So are National Theatre Wales really as approachable as they claim to be?
Is the atmosphere really as relaxed as I experience it whenever I pop down to the office for an hour or two?
Is the staff really as friendly and nice as they appear?
Are the new projects as interesting and promising as the ones seen and talked about in the past?
All in all: is NTW as wonderful as we all think?
Those were the question I had when I started my Work Based Learning with National Theatre Wales this April. No, I'm just kidding,those weren't really the questions I had. My interest in doing my Work Based Learning at National Theatre Wales lies on two different levels. First of all I wanted to know, how an organisation like National Theatre Wales works; What are the structures? What are everyone's tasks? How does National Theatre Wales decide on the projects they are taking on? What does it take for a project to develop from an idea into the wonderful thing that it is supposed to be? As a second year Drama student, I still imagine the process of creating a piece of theatre as the most romantic thing there is. Writing outside in the garden by sunset with a glass of wine.The next day actors and producers and funders knock on the door, everybody has a laugh und gives each other a hug and done. Yeah, or maybe not. So what I really needed to know was, what and who does it take to make "The Passion" happen, to make " The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning" happen, to make "Little Dogs" happen?!
My special interest though,lies in TEAM. Having been part of TEAM myself for almost two years now, I have always appreciated the support I have gotten from Devinda and the members of TEAM, I have learned so much in the past two years,and I believe, I know, that a lot of it is down to TEAM. I wanted to learn more about TEAM and it's place in NTW, about the structures and tasks behind a scheme that helped me so much and is one of a kind.
Thanks to Devinda, who despite all the work he has to do,took the time to bother with me and show me and teach me so much of what I wanted to know, I am having a brilliant time here at National Theatre Wales.
Let me just tell about some of the highlights I have experienced so far:
One of the most exciting times I definitely had at the 'Ideas Meeting' on a rainy Thursday morning. Speaking about shows the staff members had seen recently and hearing what they thought of it, was definitely as inspiring as it was interesting. The amounts of shows some of the staff members go and see definitely puts my number of 3 or 4 times a month to shame. I realised that who wants to make theatre, needs to go and see theatre.
Even more exciting though was definitely the copy of a three years plan I got to see and hear about. All the definite and possible shows of the next years were listed and explained. I don't want to ruin the surprise for you but believe me when I say, and this will sounds like advertisement, which it definitely,kind of, is; I am more than excited for the coming years, and so should you.
Okay, I will tell you a little bit about one of the things that are coming: "De Gabay". I was lucky to be able to spend one day at rehearsals for the new project created by young poets from Butetown. Two actors from "The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning" came along to read and act out poems and scenes written by the young artists. It was wonderful to see how the faces of the poets lightened up when the actors gave their very own work a voice, a movement, a body. The poems, so powerful and moving that they still linger in my head. The poets, so modest that they probably don't even sense the beauty that surrounds this project. Look out for it.
A very exciting day was definitely the day of the interviews of the new TEAM Assistant. It was interesting and very beneficial to once be on the other side of the interview. This day gave me a great idea of what TEAM is at the moment and can and will become. It was good to see what the interview panel is actually looking for and how those things are being discussed and I'm pretty sure that all of you will be very happy with the decision that has been made.
Last week I spent a few days with the team working on Give It A Name's new project "My Life in CIA".
You can find some more information here: http://community.nationaltheatrewales.org/profiles/blogs/my-day-in-cia
I am so very excited about this show. During the day I observed rehearsals, watched some scenes and spoke to James Williams, the director about it. The whole rehearsing process was what I would call ideal. Much laughter and agreement, much fun. Watching Dean try to learn a dance without falling from the table and hurting himself was really my highlight. The show is still on until Sunday, the 3rd of June and if you can, go and see it.
Apart from all this I have done lots more, and learned lots more. Everybody has been so friendly to me and it is great to get to know everybody a little bit better. Matt Ball sat down with me for at least an hour to talk about theatre,the general idea, his ideas, my ideas. Matt Lawton, Mike, Devinda and me had a good laugh on the interview day. A new WalesLab project scared the hell out of Matt Ball, Donna, Abdul, Devinda and myself (well okay, maybe it was just me who was traumatised scared). And we had tea and chocolate and doughnuts and ice-cream.
So, to come back to the questions I posted at the beginning of this blog post,if any of you wonder all these things, then I can tell you that I will have to answer all those questions with a :Yes.
My time here has been nothing but wonderful.
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