Author Archive

Our Town: David Cromer Rehearsal Room Talk

November 24, 2014
Our Town | David Cromer Z

David Cromer, Rhashan Stone and Anna Francolini rehearse. Photo: Marc Brenner

Earlier this year, Our Town Director David Cromer gave a special preview talk to Almeida Members at an event in the rehearsal room. Speaking about the intricacies of adapting Thornton Wilder, working with British actors and bringing an American classic to the Almeida stage, here are some highlights from the evening.

Our Town: Inside the Wardrobe

November 21, 2014
The costume rail for Our Town. Photo: Simone Finney

A costume rail during Our Town rehearsals. Photo: Simone Finney

Alison Siple has been designing the costumes for David Cromer’s production of Our Town since its first run in Chicago in 2005. Six cities and eight years later, we caught up with her during rehearsals in London to get the inside scoop on who’s wearing what in Grover’s Corners this season. Here’s what she had to say:


Our Town: Talkback

November 19, 2014
David Cromer (Stage Manager) in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

David Cromer (Stage Manager) in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

On Thursday, 30 October 2014, we invited the audience from Our Town to stay behind for a Q&A with director David Cromer and other members of the cast, chaired by Assistant Director Rebecca Hill. Here’s an excerpt from the conversation…

Rebecca Hill: Hello everyone, thank you all for sticking around. I’ll start with one of our questions from Twitter, and then I’ll hand over to you guys to see if you’ve got any questions for us. So the question is from @amovietheatergoer: “What is it like to perform among the audience and mime most of the props?”

Richard Lumsden (Mr. Webb): Anna?


Anna Francolini (Mrs. Gibbs): I know people find it kind of odd, but you just sort of get used to it. It’s more odd now when I wake up in the morning in my own home and I make my own breakfast. Crumbs on the thing and doing the coffee and you realise you are just relentlessly doing stuff all the time. So that’s what I do in my head: I’m like, “This is real, this is what I do.” But it is funny being very close and sometimes you’re reaching for, like an egg, or a knife or fork or whatever and you’re literally on people’s laps. I quite like it, actually. It’s very, very different.

Anna Francolini (Mrs. Webb) in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

Anna Francolini (Mrs. Webb) in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner


King Charles III: Behind the Scenes

November 12, 2014

Here’s a look behind the scenes of the set build for King Charles III at the Almeida (now at Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End until 31 Jan):

Our Town: Live Another Day

November 6, 2014


Sidney Cole, Joe Bunker, Laura Elsworthy and Anna Francolini in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

Sidney Cole, Joe Bunker, Laura Elsworthy and Anna Francolini in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

In Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, one character has the chance to re-live a day of her life. We asked the cast what day they would choose if they could pick one of their own. Here’s what they said:

“My mother was a singer. When I was a kid, I used to watch her from the wings while she performed. One night, she waved at me to join her on stage. Being a shy kid, I was absolutely terrified and nearly didn’t go through with it. Somehow I plucked up the courage and went out on stage to join her. Most of the memory is a blur, but what I take away from it is me and my mum, together, singing our hearts out and dancing our arses off. To be honest, I would be happy reliving any day with her – but this one stays with me because the experience was unique.”
Rhashan Stone (Doctor Gibbs)


Thornton Wilder: The Art of Fiction

November 5, 2014
Thornton Wilder. Photo couresty of Thornton Wilder Estate

Thornton Wilder. Photo courtesy of Thornton Wilder Estate

The following is an excerpt from conversations between Thornton Wilder and Richard H. Goldstone that took place in an apartment overlooking the Hudson River in New York City on the evening of 14 December, 1956 and the following afternoon. The full interview can be read in The Paris Review, The Art of Fiction No. 16.

Paris Review: You have often been cited as a “stylist.” As a writer who is obviously concerned with tone and exactness of expression, do you find that the writing of fiction is a painful and exhausting process, or do you write easily, quickly, and joyously?

Wilder: Once you catch the idea for an extended narration—drama or novel—and if that idea is firmly within you, then the writing brings you perhaps not so much pleasure as a deep absorption… My wastepaper basket is filled with works that went a quarter through and which turned out to be among those things that failed to engross the whole of me. And then, for a while, there’s a very agonizing period of time in which I try to explore whether the work I’ve rejected cannot be reoriented in such a way as to absorb me. The decision to abandon it is hard.


Our Town: Advice for a Younger Self

October 29, 2014
Our Town 1-249 Richard Lumsden and David Walmsley by Marc Brenner

Richard Lumsden (Mr Webb) gives David Walmsley (George Gibbs) his pre-wedding advice in Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

Our Town explores the small details and wider span of human lives. In the spirit of reflection, we asked the cast what advice they’d give their 12-year-old selves. Here’s what they said:

“I know you won’t believe me now, but it gets better.”
Rhashan Stone (Doctor Gibbs)

“Go for it and stop talking about going for it—what’s the worst that could happen?”
- Simon Lennon (Sam Craig)


Our Town: The Daily Life

October 24, 2014

Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is constructed around the most ordinary elements of everyday life. In that vein, we asked the cast for their favourite daily routines. Here’s what they said:

“Opening my bedroom curtains.”
Laura Elsworthy (Emily Webb)

Laura Elsworthy in rehearsals for Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

Laura Elsworthy (Emily Webb) in rehearsals for Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner


Our Town: Directing a Classic

October 22, 2014

Have you paid a visit to Our Town? David Cromer reflects on directing Thornton Wilder’s iconic American play:

Our Town plays at the Almeida until 29 November 2014. For more information, or to book tickets, click here.

Our Town: First Impressions

October 21, 2014

It is said that Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is performed somewhere in the world every day. But is this staple of American theatre as ubiquitous on this side of the pond? We asked the cast about their previous experience with and first impressions of the play, which they shared with us at the start of rehearsals:

Richard Lumsden (Mr. Webb) and Kate Dickie (Mrs. Webb) in rehearsals for Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

Richard Lumsden (Mr. Webb) and Kate Dickie (Mrs. Webb) in rehearsals for Our Town. Photo: Marc Brenner

“I’d never read it or known it before my audition. It’s amazing how it mirrors life, all our thoughts about the passing of time, getting older.” – Kate Dickie (Mrs. Webb)


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