Ben's blog
June 2009
Ben writes:

Well, after a very successful SELL OUT run of 1984 at the National Media
Museum in June, the Company are already well underway with rehearsals for our
reprisal of Animal Farm. Can you tell we’re going through an Orwell phase?

1984 was a real success and a pleasure for all those involved. We received a
large amount of very positive feedback, and despite the fact that we had a fair
amount of constraints on us – the lack of rehearsal time in the space; the new
element of working with film; the need for more elaborate sound and stage
effects; the expectation that performing at such a fantastic venue brings… - we
were all very happy with the finished result. For me personally, playing O’Brien
was a joy – even if I didn’t show it! He’s one of the all-time-great characters and I
felt by the time we were on stage, I could really get under his skin. It’s always fun
playing the villain – a smug and overly confident one at that. I’m still concerned
about being typecast – see previous blog!

Animal Farm is now fully re-cast where necessary as we had to replace some of
the original cast due to other commitments. It’s always sad to have to do this as
usually, when touring especially, we build up great relationships with each other
and become something of a family. However, as Kris, Emily and Stacey are off
doing other things, we welcome Rachel Greiff who I’m currently in rehearsals for
Fiddler on the Roof with. Rachel has been a member of the Bradford Youth
Players for several years and is very experienced – I recommend you see her as
the excellent matchmaking Yente in Fiddler from 15 – 18 July. We also welcome
Jodie Bloomer who will play Mollie. Jodie is currently studying performing arts at
Bradford College and has already proved what she can do in early rehearsals.
With a strong singing voice and the ability to portray a ‘pretty, foolish white mare’
with ease, she’s fit right in! Hayley Welsh is our third new recruit who is playing a
bundle of different characters. Hayley has recently played a cockerel in Nobody
Here But Us Chickens – perfect experience for Animal Farm - and after a very
strong audition, we’re really looking forward to working with her. Kate Shackleton
is now not carrying-child, so is happy to be in this version of the play and will be
playing a cow, hen and sheep amongst others. Finally, Beth Oswald will be
playing a recent addition to the list of characters – the lamb – which is going to
be a reminder of the innocence of the farm, with the odd few bleats! Great to
have a few more associate actors on the books!

With an already-hectic schedule for Animal Farm booked, plus the possibility of
touring 1984 to some high-profile venues across the country, the rest of 2009 is
looking healthy for the Zoo.

I can’t wait to get back into those long-johns and vest…sorry!

Thanks for your continued support,