What's the latest...

News, thoughts and opportunities

Check here for latest news from the company as well as rehearsal room updates, articles from the creative teams and what we are up to next.


read the whole story Oct. 19th 2016

Me - Morale coordinator

By Royce Cronin
All of life is contained in our tour as we get out of a theatre. Joy, sadness, rage, elation, community, graft, conflict, love and a big red van. Not the 'get ins' because us actors get away with not having to help with that. But the 'get OUTs' have got it all.  As we get to our assigned duties we deconstruct the last show, the mistakes, triumphs and new unusual audience reactions. Here in Newcastle at Northern stage it's been a great run of 4 shows. A gorgeous mix of audience; mothers & fathers, tiny babies, theatre bar staff (thanks Bruno!) and Newcastle Uni student theatre society (@nutsncl) made each show so different.  And the last show before packing up launched us happily into the back of the van with our messy set.  
Our jobs:
Al-Get out OverLord 
Abi-Get Out Ninja
Hannah-Costume Zen Master
Sara-Sound and Music Mama
Ciaran-Lifts heavy stuff
Laura-Wanders around trying to look busy (Holding toys)
Nathan- Van Feng Shui Daddy
Me-Morale coordinator. 
Here's a triumphant picture taken from inside the van just after finishing-Abi is absent as she is still actually doing some work

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read the whole story Oct. 12th 2016

'Less than 24 hours ago I had seen a new tiny person arriving into the world.'

By Laura Mugridge
Rehearsals for the show started on a Monday, about 4 weeks ago. I wasn’t there for the first two days, I swanned in on Day Three. I wasn’t there because I was in St Thomas’s Hospital. I spent some time sitting on a birth ball, some time lying on the floor and a fair amount of time standing up. I also spent a lot of time staring at a floodlit Houses of Parliament, the rather extraordinary view from the window of the ward.
Last year, after the first tour of Kicking and Screaming, I trained to be a doula. A doula is, in essence, a birth partner, someone who is there at the birth of a baby to support the parents and can also offer pre natal and post natal support.  This was my second experience of being present at a birth (third if you count the birth of my son in 2012- I was very much there for that) 

The person doing all the work was my beautiful warrior friend Jules, someone for whom I have more love and respect than I ever thought possible. To see someone be so strong, so vulnerable, so primal and so beautiful all at the time was utterly overwhelming. I left the hospital at 5pm on the Tuesday, emerged blinking into the sunlight, and the world seemed a little bit different. 

Coming back into the rehearsal room on the Wednesday was a strange, exhilarating and generally odd experience. There I was onstage, talking about giving birth, when less than 24 hours ago I had seen a new tiny person arriving into the world, all tiny hands and crinkly feet and beautiful peepy eyes.  I’m not going to get all boasty and Daniel Day Lewis on you, but I reckon that as far as research goes, this was pretty extreme. 
Talking about birth in the show feels different now and I am fired up to be present at more of them.  It’s such an enormous topic, one so full of emotion and politics and unanswerable questions. I have had to release the pressure to try and sum up all births in the show, as there is no way we could do that. There are as many different births as there are people. 

So, this little blog is for you, darling Neve. My new little pal. And the show is a little bit for you too. 

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read the whole story Oct. 3rd 2016

'What will we be listening to on our month of road trips?'

By Ciaran Kellgren
Rehearsals are over. Two intense weeks where we have achieved some great things ( at least I think so). Myself and Royce Cronin have joined the compsny and have had to learn, and add to, the existing show. The original cast have been very patient with us and have helped us to understand every aspect of the show.
So now to life on the road. 5 of us driving the country as a troupe of professional actors, bringing this great show to the UK in exchange for the finest wines known to humanity and creamed scones. And what will we be listening to on our month of road trips? Don't worry Laura has it covered ;) 


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read the whole story Sep. 21st 2016

'It's quite a family affair and art is certainly imitating life.'

by Sara Templeman

Day 6 of rehearsals – Kicking & Screaming


We have just begun our second week of rehearsals for Kicking & Screaming.  What is so brilliant about rehearsing this play, which follows the story of two couples and their transition into parenthood, is the presence of real babies in the rehearsal room. 


Both our artistic directors have recently become parents. Nathan's little girl Olwyn is 6 weeks old and was brought in today for the afternoon by Nathan's wife Alexis. Kat's little boy Claude is 9 weeks old and can't be apart from his Mummy yet as he is so little so he's been a constant (and very lovely and very well behaved) presence at rehearsals. It just happens Claude's Daddy Guy is also on hand for baby care in rehearsals as he is directing all the music as well as having composed some of the musical score for the production (Another part of the show that's been so much fun in rehearsal is the live music!)  So it's quite a family affair and art is certainly imitating life.


Further input has come from our very own qualified Doula* and Mummy Laura who plays the narrator character in the play. 

Her unique insight into not only being a Mummy herself but her accounts of witnessing births as a Doula has also added an extra fascinating layer to our research.


We had yet another baby visitor today as 5 month old Iver dropped in with his Mummy Cristina, who is also part of Tangled Feet. So this afternoon we had 3 babies hanging out!

You can read a lot of books and articles and pamphlets about pregnancy, birth and caring for a new-born. This is a great foundation for the character’s stories and experiences and developing scenes. It’s been useful for me during the entire process from making the show last year to revisiting it this year. We have collated all sorts of information relevant to our stories, like information on attachment parenting to birth positions to weaning and how to breastfeed! ‘It’s a lot of information’ is a line from the show as my character Natasha reads a massive encyclopaedic book about pregnancy and birth in one scene. It certainly is!


However it is the magical, wondrous and amazing presence of our Tangled Feet babies as well as the truthful insight from their parents in rehearsals that are helping to enrich our process. It has really been a unique and fulfilling experience as a performer. Observing and hanging out with actual babies has been invaluable in helping us create our characters truth and stories, encountering parenting live in the space and then reenacting it within the life of the play! It has also been inspiring as our two artistic directors, musical director and fellow performer are juggling parenthood of new borns and toddlers whilst rehearsing a play! Kicking & screaming parents, I salute you!


* Just incase you didn’t know:

doula also known as a birth companion and post-birth supporter, is a non medical person who assists a person before, during, and/or after childbirth as well as her spouse and/or family, by providing physical assistance and emotional support 

For full Tour details see /productions/25-kicking-and-screaming 


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read the whole story Sep. 14th 2016

Daddy Day Care

Life and work are seamless at the moment.

I could be changing a nappy at home or teaching how to change a nappy at work. I could be bobbing a baby at 2am or discussing birth at 2pm. I could be folding baby clothes in the kitchen or watching the actors juggle them whilst singing. It is week one of rehearsals for the tour of Kicking and Screaming (Tangled Feet’s show about becoming a parent) and week 5 of my new daughters life!


The story of Kicking and Screaming follows two couples as they grapple life with a baby from the birth to their first birthday. Its comic, tragic, a bit mushy and very musical and this is just like having a child! There are times when my tiny little daughter will make me laugh hard as she scares herself with her wind. Times (mostly at 4am-5am) when it’s desperate, exhausting and tear inducing! And times (lots and lots of times!) when I can be found singing Frere Jacques or Wind the Bobbin up on repeat.     


It’s great being able to be is use your personal stories and anecdotes to direct a show. We’ve been talking a lot about the role of fathers – in both birth and the early days of having a child. It’s a full on time and a huge focus, effort and responsibility is on the shoulders of the mother. Dad becomes the protector in labour, a carer post birth and a soother, baby bouncer and nappy changer for the first few weeks of the baby’s life (and beyond!) Having a baby is a very visceral experience – its full of colour, movement and emotion. I think that in Kicking and Screaming we have managed to capture some of that feeling – some of the joy, some of the sweat (the actors certainly work hard!) and some of the weird and wonderful things you have to do. I hope for an audience it’s a real mix of touching story, hilarious scenarios and an authenticity that can only come from the show being made by parents.


Its nice when making art feels as personal as this. It’s as if authoring this story is a bit like sharing part of my world with the wider public and creative team and by doing this it’s helping me celebrate it and understand it myself.


Here goes Week 2 of rehearsals and Week 6 of being a father


Nathan Curry, Co-Director, Kicking and Screaming.


For full Tour details see /productions/25-kicking-and-screaming 

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read the whole story Sep. 7th 2016

Emerge/ncy in pictures

As we get excited about Kicking and Screaming rehearsals starting next week we are looking back fondly on the amazing time we had performing Emerge/ncy around the UK this year.


Here are some of our favourite pictures:


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read the whole story Aug. 31st 2016

Emerge/ncy Video

We are really pleased to share this highlights video of Emerge/ncy -the new Tangled Feet show that toured in Summer 2016.


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read the whole story Aug. 10th 2016

Kicking and Screaming touring this Autumn, including baby-friendly shows

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read the whole story Jul. 6th 2016

'They have given us all a little more hope....thank you audiences.'

By Emily Eversden


As you climb up the scaffold ladder and haul yourself and your luggage to the top of our structure for the third time in a six hour show, you don't know what response you'll get from this set of onlookers.  They look up at you, another new arrival, and watch you for your next move. 

Spat out of the multicoloured, beautiful design by Alex Rinsler and Mike De Buts, sometimes we don't know what our next move is. I look around trying to make eye contact with someone, many avoid this but one lady holds my gaze and gives me a little half wave. "That's nice" I think. 

Once I've made the descent down the knotted rope (doesn't get any less scarier even after 50+ descents by the way) and had a little explore, I find that lady again and set up camp in front of her. Whatever I do in those next 5 minutes has an effect on her because she's started to cry. This happened to me on the second day of our Brighton shows with a man, a Dad watching the show with his daughters. I knew from a little, sad shake of his head that he had created a story for my character and he understood some of what we were trying to show and suggest. 

Our audiences have given us all such a wealth of different responses; offering water, pointing us in the right direction, giving advice and bananas, taking our snacks, asking if they can climb the rope, big waving, secret waving, dancing with us, holding to their chest a tiny pair of shoes, pulling a wheelie across the performance space, blowing kisses, asking what planet we come from, holding our luggage. It's been an adventure, an experiment, but we've found that the majority of their responses have been full of care, understanding and help and they have given us all a little more hope....thank you audiences xxx 

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read the whole story Jun. 30th 2016


By John Hinton


6am: alarm wakes me from second night in a row of recent-events-inspired nightmares about trying desperately to go back on a calamitous and irreversible decision.  I bounce out of bed and immediately crick my neck, which does not bode well for all the physical activity I'll be subjecting my body to this afternoon.


 7:20am: train from Lewes to Victoria. Having spent the past two days studiously avoiding social media for fear of being drawn down a black hole of despair, I trawl social media.  And am drawn down a black hole of despair.


 8:30am: tube across London.  I play backgammon against a dumb AI.  And lose.


 8:55am: train from Euston to Watford.  First caffeine of the day. 


 9:15am: day is considerably brightened by the sight of my director Nathan on the platform of Watford Junction in shorts and a T-shirt - willing the weather to stay fine for our outdoor performances, and shining with the splendour of spring.

10am: warm-ups in our ample changing room at Watford library. A thick cloud of political upheaval hangs over an otherwise happy reunion: we have not seen each other since we performed the show at Brighton Festival a few weeks back.  And it's all all right really: we're going to put things one tiny percentage point right by giving the world some pertinent street theatre to mull upon.

10:30am: we remind ourselves of the 'Watford version' - we'd always known we'd be two people down today, and had hid a plan up our sleeve.  We refind it, and each other - complicity rekindled.


 11:15am: to the Structure, for rope climbing practice. I am the first one allowed down the rope, and take this picture of Watford High Street from the top.  It's five metres down.  Which is a long way when there's no net, no grass, no spotters, no harness, no belief in a benevolent omnipotent supernatural deity.  I do sometimes get dizzy at height, but I have always felt totally at ease with the Structure.  (By the way, we do have our own name for the Structure, but I won't share it here, for fear of attracting the wrong sort of googletraffic)

11:30am: stumble-throughs of the three scenes: Washing Line, Lifejackets, and Quoops.



Midday: to the library, to get into costume and splatter multicoloured cornflower on our faces (now that I see it written, I'm not actually sure it actually is actually cornflower but no matter)

12:30: show 1 begins.  I am again the first to appear at the top of the Structure - an honour believe me.  As I emerge, a commotion is ensuing below: there is an almighty flurry of deckchairs, as the seating for the performance is distributed and rearranged.  You may think this would have happened before the performance began, but we do things a little differently at Tangled Feet.



12:35: I begin my descent down the rope.  I'm not quite being as ooh-risky-risky-might-fall-y as I was in Brighton, mainly because of my neck.  At the bottom, I tentatively approach the bedeckchaired spectators and show them my X-ray collection.  Three others as cornflowered as me emerge and descend. We do not know each other.



1:10pm: scene 1, Washing Line.  It doesn't quite go as planned: the washing line itself is new, and the coat hanger doesn't glide quite as smoothly along it as it did on the last one.  I'm playing the Father for the first time, and remember most of my new cues.



1:30pm short break while the other tag team do their descents into Lifejackets.  I eat my Caesar salad, which I've just remembered I never gave Leon the money for.



2:15pm: my second descent and roam.  I count coins and brush my teeth.  Or my character does.  I've just realised he doesn't have a name.



2:30pm: scene 3: Quoops.  Goes pretty well, I think. 



2:45pm: we dance our Finale, for the first of two times today.  This is my absolute favourite part of the show, and there are moments in here that rank among my fave choreographies from all twelve-ish Tangled Feet shows I've been part of.



3:03pm: everyone gets a little break, and my team gets a longer break while the others begin show 2 with Washing Line.  Conversation drifts inevitably towards the calamities in the headlines.  I make a point of staying relatively tight-lipped, though I feel the wrath, and of chilling the fork out.

3:45pm: my fourth emergence, straight into Lifejackets.  This is the least abstruse of the three scenes - the imagery and implications are crystal clear.  I'd wager that, what with the upheavals occurring closer to home, many people have shelved their concerns for the suffering of those dying daily on life rafts in the Mediterranean.  We serve up a needed and unsentimentalised reminder.



5:25pm: I pimp my services to the other tag team, who are down a body for Quoops.



5:45pm: the final Finale.  It goes very well, except that I collide with a fellow actor twice - the same actor, and entirely my fault both times.  At the end, we get that kind of round of applause that's just a little bit louder and sincerer than you were expecting, and it gives you the warm glow of having made something of an impact on people's day.



6pm: the show is over.  Wet wipes are daubed on multicoloured foreheads and cheeks.  Sweaty costumes are dumped in a bag for the wonderful stage management team to worry about.  Bruises are compared.  (I mention my neck but if it ain't a bruise you ain't got nothin' to show.)



7pm: we go for dinner.  I have a somewhat underwhelming burger, and the talk is 90% EU.  It is too early to ask how Tangled Feet will react.



8:35pm: I leave Imagine Watford festival behind for another year as my train departs the Junction to take me - via the Victoria line - back to Lewes and home.



11:13pm: the welcomed embrace of a loving - and three months pregnant - wife.  What world for our children - born and unborn?  The outlook may have darkened of late, but I'm perversely cheered by the knowledge that states always have been - and always will be - rotten to the core.  We can but hope that the freedom of expression we enjoyed today - to make progressive, socially-conscious, government-subsidised art that is completely free for its audience to consume - survives for our children to create and enjoy.

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read the whole story Jun. 30th 2016

'Without an amazing crew like them, we would be unable to tell our story right.'

By Tunji Falana

When creating an outdoor show of any kind be it conventional theatre or physical theatre or a show on a loop for 8hrs that involves climbing down a 7m high structure, you always plan for a wet weather version. That is a version that should in case its drizzling, we do x y and z take it easy etc. Well the version for when its really bucketing it is just no show. This is what we were greeted with for our first show of Emerge/ncy at Brighton on the 28th May 2016, a bank holiday weekend. I know its silly but often I equate bank holiday to sunny day, but the weather/nature doesn't care what I think. So the show was delayed for 3hrs on the first day.



We began the show, it’s great, the audience is with us but with caution as the grass is wet from heavy rain and no one really wants to stand let alone sit in puddles.  As performers we braved our condition through slips and slides, I myself had a big fall/slide, but used it in the action as I was struggling to stay on a boat.



After my slip and fall, I couldn't help but wonder if that was a real boat. Then I started to think about those who have/had risked it all for a better life, perhaps did fall off a boat at some point and struggled to climb back on board. Some I presume made it back on and others didn't. I no longer felt sorry for myself but rather glad that we are able to give a minuscule representation or idea of what it would be like to flee ones home and go through such horrid condition in order to have a chance and a safer life.

The second day, we were off to a great start, the weather was great. Yes! A proper bank holiday, families were out, picnics, children running wild. Oh yes children!! They became our traveling audience who followed us back and forth, asking questions, making sense of the story, which was beautiful. The only thing is we really couldn't answer them with coherent language, stay true to the character and all. Nonetheless, the children made of it what they wanted and joined (although sometimes in the way) when they wanted. At some point I was beginning to think we were babysitters as parents watched their children dive into the deep end.


All in all we ended on a high, with the wind doing its part to make its presence know via props and costumes. All the performers did extra ordinarily well, our Directors needless to say are always brilliant. I’d like to give a big shout out to our crew especially Luke Gledsdale, Abbi Dawson and Jenny Kassner, for taking care of us, setting resetting, figuring and execution solutions to problems. From rehearsals to performance, without an amazing crew like them, we would be unable to tell our story right.


We aren’t done yet; next stop Woolwich 2nd July. Come one come all.


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read the whole story Jun. 22nd 2016

'This is something you can’t rehearse or experience until the live day' - Sara Templeman

Emerge/ncy premiered at Brighton Festival late last month. The first of three performances across the South East this Summer. It was a brilliant location for our first ‘outing.’ I LOVE BRIGHTON!!

After rehearsing on the structure indoors it felt so different suddenly having the structure outside, laid bare for the public in the middle of a popular park with the elements at force. It seemed smaller to look at, but still felt enormous to climb up it, nerve wracking to stand on the narrow platform at the top of it and then bracing yourself for the epic climb off it down that rope! Even more than in rehearsal now being faced with wind blowing making the whole structure move and the materials flap around as you climbed up and stood high upon it taking in the 360 degree surroundings!


Sadly the rain won on the morning of our first performance day so we didn’t get to start the performance until the early afternoon. We were then extremely lucky with sunshine for the whole of the rest of the weekend.

Anyway enough of the weather forecast!

We had a lot to contend with in our performances – seagulls and children were particularly present and we had to be careful, aware and open with our interactions once we were off the structure. This is something you can’t rehearse or experience until the live day as you have no idea how people will react or if they will interact at all!


There were a few instances of gaining a gaggle of children following us around the park asking silly questions – an honest response but it was a common feeling amongst the group that we wanted to try and fit into the surroundings and not stand out and as this really highlighted our presence it made me personally feel a but vulnerable.


So I had to ignore the children! It felt a bit mean and feels a bit mean to type that but I think it was necessary to try and find more interesting moments with other audience members.


A few interactions stand out for me. I had a moment with a large map and a lovely Spanish man and his daughter came over and tried to help me navigate my way around the map. He totally went along with the game (The map was actually of Snowdonia not Brighton) and he showed me a spot to get to on the map and spoke Spanish the whole time! It didn’t matter I didn’t understand him as we found a way to communicate regardless of the language barrier. It was a really interesting moment for me. I love that our shows can be understood purely on physical interaction and no script/dialogue.


I actually got a cuddle from an audience member during ‘The Happening’ which works as a finale moment of the show. We are physically asking the audience if we are accepted and in getting an actual hug, it really moved me and made me feel just that - Accepted!

The final moment for me that really resonated was during the finale again. We offer a series of movements asking for acceptance and during that we gained nods and smiles and a real sense of togetherness with the audience and it moved me to tears. It was a remarkable reaction as a performer as I feel like for the first time I truly connected with the message of the piece and had a unique response within myself! It was a surprise that I would be so connected as we hadn’t had much chance to play around with audience or indeed character. We didn’t even have character names and I hadn’t really finalised any specific traits or personality for my character as I made the decision to ‘demonstarte’ rather then ‘act’ as such. Then being live on the day, feeding from the audience made it all very clear and simple and gave me a unique feeling as a performer that I haven’t really felt before in any show I’ve ever done.

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read the whole story Jun. 15th 2016

Find out why Fiona signed up for regular Pilates classes and joined a climbing wall.

Last week we completed the final rehearsal period of Emerge/ncy, ready for its premiere performance as part of Brighton Festival on 28th and 29th May. We climbed, devised, got used to our fantastic costumes and inhabited the 8 metre tall ‘structure’, which will be our base during the 8 hour durational performances that will take place next weekend and over the summer at Watford Festival and GDIF.

Personally, it all started six weeks or so ago when I signed up for regular Pilates classes, joined a climbing wall and found out about aerial classes because the show is going to involve off-ground activity, amongst other feats of endurance. As someone who has never had much upper body strength, I needed to embark on an eclectic training programme lasting about 6 weeks, or so I thought, but actually it lasts indefinitely, because once you’ve started you can’t stop. It has been frustrating and rewarding in turns, as I wrestled with trying to climb a rope, building core strength, climbing walls, getting scared, giving up, crying and starting again.


Emerge/ncy is going to be extraordinary to perform, and we hope it will be compelling for the folk who come to experience the performances with us, you don’t have to be there for the full 8 hours!

Fee xx

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read the whole story Jun. 8th 2016

It poured for a while in Brighton but then the sun shone and we emerged!

We have just returned from Brighton Festival following the world premiere of Emerge/ncy. It was great to finally share the piece with very receptive local audiences. Huge thanks to Brighton Festival for being such fantastic producers and to all the cast and crew for dealing with pouring rain and then scorching sun! Here is some interesting feedback from an audience memeber and some photos....


"at first I was suspicious, then annoyed, then interested and realised it enhanced my day and I shouldn't be scared of them - bit like the refugee crisis come to think of it"


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read the whole story May. 25th 2016

Once you are safe how do you seek refuge?

By Gemma Creasey


I first became involved with Emergency in the initial creation when it was known as Funnel. As suggested by the working title, this was to be a piece that would have a powerful visual impact in the space it occupied. Along with it’s visual presence, are the emotional journeys of the people arriving to the environment during the piece. Who are these invaders? Where have they come from? and why are they here?

The word 'refugee' is thrown around in the media and often brings up images of poverty and desperation. This means that all are put under the same label allowing us to ignore the fact that these are individuals with personal stories and journeys. During this project I realise how lucky I am because these situations do not discriminate. Anyone can be put in a state of emergency and be forced to leave their home and everything they know. Once you are safe how do you seek refuge in a foreign land and integrate within a new community? It could happen to any of us.

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read the whole story May. 24th 2016

These seriously strong women make it look effortless.

By Sara Templeman


As we near the end of rehearsals for Emerge/ncy I have come to realise that this show for me is massively about personal challenge and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. 

It's been incredibly daunting hoiking myself over the edge of a very high structure with the only way off it supporting my whole body weight down a rope. 

As a non aerial performer and a bit of a wobbly person at height this has been a massive challenge. 

With the encouragement support and patience of an amazing cast and crew we are all finding our own way and at our own pace. 

First off it was all about learning rope technique taught to us by the wonderful Gemma and Jess who make climbing and descending down a rope look easy. It is not! These seriously strong women make it look effortless but it is all about mega effort. It's based in a foot lock from silks technique which enables you to feel secure to climb up and down a rope.

In preparation for the show and this technique we were told we'd need to build upper body strength which has never been my strong point.  Pardon the pun. So in advance I trained hard at the gym doing weight training and with a daily exercise regime I could do at home focussing on core and upper body strength. I've surprised myself with the results! Also enjoyed a bit of a play on the monkey bars down the local park too as well as a day out in a climbing range bouldering and belaying to get some confidence with my height fear! So it was a lot of fun as well as a challenge. 

After a few days coming down the rope in a harness and getting used to the height and technique today (Thursday) was a massive moment as I free climbed down the rope (albeit with knots in tied in to help but I still did it!!) 

It was a proper buzz, my hands were shaking a lot afterwards but felt an enormous sense of achievement. Also watching the other performers in the team all manage it as well was so lovely to watch. There was a real sense of achievement and unity. 

We are still to decide whether to have a straight rope which I'm yet to free climb down (I need a harness currently for this) or use the knotted rope. Either way I'm  feeling happy that in either instance I can actually do it. It's Such a relief! 

I'm definitely in a good and positive place about this aspect of the show now having put aside my fear and anxiety and trusting myself that I can do it. It means I now have more head space and focus to look forward to the other aspects of the piece so finding details of character and cementing the movement we do off the structure over the last few days of rehearsal. 

Can't wait for the finished piece to be ready for our premiere at Brighton Festival weekend after next :)

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read the whole story May. 20th 2016

Where is the devising I hear you cry!?

We are in a slightly strange position going into the first(and last!) full week of rehearsals for Emerge/ncy as we on day one we had the complete set built in the rehearsal room, we did a full costume fitting with all costumes ready made and we used most of the music that will feature in the final show. Where is the devising I hear you cry!?


It’s been quite a long journey to get to rehearsals. The aim for Emerge/ncy was to do something a bit different. This has resulted in having to decide certain things much earlier in the process than we may be used to.


Firstly we are mixing theatre with visual art. We wanted to create a sculptural addition to the landscape that could sit somewhere for a number of days. Reflecting themes of climate change, global inequality and the refugee crisis has resulted in us wanting to create something that was longer than 20 minutes, that was landscape changing and that could not be neatly packed away. This has given us a large piece of set design that bursts through the festival landscape and stands 7m tall. Something at that scale needs a lot of planning to make sure it stays up!


Secondly we are working with a large cast and a durational style of performance which means we have had to limit our rehearsal time. In many ways you would think that performing for 7 hours straight and with a cast of 9 you would need many weeks rehearsal space (we wish) however getting everyone in a large enough rehearsal space for set and creative team is expensive.  Added to this is the fact that if you want to make 9 original costumes to rehearse in (important for physical work) you need to make them before all the performers are in the final rehearsal.


So decisions start early. In some ways it is massively daunting to have everything pre-planned and slightly unwieldy. The first time we saw everything together (Set, costumes, music, performance) a lot of decisions had already been made and were set. However it some ways its also really reassuring and exciting to have so many tools at our disposal and ready to put into action – not just imagine!


Nathan Curry - Co-Artistic Director of Emerge/ncy

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read the whole story May. 12th 2016

Emerge/ncy: theatre workshops with refugees and asylum seekers

Part of the Emerge/ncy project has been delivering some theatre workshops with different groups of migrants and refugees. By delivering workshops (which focus on communication, group working skills, basic physical theatre and mask skills, and having fun together) the creative team have had the opportunity to meet a really diverse group of people affected by migration, which has helped us get an understanding, on a personal level, into some of the issues we are wrestling with in the show.

Overall, we worked with about 100 people. We delivered workshops in two settings: a group called R and B (‘Refugees and Befriending’) organised by the Red Cross, which runs 4 groups across London for young unaccompanied refugees and asylum-seekers (mainly aged 14-21). The other setting, via an organisation called Migrant Help, was a hostel in South London where people of all ages and nationalities are sent to live temporarily while their asylum claims are processed. 
The workshops were quite daunting to plan - we didn’t know any of the participants or really their background, and many of them didn’t have more than basic English. But once we got going, we had huge amounts of fun. After the Red Cross workshops, we all sat down together to eat dinner, which was a lovely opportunity to just hang out and chat. We celebrated one boy’s birthday with a cake and I wondered where his mum was, and if she knew how he was doing. I found it hard to believe at times that some of the young people we were sitting round a table eating dinner with had made such difficult, arduous journeys alone. 
One softly-spoken young man told me about his trip from Eritrea, via Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya, Italy and France. You know the Jungle? he asked me. Have you been there? No, I said, what’s it like? Cold, he answered. And wet. I asked him what he thought of London, whether he liked it. He was hugely positive about our city. “There’s no trouble here” he told me. It really shifts your perspective being told that our bustling, competitive home city is an oasis of peace, but to some people, it really is. 
The workshops at the hostel were some of the most joyous workshop experiences I’ve ever had, despite the somewhat institutional setting and difficult conditions the participants are living in. The hostel is quite basic, and people of many different nationalities (many with young children) and living in close proximity and with huge amounts of uncertainty as they wait indefinitely for asylum claims to move forward. Many of them have no idea how long they will stay - and often people are moved at a day’s notice, so it must be very hard to build any relationships or get a meaningful sense of the local area.
We decided to lead with a big music jam, and hauled along an arsenal of instruments and percussion. Mario and Tunji built a brilliant guitar/drum/voice improvisation up, and soon 35 or so people had gathered to join in - to play, make music and enjoy themselves. The youngest was 4, the oldest probably 74. One couple from Kabul brought a three-week old baby. Despite the cultural differences, people joined in with an enthusiasm, energy and playfulness that I've rarely experienced and we all left on a big high. 
We've got a huge amount out of delivering the workshops, and hopefully have left a useful experience and positive memories with the people we worked with. The workshops to me were a reminder of what gets completely left out of new coverage of refugee/migrant stories: the incredible and positive human qualities people bring with them. The people we have met and had the privilege to work with have been resourceful, resilient, brave, playful, inventive, joyous, warm, determined, tolerant, collaborative, generous and wise. These are all qualities we desperately need as we collectively face the huge challenges this century is serving us.

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read the whole story May. 4th 2016

'Tour Tales' by Sophie Tetlow

Touring Need A Little Help has been a wonderfully fun journey- both literally and figuratively. We’ve wizzed (or crawled in traffic) up and down the country in our not-so-subtle bright orange van filled with cast, crew and set that has to be so tightly packed I reckon we could win the Tetris world championships. 

Our get-ins and get-outs became a game as we all placed bets on how many minutes it would take us, however after game no.2 we had to make our bets on a piece of paper and remove our watches as people were accused of ‘sabotage’. During the long journey from Newcastle to London we found the answer to many of life’s unanswered questions, such as ‘what is the best vegetable?’ and ‘what is the best animal- a goat, a horse or a whale?’. Discussions around these topics got very heated but luckily it didn’t tear the touring company apart and the show went on.


The reception in all the cities has been great, and during the playtime at the end of the show I’ve been privileged enough to overhear some lovely comments from both children and parents. The kids were comfortable and playful in the space, so much so that it became a problem getting them to leave before we had to reset for the next performance!


Sophie x

ASM on Need A Little Help Tour 2016

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read the whole story Apr. 13th 2016

Life on Tour. A la Sarah (aka Ella)

What do you get when you have an orange van - driven by an Orange, a bag of pink feathers, some aching muscles and some sweaty costumes? Need a Little Help on tour of course.

Although the glamour of touring life soon wears off there are many a high points - like the charming stuck-in-the-80's b&b in Darlington, the van banter (not Sophie though, she is a cheater and even though she is in the back I can see her and her wikipedia searching phone), tea club pre bed - invite only - and all the lovely staff and tech teams at each venue... and of course the show! Well it's a joy - we may be tired and travel worn and forgetting if we've already done this bit or not today but the audiences - well the kids mainly - have been incredible. Every show is different, the children engaged and excited to help and each show there are new exclamations, revelations and inspiring comments from the little people. It's a privilege to be invited into their world for a while and their, and the adults feedback, has been so touching and makes me see even more the importance of this piece.



Best bed: Without a doubt with Mary in Newcastle.
Worst bed: The soulless rooms of the Travel Lodge.
Best meal: Mexican in Brighton - we got free Nacho's
Worst meal: General lack of green fresh things.

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