The Elves & The Shoemaker R&D

The core team have been joined by dancer Victoria Horan and Singer/Songwriter Grace Hancock and have migrated to The Plough Arts Centre in Torrington for a late summer retreat and redevelopment of The Elves & The Shoemaker ahead of our winter tour.

The Plough is a favourite venue of ours as it continues to support the local community while delivering a varied programme of theatre, entertainment, music and film. Our devising sessions this week have been underscored by the sounds of summer blockbusters, but you’ll also find high art and experimental theatre within these walls!

We kicked the week off by mapping out the storyboard for the piece. In this version of the show, we have brought the Shoemaker much more to the heart of our modernized adaptation, showing her struggle to make her way with the family shoe business she has inherited.

As the week has gone on we’ve been able to use our particular areas of specialism to create a varied mix of material. We’ve also been able to work with the beginnings of a new set design by Chloe Benbow – whose designs for our other current show, A-Tissue! A-Tissue! have been wowing audiences all summer! While I’ve focused on narrative and writing poetry and narration, Helen has given the puppetry and ‘object world’ of the piece a lift and a new found sense of play. Victoria has taken on our previous styles of movement to create some stunning choreography and a few comedic sequences where everything seems to go wrong, but in a way that it seems completely right. Grace, who wrote the songs for our previous version of The Elves & The Shoemaker has been a great help in the rehearsal room and is coming up with catchy tunes, moving melodies and entrancing rhythms.

At this juncture, we have mapped out most of the piece and with two days of devising with the full team left, that feels like a strong place to be. There will be plenty to think about over the next couple of days as we bring a higher level of polish to the piece and think about the overall affect as well as the more intricate details.