A quiet day at Broccoli Bottom. The designers and technicians using the continued good weather to push on with construction work. Anami, Kate B, Tina and I went round to Whitwell to chat to Matt who runs the Rutland Belle and arrange the logistics of strapping the huge Osprey onto the top deck. It's going to be a tight call as the boat is set to run its regular timetable of sailings throughout next weekend. It'll be all hands to the pump to get things sorted and hidden out of sight behind the church before the audience arrive.
Next stop was the sailing club in Edith Weston where Stu and Kate R have been turning three of the green goddess boats into glimmering silver fish which will accompany the Belle as it makes its way across the reservoir. The rigging takes about an hour to do and there have been a few trials over the last week, but today for the first time things were looking really good.
Rutland at the weekend has a slightly different complexion and, on a sunny day like today, the water really comes into its own with hundreds of cyclists, bird watchers, walkers, sailors and fishermen descending to take advantage of it. Driving around the perimeter it's easy to see why so many of the locals we've met tell us that they never want to leave. Very few people outside of the county seem to know about its existence and in many ways it feels like a world apart; bountiful, rural and rich. The Rutlanders, fiercely protective of their independence and proud of their title as England's smallest county, want to keep it that way.
Back at base a slightly new narrative for the Senegal scene is emerging. For the last couple of days the work has been watched from a distance by Marcus, a inquisitive eight year old, who's staying on the farm with his parents, whilst they look for a house in the area. He's been fascinated by the puppets and rehearsals and inched closer and closer to the action. This afternoon his curiosity was rewarded when we asked if he'd like to be in the show. He wisely told us he'd have to ask his Mum and rushed off to do exactly that.
Within minutes of gaining consent Tina was measuring him up and he'll play a baby tropical bird who, in contrast to the colourful threats made by the adults, will gently approach the visiting Osprey and encourage friendship. His success, carefully achieved, will be the cue for the other birds to accept the new arrival. Diene will end the scene with a dance of his own. We'll rehearse all this on Tuesday but only after he's finished school, changed out of his uniform and had his tea. .
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.