Sunday, 23 November 2014

The final episodes of Prospero, Duke of Milan

On Monday 24th November we are performing the last two episodes (3 & 4) of Prospero, Duke of Milan.
Prospero tries to read his books but gets interrupted all the time; he asks
his brother Antonio to help him do his job, to manage the state of Milan. 
We have found this work very exciting and it will be great to get feedback from the Schools and everyone else that has been involved. MAYK will be putting together an evaluation report and we look forward to discussing how we might improve and develop our work around relaxed performances in the future. We will post the Report on our website when it is completed.

Antonio ends up doing Prospero's job all the time, he gets ambitious
and wants to become the Duke of Milan - he wears the symbols of power.

It has also been good to work with new people to make this happen: Jenny Sherlock, stage manager; Jenny, Hal and Robel from Made in Bristol and Lydia who is helping us explore how we work with volunteers.

He starts to put together his own army, a treacherous army - they plot and whisper
and  plan to get rid of  Prospero and Miranda so that Antonio will be Duke of Milan.
It is also good to work closely with Bristol Old Vic: Christine and Aidan, Lucy and members of the Outreach Department.

Antonio's treacherous army
 Big thanks to everyone who has helped us develop this work.
The treacherous army put Prospero and Miranda into a
rotten butt of boat and cast them out to sea. 
The boat did not sink and Prospero and Miranda
did not drown - what happens next? Please see
William Shakespeare's The Tempest! 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Prospero, Duke of Milan, Episode 2

This Monday morning (10th November), Firebird performed the first episode of Prospero, Duke of Milan in the Basement at Bristol Old Vic. We welcomed students and teachers from Briarwood and New Fosseway Schools. Unfortunately, Kingsweston School could not join us.

We were really pleased to find out that the students from New Fosseway are studying The Tempest as part of their timetable at school, so Prospero is perfect timing from their point of view. It will be very interesting to find out if the performances helped them with their schoolwork.

Students and teachers will contribute to the evaluation report that MAYK will put together after the performances. We think we will learn masses from doing this work.

The performances were made special by the support of Lydia and Made In Bristol volunteers, Robel, Hal and Jenny who took on the roles of ushers and ice cream attendants - Marshfield ice creams went down very well!

It was great to work with Paul again. He took a group photo of the audience for our Access and Resource pack. He also filmed some of the performance.

Next week is Episode 2, when we will introduce Prospero's family: his daughter Miranda and his brother, Antonio. Also we will show Prospero's love of books.

Here are some more of Paul's wonderful photographs from Episode 2.
Prospero, the father, with daughter Miranda

Miranda is represented by a child's Christening gown

Sharlie uses simple techniques to animate the Christening gown and her voice brings Miranda to life.

Prospero loves his family - he loves his books, too!

Antonio: My brother feels his library is dukedom enough.


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Prospero, Duke of Milan

On Monday 10th November, we begin our relaxed performances for local schools: Briarwood, Kingsweston and New Fosseway. Throughout November we will be posting more wonderful photographs taken by Paul Blakemeore .

There will be 4 performances in all, played out every Monday morning in November in the Basement Theatre at Bristol Old Vic. Each performance is an episode (there are four in all) of Prospero, Duke of Milan. The story has been specifically devised by Firebird Theatre for our audience.

Prospero, Duke of Milan
Working with young people has always been important to Firebird and over the years, we have planned and delivered workshops for schools. These have tended to be 'one-offs' and over the last 3 years we have been trying out different ways of working in a more developmental way with schools,  in particular Briarwood School.  Last year, students from Briarwood and Kingsweston Schools performed on stage with Firebird for The Breadhorse in the Studio at Bristol Old Vic. From the feedback we received and in partnership with Briarwood School and Bristol Old Vic, we decided our next project should be about devising work for disabled children and young people who would like to visit the theatre as audience members.

Prospero's Guards

We think Prospero, Duke of Milan is suitable for any audience (mainstream included) and that was our intention from the outset – we did not want to devise anything that was patronising in any way. We chose to look at the back story in The Tempest because we knew the material well (The Tempest, 2010, The Nine Lessons of Caliban, 2012) and felt we could present an element of The Tempest story, using occasional Shakespearean language, in a powerful and meaningful way.

The Ministers of the Government of the Duke of Milan
Firebird have used repetition and tableaux; very simple costume and props to create the story of Prospero. Each episode is between 10 – 15 minutes long. Working with Paul Blakemore, we have also produced an Access and Education Pack for the teachers to use with their students, prior to them coming to Bristol Old Vic on the 10th. The pack is very visual and introduces the whole experience of visiting the theatre from arriving at the front entrance, to entering the performance space, the people they will meet (Ushers) to the performance itself.

"Applause, please!"
Bristol Old Vic is working with us to make the whole experience of visiting the theatre an enjoyable one - relaxed and welcoming.

We are also working with:

MAYK our producers; they will also evaluate the project.

Clementine Greeley, costume design and maker

Volunteers Lydia Spry (Firebird volunteer), Robel Yoseph, Jenny Davis and Hallam Kelly from Made In Bristol BOV, who will welcome the students at the entrance to the theatre and act as very theatrical ice cream attendants during performance intervals!

A big thanks to Marshfield Ice Creams; they have sponsored the performances by providing ice creams for all intervals.