Monday, 21 September 2015

Firebird Theatre Sponsored Walk: Photographs

On Sunday 16th August, Firebird Theatre did a sponsored walk to raise funds for Prospero, Duke of Milan (to be performed at Bristol Old Vic on 14th November) and also to celebrate
25 years of performing in the professional theatre. Formerly known as the Portway Players, members of the company met in 1985 at the Portway Day Centre, a social services resource and activity centre based in Shirehampton (five founder members still work with Firebird). In 1990 the Portway Players made their debut performance at the Bristol Old Vic. In 2005 The Portway Players changed its name to Firebird Theatre and became an Independent Theatre Company. 25 years on from their very first show at the Old Vic, Yellow Sun, Red Moon, Firebird is now an associate company of Bristol Old Vic and this is where we meet and work every Monday.
The route we chose for our walk had a symbolic significance for us because it mirrors the journey made by the Portway Players to become Firebird Theatre. It started in Woodwell Rd not far from the site of the old Portway Centre in St Bernard's Rd., Shirehampton and ended at Bristol Old Vic in King Street, Bristol.

The walkers posing in Woodwell Rd before the walk begins.

The start of the walk - crossing the Portway (A4)
 The walk - coming to an end!

Arriving at Bristol Old Vic
Sian and Marilyn arriving in King Street from the SS Great Britain
Penny, Kip and Ed arriving in King Street

Collecting certificates and getting stuck-in to the buffet and drinks laid on for us at Bristol Old Vic.
A big thank you to everyone at Bristol Old Vic for their support

The end of the walk - we're at Bristol Old Vic.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The first Steve Knight Memorial Workshop, April 20th 2015

On April 20th we had our first workshop in memory of Steve Knight. The workshop was led by Joêl Daniel, a dancer and choreographer. Thanks to everyone who donated money to the Memorial Workshop Fund, we nearly have enough for four other workshops in Steve's memory.

We would also like to thank, as always, Bristol Old Vic for letting us use the Clore Studio for this workshop.

This felt like a great workshop to do in memory of Steve because it was all about movement, which felt like a celebration of what Steve loved doing with Firebird: dancing and making strong movements on stage. 

Joel working with us in the Clore Studio at Bristol Old Vic with the shoaling exercise

Joêl got us working in lots of different ways: we looked at how we moved together, as a group. This was called shoaling with different people taking the lead and the rest of us following. We walked together, using different movements, small movements to a rhythm, in a sequence, and keeping pace as a group.

Joêl helped us to explore a canon of repeated movements, clapping/rhythms to help us keep to a pace and making journeys together: fast and slow.

We worked on different levels and from chairs as well; we explored positioning on stage and focus.

We all liked working with Joêl and would like to work with him again on our new work. We liked the warm up he gave us and the way he explained things. He included everyone in the workshop, getting us to move one at a time and then altogether.

We liked the fact that Joêl asked us about Steve; we told him about Steve's shadow dance from The Nine Lessons Of Caliban and he asked us about Steve's movements and got us to try to remember them by doing them.

We liked the way he got us to move towards different fixed points in the rehearsal room.

There were difficult bits too - it was difficult to count and make up different moves that we had to remember... remembering moves was hard.

We had never really done a workshop like this before and it was a great thing to do - it will help us to look at how we move on stage. We would like to work with Joêl again. We would also like to see him dance when he next performs in Bristol. In the meantime, we are excited to receive a copy of White Caps on DVD from Joêl, a performance by the Dance Company that he used to work with called Champloo. We will be watching this next week and finally, Joêl's website goes live next week, it is:



Sunday, 19 April 2015

Ann Pugh, Artist and Film maker

Ann Pugh, artist and film maker
26th September 1955 – 25th February 2015

It is with great sadness that we let people know that our dear friend and colleague, Ann, passed away on Wednesday 25th February after a short illness.

Ann, who worked with Redweather Productions, made all the wonderful films on The Firebird website and also developed the use of projections in our performances.

Ann made nine films for Firebird: six short films which show the development of The Breadhorse in 2013; two films of The Lying Doctors, 1998, and a documentary film in 2007. These films were always just right – always saying more about our work than anything else could. Her interview style and what she did with a camera is recognized as outstanding by many people, locally, nationally and internationally, not least ourselves. When she made films for us, she made us feel relaxed, she knew what we wanted to say and she would support us to say it: she got our message out and we know that whatever we said was as important to Ann as it was to us.

Ann also brought something very special and artistic to three of our productions in particular; she made projections of artwork made by Carol Chilcott, company artist, photographs and film for The Tempest, Nine Lessons of Caliban and The Breadhorse. These were projected during the performances along with the words that were spoken in the show. This made our work stronger and also acted as an access tool for audiences. She also made sound recordings for performances, particularly for The Tempest and Nine Lessons.

Ann has been in our lives for a long time and has supported us to do some amazing work; she has also been instrumental in making important things happen for us. Ann enabled us to develop some very powerful work which we could not have done without her. She made the film of The Lying Doctors over 15 years ago, which is still incredibly strong today.

Many people know of Ann’s strengths as an amazing filmmaker who has captured and recorded very important moments on film for many organizations. She also did so much more, not least for Firebird Theatre and our sister organization, Artists First, of which she was Chair of Trustees and a brilliant fundraiser. Ann was fun, calming, a real team player, unassuming, a blower of trumpets for other people – not her own, she got on with things, she was a doer and she certainly did for us.

Out of good working relationships, friendships grow and Ann was a wonderful, strong, generous friend to us and she will be missed, more than words can say.

Our love and thoughts are with Ann’s family: Frank, Ruby and Ben.

Please click on this link for Ann’s films of The Breadhorse

Please click on this link for Ann’s short documentary film about Firebird

Please click on this link for Ann’s film of The Lying Doctors