Week by Week: Week 6

This week you can see more exclusive photos from rehearsals, as we approach the first performance at the Globe - take a look below.

Also, we have the results from last week's costume brief. Have a look at some of our favourite entries!


Results from last week

A creative brief is given to each member of the creative team working on the Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank project. It is intended to help them structure their ideas and keep a focus on the director's intended vision for the production. Check out the results from last week's costume brief...

Backstage Blog

Wednesday 13th March 4:17pm

So, finally, after weeks of rehearsal, travelling to other countries and performing in indoor theatres, we have played Romeo and Juliet in the Globe theatre. It was still cold - I'm not sure of the exact temperature, but I do know that it snowed, and also I think hailed at one point, so it must have been fairly chilly. However, despite that, it seemed to go well. We had a great response from the audience who got involved right from the beginning and were really amazing, especially considering the weather. It's going to be hard work (and lots of fun) discovering how to make the show better the more we perform it, and also listening to the audience to see what they will teach us along the way. That's actually more true than it might first appear, as from the reactions of the audience you can hear where different elements of the story fall into place, you can work out which parts need to be faster, louder or clearer. It is only through listening to the audience that we can get better at telling this story. So that's the work we have to do next. We'll be performing at the Globe over the next three weeks. Let us know your thoughts if you come to see it!

From The Rehearsal Room

Tuesday 12th March 9:03pm

Tonight we had an 'open dress' which means that we got a chance to run the play as we will do for a full theatre, but with a smaller audience of colleagues, friends and family. This allows us to practice performing the show in the 'new' space and also to play with how we might communicate with the audience. I think it went really well, although it was absolutely FREEZING! Still it was great to have an audience to play the play to: it really does make such a huge difference. The audience are like the missing element. Next we perform the play for a full theatre!

From The Rehearsal Room

Monday 11th March 6:43pm

Well, I was absolutely right: the temperature does make a difference.

Before we could perform the play at the Globe we had to have another period of technical rehearsal to adapt the show slightly to 'fit' its new home, which is incredibly different to the other spaces we have played so far. The proportions and dimensions of the Globe mean that although you actually feel closer to the audience (the auditorium doesn't stretch away from you when you are on the stage, but instead curves around you) you have far more people to reach, and they are above, below and behind you at all times. I absolutely love this element of the space, but I think it does take more energy, or perhaps a different kind of energy, to perform here as you have to almost 'act with your back', thinking about the action in 360 degrees. Every bit of you has to be engaged in the business of telling the story. The other major difference is that the Globe has no roof. What this comes down to, in basic terms, is that the environment the play takes place in cannot be controlled. There is a roof (or canopy) over the stage itself which means that the surface of the playing space is, for the most part, protected from the elements. But if it rains then the audience in the yard get rained on, if pigeons so choose they can land on the stage, helicopters and planes can change the soundscape as they fly over London and the temperature for everyone is entirely controlled by the weather.

This was brought to bear when we started our tech, as it was, basically, absolutely freezing. In fact it was snowing. It actually looked incredibly beautiful, considering it objectively, but given that we had to work in it for most of the day much of its charm swiftly fell by the wayside. Also, as we have come from somewhere where we've been performing in heat (albeit controlled somewhat by air-conditioning) it was a big shock to suddenly be performing the play, in the same costumes, but with chattering teeth! Actually, on a technical note, it does make quite a big difference performing in lower temperatures, besides us just being cold. It's harder to take deep breaths as the cold air feels uncomfortable when you breathe in, and you need lots of breath to speak at the volume required to play the Globe. Also the poor audience are more likely to be distracted, shuffling to keep warm, adding extra layers and so on.

Anyway, it may yet warm up. For now, we must just keep going and hope that spring arrives along with the first audience.

From The Rehearsal Room

Monday 11th March 6.21pm

It is now the technical rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet and the cast and the production team have been out in the snow putting the final touches on the performance. The Digital Team popped out to see them, taking a sneaky peak at the show in advance of its first schools’ performance tomorrow.

Tech rehearsals are the time when all the different parts of a production are brought together. Musicians perform live for the first time and actors are in full costumes and use their props for the first time. For this production, the Playing Shakespeare team have already done the show several times on tour in Middle East, however this is the first time they will actually be doing it on the Globe stage.

The technical rehearsals can be long, often taking a number of days due to constant stopping and starting. One thing that the team don’t have to worry about though is the lights, as Shakespeare’s Globe is an open air theatre and is therefore lit by natural daylight. This production does have some very special scenery and also involves a lot of sensational staging for the actors (particularly the opening scene!), so this will take some time to master on a new stage.

We have been following the production from the very beginning - interviewing actors, photographing rehearsals and getting insights from the creative teams involved - so, it is now great to see the production finally coming together. We cannot wait to see the performance now…

From The Digital Team