We started the day by being introduced to the amazing Prasanna Puwanarajah (Director of Venice Preserved) and James Cotterill (Designer of Venice Preserved). They went through the design process and talked in detail about the challenges they faced with he play. They talked about how they come up with he decisions and the way they constructed the world of the play.
We were very lucky to get a chance to see all the drawings and designs for the production and to talk about the costume decisions. We also got to see the model for the stage and to see how the model can be used in rehearsal. We were then set a task to try and create a ‘world’ for Macbeth and this started with looking at the play and discussing some of the issues we would have if we tried to stage it.
We then split off in to groups and we had to come up with a stage design for Macbeth. We also had to look how we would solve some of the ‘problems’ in the play. These were how we would present the witches, the ghost of Banquo, the setting of the play and the march of Burnham Wood.
Once we had created our ideas we then had to feed these back to Prasanna and James and they asked questions and gave us constructive feedback. It was so good to have the chance to share our ideas and to have industry professionals talk to us about our views and opinions. It was a truly brilliant session and we were so excited about some of the ideas that we created.
The afternoon was split in to two parts. The first part was working with Olly on the key principles that are needed when directing a performer. This was a chance to get a professional actors perspective of what they would like from a director. It was also a chance to really understand what is meant by leadership in a rehearsal room. We were also given difficult scenarios and we were asked to see how we would respond as directors. This was very difficult because there were no right or wrong answers.
The second part was to have the privilege of sitting in on Merchant of Venice First Encounters rehearsal We got to see Robin Bellfield direct a group of professional actors through some very difficult scenes. This was remarkable;e, to be in a rehearsal studio and to see the dynamics and how it works. Many of us just wanted to stay there forever!
The day ended on an absolute high with Abs, assistant director on Merchant, coming in and talking to us about the path that she has chosen and the decisions she has made. What made it extra special was that Abs used to be at Intermission Youth Theatre so she could talk about how she went from there to working in a professional environment.
We all had a great evening out at Nando’s and the Silhouette and Intermission young people shared and laughed in to the evening!
Things we learnt
- The process that a director and designer go through before the rehearsal even begins – trust between director and designer
- Leadership – concept of trust, honesty, importance of different aspects in a rehearsal room
- In a professional rehearsal room, it’s a collaborative effort, rather than a dictatorship – people have to agree, but strong leadership sometimes needed, balance
- You shouldn’t leave a thought process halfway through, having a starting point, come prepared with a least one solution to an issue
Favourite parts J
- Listening to the different concepts of Macbeth – different perspectives
- Venice Preserved – explaining vision, using Spotify, Pinterest etc
- Merchant of Venice rehearsal – difference between Erica’s and Robin’s rehearsal rooms
- Sense of play, being able to relax, value of play in a productive space
- Being able to be professional when needed, not getting distracted
- Strong leadership – confident in what they’re doing
- Trusting the ideas that I have