London Theatre Profile: Young Vic Theatre

Christine Stein is a PAA Arts Administration Intern in London. For her internship capstone project she’ll profiling a different London theatre every month from September to January. Stay tuned for more from Christine soon!

Young Vic Theatre

Five Fun Facts:

  1. The Young Vic theatre takes pride in how open and accepting they are. They are big supporters of the LGBTQ community, which is shown by the large rainbow flag they hang outside their doors. They believe that their secret to success is to support everyone, and be welcome to all. Pretty good motto if you ask me!

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  1. No matter what your price point, you can go see a show! The Young Vic gives away 10% of their tickets in order to allow people who normally cannot afford theatre tickets to go see shows. They also offer a variety of ticket prices for students and kids. They want to make sure they share their art with as many people as possible.

  1. They play a big part in arts education for London. They encourage all local schools to come and see shows in their theatre, no matter what the age of the kids. Not many of the surrounding theatres are as great about providing options for arts education in the area.

  2. They have a wonderful café right inside the lobby! It serves as a great meeting place for a casual cup of coffee, or to enjoy some lunch. (I highly recommend their croissants!)

  1. They have an awesome green sustainability program, which you can tell immediately from walking into the building. They were awarded 3 stars by Julie’s Bicycle, a local sustainability charity, which is the highest score you can get! They encourage everyone to help create a better environment, and definitely do their part to make that happen!

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Brief History:

The Young Vic theatre was originally supposed to be an “offshoot” of the Old Vic theatre, which is right across the street. Laurence Olivier said that there should be a theatre to develop plays for young audiences, and then the Young Vic was born. It was built on an old bomb-site from World War II. Since its beginning over 30 years ago, the Young Vic has been on a steady stream of producing wonderful theatre that can be available to all. To find out more about the Young Vic, visit their website: http://www.youngvic.org/

Coming next:

The Space Arts Centre

London Theatre Profile: Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

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Christine Stein is a PAA Arts Administration Intern in London. For her internship capstone project she’ll profiling a different London theatre every month from September to January. Stay tuned for more from Christine soon!

Theatre Royal, Drury Laneauditorium-from-the-royal-box

Five Fun Facts:

  1. The current building on the site of the Theatre Roya, Drury Lane is the fourth building to be put there! All of the same name, same location, same idea, but they kept burning down and needed to be rebuilt. Each one was more grand than the previous one! Why did they catch fireyou ask?? Well…giphy-copy2. No, it wasn’t from a fire breathing dragon. It was because of the lack of safety curtains! Back before everything had electricity and light bulbs, they relied on candles to light the stage fromthe front. Now if someone were to tip one of those over and the stage caught fire, you would normally bring down the safety curtain to save everybody, right? WELL, because these fires happened so rarely, the safety curtains rusted shut and were not able to be used! That is why at every West End production you see, they will always pull down the safety curtain at the interval. Just to make sure it won’t malfunction…output_mjaho43. The theatre is DEFINITELY haunted. On the backstage tour they offer (which I highly recommend!!), they explain all about how there are ghosts everywhere in the theatre. One of the ghosts was an old cast member who never forgot anyone’s lines. If an actor ever forgot his lines, this cast member would tap them on the shoulder from behind and whisper them into his ear. One day, that cast member was on stage, and he forgot a line. He apologized to the audience, announced his resignation immediately, and was never seen again. To this day, when someone forgets a line, they often feel a little tap on their shoulder, and they instantly remember their line, but when they turn around, there’s nobody there…

output_x8jqku4. Ever wonder why everyone things that theatre stars and movie stars are, well, stars? You can thank David Garrick for that. He ran the theatre for many years, and he changed the view of actors in the public eye. They were always seen as common workers just as everyone else was, but he made sure that they were seen as much more than that. You can also thank him for giving women the ability to be in theatre! Men always played the roles of female parts, but Garrick knew it was time for women to shine in the theatre! The only exception to his rule was for the ever so fun Pantomime Theatre (when a man dresses as a woman for comedic effect).giphy-3

  1. During the shift between Shrek The Musical and the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber donated millions of dollars, of his own money, simply to renovate the theatre back to its original state. He knew that the theatre was originally beautiful, and he wanted to restore it back to how it should have been many years ago. Talk about a dedicated artist!

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Brief History:

The First Theatre Royal opened in 1663, but the current standing building was built in 1812. The Theatre Royal has been home to many important historic events, such as the first performance of the National Anthem. The theatre has been a staple in London’s West End for so long, and continues to always put on amazing performances. If you would like to find out more information about the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, visit the Really Useful Group’s website:

http://www.reallyusefultheatres.co.uk/our-theatres/theatre- royal

Coming next:

St. Martins Theatre

London Theatre Profile: The National Theatre

christine-steinChristine Stein is a PAA Arts Administration Intern in London.  For her internship capstone project she’ll profiling a different London theatre every month from September to January.  Stay tuned for more from Christine soon! 

The National Theatre

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Five Fun Facts:

  1. The National Theatre has three different theatre spaces. Their largest theatre is the Olivier Theatre (named after Laurence Olivier, their first artistic director), and because it was Olivier’s favorite color, all the seats in the space are always bright purple!

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  1. Throughout the history of the National Theatre, they have had several resident companies of actors, which means that the same actors would stay for the entirety of the season and do every single show. However, these weren’t just regular casts. Have you ever heard of names like Ian McKellen, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench or Anthony Hopkins? Imagine being able to watch them in every single play for years at a time! Check them out in their National Theatre days!
Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen

Judi Dench & Anthony Hopkins

Judi Dench & Anthony Hopkins

 

Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith

  1. The National Theatre is a repertory theatre, which means that they can put on several shows at once. In only two days, the National Theatre can put on six different productions! Each theatre space is a different size and has the capability of doing different types of shows, so the variety of shows being put on all at once is amazing! Can you even imagine cycling through shows that quickly?

tumblr_lvkp9tvzsy1qapbk34. Feeling inspired after seeing a show at the National Theatre? Well in addition to having some fun souvenirs, their shop has an incredible array of scripts! They have everything from Shakespeare to whatever is currently playing on the West End, so there is always something for everybody! It basically makes you feel like Belle when she walks into a library! Can’t wait to read the script you just bought in their shop? You can mosey on over to one of their many places to eat. From cafés to a full on dining experience, the National Theatre has all you will need!

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  1. They offer a really cool backstage tour! In case you are ever curious about the inner workings of the National Theatre, the tour that they provide is excellent. You get to see backstage of the theatre spaces, you get to see people working on the sets, and you learn a lot of really fun facts about the theatre and its history! I give it a 10/10 on the backstage tour scale!

output_h3uy0iBrief History:

The National Theatre opened their first production, Hamlet, in 1963. The first artistic director of the company was Laurence Olivier, and originally, they started their productions at the Old Vic theatre. They did not have their south bank location until 1976, but that didn’t stop them from producing great shows with marvelous talent! Since they have opened, they have performed thousands of shows to hundreds of thousands of people! The National Theatre is truly one of London’s greatest spaces for performing arts. To find out more about this theatre, visit:

https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

Coming next:

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Dancing in 100 Places Pt. 5

post 5.4“Before I left for my Performing Arts Abroad experience in Italy, I was dared to film myself dancing in 100 different places over the course of my travels. A challenge? Most definitely!”

Sophie Marshall is a dancer from Armadale Australia and she is currently an Arts Administration (Dance) Intern in Florence, Italy. This is the fifth in a series of updates on her Dancing in 100 Places project.  See the rest of the series here. You can also follow her on Instagram @lipbalmiscool

Throughout this whole adventure my main difficulty has been finding the confidence to actually bust out my moves in public. Now that I’m well into the second half of my trip, I only find it difficult about 10% of the time, which is a HUGE personal achievement for me. I can feel how much my self-confidence has grown, and although I still feel incredibly awkward most of the time, the videos are definitely getting so much easier to film. My new concern is that I’m not going to manage the full 100 locations. When I first started, I was pretty much just winging the entire thing – picking a place, chucking the music on at any random moment and hoping it’d turn out ok (which luckily for me, did work out quite well). But now that I’m getting closer to the end I think I actually need to sit down and plan out the rest of the video as a whole. I need the locations to be spread out throughout the video, not clumped together in one section, which means I’m going to have to plan which part of the dance I’m going to do before I actually start filming. So this week I spent a lot of my downtime making a rough plan in Excel, which will hopefully help me stay on track (it’s colour-coded and everything!).

Love Locks on the Jetty

Love Locks on the Jetty

This entire week has been ridiculously hot and sticky, so on Friday afternoon I took one of my housemates to Viareggio to check out the beach. When I was there last week it was slightly cloudy, so the mountains in the background weren’t very visible, but this time it was PERFECT! We set up on some rocks along the jetty and had a great view of the beach and the mountains.
porto antico

Porto Antico

On Saturday morning I set off for a day trip to Genoa, a port slightly north of Cinque Terre. It was so much bigger than I was expecting and I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was to do. I strolled through the city centre and browsed a few shops before stopping for lunch, then headed down to the Porto Antico (the old port). The harbour was beautiful, with its combination of massive cruise ships and smaller sailing boats contrasting nicely with the houses on the hill behind it. I spent a solid 3 hours just wandering around and enjoying the atmosphere, and at one point I managed to sit down just as a group of free runners started jumping and flipping off of the wall in front of me. In hindsight, I wish I’d gotten a video with them flipping in the background but I was too busy watching them to even think of it at the time!
Free Runners

Free Runners

On Sunday we were supposed to go on a trip to Verona and Lake Garda, but it was cancelled on Saturday afternoon due to low numbers (much to everyone’s disappointment). So instead we had a bit of a sleep in then went for a late breakfast at La Milkeria (they make great waffles!). We took the long way back to the apartment and browsed some of the local markets as we went. We decided to get some cheese and wine and have a picnic in the park, so after popping to the shop we headed over to the park down the road.

Picnic

Picnic

Apart from the large swarm of pigeons we attracted, it was a great afternoon. As disappointed as we were in the cancellation of our trip, it was a nice, relaxing day.

4 weeks in, 59 down, 41 to go. Bring it on.

Dancing in 100 Places Pt. 4

post 4.5 “Before I left for my Performing Arts Abroad experience in Italy, I was dared to film myself dancing in 100 different places over the course of my travels. A challenge? Most definitely!”

Sophie Marshall is a dancer from Armadale Australia and she is currently an Arts Administration (Dance) Intern in Florence, Italy. This is the fourth in a series of updates on her Dancing in 100 Places project.  See the rest of the series here. You can also follow her on Instagram @lipbalmiscool

I am pleased to announce that after 3 solid weeks of frustration, I am now capable of unlocking our apartment door all by myself! My housemates are incredibly proud of me – they were getting pretty sick of having to let me in/provide assistance every time I felt like going out. The novelty of being chief door opener whenever we all go out together will probably wear off soon, but for now I’m finding much joy in showing off my newfound door opening skills.

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VICTORY!

This week marks the halfway point of my time here in Italy. After classes on Tuesday we went and explored the beautiful Boboli Gardens and the Belvedere Fort.

The view from the gardens

The view from the gardens

I may or may not have gotten in a little bit of trouble for dancing at the fort (ok I did get in trouble). I say trouble, but the guard basically just laughed at me a lot for the first 2 videos, then told me I had to stop after I’d attracted a small crowd, so no major drama.

Disturbing the Peace in the gardens

Disturbing the Peace

On Thursday we all had our final exams for our respective classes (I totally nailed my Italian exam in case anyone was wondering), then everyone headed off for the amazing weekend trips they had planned.

Getting some post-exam gelato with my Italian classmates.

Getting some post-exam gelato with my Italian classmates.

I was supposed to work on Friday, but at 10pm on Thursday night, my internship boss emailed me to inform me that the following day was a public holiday and that I didn’t need to come in again until Monday! Score! I’d somehow gained an unexpected long weekend! So with no time to plan anything more exciting, I headed to Viareggio on Friday (about an hour and a half west of Florence by train) to go to the beach.
 Viareggio 2
On Saturday morning I caught the 6am train to Cinque Terre, a series of five coastal towns on Italy’s west coast. If you ever get to visit anywhere in Italy, go to the Cinque Terre. I had the most incredible weekend hiking between the towns, swimming, sunbathing, dancing and relaxing.

Starting the weekend right #viareggio #italy #paabroad #paaitaly #beach #sun #summer #imsunburnt #swim

A video posted by Sophie (@lipbalmiscool) on

It’s beautiful. I stayed overnight at a hostel in Biassa, a 10 minute bus ride from the first Cinque Terre town, Riomaggiore.

 

Riomaggiore (cinque Terre)

Riomaggiore. Did I mention it’s beautiful?

This was perfect because it was 10x cheaper than actually staying in the Cinque Terre, but still close enough to be convenient. After hiking 3kms between the towns of Monterosso and Vernazza on Saturday, I fell asleep almost instantly.

Sunday involved much of the same – swimming, eating, relaxing and enjoying the incredible views. I visited the middle town of Corniglia, which involved climbing a thousand stairs (I may be exaggerating slightly, but there were A LOT of stairs) to get from the train station into the actual town. If you want to swim, you then have to climb down another thousand stairs on the opposite side of town to get to the marina (which I did with only a few mental complaints). And then the process is reversed to get back to the train. Your legs will be in fantastic shape by the end of it, I promise you – mine definitely are. The other 4 towns are much easier to get to and involve a lot less walking (thank goodness).

Me in Corniglia (cinque Terre)

Obviously, the stairs are worth it.

Of course, I smashed out as many videos as I could, managing to get around 10 over the 2 days. Such a beautiful place, I could’ve stayed there for so much longer. It was with great reluctance that I boarded my train back to Florence that night.
3 weeks in, 52 down, 48 to go. Bring it on.

Dance to Death

Shanice StanislausShanice Stanislaus is a dancer from Singapore.  She is a Dance intern in Spain.  

Dance to Death is an interactive, entertaining and insightful dance theatre performance influenced by the dance competitions that took place during the Great Depression in North America, where couples competed to win a cash prize. Alberto Velasco, the director for the show brings a new interpretation to the story by staging the performance as a competition where the performers would have to compete for real every night. The show itself uses unemployed actors and dancers of all ages hence bringing out the reality of the situation in which the show is based upon.

So how did I, a Singaporean who speaks mediocre Spanish find myself being part of this highly entertaining show? It all started with the training I went through as part of my internship in La Caldera where I took workshops with Alberto. Initially, I had second thoughts about doing this workshop because it was in Spanish and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to learn as much. I have a colleague, Lucia to thank for pushing me to take the workshop regardless of my language level. The workshops were absolutely amazing, I had learnt so much and most importantly, my course mates and Alberto himself were warm and helpful. Later, I found out Alberto was using the workshops to try out new ideas and choreographies for the show, after which he invited me to be a part of the ensemble for the show. After the series of workshops, I got invited to join the cast and I was honored because I truly believed in the work he was trying to make and I felt there was so much to learn from him and my fellow cast members.

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The Workshop

Alberto is such an amazing artist and the most wonderful human being. I don’t say this because he is currently my director but from the very beginning he brings non-judgment and pushing creative boundaries in his work. He is so accepting of his cast, where they come from (including me), what they can bring to the work and mostly making work from the stories of these artists themselves who have struggled in this industry.

Before rehearsal

Before rehearsal

The rehearsals have already commenced and it really is work. I get the first taste of what it means to train and work for a dance company in preparation for a huge show like this. We do an intensive 5 hours a day, including an intensive training on the body and mind, along with creating and preparing material for the show. As fatigue starts to wear the dancers down throughout the week, we are all presented with the personal challenge of pushing our bodies and minds to be as available as it can be for the day’s work and in preparation to perform for almost 3 hours for the show.

Break time with the cast members.

Break time with the cast members.

Sometimes in the work, it becomes intense because some of the issues we deal with are all real. The competition, the actual fatigue and the pushing of our boundaries physically be it in acrobatic throws, muscle aches, or repeating a crazy cardio dance number many times to perfection. While preparing for the show has its intensities, what makes me return back to rehearsals are not these things. Instead, it is the warm, loving and accepting ensemble and director who I work with every day. They push you, love you and respect you for your individuality, even if it means translating instructions and treating you as an equal no matter where you’re from, what language you speak or how old you are.

Being a Dancer as part of Alberto Velasco’s ‘Dance to Death’ for one of the biggest art festivals, the El Grec festival in Barcelona is truly an honor. It comes with a lot of hard work, beyond what I had ever imagined was required of a professional performer. However, every ensemble member and Alberto himself makes every intense, funny and tiring moment so worth it. While, I have learnt so much, there is so much more to be learnt from the experience. I am looking forward to the show and from what I have been rehearsing so far, it seems like it is going to be an awesome show indeed!

Dancing in 100 Places Pt. 3

Post 2a“Before I left for my Performing Arts Abroad experience in Italy, I was dared to film myself dancing in 100 different places over the course of my travels. A challenge? Most definitely!”

Sophie Marshall is a dancer from Armadale Australia and she is currently an Arts Administration (Dance) Intern in Florence, Italy. This is the third in a series of updates on her Dancing in 100 Places project.  See the rest of the series here. You can also follow her on Instagram @lipbalmiscool

My favourite thing about doing these videos is watching them back and seeing people’s reactions as they notice me randomly dancing in the middle of a crowd. Some people don’t even notice, but others do a full on double take as they walk past. I still can’t work out if it’s easier or harder to film myself while my housemates are standing near me – I feel less on display having friendly faces around, but they also spend the entire time laughing shamelessly at me. The only upside is that their laughing makes me laugh as well, so I actually look happy in those videos, rather than just incredibly awkward. It is definitely getting easier though, but I think that’s more to do with the circumstances in which I’m filming rather than a growth in my own level of self-confidence. My GoPro decided this week that it no longer wants to connect to my phone, so I can’t preview what I’m getting in the shot, meaning that I have less things to procrastinate with now. It’s more of a ‘set up the tripod, aim it in the general direction of the cool thing I want to be in the shot, then hope for the best’, which kind of forces me to just get on with it.

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Sure they look friendly, but they’re ruthless.

This week has been pretty full on for everyone, with classes now being in full swing, but we still managed to get out and explore. On Monday night we hiked up to the Piazza de Michelangelo to watch the sunset (so many stairs!). The view of Florence was breathtakingly beautiful – I will definitely be going up there again. After classes on Thursday we climbed the bell tower of the Duomo (once again, so may stairs! I’m sorry legs!!!), and saw yet another spectacular view of the city. I even managed to sneak in a video!

13388655_1100098333386969_144071400_n copyAfter work on Friday we took the hour long train ride to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower – prepare yourselves for stereotypical tourist photos. It was pretty amazing watching hundreds of random people all doing the exact same pose at the exact same time – imagine how weird it would be seeing that in your local city, yet here the locals are so used to it they hardly bat an eyelid!

See the Tower, Be the Tower

See the Tower, Be the Tower

On Saturday I decided to take a day trip by myself to the nearby town of Lucca. It’s pretty small and there’s not a great deal to do, but after such a busy week it was a nice relaxing change. After a few hours of exploring I set up my camera in front of the Basilica di San Frediano. I got up and performed half a count of moves, only to be video-bombed by some street performers who set up right next to me. Too lazy to move the camera or wait for them to move, I just went with it, laughing to myself at how badly my dancing went with their music.

Sunday was the most relaxing day of the week – we had a Chianti wine tour booked for 2pm so got to sleep in, go for a hike up the mountain and take the morning at our own pace. Typically, at 1:55pm it started bucketing down with rain, meaning that we were rather wet by the time we got on the bus. Our first stop was a small winery in the town of Monteriggioni (about an hour drive from Florence). Once again, we got absolutely soaked walking up the hill, but they had an AMAZING dessert wine which made up for it. Next stop was a winery in San Gimignano for the sit down tasting. Nine glasses of wine later and everyone was feeling pretty content (maybe even a little more than content to be honest). It was a great way to finish the week.

Wine Tour.

Wine Tour.

Two weeks in, 26 down, 74 to go. Bring it on.

Crushing it:

Crushing it.

Crushing it.