Gordon Forum for the Arts

Newsletter

Autumn 2011

Garioch Theatre Festival

www.gariochtheatrefestival.org.uk

Grant Awardee's Report

The 2011 Garioch Theatre Festival, based at the Wyness Hall and Garage, was a great success. Although our funding was reduced, the festival was as inventive and as well-attended as usual. We are grateful to Gordon Forum for the Arts, NEAT, Garioch Charities Shop, Hugh Fraser Foundation, Make a Splash and Scotframe for funds. Coverage from the press was excellent, with the Press and Journal, Inverurie Herald and Inverurie Advertiser in particular turning up for many of the events.

The Comedy of Errors by Mitchell School of Drama

The Comedy of Errors

The flagship piece was a new version of Shakespeare's early play The Comedy of Errors, set in the 1950s with music and song from that era. Direction and choreography was once again by Rhona Mitchell with musical direction by Ashley Forbes. The company also learned skills in puppetry with Iain Halket of Folding Theatre Puppet Company, which brought to life the back story which opens the play. We also worked with magician Norn Bichan to incorporate magic into the play. The piece was given four performances for Garioch Theatre Festival in June 2011. Reviews were outstanding and the company played to sell-out audiences in Inverurie, followed in July by three performances at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen as part of Aberdeen International Youth Festival. Extracts were also performed around Aberdeen as part of Tartan Day, and an extract performed as part of the International Gala at HMT in August.

The Comedy of Errors

A superb production of 'The Comedy of Errors'.... Filled with magic, well-formed characters and wonderful puppets, this production brims with confidence and charm.... There is never a slack moment in this brilliantly directed show and many scenes are pure comedy gold. (The Press and Journal)

Fair Becomes Foul

To create a musical in a week, thanks to the BBC Performing Arts Fund, was a real challenge for the very skilled production team, but the cast was simply astonishing. They worked very fast, concentrated for long hours, and produced a quite truly wonderful end product — entertaining, polished and with strong characters which they had to come up with very quickly.

Fair Becomes Foul

We had preliminary workshops in April and May, and at that point asked the participants what sort of thing would interest them. A new take on an existing story was one, and something Scottish another — the perfect story we felt was MacBeth by Shakespeare, lending itself to coarse acting, and cheesy musical numbers (with fantastic music and lyrics by Ashley Forbes). We worked daily from Monday to Friday from 2–8pm every day. By Wednesday we had a lengthy, strong musical opening and ending, but not much in the middle. However, by Friday the company performed successfully a half hour brand new piece of musical theatre for two very good audiences. All 20 participants said they had a great time!

Overall comments with a look to the future of the festival

Just keep up the good work, please.

More of the same mixture.

More of the same quality of performance.

Gordon Forum for the Arts

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