I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
I Capture the Castle based on the novel by Dodie Smith Book and lyrics Teresa Howard music Steven Edis

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A Matter of Life or Death

Steve and I have submitted another Arts Council, Grants for the Arts, Application through our company Kelmscott Productions.  This time it's not for Research and Development but towards the cost of producing a show, and therefore a much more complicated application.  We won't hear the verdict until April.  We got advice and feedback on the application from so many brilliant, kind and wonderful people but most especially from Watford Palace Theatre.

With help from Watford in 2012 we got an Arts Council research and development grant for a two week workshop and performance of our musical I Capture the Castle at Drury Lane.

I am so glad that the Arts Council have decided to put up the ceiling for the amount usually given for Research and Development grants.  It used to be £10,000 and has now been put up to £15,000.  With musical theatre R & D there is so much more to pay out for than with a straight play, so I'm sure it will be especially welcomed there.

I know now why the application Steve and I made for our first musical, Possessed, never got through. We had partnership from Oxford Playhouse and some other kind investors but it wasn't enough because we didn't understand the process well enough.  We were told to apply for what we needed, which we did.  No one told us that there was a figure that was usually given for R & D.  I see now why we were never going to get that grant. If only someone had told us about the unspoken £10,000 limit.

Now that we have done it once I realise it is something that can be possible, but you really have to ask for help from people who have been making these applications for years as well as from the Arts Council themselves.  It is a lot of work, but that grant can be a matter of life or death as to whether your show gets a future or not, especially in the early stages!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies at the RSC

I felt very lucky to see the press performances of Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies at the RSC's Swan Theatre yesterday. It almost felt like sitting inside Hilary Mantel's novels - but not quite.  Nothing can quite replicate her exquisite prose.

Ben Miles really brought to life Mantel's Cromwell, Lydia Leonard played the fiery Anne Boleyn, Paul Jesson a vivid Wolsey and Nathaniel Parker an unusually three dimensional Henry VIII - all superb performances,  in these two unforgettable adaptations, which I watched back to back.

Hilary Mantel looked very pleased with it all - at the end of the six hour marathon I saw her in a glorious floating golden outfit fiercely punching the air with joy!  She had worked very closely with Mike Poulton the adaptor and their alliance bore golden eggs, with these two powerful plays about the making of England.

It is still astonishing that Cromwell, a blacksmith's son, managed to work his way up the ranks to become one of the most powerful men in England.  It also really brought home how one single action, word, moment, can change the course of history for ever.

By the end of the second play it was clear that everyone who had upset Cromwell was dead and yet we were still for him.

It was an experience to relish!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Puss in Boots at Hackney!

The Hackney Panto is another glorious success!  
Written and Directed by Susie McKenna with Music by the one and only Steven Edis!
Choreography by Frank Thompson
Design by Lotte Collett
Musical Direction by Mark Dickman

There are just a few more days left of the show, which runs until 5th January with Kat B as Puss in Boots, Sharon D Clarke as Queen Tallulah the Hoo Ha, Josefina Gabrielle as Evil Witch Evilena and Stephen Matthews as Dame Nettie Knowall.  The reviews, as always, have been fabulous:

"All Hail Hackney, basically" - Telegraph

"A slick machine of tongue-in-cheek contemporary references, ebullient choreography, singing that rocks the building and teasing innuendo" Time Out

"Gleefully eclectic" Metro

"Puss in Boots is really full force panto" The Upcoming

"When it comes to pantomime, Hackney Empire wears the tinsel crown." The Times