Dear Nocta-nauts, what a whirlwind couple of months it has been!
Let’s start back in July where we were lucky enough to go to the wonderful East meets West symposium, organised by the ever fantastic Little Earthquake. Two days at two locations; the mac, Birmingham and Derby theatre, bought together artists, companies, producers and all those involved in theatre from the East and West midlands.
Two days well spent hearing about what’s being achieved and what can be done to help better ourselves and our theatre making communities. Along with all the other activities and talks happening across the days, we were also asked to make a 1% pledge of a change we want to see to help us become more efficient as theatre makers.
It was great to see so many people from the East and West attend both days and if there’s one thing that we did learn from those 2 days, it’s that the offer of tea and cake will always help you go far.
Our artistic director, Connor Nolan, also had a flying visit up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the beginning of August. He spent 24 hours seeing various theatre and taking in all the sights. Here is a little insight to what he got up to:
24 Hours at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival
“This August we found a tantalising 24-hour window to fill with something exciting… So, we packed the car and set out on the road to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! After a 7 and a half hour drive we arrived, stretched our legs, took a quick tour of the Scottish capital and set out to see some shows in the city that was thronging with art and performance.
Planet Earth III was a one man show that turns a handful of left over office supplies into an hour long, absurdist, David Attenborough documentary. From taping a desk lamp to his head as an angler fish, giving birth to seahorses (paperclips) which spilled across the stage to a black widow spider set to the tune of Mission Impossible we were in hysterics from the shows playfulness and creativity.
We followed this with Hans: Mein Camp which showed us the tightest and most sequined German Democratic Republic uniform I have ever seen (and I’ve seen many). Hans thrilled us with his high kicks, accordions and bratwurst innuendos into the night.
Later, after failing to make it to a burlesque show in time we stumbled across Bob’s Blunderbus, a hollowed out double decker bus with a bar in the bottom and performance space upstairs. Here we met an Australian Jester who performed a bizarre, incomprehensible show just for us, which kept us in stitches for the hour and a half we were there for. I’m not sure if he stopped when we eventually left… he may still be performing without an audience to this very day.
Our last performance before heading off was Lovehard’s Murdered by Murder a two man, ludicrous pastiche of Agatha Christie styled crime dramas. The body count far outweighed the number of actors on stage. We were reeling with laughter at the show’s impossible coincidences, searing humour and torturous plot twists.
Amongst all of these were other street performances, random encounters as well as a healthy amount of alcohol. Our glimpse of the Fringe has left us hungry for more…”
More recently, Connor and myself were back at the Just So festival performing with our good friends The Fabularium, along with graduates and students of Coventry University’s Theatre and Professional Practice course. Despite all the rain and thunderstorms, it was another successful year! This time around The Fabularium were providing Cautionary Tales, as well as the Magical, Moving trees and The Naughty flock of Sheep and Cyclops shepherd, who were out in full force entertaining both young and old alike. The long days and unpredictable weather made it all worth it in the end.
In the past few months we have also been talking to and visiting various people from Delia’s life. We were very lucky to talk with Brian Hodgson, who worked alongside Delia at the Radiophonic Workshop, and gave us a personal account of her and her work. We have also spoken with Clive Blackburn, Delia’s partner in her later years of life and Mark Ayres a composer who worked on the music for Dr.Who and a Radiophonic Workshop fan. We are hugely grateful for the time they have given to us and the contribution of their thoughts to the piece.
We’ll be back in the rehearsal room later this month, finishing off and polishing our upcoming show. With only a couple of weeks left to go before we perform Hymns for Robots at the Belgrade on the 22nd, we’re pretty excited and nervous about this adventure we’ve all been on. It was only a year ago that we were told about Delia Derbyshire and her work, and now a year on, we’re hoping we can do her work and legacy justice.
We’re looking forward to seeing you all there, and being able to show you what we have been working on.
So keep your eyes peeled as we keep you up to date with all things Noctium.