Welcome to The Living Theatre monthly newsletters!
We will keep an archive here, so you never have to miss out..
Welcome to April's edition ( cutting it very fine but ‘hey!’ it’s been a busy month ). I must also welcome the new subscribers we have had this month and a big hello to you all, I am Emma the lady behind the screen and this is a newsletter to give you all the inside info of The Living Theatre. Well… almost all!
First up a bit of housekeeping, in a frenzy to get March's edition out I made the grave error of missing out Stephanie Booth’s name. She is not only a wonderful actress but the brains behind lots of our operations and a big part of the team acting as our assistant creative director, and now onto April.
Where to start! The month started off in a mad frenzy of photo shoots, an announcement of the May Ball ( I'll get to that later ), meetings and of course the main event, our big open day. And what a day it was. It was filled with all the movie-like highs and lows you would expect in a blockbuster film’s montage about a grass-roots underdog company starting up. The day started with a very successful coffee morning. We had a great turn out and got to meet some wonderful members of the community and share a bit of our vision. Then hit the low…
We walked up to the theatre expecting to be bombarded with people waiting to be toured round the theatre, but alas our underdog moment was here. The theatre was empty with just a few manikins and some lovely bunting, the theatre was all dressed up with no one to show. The wind started feeling colder and our fire from our morning talk was dimming, but just as we started to lose faith from over the hill we saw people. Yes. Real people, AND they were here for us. The team quickly straightened up and got ready to chat. From then on just like in the climax of a film the seats started filling, cakes were munched and all was restored. The rest of the afternoon was filled with wonderful people and ideas flowing all around. So thank you for everyone who visited our lovely space and to all the readers for allowing me to dramatise not just my own life but the theatre's story too. Actors am I right!
What's next… 28th May:
As some of you may have seen, next big event we have coming is the May Ball on the 28th May. That's right the team is ditching the stage for an evening and hosting the event of the season. There will be a DJ, dancers to teach you the regency England steps, a mojito bar and a special twist at 9pm which not even your newsletter subscriptions gets you access to. I for one am so excited to share it with everyone so book your tickets and dust off that dress you have always wanted to wear.
Following that on the 12th we have a visit from the wonderful Half Cut Theatre doing their version of ‘Much ado about nothing’. They run a pay what you want scheme after the performance and tickets are free to reserve. What's not to love!
Then… save the date 21st July - 31st July
We are hosting a 2 week theatre and arts festival with an eclectic mix of performances throughout the week and one main house production from The Living Theatre which will be …. (drum roll please)
Our own adaptation of the beloved ‘ Emma ‘ by Jane Austen.
Have a lovely bank holiday weekend ;)
So here we are...
The first newsletter from The Living Theatre or more informally from Emma, the person behind the screen and one of the Co-creative directors of the theatre. A newsletter normally starts at the beginning of a project to bring people along the journey but we are a little way into the mammoth task that is building a theatre so I thought it would be important to get you up to speed with how we started, what we are and what's in store for summer.
The Living theatre is the brainchild of Julia Fisher, a driven, creative and slightly mad woman who manages Waterhall Farm. Her creativity mixed with a bit of crazy led her to see an old dumpsite at the back of one of the horse fields as the perfect space for an outdoor theatre. The theatre was to not only to become a professional producing and receiving house but also to be a space focused on improving the mental health of young people. It was a running project from 2017 but only really came to fruition in 2020 during the first summer of the pandemic when an outdoor theatre was one of the only ways theatre could be done. Our first production was 'Two' by Jim Cartwright followed by 'Shakespeare in Love' in the summer of 2021 and a recent adaptation of Narnia called 'Through the wardrobe'.
What exactly are we?
A question we have been asking for a while. Over the last two and a half years the project has evolved massively and the organisation's structure has shifted and grown more than we could have predicted. We now have a solid team and aims that are getting clearer with each long meeting ( 8 hours is our current record ).
The team consists of:
Julia Fisher - Artistic Director and general boss lady
James Schofield - Co-Creative director
Kelsey Duffy - Co-Creative director
Emma Fisher - Co-Creative director (no the surname is not a happy coincidence I am indeed the daughter of Julia which of course is an ever professional and smooth running relationship.)
Imogen Powell- Chair of soon to be board of trustees.
Andy Barker- Soon to be trustee and all things stage management.
Monika Skwierczynska - soon to be trustee and all things finance related.
Initially the aim was for the space to become a registered charity which focused on mental health support for young people running alongside a theatre company. However, the effect the space had on the companies of the last 3 productions really made us rethink the initial split that, and the complexities of setting up two companies as legal entities!
After many conversations with or lovely team and wonderful bits of advice and time from people who know far more than we do we came to the conclusion that combining the charity and the theatre company as one legal body made much more sense. The best structure for us was to begin the process of becoming a CIO otherwise known as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Words which until recently were foreign to me but now if you ever want to be lectured about the legal structure of charities I'm your woman!
So the short answer is - We are currently a limited company applying for charitable status as a CIO, making mistakes and learning lots on the way.
Currently we are planning for lots of exciting events cough* get your ball gown dry cleaned cough*, hints aside most imminently is the open day on the 23rd April. The open day will have talks from our core team members and opportunities for people to see the theatre and to sign up to get involved. There will also be some tea, coffee and maybe some cake but you’ll have to come to find out. More details with locations will be released later but for now save the date!
As for the summer, we have a big plan for a 10 day theatre festival with an in-house production, soon to be announced, and lots of small shows from external theatre companies. It’s going to be lots of fun so stay tuned!
Much like our meetings this newsletter is slightly on the long side but just a final note to say thank you to everyone that helped us reach our crowdfunding target and we are excited to share our progress with getting power to The Living Theatre.
So, to the die hard fans still reading thank you for your support and hope you are having a lovely Sunday.
A happy Spring to you from The Living Theatre Team.