Ben's blog
Feb 08
Ben writes;

Well, we've been rather busy at the Zoo recently...

Immediately after our
A Christmas Carol tour we went into
rehearsals for a self-devised piece for St Valentines Day which
we performed in the newly opened Henry Mitchell Hall at
Bradford College.

I remember our first rehearsal well. As we sat around a table
discussing which love-related poems we personally liked, we
gradually became more and more nervous. Why? Well because
for a few of us, poetry is a new venture - something that delves
a little deeper into your soul than simply playing
character. I'm sure a lot of actors would disagree with that
statement, but for me, I wasn't sure what reaction was going to
come out of me when reading poetry - especially the loved-up

We took it in turns to read selected pieces, some suggested by
Julia, some brought along by the readers themselves. I took a
song called
Happy Anniversary which I just read aloud (singing
was a little too daunting for the first rehearsal!). It's a song
written by Charles Aznavour, but I've heard it performed by
Philip Quast, of
Les Mis fame. It is a great 'story-song' and
brings humour and upset to a very real relationship. I was
pretty nervous reading it, but was extremely glad I got through it.

After several 'reading rehearsals', we decided to add a little
more terror to our lives by agreeing to sing at the performance.
Not only reading poetry, but singing!? Although the first things
I'd ever done on stage were musicals, the thought of singing
solo was, and still is, daunting. However, we all went into the
Hall (set out like an exam room just to make things worse!), we
took turns to get up on stage and sing our chosen songs. It was
clear we were all nervous - some without reason!! As I sat there
watching and listening, a large amount of pride swept over me -
our company really is a talented bunch! However, I left my turn
until last and hadn't prepared anything. Julia suggested I sing
Happy Birthday, and although I was tempted, I sang a couple of
verses of Leonard Cohen's favourite song. It
was terrifying and liberating all at the same time - I actually
quite enjoyed myself!

It finally came to the evening of the 14th, and after rehearsing
several times prior to it, we were all suffering from those
nerves! However, the evening was a great success with some
extremely complimentary comments from our audience. The
company were all on a real high after the show, and celebrated
until the early hours - the next day was a little bit of a struggle!

Some rehearsal pics...

I must say, however, that the success of the evening is not
solely down to Paper Zoo members. We had the amazing
support and help of Clare Lamkin, Helen Farrar and
"wonderweb" herself Shelagh Ward - all of whom work at the
Yorkshire Craft Centre and who decorated the hall so well - the
atmosphere was wonderful. Clare had also bought and
prepared the food and drink, which really made the evening
extra special. Thank you so much ladies - you really are stars!

We also want to welcome our newest associate actor - Emily
Thornton who stunned us with her fantastic singing voice and
acting skills. The only problem for Emily now is...we're not
gonna let her go!

Eager to get on with our next venture, I'm looking forward to the
rather bright Paper Zoo future!

See you soon!

Dave trying to impress Emily
with his "Thousand Ships..."
Julia showing us how to do it.
"Is this microphone on?!"
Damien doing his drunkard.