Spill - Rehearsal Diary - Week 2

15 Jun 2015

The beginning of the week was mostly spent exploring the huge variety of material that has been shared with us in interviews. As a company we have a duty to respect the words people have shared and treat them with care and sensitivity, part of this means listening to and reading as much of the material as we possibly can, it may take a long time but we don't mind. We worked through huge amounts of material on Monday and Tuesday, also choreographed movement and wrote lots more music. I think it is fair to say that we have become pros at time efficiency in the past couple of weeks!

Having a strong and coherent through line is one of our top priorities for the show, with this in mind we spent Wednesday afternoon forming an initial structure for the show. We wanted to see all the material that we had visually so we wrote all characters down on post its and stuck them all up on the wall. We started forming a structure from this, placing things that might work well together whilst still making sure the different themes were recognisable and were given space. This took time and a lot of it, but it was definitely time well spent. Afterwards there was a sense of pride and relief in the room, our show was definitely starting to come together and we were all getting very excited.

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All members of Propolis bring so many different skills to the space, one of Jess' many talents is puppetry and on Thursday morning she directed a scene for the show which uses simple but effective puppetry to show a variety of stories. It was so interesting learning a totally new skill and thanks to Jess we all picked it up in no time.

Friday morning began with our dramaturg (Elana) and one of our directors (Jess) reporting back the advice that they had been kindly given from Bristol Old Vic Literary Producer Sharon Clark from their meeting with her on Thursday afternoon. Thanks to Sharon we were able to adopt a simple but effective way to structure the show. We have so much material from the interviews and we have found it hard to pick and choose for the show because all of our interviewees have shared such wonderful stories and thoughts. With Sharon's help we were able to envisage the show far better and move forward to focus on casting. Although we have all adopted production roles, we are all still theatre-makers and we make sure important decisions like casting are as collaborative and inclusive as they possibly can be. After Elana and Jess had reported back to the group we individually started to explore material that we hadn't had a chance to look at yet, it was important for us all to see everyone play everyone so we could make an effective decision on who plays who. It was eye opening for us all to see members of the group explore characters that we hadn't seen them play before, there was definitely some good surprises. We then had a group discussion on what we thought about what we had seen and slowly an initial cast list formed.

So the end of week two came round extremely quick. The week has been very productive, our vision for Spill is becoming reality and show week is only round the corner, we all can't wait to share our work with you all.

One of the highlights of this week was when we met our target on Kickstarter, Propolis thank everyone who have supported us so far, you kindness and generosity really does mean so much to all of us. By meeting our target we are now able to tour to the Inspiring Curiosity festival in Coventry this summer which is so exciting. However, we have raised the minimum we need and there is still over a week left of fundraising and it would be even more fantastic if we raised more, then we have money for the future, more touring, new shows are definitely in the pipeline and with your donations these dreams become more and more possible. To donate follow this link to our Kickstarter.


Spill plays in Bristol Old Vic Studio between 1-4 July. Find out more, and book tickets, here