Nap-poo, Too-dle-oo, Goodbye-ee…

Ten girls came together to produce a show
Nine poppy wreaths are laid in remembrance
Eight black tap shoes are all lined up in a row
Seven hours prep time before performance.
Six soldiers’ letters read out loud by the birds
Five World War One songs, sang with love and with pride
Four wooden brooms creating sounds and not words
Three dancing styles that we each took in our stride.
Two instruments played live on stage and in key
One great adventure these birds have given me.

Works Cited:
Birds Eye View Theatre (2014) 

Little Girl Don’t Cry I Must Say Goodbye..

Dear Reader,

This is my final blog post and I hope you have enjoyed following our performance.

Pearson, F (2014)

Pearson, F (2014)

I have loved the process and seeing it all come together as we had hoped. A fantastic piece that I am proud of and nine new friends that I could not have done it without.

Sincerely Yours

Charlotte

xx

‘It may be forever we part little girl, & it may be for only a while…’

Dear Reader,

I am just writing a few lines to sign off my blog and to thank you for following our process. It has not been an easy one at times but showing our work on Friday 23rd of May has made it all worth while. I did not realise quite how emotional it would be to perform ‘Sincerely Yours.’ I think this was due to the wonderful atmosphere which a live audience provided us.

Enclosed is a photograph of the final number from our performance taken by the lovely Frances Pearson during our dress rehearsal. I think I can speak for each of the birds when I say it was thoroughly enjoyable to put everything we had which was ‘homemade’ onto the stage, not only the scripts, but also the bunting and beautiful poetry too.

 

'Dress Rehearsal' Pearson, F (2014)

‘Dress Rehearsal’ Pearson, F (2014)

The cogs have been turning just as they did in the factory scene and perhaps this may not be the last you hear of Birds Eye View Theatre Company. After researching on the Arts Council England website, there is possibility for ‘Sincerely Yours’ to be revived during the centenary of World War One with a little help from funding sources such as the Hertiage and the Centenary project which has been launched this year!

For now however, I can leave university having experienced a new skill of helping to directing a piece of devised verbatim theatre, something that three years ago I would never of dreamed was possible. Most importantly, I know that I will be leaving the University of Lincoln having made 9 new special friendships. Our aim at at Birds Eye View Theatre was to create theatre which was honest, theatre that reflected what people may have experienced during the First World War. Having listened to the stories of Lauren’s, Charlotte’s and Louise’s Grandma’s I believe we have achieved a reflection which is unique and memorable.

I am now off to prepare for the last of this weeks theatre company shows all of which have offered variety and a range of talent at the LPAC. Tonight’s is called, ‘Take Me By The Tongue’ and will be performed by a company called Hand Me Down Theatre Company. Stay tuned from more from the birds! ‘Na-poo, toodle-oo, goodbye-ee’… for now.

Sincerely Yours,

Lauren Kirby
Birds Eye View Theatre

 

Works Cited:

Arts Council England (2013) [online] Available from http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/ [Accessed 29 May 2014].

Birds Eye View Theatre (2014) How To Make Bunting. [online video] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T4cLsjRjLA [Accessed 29 May 2014].

Heritage Lottery Fund (2014) [online] Available from http://www.hlf.org.uk/HowToApply/whatwefund/FirstWorldWar/Pages/FirstWorldWar.aspx#.U4c4UCitwWk [Accessed 29 May 2014].

Mooney, C. (2014) Dear War Girls. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/05/29/dear-war-girls/ [Accessed 29 May 2014].

Pearson, F (2014) Dress Rehearsal Photography.

Pearson, L. (2014) Creating a backing track. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/04/20/creating-a-backing-track/ [Accessed 29 May 2014].

Pearson, L. (2014) How to make bunting. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/05/26/how-to-make-bunting/ [Accessed 29 May 2014].

 

A Day in the life of a Musical Director

Dear Reader,

This is the typical day in the life of a musical director…

7.00 am rise and shine

8.00 am plan todays session

11.00 am attend directors meeting

12.00 am run the music session

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This is a version by George Asaf and Felix Powell who originally composed the music.

Asaf’s version is composed for male voices, using a lower key. However, because we are a cast of all female actors, I thought it would be appropriate to make the song more feminine with the use of a higher vocal range and using mainly major chords for the guitar and ukulele opposed to minor chords.

Here’s the movement for pack up inspired by the factory movements.

3.00 pm its the end of the session and I always like to send them away motivated for the next session

The birds like to think of this as a Charlotteism, today I said they were all ‘SPECtacualar’

3.00pm get home

5.00pm tea time

11.00 pm bed

11.05 ZZZzzzzzzzz

Yours Sincerely

Charlotte

xx


Works Cited

BBC(2014) Photograph taken of the sheet music for Pack up Your Troubles[online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25968407[Accessed on May 3 2014]

 

 

Send the Audience Away With a Smile

Dear Reader,

Send Me Away With A Smile.  Pearson, 2014

Send Me Away With A Smile. Pearson, 2014

As this is the finale song, I wanted to get as much energy into it as possible, this meant getting the girls up on their feet.
We came up with actions to help learning the lyrics and had lots of fun learning it.

I gave the girls options for the final song and this was by far everyone’s favourite, for two reasons. It was apt in our piece about saying goodbye but not wanting to. It is also the end of an era for all of the girls in the show because it’s the last song we will sing at university, so it holds great emotional ties for all the girls, I hope all of this emotion is conveyed.

Sincerely Yours

Charlotte

xxx

Tweaks and Tech: Ten Letters

Here is a sneak peak at our rehearsal in the auditorium the week before the show. As the scene involves shadow puppetry, backing tracking and dialogue from an actor so vocal projection in the auditorium is key.

After running the scene for the first time in the space, I decided it would be beneficial for three actors to speak the text from the front of the stage whilst the remaining actors created shadows behind the pyc.

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’10 Letters Scene’ Pearson, F. (2014).

The photograph above was taken during the dress rehearsal of our show. To access the script for the ‘Ten Letters Scene’  please click here.

Works Cited:

Cox, E. (2014)

Pearson, F (2014)

 

Stylising: Headphone verbatim

Here is a short video discussing the directorial decisions for several of the headphone verbatim sections of  ‘Sincerely Yours’. If you would like to see more information on how the Gobo was created then check out our Assistant Stage Manager, Louise’s blog post here!

Works Cited:

Birds Eye View Theatre (2014) How to make a gobo. [online video] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuZkyfyl3hc [Accessed 27 May 2014].

Pearson, L. (2014) Get busy making a gobo. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/05/02/get-busy-making-a-gobo/ [Accessed 27 May 2014].

Pearson F. (2014)

‘A Guide to Creating Verbatim Theatre’

The video below is presented by Robin Belfield, a freelance Theatre maker and the director of Yellowtale Theatre Company. In 2013 Belfield held a theatre workshop at the National Theatre providing a guide to creating verbatim theatre. This video proved extremely useful when creating ‘Sincerely Yours’

Here is a short summary of the ethical rules for your own creating verbatim theatre…

1. Start with a topic: In our case, World War One and how it affected the women of the frontline.

2. Research, Research, Research!: Which included, finding appropriate letters from the archives, visiting the Lincolnshire Life Museum.

louise museum

‘Louise at the Lincolnshire Archives’ Coleridge, E. (2014).

3. Think about who is involved: Discussing and deciding whose stories we wanted to focus on – Grandparents of the company, residents from local care homes and soldiers Billy A. Haydon Lounds & Harry Butt.

archives charlotte

‘Lincolnshire Archive permission slips.’ Mooney, C. (2014)

4. Editing & Condensing!: Careful selection of interviews, footage condensed into one hour!

and the most important for our company ethos…

5. KEEPING THE TRUTH WHOLE!

Upon reflection, the initial process of creating verbatim is the same as our own, however, the rehearsal process differs. The most important rule to take into consideration is remembering to be accurate and sensitive with your material.

Read more about our own devising and learning process in one of my earlier posts, Grandma’s Verbatim

Works Cited:

Coleridge, E. (2014)

Lincolnshire County Council (2014) The Museum of Lincolnshire Life. [online] Lincolnshire. Available from http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/visiting/museums/museum-of-lincolnshire-life/ [Accessed 26 May 2014].

Mooney, C. (2014)

National Theatre (2013) A Guide to Creating Verbatim Theatre. [online video] Available from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a0qNEhCly4 [Accessed 26 May 2014].

Dear Granny Biscuit

Dear Reader,

IMG_7824

My Granny Biscuit, found in an old album in the dining room, she was about 25 when this photograph was taken.

This is my Granny Biscuit, she is now 86 years old and is one of thirteen children. The story that she tells in the video is of my great Grandad Freeman(her father) and great Granny Mooney (my Grandads mother). My Granny discovered when it was nearing her wedding day that when Grandad Freeman was going off to war he had left his job as a postman. In the absense of Grandad Freeman, Great Granny Mooney took over the job of delivering thousands of letters from the front line to the houses of their loved ones, sometimes delivering good news but often not.

Great Grandma

Great Grandma Mooney

Great Grandma Mooney took on the role of a Postwoman and my Granny and Grandad found out near their wedding day

Granny and Granddad on their wedding day

Granny and Granddad on their wedding day

that their parents had had a connection from the war, in that they had exchanged jobs. I found this out on a night at the beginning of the process where we were having a game of scrabble ( that she won hands down)and wanted to know more.
I called my Granny and asked her if I could do an interview with her to learn more about it.
She found it incredibly hard to talk about but decided to go ahead and tell me all she knew. Here’s a section of the interview that I will show to the girls and see if we can use it in the show

Hope you have enjoyed having a look at a bit of my family history

Sincerely Yours,

Charlotte

xx

Why World War One? A reflection.

Why did we choose to do a piece on WWI, you might ask? Well the obvious answer might be that this year is the start of the centenary commemoration for WWI. Another answer is that we are University of Lincoln students and Lincolnshire is renowned for its involvement in the war with the first tanks being built just down the road from the campus and its prominence in aircraft and aerial combat. The final answer we could give is that we hear a lot about trench warfare and the soldiers on the front line during the war but we rarely hear about those on the Home Front, doing their bit for the war; especially women.

As we have journeyed through the past few months, we have encountered many more projects that are taking place in the near future for the centenary of WWI. This includes events at museums and archives, such as the Lincolnshire Life Museum and also performances in the local area as well as a National scale. For example The Second Minute was recently performed at The Terry O’Toole Theatre which a few of the birds went to see. It is a play written by Andy Barrett who has taken letters from archives of the Sherwood Foresters regiment during WWI, which resonates strongly with our own performance as he uses the soldiers’ real words You can hear all about The Second Minute from Louise, the link is below.

(Day, R. , 2014)

(Day, R. , 2014)

As well as other projects taking place on a local scale, with ‘Sincerely Yours’ we have tried to connect to the audience on a personal level. Not only with the letters of Harry Butt and Billy Lounds, but with our own relatives. Lauren Simpson, Emily, Louise and Charlotte have all found information, stories and artefacts that have been included throughout the process and some in the final performance. After our work in progress we were told that the personal side of our performance should be acknowledged even more in order for the audience to connect with the piece. In order to do this we made sure that the audience knew that some of the voices, words and footage were from our relatives, we also connected through with with our programmes for the show. Each programme had a letter from one of us from the process of the piece, any letter dated between January and May, we also styled the programme in a postcard to symbolise the silk postcards many families received from soldiers during the war.

(Chapman. J, 2014)

(Chapman. J, 2014)

Also on a personal and local scale, many of the letters we use in the performance are from soldiers Harry Butt and Billy Lounds who were local boys who went to France leaving their sweethearts behind. Whilst reading the letters there were references to places in Lincoln like Barclay’s Bank, the Arboretum and the Cathedral. Places that we have walked past or visited over the past three years, sometimes everyday. One letter that I strongly connected to was Billy’s letter from the 27th May 1917, where he talks of the cathedral. I’ve often visited the cathedral to get away from work, stress, to think or just because I wanted to go. So to read his letter and to have him speak of the cathedral in such a way, it makes you admire what is around you, especially when you think of where he was at the time of writing it.

Link to blog posts:

The Second Minute

Where we sit on a Local Scale

 Works Cited:

.Nottingham Playhouse (2014) The Second Minute. [online] Nottingham: Nottingham Playhouse. Available from: http://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/whats-on/other/the-second-minute/. [Accessed on 25th May 2014]

.Pullen, R. (2014) Our Florence, the girl who just wanted to do her bit for the war. The Lincolnshire Echo, 3rd April, 10.

Pullen, R. (2014) The Tank- Made in Lincoln. The Lincolnshire Echo. 3rd April, 8.

.The Lincolnshire Echo (2014) Women at War. 3rd April, 28.

.The Lincolnshire Echo (2014) Aviation- The Beginning. 3rd April. 18.

 

The Second Minute

Birds Eye View Theatre, 2014.

With references throughout The Second Minute to West Bridgford, the River Trent and the Sherwood Foresters, I felt a sense of pride that these WW1 soldiers had come from the place where I grew up. The setting of a small local theatre worked well, making the play more intimate. It felt like a community of people coming together to watch their heritage being played out on stage. The relaxed atmosphere promoted conversation amongst the audience with people talking to the strangers around them about their own family stories of the war.

Works Cited:

Birds Eye View Theatre (2014) The Second Minute. [online video] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKUoeVTzPdo&feature=youtu.be [Accessed 28 May 2014].

Day, R (2014) The Second Minute – in production. [online] Available from http://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/whats-on/other/the-second-minute/ [Accessed 16 May 2014].

Day, R (2014) The Second Minute – in production. [online] Available from http://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/whats-on/other/the-second-minute/ [Accessed 16 May 2014].

Lewis, S. (2014) Sarah Lewis Theatre Designer. [online] Available from http://sarahlewisdesigns.tumblr.com/ [Accessed 16 May 2014].

Lewis, S. (2014) Some of the drawings I used to make the animations for The Second Minute. [online] Available from http://sarahlewisdesigns.tumblr.com/ [Accessed 16 May 2014].

Lewis, S (2014) The Second Minute set design. [online] Available from http://sarahlewisdesignportfolio.tumblr.com/post/83803970157/the-second-minute-by-andy-barrett-nottingham [Accessed 16 May 2014].

Nottingham Playhouse (2014) Nottingham Playhouse. [online] Available from http://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/ [Accessed 16 May 2014].

Terry O’Toole Theatre (2014) Terry O’Toole Theatre [online] Available from http://www.terryotooletheatre.org.uk/ [Accessed 16 May 2014].

Dear the cast of The Second Minute

Dear Reader,
This week a few of the birds went to see The Second Minute by Andy Barrett
10258040_10203966198060280_848914292912224004_n

Mooney. C (2014)

Ellie and I could not fit in the car so we cycled and did some flyering on the way.
The play focused on letters being sent in the First World War ‘around nineteen thousand mailbags crossed the channel every single day and the art of letter writing enveloped the country, as people of all ages and from all classes tried to keep in touch with sons, brothers, husbands and lovers’.
Messages from the front line were sent from the soliders requesting their favourite food and telling their families they missed them. These are the types of letters my Great Granny Mooney had to deliver. Good news and bad. Letters and the delivering letter was crucial, it explored a mothers loss of her son.
SecondMinute_1

           Day. R (2014)

The story follows a mother called Laura who is a researcher and has discovered a solider called Tom’s letters. The honest accounts and struggle with Laura having one of Tom’s letters delivered a day recreates her relationship with her son in the war, who we find out died. She looks for something in Tom’s letters to give her hope and fill the void in her heart that her son dying has left.
We were so excited as a group to watch and experience how another theatre company dealt with a topic that was so sensitive. They performed with such a fantastic understanding of how important it was to share these stories that excited us all to perform our telling of the stories we feel are important to share.
Whilst there I asked the owner of the Terry O’Toole Theatre if she minded if we handed out flyers at the end to help market the show, she was so excited at the prospect of another centenary piece she encouraged our enthusiam.
The Second Minute is one to watch !!
Yours Sincerely
Charlotte
xx

Works cited
Day.R (2014)Terry O’Toole Theatre Website[online] Available from: http://www.terryotooletheatre.org.uk/events/the-second-minute/

Dear War Girls

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War Girls

‘There’s the girl who clips your ticket for the train,
And the girl who speeds the lift from floor to floor,
There’s the girl who does a milk-round in the rain,
And the girl who calls for orders at your door.
Strong, sensible, and fit,
They’re out to show their grit,
And tackle jobs with energy and knack.
No longer caged and penned up,
They’re going to keep their end up
‘Til the khaki soldier boys come marching back.There’s the motor girl who drives a heavy van,
There’s the butcher girl who brings your joint of meat,
There’s the girl who calls ‘All fares please!’ like a man,
And the girl who whistles taxi’s up the street.
Beneath each uniform
Beats a heart that’s soft and warm,
Though of canny mother-wit they show no lack;
But a solemn statement this is,
They’ve no time for love and kisses
Till the khaki soldier boys come marching back.
This poem by Jessie Pope we thought was a true representation of how hard the women worked in the war. After our working progress we discussed that it was a framing for a piece.
What I thought would be nice was to create a poem for the end which included the people who had created the piece, the women who helped us to create it and the women who inspired us in the first place. I devised the poem that you will hear at the end of the show.

I want to stage it so that the girls engagded with the poem so that the audience would. Every time the girls read out their roles or the process through the poem, you hear this incredible pride because we have come so far.
I hope you enjoy the poem and the show
Yours Sincerely
Charlotte
xx

Works Cited

Pope. J (1911) War Girls poem[online] Available from :http://allpoetry.com/poem/8605783-War-Girls-by-Jessie-Pope[Accessed on 15 May 2014)