found enjoyable/beneficial/fulfilling was the filming for Aubade - the whole process, the rehearsal process for Macbeth and the discussions and feedback"
(and because we can't resist...another favourite)

6- "I would have liked it to have been more than a week"

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


We've just got back from Uganda, where we have spent a couple of weeks working on a theatre outreach projects, using the puppets from our touring productions Pinocchio & Wooden Heart

We were volunteering for The Molly & Paul Childcare Foundation, which offers homes and education for some of Uganda’s many orphaned children.  The puppets were instrumental to our work, and were used as tools to deliver health education workshops in some of the charity’s primary schools- exploring preventive measures against malaria and the importance of drinking safe, clean water.

We also delivered several performances of our show Pinocchio, for the children and also for the wider community, alongside working with a secondary school to create a piece of theatre that was performed by the students, which used the greek myth of Prometheus as a starting point. Watch this space for a filmed extract of the piece- which was performed beautifully by a large number of students, representing every year group in the school.

The trip was enabled in part by donations from our audience members and fan base, with the remainder being subsidised by the company.  Puppets and equipment were also donated by individuals and also Mallets Home Hardware store, which were gifted to the charity when we left.

We can’t thank our generous audience members and sponsors enough. The work we did out there, enabled by those donations, has been far-reaching and more fulfilling than we could have hoped, on both sides.  The whole team has been alternately inspired, humbled, delighted and moved by our all-too-brief visit.

We hope that our relationship with the foundation will continue to grow. Our first visit has taught us so much about what theatre for development can do, and we have some projects in the pipeline that will build on our experiences and create an opportunity for future collaboration between cube theatre and the community who so warmly welcomed us. You'll hear about it here first.