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A Chapter of Writers

As a bonus for today, here’s a post from Nick Palmer’s blog about the writer’s group we are both a part of, and I have failed to mention. It speaks truth. It has inspired me to keep plugging away at that play I’ve been guiltily referring to since last year, and is a wonderful group of people to chat with.

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Putting on a Show – Week Three: Ask An Actor

James BloomfieldThis week, we have an interview with James Bloomfield, leading man, to give you an impression of what it’s like working with us, and to prove the madness is shared.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m James Bloomfield and I’m a psychology student at the University of Leicester, going into my third year. Much more importantly I’m also the publicity and marketing officer for LUTheatre and I’m playing Melvin in the Nandos musical.

Why get involved?

Because I didn’t have anything else on at the time, and a certain Mr. Ward asked me if I felt like singing a few songs about chicken.

Why did you volunteer for this sight-unseen?

(Because you said it was going to be a one time only 15 minute performance oh god what have I done)

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Edinburgh Fringe 2013

I have many friends and associates performing at the Fringe this year. They are all talented and interesting, so you should go see their shows if you’re up there.

blotTHEATRE

My man Jack F is in this group, which are putting on two shows:

notwhatIt’s Not What You Know (Facebook event)

4:10pm, August 2nd – 17th , The Space @ SurgeonsHall

It’s not what you know, it’s who you … as the saying goes. After graduating from TADA, the most prestigious drama school around, surely the streets will be paved with gold for young Rose? From the creative team of Dyslexia: The Musikal (2010 sell-out award) and Forever Young. **** (ThreeWeeks, 2012).

For more info and tickets see https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/it-s-not-what-you-know

The Crawl

9pm, August 2nd-16th, Frankenstein Pub

Come and join us on The Crawl, get the drinks in and meet some new people along the way. What are their stories? Find out in an evening of drinks, games, general madness and fun. Please be aware this show takes place in three pubs and there will be a short walk between them. Alcohol is bought and consumed at the audience’s discretion, drinking is not compulsory.

For more info and tickets see https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/crawl

Paper Crane Puppet Company

Many friends in this one – Keith B, Holly E, Lily P – and puppets, so this should be your first port of call.

odyssey of daveThe Odyssey of Dave (Facebook event)

2:30pm, August 12th-17th, Quaker Meeting House, Venue 40

Following on from last year’s show Ronnie and the Other World (one of the Scotsman’s ‘Ten Best Weird and Wonderful Shows of 2012’), Paper Crane Puppet Company return to the Fringe with an all-singing, all-dancing, all-puppet cast. When two disenchanted ex-muses take over the lives of a group of disgraced politicians and manipulate them into replaying an ancient epic, they get much more than they bargained for. As the struggle between ancient legend and modern mundanity plays out, things aren’t quite as they seem. With photocopiers, Towies and the Ghost of Easter Past.

For more info and tickets see https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/odyssey-of-dave

withWings

Ben J is the connection here. The Tempest is one of my favourites.

ifroomenoughIf Room Enough

2.4opm, August 3rd-24th (except Mondays), Northern Stage at St Stephen’s ​

A look at what dreams are made on with infectious live music and an unpredictable beach hut. If Room Enough is a dynamic and playful retelling of The Tempest, which questions the idea of freedom and sees the magic in the everyday. withWings are collectively effervescent, and individually ambitious and talented. The company was founded in 2009, and has quickly built a reputation for inventive and quirky physical theatre. ‘The hot news is that If Room Enough is being taken to Edinburgh’ (Stage).

For more info and tickets, visit https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/if-room-enough

Lastly, Olivia Deane (Facebook) may or may not be knocking around with a purple ukulele, so keep an eye out just in case. You have your orders. Go forth!

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Putting on a Show – Week Two: Q&A

Nando's and Nandon'ts at Proteus
Pictured (L-R): James Bloomfield, Olivia Deane, and Nicola Brown

So, a definitely-not-self-indulgent Q and A. I shall begin.

JAMES: So, Will – why me? Oh god, why me?

WILL:  Well, I’m not entirely sure. We hadn’t known each other too long when I approached you. You’d foolishly cast me in a play you were directing in 2012 and so I guess I’d got used to you shouting at me and telling me everything I did was wrong. I suppose I must have been impressed by your organisation, your creativity and your musicality. Especially this last point, because musically I am enthusiastic but without any skill whatsoever.

JAMES: See, I hear you don’t like musicals. (In fact, I have it on good authority you like nothing, save your drinks cabinet.) Why collaborate on a musical?

WILL: This is almost a lie! I protest! I don’t like some musicals, it’s true. Lloyd-Webber’s charm eludes me for instance. Les Misérables is a mystery. Rent I wouldn’t. But I love Sondheim, Gershwin, Bernstein. That sort of thing. Things with actual music.

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Putting on a Show – Week One: What and Why

The poster for the performance of Nando's and Nandon'ts: A Musical at The Y 'Emergency' night

As you may know, I have an ongoing collaboration with William Breden (@WinsomeVogon is one of the few places he concedes to being online). It is called Nando’s and Nandon’ts. To the right is a poster designed for its first public outing. Here, we begin an irregular series documenting our folly.

Here’s Will, with a summary of what the hell is going on:

It began with a dream.

A dream of chicken. And Les Misérables.

But mostly chicken.

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Culture Corner

From November 2012 to June 2013, I presented a show on LUSH Radio called Culture Corner. It ran for eleven episodes, each centring around an interview with someone artistic and interesting. Each guest read from works they admire and love, talked about them, and often indulged me in discussion of how they make their own art. Plus, other people sent in recordings of themselves reading poems and stories they loved and wanted to share. There was even a short-lived Erasmus correspondence series from my friend Alex Hatcher, Letters From America.

Sadly, graduation means the end of my time on LUSH Radio. Luckily I got to interview most of the people I would wish to during the show’s short run, but it’s a format (and hobby) I like and am not going to give up easily. So, in due course (when I can find guests and a decent microphone) it will be resurrected as an occasional podcast series. Plus, there are rumblings that a version of the show, presented by a past guest may well continue on LUSH – more news on both these things as and when.

Until then, here is the complete run of radio shows for your enjoyment (I particularly like the episodes with Nick, Sara, and Edward, if you want somewhere to start).

Episode 01 – Nick Palmer

Episode 02 – Sarah Greenwood

Episode 03 – James Bloomfield

Episode 04 – Ivo de Jager

Episode 05 – James Staynings

Episode 06 – Sara-Jayne Slack

Episode 07 – Holly Ellis

Episode 08 – Benjamin Maltz-Jones

Episode 09 – Diani Davies

Episode 10 – Edward Spence

Episode 11 – Olivia Deane

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Input, output, poem

Hello again. My brief life update is that my collaboration Nando’s and Nandon’ts recieved its second draft performance at the Y Theatre, Leicester, which was enormously helpful, and I look forward to working it up into a full piece with Will Breden. Also, DSMing Curve Young Company’s The Tempest turns full-on on Monday, as tech/show week starts! Strange to think exactly a year after the Shakespeare Marathon (if I didn’t write about it this time last year prod me for details), I’m doing another many-hours Bard project.

For this entry I thought I’d go a little more into what I’ve been putting into my brain, since it will out itself eventually in my writing. Also, I have many thoughts about some things. I’m going to look at a book, a comic, and a film. Then there’s a poem I happened to write for those who scroll to the end. UPDATE: I’ve also renovated the poetry and prose sections.

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Posterity

I’m averaging a post a post a month since this blog started in March 2012. That’s regular, right?

Some updates:

  • Come June I will be free of uni work, come July I will have graduated, and the adult world beckons. Erp.
  • Submitted various things I had hanging around to various places, will be on the lookout for more places to send and waiting on any of it popping back up.
  • Thanks to superhero comics, I’m ahead of schedule on my Goodreads target.
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Spotlight On: James David Ward

My friend Nick Palmer has spotlighted me over on his excellent blog (it’s kept much more regularly than this one). I sent over the story a while ago, so glancing over it again at a distance of time is an interesting thing. For example, I notice a paragraph that exists somewhere between two different drafts of the idea, and needs renovating. It’s not just mistakes, though. Once you put some time between yourself and your work it turns into something else, written by someone else (since we’re always changing, you will not be the same person who wrote it when re-reading it three months later). It lets the writing stand on its own terms, rather than be simply you on a page, and, since the text is under your control, you can shape it into something better, take ownership of it again. Eventually, though, you have to leave it be, and the story becomes its own thing, disassociated from you. It’s an interesting process.

Hope you enjoy it, anyway, and be sure to keep an eye on Nick’s blog, it’s a cracking read.

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Deadlines

Alice in Wonderland

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. –Douglas Adams

Many people love that quotation, and with good reason. I’m among the worst (or, perhaps, best) for putting off things I have to do until the last possible minute, working stupid hours to get stuff done, doing other things instead – even this blog post was started as a way to keep the fingers moving while I wasn’t doing work on my second ‘full-length’ script this fortnight, more on which later. (And only finished quite some time later.)

However, if I don’t have deadlines, things don’t get done. Case in point, Alice in Wonderland. I’ve had the idea for a promenade performance of the original text (or as close as possible) of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for well over a year. However, I did  no work on it until it became apparent a week before an opportunity (sadly a failed one) to pitch the idea that I needed to have a finished script in hand, rather than the planned couple of scenes. This meant, in the week of producing my friend Ivo de Jager’s brilliant play Sweetmeat (and also acting as assistant stage manager) I had to come home and rattle off at least a couple of scenes a night.

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Writer’s guilt

One thing I have a lot of trouble with is writing on any sort of schedule. The corollary of this is that I feel guilty when I don’t, which can serve to delay getting back on the horse even more. It’s been a long time since I last blogged, so I’ll fill in some of the gaps.