Encourage the Others – rehearsal diary week 4

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With three weeks to go until they perform on the Almeida Theatre stage the Young Friends are feeling more and more confident. This week they have their first audience in rehearsals (including the writer John Donnelly) and film some of the rehearsals for a trailer – watch this space!

In rehearsals yesterday (Wed 29 June) we went over sections 4a and 4b and my god did the stress of remembering lines start to kick in. Everyone took quite a while to get to grips with their lines today and remember their cues. I in particular struggled with one particular line.

We then went back to the parts we were more comfortable with, starting at the beginning we ran it through and made a few changes. It was quite tricky as not everyone was in today, but we got through it. In the next few rehearsals we are going to be moving through the sections we know and making any changes to the structure we think work, on Sunday we will be doing sections 3, 4 and 5.

By Cedric Belato

Cedric Belato in rehearsals. Photo Ludovic des Cognets

Where to begin? Right, well we started the morning practising and filming the dance sequence that we had created with Imogen (Knight, the movement director) a couple of weeks ago. You may have already seen the trailer for the Almeida Festival (if you haven’t, go check it out here), starring our very lovely Akuc Bol, Alex Austin and Stephanie Afari, along with some of the other actors taking part in the Festival. Though, what you’re yet to see is the trailer especially for Encourage the Others which is in the making right now – hence why we filmed the dance sequence. Alex and I also spent our breaks running round like mad, trying to organise the filming of individual actors saying lines that we thought best represented the atmosphere and story of the show. Keep your eyes peeled and watch this space for our (hopefully) magnificent creation.

For the most part of the day we rehearsed the first few sections of the play until we felt that we really understood what was happening in our communication to the audience, and the communication between ourselves. This helped greatly when, at the end if the day, we performed to an audience for the first time. The audience included John Donnelly (the writer of this marvellous play), Ben Stones (our designer), and Simon Wilkinson (lighting). In general, our performance went quite well. We did have the odd line stumble and even managed to skip a little section due to a nervous actor saying his line too early, but on the whole, for the first time in front of an audience, I feel we just about pulled it out of the bag. Of course we still have work to do, and for the last few sections we had to go back to our scripts, but we definitely have a solid foundation to build upon and make Encourage the Others as good as it could possibly be.

To see the outcome of all the hard work, time, and effort that has been building up over this fantastic year long project, book your tickets now. And, if you’re aged 15-21 become a Young Friend of the Almeida by emailing nmitchell@almeida.co.uk and enjoy the benefits the scheme gives like discounted theatre tickets and inspiring master classes. You could even apply to be part of the LAB project next year and be working on something similar to Encourage the Others.

By Isabelle Holland

Liah Tecle, Isabelle Holland and Maia Clarke in rehearsals. Photo Ludovic des Cognets

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