Tuesday, 28 July 2009

An Orgy Of Thought - Week 10

Week 10 - Performance of "The Disposessed".

Week 10 was our final week, and our final performance. We had a great performance, much fun was had by all. The weather held out. Refreshed and invigorated, we applied for an Arts Action Community grant.
I hope we get it so we can make a start on The New Curiosity Shop!


1. Summary
2. Performers
3. Performance Video
4. "Lady of Dreams" Character Mingling With Children In The Audience - Performance Video 3

1. Summary

So, we performed our piece in the centre of York 3 times for different audiences on one day as part of York's literature festival, with themes of Tudors. (ours was about Tudor exploration and new workers from "new worlds" and how that's relevant to today and some negative ivews towards migrant workers).

Thanks to everyone who came to watch our piece and the council for supporting our group :)

Below is our final performance, in 2 parts.

2. Performers

Producer: Em Topp
Director - Rhiannon Jackson
Musician - Tom Rimmington
Lady of Dreams - Fiona Khan
Lost Migrant Worker & Doctor 1 - Nat Ellis
Builder & Doctor 2 - Ruthl Rimmington
Bulier & The Prof - Mike Cooper

3."The Disposessed" Performance Video

4. "Lady of Dreams" Character Mingling With Children In The Audience - Performance Video 3

Sunday, 17 May 2009

An Orgy Of Thought - Week 9

Week 9 - New Business Cards, Session Breakdown

Week 9 was the first of our rehearsals at 41 Monkgate, and we also had some lovely new business cards to distribute to the group to get out into the world and help publish the group!


1. The New Business Cards
2. Session Summary
3. Session Elements

1. The New Business Cards

Mike and Emilie had a sit down this week and tackled the business cards - we thought it only makes sense; if we have a blog, a theatre group and are developing our ideas, then why don't we have business cards.

Straight from the printers, we can officially upload a screen shot of our preliminary pre-print designs from Goodprint - who we like.
We would also like to credit Elisabeth Perotin who designed the artwork for the blog, which we snazzed up for the background design, and to Free Blogger Skins who provided the template.

2. Session Summary

New Members !!!

Further devising for the Street Theatre that the group will be taking to the Streets and Gardens of York at the end of June.

Group improvisation leading on from lasts week sculptural junk constructions.
Developing new characters, exploring relationships, the eccentric and staging the weird and the random alongside the strainge, and the logical.

(Write up directors brief coming soon for reference)

Reece, Nat and Olivia warming up with the "gobbledygook improvisation game"

3. Session Elements

  • Introduction to the current project.
  • Theatre Games.
  • Practical review of last weeks activities.
  • Fresh Improvisations.
  • Take Two of the improv's with directorial advices.


Group Discussion about 'The New Curiosity Shop' - Project 2.
Mind-mapping about Street Theatre Piece.
Structured improvisations looking at points discussed.
--Next Week will be music based --

... 4 weeks to go til Performance ... FOCUS focus !!! : )

Em, Nat & Fiona further improvising the street theatre piece with the bin


An Orgy Of Thought - Week 8

Week 8 - New Venues, New Dates, New Project Names.


1. Our New venue
2. Renaming The Empty Front Shop project
3. Updated Rehearsal Times

1.Our New Venue

In Week 7, the group met up with Mickey Finn, of 41 Monkgate, who have a theatre space currently used by Upstage Theatre amongst others.
This will be the new home for the "An Orgy Of Thought" Group for the foreseeable future.

This is an excellent development in the Boathouse Theatre Camp, as rehearsing in a venue with theatrical links can only strengthen our cause and improve our confidence. Many thanks to 41 Monkgate.

2. Renaming The Empty Front Shop project

We also discussed the possiblility of a more theatrical name for the Shop Fronts project, and after some deliberation:

"The Empty Shop Fronts project will now be called

'The New Curiosity Shop'

Rehearsals beginning Sunday 28th June 2009"

This decision means that we will more than likely have a final performance of the current unnamed street theatre project we are working on in the latter end of June, which will be followed by a start on "The New Curiosity Shop" project.

3. Updated Rehearsal Times

Please see rehearsal dates below:

The Street Theatre Project:

SUN 17th MAY - 1 - 4 pm
SUN 24th MAY - 1 - 4 pm
SAT 6th JUNE - 1 - 4 pm
SAT 13th JUNE - 2 - 6 pm
SUN 21st JUNE - 1 - 5pm
FRI 26th JUNE - tbc

The New Curiosity Shop:

SUN 28th JUNE - 1 - 5pm
SUN 5th JULY - 1 - 5 pm
SUN 12th JULY - 1 - 5 pm
SUN 19th JULY - 1 - 5pm
SUN 26th JULY 1 - 5 pm
SUN 2nd AUGUST - 1 - 5 pm
SUN 9th AUGUST - 1 - 5 pm
SUN 16th AUGUST - 1 - 5 pm
SUN 23rd AUGUST - 1 - 5 pm

An Orgy Of Thought - Week 7

Week 7 - An informal session to discuss a more targeted direction for the the future of the project.

This week, the group met up to discuss the future of the project in terms of developing a more solid concept, and to consider some more appropriate venues for the theatre group.


1. The Groups Developed Concept
2. Introducing "The Empty Shop Front" Project

1. The Groups Developed Concept

The group decided to commit more solidly to the concept of "Organic Community Theatre", in order to continue what we think has made this project so exciting to work on.

We also came up with a concept to develop which would benefit our group's image in a public space in York by performing theatre in public spaces.

Below is the idea the group developed and will be looking to develop into a performance later on in the year.

2. Introducing "The Empty Shop Front" Project.

Anart Theatre group is a recently formed voluntary community group which is based in York.
We are a group that is open to new members from across York's diverse community and are eager to encourage those who may not normally become involved with the arts in such a way.

The group is currently working on their first project together and is formulating plans for a second. Our current activity can be viewed through our blog page : www.anorgyofthought.blogspot.com

The Concept

The idea for the second project is to run a series of workshops which will lead towards a number of public performances, these will be staged in some of the empty shop fronts that are scattered around the centre of York.

Anart Theatre would ideally like to work with a group of young adults on this project, with an aim to encouraging their creative ideas, voices and stories. We are currently liasing with the Pathways Team and the Youth Offending Team with an eye to hopefully developing something with young adults from these groups.

Why the Shop Fronts ?

Having performances and displays of art - installation or otherwise - in these empty spaces will enhance York's city centre, adding interest, diversity and direct contact with the arts where there is currently only dead space.
Anart Theatre wishes to use the Empty Shop Fronts as stages for performances primarily because of these factors. The spaces are directly within the mass public eye and if used for performance will create a new dynamic for both spectator and performer.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

An Orgy Of Thought - Week 6

Week 9 - An informal session to develop the concept for the Street Theatre Project and create a more tangible directors treatment.

Following the excitement and progress of week 5, we decided to get our ideas down on paper. Below is our directors treatment by Rhiannon.


1.The Street Theatre Directors Brief
2. Mood Board
3. Props
4. Summary
5. Evaluation

1.The Street Theatre Project Directors Brief

Below is a summary of our thoughts form all of the previous weeks in a director treatment, including: mood board, props, summary and evaluation.

2. Mood Board

This mood board uses found images to help convey the directors vision, support the summary, and communicate influences, themes and styles to others that may help them understand the vision.

(images remain copyright of original owner, sources unknown)

  • Bin
  • Stool
  • Steps
  • Pole
  • Masks
  • Coat
  • Sunglasses
  • Drums


3 hobo’s in the space.

Emilie walks in to the space looking for the best place for a sculpture/machine/ invention
Reece and Nat enter adding to the creation. At this point you are all concerned that the machine is built correctly. Nat places a component, Reece thinks it’s wrong. He undoes Nat's contribution. Nat responds, they are a volatile pair. They begin to squabble. Emillie continues to add to the creation until they consider it done.
Emilie and Nat regard the bin as something wondrous; they explore it and regard it with suspicion almost afraid of what’s inside.

Nat: “What does it do?”

Reece knows what’s in the bin and sees it for what it really is, a bin.
After building the suspense the bin is opened and they are entranced by what is inside the bin.

Reece: “Look what I’ve found!”

Reece put pulls out a coat, he puts and on and feels in the pockets and pulls out a bag of coins.

Reece: “I’m rich...... It’s not a bin it’s a treasure trove”

The girls spurred on dive in to see what they can find. Reece inspired by his new fortune goes off to spend it/ make more/ buy some diamonds/ buy a rope to pull in the moon (anything really we‘ll see how that develops! But he has to have good reason to leave)

He shuts the bin lid on their heads and leaves. The girls heads in bin scrambling around having the time of their lives, (we have to believe there is a whole universe in there that your enjoying exploring) after a while you pull off the lid to reveal you looking out at the audience with masks. You begin to play with the masks and degenerate (maybe mock yourselves and Reece, your situation??).

Reece re-enters as a bin man. With a struggle takes the bin away from them.
They look after the bin as it is dragged away. And pull they’re masks off to reveal disappointed faces.

The music – keep up with the music and rhythms, it could potentially fit anywhere in the piece as it develops. It’s really watchable and builds your relationship to the audience. It’s fun to see how you three misfits mesh together music is a great way of doing it.

Emilie- that higher voice that came out as you were playing with the masks, was great I think you should adopt it as part of your character.

Start adding in characteristics to your performances. You don’t necersarily need ‘characters’ but you do need develop your own identity on stage, so think on attributes and attitudes that differentiate for each other.

Does anyone have any circus skills, if so use them they’d be perfect for this?


  • Questions to ask?

  • Is it a machine/ shrine/ sculpture etc?

  • Is it something different for each character?

  • What do I think it might be?

  • Try not to get too fixated on this scene. try something new that may seem unrelated at the time but put them altogether and you’d be surprised by how you can make it fit. Concentrate on creating new scenes.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

An Orgy Of Thought - Week 5

Week 5 - A session of physical interpretation developed from thoughts and notes in week 3 and 4.

The group picked a track to re-visit from the week 3 and try to develop into a short foundation for a devised piece of theatre.

We jumped straight into this weeks task, fueled by motivation from the previous week.

Read on for a summary of the events of week 5.


1. This week's track
2. The Concept: "to explore the faceless nature of modern day office work"

2. Establishing The Scene
3. Developing The Scene
4. Improvising The Action
5. Interpreting The Action & Relationships Between Characters
6. Evaluating The Action

*please note: details have been left vague so you, the reader can envisage the scene's finer details in your own unique way using the tools of your amazing imagination!*

1.This Weeks Track:

John Adams - A Short Ride On A Fast Machine

We listened to the track a few times and combined all of our ideas into a concept which we developed for the rest of the session:

2.The Concept: "to explore the faceless nature of modern day office work"

We found the music to be very powerful, very tribal and very much like a machine.
In such modern times, the UK is fast becoming a country of vast service networks. We work to serve.
We call, we email and we pass data from one place to another.

With so many people feeling lost and disillusioned with their jobs, and so many students having to step into more mundane jobs following their degrees, is there any way out of this?

The group wanted to explore their frustration and fear of mediocracy.

As props to help us deliver our vision, we decided to use faceless white theatre masks.

3.Establishing The Scene:

We explored the potential of our ideas by asking some of the following questions:

How could we represent an office on stage?
How can we convey the repetitive nature of the music in our piece?
How would an army of faceless workers look? Act? Feel?
How much emotion, or lack of emotion can be sustained in such a dead environment?

4.Developing The Scene:

By combining our thoughts on the above questions with the music, we created a scene with the following:

4 seats
4 people repetitively repeating 3 actions associated with offices (old & new) such as:
typing, using a phone, printing, using dials, using switchboards,
filing, pushing a post trolley etc.

5.Improvising The Action:

Having set the scene, we played the track, and the action went something a little like this:

1.Each member enters individually and start miming their tasks

2. The members start interacting and passing items around to each other

3. As the film approaches the 1st crescendo, the workers speed up

4.On the crescendo, one of the workers shuts down.

5. Everyone carries on regardless momentarily until one worker gets up to reset the broken down one.

6. The work continues.

7. Another crescendo approaches and all workers take items to one of the 4 who is filing.

8. As his workload increases, he speeds up approaching the crescendo becoming more frantic.

9. As the 2nd crescendo approaches, he shuts down on the climax, only this time exploding onto the floor.

10. At first, no one reacts and work carries on as before. people just step over the broken worker.

11. Finally, one of the workers has a moment of realisation and stops working.

12. The rogue worker stands on their chair and takes off their mask - distracting the other workers who also stop working and stare at the rogue worker

13. A the final crescendo approaches, it looks as if all workers may remove their masks and find themselves, until the piece quickly ends and we don't know exactly what happens as the scene freezes.

6.Deconstructing the Action:

We felt that since the music had 3 crescendos, it would be important to utilise these moments and have 3 moments that change the mood and shift the piece through transitions explained above.
This piece is very dependent on the music, and very closely intertwined to the powerful piece.

Could the future hold...A performance of this concept would best suit an indoor theatre, which could include spotlights on certain elements of the action which could highlight specific moments singularly or at the same time, while still accentuating the black, lifeless environment that the action will exist within. This would juxta-pose the empty black with bright, energetic action and stifle any energy from the action, and would draw more energy form the lighting, music and glow from the white masks.

...Another perspective is that a performance of this nature could be very effective as a piece of street theatre - taking advantage of the displaced setting of outdoors, the audience being the shoppers of town and passers by ... would they recognise anything of their lives in this ?

Friday, 24 April 2009

An Orgy Of Thought - Week 4

Week 4 - A session of physical interpretation developed from thoughts and notes in week 3.

The group picked a track to re-visit form the previous week and try to develop into a short foundation for a devised piece of theatre.

As you would expect, there was a lot of listing, talking and finally some action!

Read on for a summary of the events of week 4.

  1. This Weeks Track
  2. The Concept: "to explore the journey of a humble cup of coffee"
  3. Establishing The Scene
  4. Developing The Scene
  5. Improvising The Action
  6. Interpreting The Action & Relationships Between Characters
  7. Evaluating The Action
*please note: details have been left vague so you, the reader can envisage the scene's finer details in your own unique way using the tools of your amazing imagination!*

This Week's Track

Zero 7 - When It Falls, was the track to be explored this week. We listened to the track a few times and combined all of our ideas into a concept which we developed for the rest of the session:

The Concept: "To explore the journey of a cup of coffee"

A cup of coffee: something we may regularly make ourselves, order in a cafe, purchase from a shop. But what IMPACT does this has on our well being?
What if that cup of coffee, just for a moment was the centre of the universe, what if it was a conductive object that absorbed the emotions, thoughts, presence and being of objects and beings in its immediate environment?

Establishing The Scene:

We explored the potential of this, asking some of the following questions:

  • Where does the coffee come from?
  • Who made the coffee? how are they feeling?
  • How many hands does the cup of coffee pass through before it reaches us to experience?
  • What if time stopped for everyone who wasn't interacting with the cup of coffee?

Developing The Scene:

By combining our thoughts on the above questions with the music, we created a scene with the following:

  • An occupied table with someone waiting for a coffee
  • An empty space with 2 chairs (to be filled by the action)
  • A coffee shop work surface / bar
  • Someone behind the bar making the coffee
  • A waitress who delivers the coffee
  • A man reading a paper who appears to be frozen in a moment of anguish


  • a coffee cup

Improvising The Action:

Having set the scene, we played the track, and the action went something a little like this:

  1. The elements of the coffee were brought together with sound fx form the bartender

  2. The bartender passed on their thoughts to the coffee while making it

  3. The coffee was passed on to the waitress who picked up some of the emotional content

  4. The bartender froze in position

  5. The coffee went on a journey with the waitress as it made its way to the customer

  6. The waitress placed the coffee on the table and froze in position

  7. The customer received their coffee but remained frozen still

  8. The waitress and bartender moved to the unoccupied space with 2 chairs in it

  9. They assumed new roles of 2 people arguing, only no sound came out

  10. This frustrated a man reading a paper who joined in the silent argument as if he previously had been frozen staring at a moment in time that hadn't happened yet.

  11. The argumentative man with the newspaper was arguing in slow motion

  12. With everyone else distracted, the person with the coffee jolted into life and sneekily took the mans paper and sat dumfounded watching the unfolding situation

  13. The man withthe newspaper became more irate and dragged the coffee customer into the argument.

  14. Which became too much for the 2 people who were initially arguing, and they made up, and left

  15. The man with the newspaper turned around, took the coffee which we assume he had been waiting (a long time) for all along, and sat there enjoying his coffee.

  16. The other person at the table continued reading the man's paper.

  17. The End!

Evaluating the Action:

The group wanted to develop similar concepts much further so that we could take our projects out into the world for audiences to enjoy.

We also considered that maybe the characters could have some sort of previous or developing relationships that influence their character during the scene. the group was torn in two over whether or not this is relevant, so it remains open...

Could the future hold... An Orgy Of Thought, interactive, abstract piece, based in an open public space with sound, light, film, pictures and other art pulled together into a mixed media, interactive piece of site specific, abstract theatre housed in a confined space?

Watch this space, or join the group to contribute!