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.












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