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otherMother

otherMother are Kelly Jones (Writer), Anna Poole (Director) and Olivia Harris (Producer). otherMother creates original, urgent and honest theatre. We put raw voices on stage and root them in the here and the now. Our work poses questions about the world we live in but doesn’t answer them, leaving them open to discussion and debate. We work with an exciting and diverse mix of artists, theatre-makers and groups to create something truly collaborative.

Location: Cardiff/Wales
Members: 17
Latest Activity: Jan 27

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Comment by Olivia Harris on September 18, 2015 at 8:55

And here's another brilliant blog from Young Critic Shannon Newman, cheers Shannon! 

Blud – The Other Room Theatre review.

Usually you wouldn’t associate football hooliganism with anything other than chavs and cheap thrills, but Blud goes beyond these initial prejudices, questioning loyalty and our need to belong – whether that’s to someone or something.

These are the key themes that are veiled under the supposed cult of football. What really matters to these characters is loyalty and finding a place in a society that renders you utterly powerless – which is precisely what the characters struggle with. Thus, Blud conveys football as a rite of passage into social mobility and ready-made identities, and eloquently so.

It takes some skills, for a writer and actresses, to present a character that’s so immoral and yet so lovable.

The stage directions – simple in action, though deeper in meaning, and therefore it goes without saying that you’d need to concentrate to fully appreciate the full extent of what they’re conveying.

It’s refreshing to see a Theatre production that touches on such contemporary issues in a gritty, but wholly realistic manner.

This is theatre without the sugar coating, and that’s why we need it. 

Comment by Olivia Harris on September 18, 2015 at 8:54
Round Two! Our other gal Francesca Marie who plays 'hard-nut' Rita in Blud has done this marvellous blog about her time with us otherMother ladies. Thanks Frankie! Our last show is...TONIGHT!!!

Frankie:
Here are a few words about my time working on BLUD!

It all started with an email from my agent (Paul Illes) explaining that he had been contacted by Anna Poole who wanted me to audition to be part of an exciting new play written by BBC award winning writer Kelly Jones (Who’s originally from my neck of the woods! East London!) in Cardiff! A director who I auditioned for many moons ago at Theatre Royal Stratford East (The legend that is Ryan Romain!) had very kindly remembered me and passed my details onto Anna and Kelly for the role of hard-nut "Rita”.

It was a rainy and VERY windy Monday afternoon in July and I arrived in Cardiff (minus my umbrella) being naturally curly, my freshly straightened barnet (hair doo) had soon turned into a wonky fro! And I arrived at Porters soaking wet and espadrilles ruined (yes I was wearing espadrilles in Cardiff, clever).

The audition itself was such an enjoyable experience! It felt very playful and explorative, I felt at ease to try things out, ask questions, be creative! It was very exciting to meet a director like Anna, I love the way she works as it felt more like a rehearsal than an audition. And this is very much how Anna liked to work during the process too, it's such a treat and very empowering for the actor. (Nice one Anna!)

I was thrilled when I got the job and was so excited to leave London behind for a few weeks and eat me some welsh cakes! And work… we worked too. Hard. While eating welsh cakes. They are banging!

The first week of rehearsals was however spent in Stratford and it was very much about Kelly developing the script which was at that point a first draft. I met Olivia Elsden (who plays my/Rita’s younger sister Lou) and we spent the week, researching and developing our characters, our relationship as sisters, improvising scenes and having lots of discussions with Kelly and Anna (over welsh cakes) to help with script development (welsh cakes do that).

Olivia and I also got the opportunity to research football and visit West Ham football stadium. Cotley (the fictional area of London where BLUD is set) is in so many ways similar to the area of Upton Park, the area is changing, the football stadium is being demolished and the team is moving to Stratford. Its very sad for the supporters who have grown up at Boleyn Ground and also for all of the businesses in the area that rely on the custom the football club draws. This made the themes that are in the play very real to us. It made me realise the importance of doing the play and the characters justice in our performances.

We researched Hooliganism which was absolutely fascinating! We met with a very charming ex ICF member (Inner city hooligan firm) a lovable guy in his 60’s who was in his element as he told us stories about what he had been apart of in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. He walked with a limp and told us that he had been stabbed in the back. He said on several occasions that if he had his time again he wouldn’t have done it, all the while he had a nostalgic glint in his eye and a cheeky smile as he told us about the hooligans mentality. “These colours don’t run!” He explained that in those days it was about being a part of something, a family, united, us against them. Politically at the time, working class people felt like they didn’t have much and being a part of something like a firm gave power to those who felt powerless.

The characters in BLUD are based on people Kelly knew growing up in Dagenham. Her voice is so authentically clear in all of her writing. Its so rare to get the opportunity to be part of a project at such an early stage. Olivia and I were made to feel we were able to voice our thoughts; what we felt was working/what wasn’t sitting quite right and Kelly and Anna were so open and encouraging of us in that role. It felt very organic and collaborative. I have to mention at this point how flipping amazed I was at how FAST Kelly writes, after a full on day of rehearsals, she would be back in the next morning having chopped half of what she had “Nah weren’t working” and having replaced it with some new scenes “Try these!”. Kelly is ruthless with her own work, never precious, which is refreshing and inspiring (and a bit scary!). As an aspiring writer myself I’m just in awe.

The next two rehearsal weeks were spent in Cardiff alongside the rest of the BLUD team. And it was intense! BLUD is a two hander play so you very rarely get time out during rehearsals as you usually would say if you were working on a play with a larger cast and they’re working on a scene you’re not in. The characters we were playing had both been through a lot in their short lives it was emotionally tough at times.

During the third week of rehearsals we were blessed to work with the amazing Kev McCurdy who choreographed our deliciously vicious fights - and we have a few of them! After I got over my guilt of having to throw Liv around - a lot! We had so much fun!

The script developed and changed, even long after we opened. Kelly, Anna and the team listened to audience feedback and made changes based on the audience understanding of the story and on what Kelly and Anna felt would make the piece stronger and clearer. This aspect of the process was at times challenging but also GREAT! As it’s new writing this was such an important part of the process; acknowledging feedback and making amendments meant that the work is now better for it. It has meant that every night has been fresh and different (Olivia and I have constantly been kept on our toes!) and now even in the final week, although the script is set, it just seems to keep growing and keep developing between us which is really special. I’ve also loved performing in The Other Room at Porters, Cardiff's first ever fringe venue - how special is that! There couldn’t be a more perfect venue for BLUD.

I’ve absolutely loved working with OTHER MOTHER, or as I like to call them, The “BLUD-ETTES” for lots of reasons. I love the type of work they are creating and the type of work that they want to create. They make such an exciting team, watch this space you ain't seen nothing yet! And they are all flippin' mad and hilarious and talented and FEMALE!

I’ve also really enjoyed the experience of living in Cardiff if only for a few weeks…. I’ll be back though, may stay longer next time! ;)

Thanks again RYAN ROMAIN! You rock!
Comment by Olivia Harris on September 16, 2015 at 11:40

Our gal Olivia Elsden, who plays Lou in Blud has done us a lovely blog about her time with otherMother. We can't believe there are only THREE SHOWS LEFT! 

Read on, and thanks Liv! 

Blog:

Other Mother have asked me to write a few words about my time on 'Blud' at The Other Room. I guess it all began with me graduating in July this year from RWCMD and leaving Cardiff to head back to London, to live at home for a while while I found my feet as a graduate actor! But after auditioning to be a part of this all female theatre company and getting the part as 'Lou', I returned to Cardiff quicker than I had imagined! 

 

I have learnt so much doing 'Blud' as my first professional job. It being a two hander play, Frankie (who plays Rita, my half-sister) and I had a lot of work to do, and it was an intense rehearsal process as a lot of responsibility rested on our shoulders to deliver the genius work that is written by Kelly Jones! The issues and themes the play talks about such as; the struggles of surviving in a working class town that is dealing with cuts from the government, the importance of family or the absence of it and how that can affect your life and also football hooliganism in females, something which is normally over-looked. These are all important and interesting issues that need to be heard. 

 

The script has also developed quite a bit since we first read it. We listened to audiences and their feedback and made some changes based on what the audience understood or what Kelly and Anna felt wasn’t working. It has also developed through research and improvisation which was so much fun and gave everyone in the room an artistic license to try things.  I have loved this aspect of the Blud journey, it means every night is different and fresh and the audience seem to love it more and more with every show.

 

I have loved working with the Other Mother team for so many reasons, a big reason being that it is all female. I truly believe there are not enough windows in this industry for females and there should be more. Other Mother represents more opportunities for women, unheard voices and certainly exciting things to come. Watch this space! 

Comment by Rachel Kinchin on September 4, 2015 at 11:05

Our first review - and it's a good one! #TheGoodEarth

https://endofactone.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/review-blud/

Comment by Rachel Kinchin on August 14, 2015 at 10:35

 

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