Development at The Bike Shed

Since creating work at the Worboys Productions Theatre Farm Retreat we’ve been developing ‘Ugly Duckling & Other Tales’ at the Bike Shed Theatre’s Unit Space in Exeter. We had a lot to think about after the feedback we received on the farm and we got straight to work. On Saturday we reworked on the opening section of the show and then presented our work to Emily Souter Johnson, The Bike Shed’s Framework Producer who gave us some great ideas for how to make the piece even more relevant for young audiences. It’s been fantastic to work with Emily at the Bike Shed to receive feedback on our work and support as artists to develop new work, with freedom to experiment without fear of failure.

Sunday saw us working with our Dramaturg, India Isaac who, once again, focused on making sure the piece was working for our target age group. Firstly, we showed India the opening of the piece so she could gather the tone of the piece. From here, we discussed how we could introduce improvisation to the audience from the first scene of the piece. Then, we worked through the Old Lady scene and George improvised different scenarios in  under the direction of India. This was really useful and gave a new energy to the scene, which we were struggling to find. We then proceeded to work through the piece, tightening movement and character intentions- something we were struggling to do without an inside eye. India wanted us to put more fun and playfulness into the performance so we experimented with different scenarios as a trio of performers. We specifically wanted to work with India on this project due to her experience in working with our target age group 3-7 and her experience in devising new theatre for this age. It was great having her in the rehearsal room as she added some elements to the performance that will appeal to this audience especially.  Yoy can hear more about her experience and see George playing with some of our puppets here:

Today we’ve been consolidating the feedback we’ve received and checking-in with how the current show relates to our original aims for the project. We’ve been experimenting with the use of technology to make a more specific reference to the effects of Instagram culture on young people’s body image and the ever-growing threat of cyber-bullying. This involved us using mobile phones during the ‘Wild Birds’ scene, which added a lovely effect to the scene and really brings it up to date. We’ve also been working on the overall look of the piece to bring a more coherent image to the world we’re presenting. George now has a fantastic costume (a very dashing dungarees) and Emily and I are experimenting with wearing denim, which adds to the farm-yard image of the piece. We’ll be showing our work-in-progress at the Unit on South Street in Exeter on Wednesday at 2.30pm. Please do send us a message if you’re free and we hope to see many of you there!

Helen x