Today we have a blog from Tricycle Young Company Member Luke, who is acting in The Kilburn Passion which is opening tonight as part of the Takeover Festival! We’re really rooting for all the Young Company actors gearing up to open to a packed house of Kilburn locals and theatre lovers. As the age old saying goes, break a leg guys!
It seems any blog about my experiences working on The Kilburn Passion would need to start with a bit of background first. Starting anything with “at last week’s rehearsals, after introducing ourselves to a toy kangaroo called Kennedy, we began to plot out the chorus’ baby birthing scene and the cream doughnut fight” definitely needs a bit of context and explanation.
My journey with the Tricycle’s Young Company starts back in Summer 2013 when Mark Londesborough, the Creative Learning Director at the Tricycle Theatre, came to do a talk for a youth project I was involved with about the Tricycle’s plans for the Takeover Festival. I left that Q&A with one note: “Tricycle Theatre Young Company – SIGN UP”. A few weeks later, with an audition booked in, I made my way to Kilburn and sat nervously on the tube, wondering what to expect. And so ensued one of the most relaxed and enjoyable auditions I’ve ever had. I was put in a room with 20 other young people with a passion for theatre and we were allowed to simply play, explore, and have fun with our own interpretations of various scenes and situations that we were given. I left that audition even more resolved that this project at this theatre was something that I just had to be involved with in whatever way I could.
Luckily, two weeks later I received ‘The Email’. As any actor will know the first step to opening such emails involves desperately scanning with fingers over the eyes for the words ‘unfortunately’, ‘however’ or ‘the standard was particularly high’. Thankfully, it included neither and it was inviting me to join the Young Company for 2013/14. Needless to say I was ecstatic; primarily because, based on my audition, the standard was indeed very high. From my short time spent amongst them, The Tricycle seems to draw in tirelessly passionate, driven and talented people that make it a genuinely enjoyable place to just hang out; whether you are working there or not and that was certainly reflected in the people who came to audition for the Young Company.
And of course, that is not more palpable than in the young people who made up the final company and those working with us. Not only are we led by the wonderful Emily Lim, who is one of the most dynamic and endlessly energetic people I have ever had the pleasure to be around, let alone be directed by. We are also enormously blessed to be working alongside playwright Suhayla El-Bushra. Suhayla’s insights into us as individuals, as a company and into society at large have resulted in a truly original and unique play that not only expresses what we as a young company have to say but that feels uniquely ‘of us’.
The ‘us’ in question of course being the collection of 18 young people that form the Young Company. One rehearsal spent with this company and it becomes evidently clear why a theatre piece is called a play. And at first glance you could be forgiven for assuming that is all we do. However, if anything I have written previously feels like sentimental cheese then prepare for the overripe, matured stilton of it all because this has to be one of the most united, talented and determined bunches of people I’ve ever worked with. Determined in their passion for theatre making; determined in their demand for a ‘voice’ and determined to have fun. Tuesday evenings have come to be one of my most looked forward to times of the week.
And the culmination of all of this hard work, passion and determination? A new play, written beautifully by Suhayla; directed effortedly (or whatever the opposite of effortlessly is, because it has sure as hell involved one hell of a lot of effort) by Emily Lim and staged spectacularly by the technical and design team, Elena Peña, Chris Gylee, Jack Knowles, Shannon Foster and Georgina Brazier. Now, as we inch ever terrifyingly close to opening night, the camaraderie and group dynamics come into full effect as we come to terms with the set (all 9 raised platforms of it) and the furiously relentless transitions, choral scenes and prop-journey madnesses! And amidst all this madness, introducing ourselves to toy kangaroos, group birthing scenes and cream doughnuts have well and truly cemented themselves into the norm… and that is slightly worrying, and beautiful at the same time!
The Kilburn Passion opens on the 3rd of April as part of the Tricycle’s young people Takeover Festival and I’d like to finally thank Mark Londesborough, Anna Myers and all the other wonderful people behind the scenes at the Tricycle for whom youth engagement in their theatre work is clearly at the heart of what they do. This is not just a youth project, it is a Youth Takeover and I am immensely proud to be even a small part of it.
Tickets are still available for Friday and Saturday performances of The Kilburn Passion- click here to book. And there’s still loads of workshops and events you can take part in until 5 April- click here for more info and to see what’s on.