Articles for November, 2015


Tricycle

Ben Hur Blog 1: Alix Dunmore “It’s all in the wigs”

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015 by Tricycle

Alix Dunmore is plays numerous roles in our upcoming EPIC production of Ben Hur, including most of the women, a few of the men, plus various children and animals (tbc). So how does she make each one distinctive?

We asked Alix if she had any tricks or techniques to creating memorable characters, and how to keep track of who each one is. This is what she said…

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Alix Dunmore and John Hopkins in rehearsals for Ben Hur. Photos: Mark Douet.

“It’s all in the wigs. Seriously though, it’s important to delineate the different physicalities of each character. Tirzah is quite gangly and floppy – all elbows because she’s a teenager; Esther moves smoothly and unobtrusively, saying much with her eyes because she’s a servant; Catalinya takes big strides, strikes poses and paws at herself and other people whenever possible. The other characters have their own reasons for moving the way they do including age, sex and level of comfort with playing the scene.

It also helps that all my characters have very different accents and vocal pitches. That’s partly scripted but partly a choice given that some of the changes are so quick and blink-and-you’ll-miss-them that it’s better to telegraph who I am in every physical way possible.

Additionally we’ve been working with the movement director on how Ben Hur interacts with each character. At a particularly critical quick-change moment it’s only a change of wig (costume-wise) that makes each character appear so we’ve been looking at how John, playing Ben Hur, would touch and speak to each of them.

Plus the wigs really do help.”

The wig-tastic Ben Hur is on stage at the Tricycle from 19 Nov – 9 Jan. Find out more and book tickets.


Tricycle

Celebrating 10 Years of Minding The Gap

Monday, November 9th, 2015 by Tricycle

We’re preparing to celebrate the tenth anniversary year of Minding the Gap, a creative learning project that provides young refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who have recently arrived in London the opportunity to use drama and theatre to express themselves, develop their voices and help prepare them for life in the capital.

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We currently deliver over ten workshops every week at our home in Kilburn, engaging more than two-hundred students and a team of fifteen international practitioners from Greece, Italy, Poland and America. Working collaboratively, they use a range of theatre techniques and activities to boost confidence and self-esteem, culminating in a performance of theatre and short films written and performed by the students themselves.

In the London Borough of Brent, where we’re based, over one hundred and thirty languages are spoken in the surrounding secondary schools. It is the only borough in London to place young asylum seekers, refugees and recently arrived migrants in reception classes before they move into mainstream schooling. The supportive environment of the rehearsal studio provides students with the perfect opportunity to develop confidence and the skills required to work together as a team. In addition to developing their spoken and written English, students come away with a sense of pride that they have been a part of the Tricycle.

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Fay Byron, a teacher from the Greenway Project at Claremont School in Brent said: “We always expect that the Minding the Gap project will boost our children’s confidence, as they are usually rather shy and reluctant to talk when they first join us. The project has definitely achieved that this year and thanks to the excellent facilitators, we have seen some remarkable changes in the children’s levels of confidence and spoken ability. It is a joy to see how much they have changed, and we are not sure whether this change could have been achieved without the aid of the Project.”

Nadia Papachronopoulou, a Drama Facilitator for Minding the Gap said: “Over the course of a year we create a show for the main stage at the Tricycle and made short films. The young people work with a professional playwright and professional film crew to help tell their stories and realise their ideas. I have never seen a performance where the actors are so happy to be part of a production, it has been incredible. I have watch participants turn from shy and self-conscious to be able to confidently speaking in English and always volunteering to do more acting! This program has been very empowering and allowing young people who have not been to a theatre before to be part of a company where they are the actors and I look forward to continuing this in the coming years.”

For more information on these projects or to find out about how to get involved, please contact the Creative Learning Team on 020 7625 0134 or email creativelearning@tricycle.co.uk.