Why You Should Get Involved With ‘The Greenhouse’!

You’ve seen our posts on Facebook and Twitter, you’ve been inundated requests to ‘APPLY NOW’, and you’ve sat and wondered what the whole project is about. Why should you apply? What is so great about ‘The Greenhouse’?

Well funny you should ask that because there are a couple of reasons ‘The Greenhouse’ is so great. Firstly, it’s a completely new venue at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 which we’re building ourselves. Secondly, it’s main focuses are our relationship with the environment, and financial and disabled access to theatre. And thirdly, there’s a super passionate team who all working really hard to make this dream a reality.

So, now the sales pitch is over, and you’re wondering, ‘but why should I get involved in this project?’ Let me tell you 5 of the reasons why ‘The Greenhouse’ is your ultimate summer 2019 project:

You like theatre    

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If you’re reading this blog, it’s 99.9% certain (not a scientific statistic) that you like theatre. So, why not get involved in something where everyone is super passionate about creating awesome theatre?

At BoxedIn we love pushing theatrical boundaries, whether that be with different dramatic forms, interesting scripts, cool tech, whatever you want to try and achieve, rest assured we will try our absolute best to ensure you can realise it.

We want ‘The Greenhouse’ to be a space which houses some really cool stuff. So, this means that if you were to join us you’d have the opportunity to work with some very talented people and see lots of great shows. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a director or writer or you don’t have a specific show you want to pitch to us. Just apply, let us know what your skills are, and what aspect of the project you want to get involved with, and we’ll find a job for you.

You care about the environment

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One of the main focuses of the project is exploring our relationship with the environment. Scientists have recently discovered we only have 12 years left to stop the effects of global warming and save our planet. ‘The Greenhouse’ aims to try and promote awareness of this through a selection of environmentally-focused plays, which will hopefully make people more conscious of their environmental impact, and consequently we can all work together to be more eco-friendly.

In addition to this, here at ‘The Greenhouse’ we are going to lead by example. The building itself will be made almost entirely from recycled and reclaimed materials, we’re going to have a zero-waste marketing plan, and no mains electricity in the building. Protecting our environment is so important, which is a massive part of the reason why we’re so passionate about this project.

It’s a cheaper way to get involved in The Fringe.  

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You won’t have to pay anything to perform in ‘The Greenhouse’. Yes, that’s right, we’re giving you a completely free performance venue. Aren’t we kind?

You will still have to cover the cost of your show, which we estimate to be between £500 and £1000. If you want more details on how to fund your show and possible costs involved, head over to our last blog post.

But that being said, the fact that you won’t have to pay venue costs will significantly reduce your overall spend. The Edinburgh Fringe can be very expensive, so trust us this free venue is a god send.

You will make some new (awesome) friends and memories.  

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We all like to think that we’re pretty friendly here at ‘The Greenhouse’. I mean, the core team have agreed to spend the next 10 months working together so we must get on pretty well. And the Fringe is a great time to meet new friends. Everyone around you shares a passion for performing and working together really builds friendships.

The Fringe is also an experience like no other. You can walk down the street at 10:30pm and come across a singing magician doing a show on the pavement or end up in a tiny hut at 2:30am while a clown does an interpretive dance about love. The Edinburgh Fringe is the perfect time to create memories that you’ll cherish forever.

It’s a once in a lifetime experience

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Yes, we get it, this is a really crazy idea. We’re building our own venue at The Edinburgh Fringe, we’ve never done anything like this before. But this challenge is what makes our project unique and exciting. We can safely say that you will never have the opportunity to join in with something like ‘The Greenhouse’ ever again.

If nothing else, getting involved with ‘The Greenhouse’ will give you some incredible stories to tell, and you will win best anecdote at every social occasion you go to. Unless, of course, you hang out with people like Meryl Streep on the regular. In which case, you will never win, but at least maybe you’ll be able to impress Meryl by telling her about this unique theatre experience!

So, what are you waiting for? Apply to join our team now!

 

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Five Fun Fundraising ideas

As part of The Greenhouse, we’re offering all the shows that work with us a totally free performance space, and marketing support galore. We reckon there will also be a fair amount of cross-over for set, props, and costumes between different shows, so you can cross that off the list as well!

Once you remove some of those costs, we reckon each show will end up costing between £500 and £1000. That’s going to cover things like fringe registration, any set or props you want, and if you want to create your own individualised marketing campaign. And we’re offering teams the chance to raise that money themselves! All the shows that are a part of The Greenhouse will need to raise their own money to cover their own costs.

Yes, we get it, that can sound a little daunting. £1000? That seems a lot at first. But don’t worry, fundraising absolutely doesn’t need to be scary. You don’t have to do something crazy like run a marathon, the clue’s in the name it’s ‘fun’-draising! So, if you’re worried about the finances, keep your cool, because here are our top 5 tips for raising money for your shows during the fringe.

1. Bake sale   

An oldy but a goldy! Who doesn’t like cake?

Everyone underestimates the power of a bake sale, but in a town full of hungry students who will do just about anything to justify buying themselves a sweet snack during their study break, you can actually raise an impressive amount of money from a bake sale. It’s not too difficult either. Just get together a group of friends, find a spot with a good footfall (either outside the library or the union are good ones), each bake something tasty, and you’re set.

Extra monies for those of you who include vegan and gluten-free items into your cake selection. In an increasingly health-conscious age, people are much more likely to buy cake if they can console themselves with the fact that maybe it’s healthier than if they were to just buy a regular cake!      

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2. Pub quiz   

Now, students don’t need an excuse to go to the pub, so by holding a pub quiz you’re already catering to your potential donors’ desires. And more than anything, a pub quiz is a bit of fun. Pick whatever theme you fancy. Maybe have completely different themes for each round, or pick an overarching theme, like film, and go a bit more specialist. Consider adding things like a picture or a song round to really engage your audience, and there you go, a good-old time and lots of money for your cause.       

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3. An auction of promises    

This fundraising idea requires a bit more effort. But it is a lot of fun, and if done properly could earn you a lot of money, even more exposure, and consequently more money on top of that. An auction of promises may sound like an auction where what you buy never actually materialises, but come on that’s not going to get you any money is it?

An auction of promises is like a massive, public version of those ‘cute’ cheque books you can get as presents that promise people things like, ‘1 free cooked breakfast’, or ‘I promise to fix anything you need around your house when it breaks for free’. But instead of promising to do all these things for someone you know, you offer one of your services to a stranger on a one off. This could be anything from doing their ironing for them, to carrying their shopping back from Aldi for them.

It’s surprising how much people will pay for you to do the little jobs for them that they really can’t be bothered to do. Especially once deadline time hits! 

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4. Bring and buy sale  

Students like things that are cheap. That’s an undisputed fact. So, a bring and buy sale is great place for them to get new items to brighten up their room, or their wardrobe without breaking the bank.

The chances are that this would be a lot easier for you to organise than you think. If you have a team behind you, it’s highly likely that you’re going to have a selection of stuff between you all that you don’t really want anymore but can’t justify throwing away. You know how the saying goes, ‘one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure’, or something like that. This fundraising method is super practical as it kills two birds with one stone. You raise some money, whilst getting rid of your unwanted stuff! (It’s also a lot more environmentally friendly than sending things to landfill!  

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5. Marathon events

No, don’t panic. I’m not asking you to do an actual running marathon. Marathon events are things such as a movie marathon (e.g. watching all the Harry Potter films in one go), or a dance marathon (when you have someone dancing consecutively for 24 hours, it’s a bonus if you can get more than one person because it is more fun that way!). By adding marathon into the title of the event, people automatically think you’re putting in more effort than you actually are, which translates into more pennies in your pocket!     

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So, there you have it, 5 handy tips to raise money for your show in The Greenhouse! £1000 is our top end estimate, and in all likelihood you’ll really be spending far less than that, but it’s a good place to aim at. So what are you waiting for? Head over to our application form and apply now! 

 

Say hi to our new team!

Hopefully you will have seen that we’ve released applications to join us on our crazy summer project, the creation of a new venue at The Edinburgh Fringe 2019. Although we are currently looking for directors, writers, and other production team members to join our teams for the shows that will be housed in the building, we do already have a core team of 6 who have been driving the creation of this project. So, we thought now was as good a time as any to introduce them to you all.

Oli Savage 

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Role in the project:   

Artistic Director

What this role entails:    

I’m responsible for the overall artistic planning – it’s a lot of big picture thinking, developing the initial concept into a more cohesive idea, and making sure that everything is moving along in the right direction as we get closer to crunch time. On the one hand, it’s about setting deadlines and working out what needs to be done, but on the other hand, it’s also about balancing that with the artistic aims for the project so we can deliver both logistically and creatively.

How did you get started doing this kind of role?:    

I’ve been trying my hand as an Artistic Director for a few years now – after we founded BoxedIn Theatre in 2017, it seemed like a natural progression for me. So, I started looking at other opportunities to take up a similar role. I think the experience I’ve gained from that puts me in a fairly good starting position for this particular project, but like everything that BoxedIn works on, there’s going to be a lot of learning on the job. And that’s something I really enjoy doing!

What aspect/part of the project excites you the most?:    

For me I’m most excited about the big picture for this project. Making and supporting some really hard-hitting work and sparking real conversations about the environment. I think that’s something which is really important at the moment, and I’m excited to see how successful we are in actually making a difference. The project is big, scary, and ambitious, which makes it hard, but it also lends a sense of seriousness – and I’m confident that will carry our message through!

Emily Hepher   

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Role in the project:    

Executive Director

What this role entails:    

I’m heading the finances as well as the production side of the project, which involves things like venue management and logistics.

How did you get started doing this kind of role?:    

I started off in theatre as a stage manager and eventually moved into producing. This new project is going to require and challenge both those lines of experience, so I’m glad that I have both these skill sets under my belt.

What aspect/part of the project excites you the most?:      

I am most excited about taking on this huge challenge and working with my most talented friends to create a welcoming space! I want to push our creators to think outside the box and really use this opportunity and our flexibility to help create the shows they’ve always wanted to put on.

Louis Catliff   

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Role in the project:    

Creative Director

What this role entails:   

I’m in charge of making sure the 5 to 7 shows run smoothly, that casts and crews are happy and that the content of the shows, the marketing material and the overall look of the project is coherent and engaging for audiences.

How did you get started doing this kind of role?:  

I directed plays for four years while I was at University and co-directed the university playwriting troupe, SAND in my final year with Oli. As for getting involved with The Shed Oli and Emily coerced me over a 4pm bacon roll at the most recent Edinburgh Fringe. I simply couldn’t say no. And why would I want to? The project is going to be amazing!

What aspect/part of the project excites you the most?:     

The aspect of this project that most excites me is the sheer possibilities of our show line-up, in terms of genre, form and performers. Everything’s linked by the theme of the environment but within that there’s such huge breadth in which to get creative. I’m really looking forward to seeing what people pitch. Get weird!

Also, our shows will all be a fiver or less and I think that’s great because it helps to reduce the financial barrier that is often stops people from being able to experience theatre.

Sarah Chamberlain   

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Role in the project:    

Creative producer

What this role entails:   

I will be working with the production teams to help with the logistics of putting on their show in the venue, acting as the liaison between the teams and the exec team. I will also be working with the Creative Director to ensure our venue is as accessible as possible to all patrons and will be developing an education programme that will run alongside our shows.

How did you get started doing this kind of role?:    

I started getting involved in producing and production coordinating as the producer of Twelfth Night in the Mermaids Freshers Drama Festival. From there I have produced 8 shows including a Fringe Show (Polaris, Edinburgh Fringe 2017) and two BoxedIn productions (Romeo and Juliet, The Stage, 2017; WOOD National Tour, 2017) and a show in The Byre Theatre in St Andrews.

What aspect/part of the project excites you the most?:    

I’m really excited to work on making theatre accessible, and to create a workshop programme so that as many people as possible can experience the Fringe and be involved in our project.

Lucy Reis  

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Role in the project:    

Designer

What this role entails:    

For the role of designer my job will be to research safe and sustainable building options, and, design and create a building that harnesses the essence of the project, while making use of discarded materials. Along this process I will discuss options with architects and create drawings and models to illustrate ideas and then the final design. Along with the structure of the venue, my role will be to design the overall aesthetic and visual concept to the building.

How did you get started doing this kind of role?:    

I have always been drawn to designing spaces whether set designs for theatres, installations or curating exhibitions. While I have experience designing sets, designing the theatre itself is going to be a serious challenge but one I’m extremely excited tackle.

What aspect/part of the project excites you the most?:     

I am most excited about being able to see the project through from the early design stages to actually building the venue itself and to have the opportunity to work on something of this scale. The challenge of making use of discarded and scrap materials is also something I’m looking forward to.

Grace Thorner

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Role in the project:    

Head of marketing

What this role entails:    

I coordinate our marketing strategy and schedule, making sure we’re engaging with our audience and prospective new team members on social media, and run our blog. I am also in charge of getting in charge with press and other publications to make sure that our project gets as much coverage as possible so that people know about it!

How did you get started doing this kind of role?:    

I started as publicity assistant for the production of ‘The History Boys’ that went up in The Byre Theatre in February. I then joined the BoxedIn team for the ‘Back of the Van’ tour we did this summer just gone and ended up as head of social media and publicity because we needed someone to fill that role. Turns out I really enjoy it! So when Oli offered me this opportunity I couldn’t really say no.

What aspect/part of the project excites you the most?:    

I think it’s the causes that it stands for. I think it’s incredibly important to present environmental issues in a slightly less conventional way because it offers a unique way to start an important dialogue. I also believe that accessibility to theatre is such an important thing, and so I am so excited to be working on a project that promotes that!  

Lara Tillotson  

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Role in the project:    

Graphic Designer

What this role entails:   

I design the graphics, all the graphics.

How did you get started doing this kind of role?:    

I got involved in theater because of graphic design. In my first year of uni I was in Art Society and was asked to design a poster for my friend’s play. I enjoy playing around in photoshop so I kept doing it and here we are now!

What aspect/part of the project excites you the most?:   

I’m excited for sort of the uncertainty and the troubleshooting nature of “how are we going to build our own venue at the fringe?” It’s sort of like a puzzle and once the pieces are all in place it’s going to be so epic!

So, this is the team  we have so far, but we want it to be even bigger and better. There are loads of skills required in making this project happen, from working on individual shows to helping us with the everyday set up and running of the venue. No matter what your skillset, we’d love to have you involved – so head over to our applicaiton form and apply to join our team today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our New Project

This summer, we’re doing something a little different. There’s a lot of the same at the fringe. It’s expensive, it’s wasteful, and we reckon it’s probably time for a change. So, we’re incredibly excited to announce our project for next summer – The Shed.A site-specific performance venue at the heart of the fringe, created and inspired by the environment, and our relationship to it.

Sounds exciting doesn’t it? We thought you might think so – you can apply here, or read on to hear a little more about the project!

The Plan

This year, we will be building, designing, and managing our own venue at the fringe – a scotland-859332_1920venue that will showcase between 5 and 7 shows, demonstrating some of the most amazing talent that St Andrews (and beyond) has to offer. These shows will cover a variety of different styles and genres,  but will be united by a common goal – to spark a real-time discussion on how we can actually start implementing environmental change, and stop destroying the planet before it’s too late.

The Space

The space itself will be designed and built using only found and recycled materials, and 42840301_2199146713703713_4046175830705963008_nwe’re looking in to even more ways to make the build and execution of the space itself carbon neutral.

The Initiative

We’re aiming to implement this waste free initiative across all areas of production. This means a zero-waste marketing policy–no posters, no flyers, nothing that’s going to end up in the bin. We’re going to have to get creative with this – lots of digital marketing, QR codes on t-shirts and much, much more.

Tied in to that will be a notion of education and accessibilityall tickets to shows in our space will cost £5, and a select number of tickets will be free for young peoplebelow the age of 18. We want to make sure that everyone will be able to see the shows, regardless of income bracket. Alongside this, we’ll be running an educational programmethat will allow anyone to come and discuss our process and how we made our work.

The Future

The project begins now – over the course of the next 10 months, we’re going to be financing, planning, and executing this project. It’s insane. It’s ambitious. It’s incredibly exciting. And we want you to be a part of it.

At the moment, we’re looking for pitches from individuals or teams who might be app-3666365_1920.jpginterested in working with us to make this project a reality – if you want to apply as an individual, we’ll be matching you up to like-minded people to work on a project. If you want to apply as a team then that will be the team that you work with through the project. Read on for a little bit more information about what we are looking for and how to apply!

Your Projects

Here are the basics that you need to know if you’re thinking about working with us:

  • The project itself will run for the entire length of the Edinburgh Fringe (the month of August). We’d also like to have all the shows rehearsing through July.
  • The Shed will not charge you for hire of the venue – at the moment, we believe the venue will be keeping all the ticketing revenue in order to fund the endeavour, but we are open to a discussion on this to help the productions and the teams cover their costs.
  • The Shed is giving each team the opportunity to finance their own project in any way they see fit. We anticipate that shows will average out costing between £500 and £1000 – and we will be on hand throughout the year to help you every step of the way in raising that money.
  • Teams will be partially responsible for their own marketing, although there will be significant support from The Shed’s marketing team in terms of developing strategy and active marketing of shows.

Creatives

 So, you’re a creative. You might be a director, a choreographer, a writer – or something clapperboard-29986_1280.pngentirely different. But no matter what you are, you’ve got an idea for a show. Something fun, something important, something that ties in with our themes about the environment and our relationship too it.

That’s really fantastic, and we’d love to see that show get put on in The Shed this summer! Applications are now open, so head over to the form and tell us a little bit about yourself and the project that you have in mind. Don’t worry if you don’t necessarily have a team together quite yet – you can apply as an individual, and we’ll pair you up with production teams that are like minded. Be prepared to debate and discuss your project with them as it is brought to reality.

Production

Maybe you’re a producer, a stage-manager, a technician, or a whole host of other awesome behind-the-scenes roles. You’re the life blood of this project, and you’re what’s going to really make it sing!

Head over to the ‘Production’ section of the form and tell us a little bit about yourself and why you’d like to work on this project. We’d love to hear a little bit about who you are and what you’re interested in, to make sure that we set you up with a team that you really love!

 Teams

 You’ve found a fantastic team of great people and you’re passionate about your project? Great! All you need to do is fill out the ‘Creatives’ section of our application form, letting us know that you also have a team together.

This is an incredibly exciting project, and we’d love to have you involved. We know it’s a lot to take in, so keep an eye on the website and our social media over the next few weeks to learn a little bit more about what the project is and why you should apply. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at info@boxedintheatre.com.

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We absolutely cannot wait to hear from you!

 

One last hurrah!

So, when Oli left you he said the next update would be coming very soon. It’s safe to say at this point that it definitely has not come as soon as he thought it would! What can I say, we both severely underestimated the temporal and energy drain that is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But here I am, better late than never, with a little update for you about all our goings on at the world’s largest international arts festival.

We ‘Play on’ the mile.

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Hanna and I were ready and totally taking it very, very seriously!

Oli promised you an exciting day when he ended the last blog post, and Saturday was most certainly that! Ana, Oli and I met in the living room of our flat (did we mention we now live in a flat instead of a van, it has WALLS and there are STAIRS!! If you don’t know why that’s not incredibly exciting for me, you evidently haven’t been reading all our blog posts. No gold star for you!) for some last-minute rehearsals to add some harmonies into the ‘Play On!’ songs, before they made their second appearance on tour (we are performing a trilogy you know). Then we headed out onto the mile, our first performance on a stage, our first time to properly showcase our vocal abilities with microphones and everything, we walked down the five hundred flights of stairs from our top floor flat all hyped with excitement (okay and also stress because we were running a bit late) right into the pouring rain. Now, this is something we definitely should have expected what with being in Edinburgh and all that, but I mean the rain could have waited one more day before making an appearance. Or at the very least held off until we’d done our outside performance. When we got to the mile it was no surprise to anyone that the bad weather had put many people off, and everyone walking had their heads firmly down, hoods up, trying to get out of the rain as quickly as possible. We didn’t let this stop us, however, and we put on a great performance for those people who were there, and hopefully brought a bit of sunshine into their otherwise very dreary walk along the mile!

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The weather was not on our side!

Once we had performed it was time to grab our lunch and head over to The Space @ Symposium Hall to get ready for ‘To The Ocean’, call time was 2:20 so we needed to make sure we were relaxed and well-fed in time to get all warmed up. This time though the warm up did include scooping water out of the tent and a heck of a lot of hand towels to dry the floor. Thankfully this was only a necessity on this singular occasion, and there were no other near floodings of the tent during our fringe run. And yes, don’t worry we made lots of puns about how we were literally bringing people ‘To The Ocean’. Once the tent was nice and dry, we were ready to let people in, once again we had a lovely audience and have had really positive reviews.

Then it was time for a break before we performed ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, as you can imagine with two shows a day we got into a bit of a routine of flyering, lunch, performance, break, performance, so I don’t want to bore you with the details. So instead I thought I’d give you my highlights from the fringe.

It’s a laugh and a half

I’m going to make a bold suggestion and say that if you don’t know what you want to see at the Fringe then pick a comedy show. It’s hard to sum up what a piece of theatre is in just 50 words, and so by picking a show based solely on its short summary you run the risk of spending your hard-earned cash on a show that you really don’t enjoy. But, the way I see it, if you go and see comedy you are guaranteed to have a good time. Comedy is funny by definition, so if you go and see a comedy show there is about a 90% chance you’re going to find the material amusing* (*this is a completely made up statistic), and there’s a 100% chance you’ll laugh at least once because laughter is infectious. If everyone else in the room is having a good time, it’s basically impossible for you not to have fun.

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Disclaimer, although we are having a good time we have not just seen comedy. We’ve just seen ‘Out of the Blue’, although I think my undying love for them caused some comedy for everyone else.

Now I’m sure you’re all dying to hear who my favourite comedy acts this fringe were, well I didn’t go to that many (only the ones my Dad paid for), but I had a brilliant time at all of them. The standouts for me were: The Sleeping Trees, Josh Pugh, and Rob Oldham. Oldham is the perfect example of what I mean when I say that if you’re not sure what to go and see, go see a comedian. It was the last night my family were in Edinburgh and we wanted to go and see one last show together. The act we’d originally picked was sold out by the time we went to buy the tickets, and so we picked one of the only comedians left who’s show wasn’t on ridiculously late. I was very, very sceptical of a comedian who used poems in their set, however, these were actually my favourite part. At only 23 years old, Rob Oldham’s content was very relatable for my brothers and I, and this just made the content even funnier.

This is a theatre blog you know?

The Fringe, ultimately for us at BoxedIn, will always primarily be about theatre. And so, without further delay here are my top picks from the selection of drama I saw: ‘Freeman’, ‘Flushed’, ‘Hollywood Effect’, and ‘Thaw’. It was lovely to see our friends from St Andrews in ‘The Hollywood Effect’ and ‘Thaw’. It’s crazy that there are so many talented people in one tiny town, and it was great this talent had the opportunity to be showcased in Edinburgh!

Though my favourite show out of everything that I managed to see over the two weeks I was in Edinburgh was without a doubt ‘Forbidden Stories’. A multimedia performance that explored the theme of borders in the separated island of Cyprus. The performance took me on a rollercoaster of emotions, it was an exceptional masterclass in how to tell stories and create a totally meaningful work of art. I honestly cannot stress enough how beautiful, poignant, and spell bounding ‘Forbidden Stories’ was, and if any of you get a chance to see this, I can promise you you’re in for a treat!

Food Glorious Food!

In case you hadn’t seen/heard/had filtered into your brain by osmosis, we were performing both ‘To The Ocean’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ every day. This of course meant that we needed lots of sustenance to keep us going. On the day of our first performances a lovely little coffee hut just off of Nicholson Square, Cheapshot Coffee, was giving out a FREE coffee for every person who was working at the fringe. Now, if I’ve learnt anything about myself this summer, and believe me I have learnt a lot. One of the main things is how much I love coffee. Like seriously, I’m not just saying it, my life would be decidedly less good without coffee. So, a free coffee during the break between our shows made it one of the best days ever!! Also, the coffee was great, so 10/10 recommend Cheapshot to coffee lovers visiting Edinburgh.

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Look at us, all smiles with our FREE beverages!

The ‘foodie’ fun did not stop there, however, as we all enjoyed a real culinary delight on the last Wednesday of our run. Rowan’s sister Jess had come up to visit for her 18thBirthday, and so in celebration we all went out for a meal. The restaurant that was chosen for this joyous occasion was Cosmo, an all-you-can-eat buffet. They had every single kind of food you could want from a classic British Roast dinner, to Pizza, to curry, and did I mention they had vegan sushi?? HEAVEN. Now, please all heed my warning, DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT go to an all-you-can-eat restaurant with Mr Oliver Savage, because there is no way that you are not rolling out of the building on some weird kind of food high. The man is a machine, and god knows where he puts it all! It was a fab evening though, and as we left the restaurant and went back to our fringe flat, hoping that the walk would burn off some of the humungous amount of calories we had just consumed, Ana, Hanna, and I began to feel a bit giddy. It is not normal to eat that amount of food in one sitting, and it does funny things to your brain. Some people, like Oli want to move very slowly so they don’t make themselves sick. Others, like Ana, Hanna, and I, think that it is the perfect time to skip along the streets of Edinburgh blasting the soundtrack to Mamma Mia 2 out of our phones and singing along.

We made it!!

All in all, it was 11 days straight of fun and games, then the 19thAugust rolled around, and it was time for our last day of performances. Both the shows went well, and we had great audiences for both. ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was particularly special as we had many friendly faces in the audience! Then that was it, tour was officially over, and of course we celebrated, and celebrated hard. Before our meal at Cosmo we had all received handcrafted invitations to the third ‘bi-annual BoxedIn awards’, so when we got back to the flat we all got party clothes on as Oli decorated the living room, and then we were all set to party! Now, I’ll keep some of the details of the night secret because I don’t want to spill all of Mr Savage’s party planning secrets, also to protect some people’s dignity (yes this may or may not include mine!). But long story short, there was a delicious home-cooked dinner from Oli, some awards, some drinks, and some games, we hit the town for a bit afterwards, and then all went to bed for a blissful night’s sleep …

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Here is your one and only sneak insight into what went on that night …

UNTIL we had to wake up at the ungodly hour of 8am to take the tent down. It’s safe to say that none of us had missed the saga of putting the tent up, taking it down, debating whether or not we should put it up in case it got wet, you know everything that happened on tour. We were going to take the tent down straight after our show on Sunday, however, as our luck would have it, it had been raining all day meaning the tent was too soaked to be put away. Therefore, we had to get up early on Monday to take it down. The staff at the Space probably had a very entertaining time watching a group of 6 tired (and dare I say slightly hungover) actors try to pack up their tent for the last time. After the tent was finally packed away, Oli treated us all to breakfast at Babylon Café, and when we headed back to the flat it was time, and the reality hit us all as Ana finished packing her bags and headed to the airport. And just like that the monumental challenge we’d taken on was finally, and properly over. 17 locations, 6 friends, 4 countries, 2 and a half months, and 1 van, and I think we all did something pretty exceptional!

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We’ve come a long way from that first day we arrived in Ireland

 

 

 

And the heavens opened …

When Oli left you, we’d arrived in the beautiful town of Balloch. It was a scorcher of a day, and as we sat in the park writing on our flyers we took the necessary precautions and lathered up in sun cream. After all the flyers had been dropped off it was still a barmy summer’s day, so we did what any sane person would do at 4:30 on a sunny Thursday, we went to the pub. I was so hyped for my first PImms of the year, and Oli and I had decided to share a jug. The price, however, did not quite fit into my budget. You’ve got to give it to The Tullie Inn though because they do have a lovely selection of VERY reasonably priced gin, so it was a rhubarb gin and tonic for me!

Once the temperature had cooled a bit, we’d drunk our drinks, and made use of the pub’s free Wifi, we headed back to the van. The Balloch House Hotel had kindly let us stay in their car park, so we were super, super close to our performance location on the grass just behind their pub. This lovely spot provided us with a wonderful view of the lake. As team cook began our preparations for dinner, we were just in awe of how beautiful everything was.

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Look at us all being so domestic!

This serenity, however, did not last for long. We arrived in Balloch with the threat of rain was looming over us. We didn’t believe it when we arrived because it was so warm. But on Saturday morning when we awoke, there were some VERY dark clouds looming over us. After a quick shower at the Duncan Mills memorial slipway, 50p for 5 minutes is a pretty good rate. On a side note, here’s a rant about something that has been bothering me: During the course of this tour we used many a campsite/public shower, and what I can tell you from our extensive fieldwork is that normally you have to pay 50p-£1 for 4 minutes. Now this has always bothered me, why 4 minutes? Who decided that 4 minutes was enough time? That is such a random number, and this was evidently decided by someone with incredibly short hair, because no way is 4 minutes long enough to wash your hair! Anyway, I digress, after we were nice and clean, Ana and I headed over to Loch Lommand Shores shopping centre to commence flyering. The weather was quite overcast, and it seemed that not many people wanted to do shopping on a grey Friday. But we did manage to hand out a couple of flyers to some very enthusiastic people, which is always good!

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I have never been to a shopping centre that had such a beautiful view.

After our flyering shift, Ana and I headed back to the Tullie Inn. (Did I mention they had good, reasonably priced coffee, and free Wifi). The rain that had been a mild threat for the past couple of days, now seemed like a very, very real possibility. We were later joined by Oli and Rowan who had finished their flyering shift. All of us took it in turns to look worryingly out of the window and see if the rain had started. We even began to actively NOT learn from ‘To The Ocean’, saying things like ‘at least it’s not raining’, and ‘aw, I really hope it doesn’t rain’ in a futile attempt to get the weather to make up its mind and rain now so that it would be dry in time for our show. If you have been following this tour and are a regular reader of our blog posts, you will know that rain and our tent are a no. Not because it can’t withstand rain, but because we cannot pack away a damp tent into our little van. That will cause two very big problems, a mouldy tent, and possibly some very ill actors!

It got to 5:00pm, call time, and the rain had not yet descended so we set about warming up, BUT crucially we didn’t erect the tent. The plan was to leave that task to the last minute so that we could make sure our lovely tent would not get wet. This, we believed, was a solid plan. It got to 6:30pm and the promised rain had not arrived, so we put the tent up. At around 6:55pm however, the heavens opened. We all sprinted to the tent and managed to take it down in a couple of minutes before it got wet. The whole dissembling process didn’t take longer than five minutes, and although we were definitely given a kick up the butt by the fact that we didn’t want to be caught in a storm, the ease of the process must also be attributed to the fab Bell Tent Boutique, who have made their tents so easy to use!

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The best tent-protection team one could ask for!

Once everything was packed away we dragged our soggy bodies to the Tullie Inn again. Another problem with the rain, apart from just getting wet, is that we cannot cook because we do that outside too. So that meant we just HAD to treat ourselves to a pub dinner. We were also joined by Balloch local (and friend) Colin, so you know, we REALLY had to treat ourselves. Especially considering he’d come to see us perform and we were not able to put on a show for him! All our food was delicious, even if Adam did have to wait a while for his crumble! And we all finished the evening feeling like maybe we’d eaten slightly too much food (and maybe spent a bit too much money). Colin left us just after 9, and we stayed in the pub for one more drink to keep out of the rain, and YES for the free WiFi. When we left the pub, the rain had well and truly started, there were streams instead of roads, and by the time we’d made the short walk back to the van, my feet were well and truly soaked. (My shoes are still not dry in case anyone’s interested.)

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We do love a good bit of pub food.

The next morning, we did not wake to rain, but the clouds overhead promised that rain would soon be upon us. So, Oli and Rowan made the decision to cancel that evening’s show. There was a strange mix of relief (we didn’t have to spend all day anxiously waiting to see if it rained or not) and disappointment because we had to cancel both of our shows. But all was not lost because Rowan came up with a brilliant plan, we would perform ‘Play On!’ in any pub that was willing to take us at such short notice. I mean, it is supposed to be the ‘Back of the Van’ trilogy afterall! So after an afternoon of boring office work, which included sorting things out for the Edinburgh Fringe, tickets to both ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘To The Ocean’ are selling well guys so go and get yours now, we did our first proper performance of ‘Play On!’ and it was a success.

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I promise we do all really enjoy rehearsing ‘Play On!’

The weather, however, was still rubbish which meant we couldn’t cook, and after the previous night’s expensive meal we could not afford another pub dinner. BUT if you will cast your mind back to our adventures in Eyemouth you will remember Rowan and Hanna’s quest to find a pizza crunch that had ended in disappointment. So, our choice of dinner establishment was made for us, we headed to the chippy for a nice cheap dinner, and Rowan introduced Ana and Hanna to the Scottish delicacy of the pizza crunch. Once our dinner had been eaten we headed back to the Tullie Inn as we had kindly been offered free drinks for our performance, and the game that has been known to ruin friendships and relationships returned, Monopoly Deal. We played a couple of rounds, had a couple of drinks, and then headed back to the van for a relatively early night.

On Sunday morning we awoke to yet more rain, but this did not put a dampener on our spirits because we were travelling to our last location Dollar. After nearly two months of travelling, Oli uttered for the last time ‘and to Aldi’, and we set off on the road again. I’ll let Oli fill you in on everything that occurred in Dollar, but here are some spoilers, we have had a very special person’s birthday, AND Oli surprised us all with something very, very nice!

 

 

So, what do you have to do to become a ‘Herring Queen’? I’m just asking for a friend …

Now, Eyemouth, we didn’t have the best introduction. I realise that wasn’t your fault, and I’m sorry I held it against you for our first day. To put this into context, we arrived at Eyemouth in the pouring rain, like it was literally tipping it down, and I had severe caffeine withdrawal symptoms. As anyone who knows me knows, and let’s face it even if you don’t know me, this is not a recipe for a happy Grace. So, when Oli stopped the van to go and look for our performance location, I jumped at the chance to go and explore the town, even though there was an actual storm concurrently occurring because I am not settled in a new location until I know there is a good coffee shop!

After a stroll along the harbour we found Obolo bar and bistro, our very own barn in the storm (that’s a ‘To The Ocean’ reference lads). The staff were super friendly, the drinks were reasonably priced, and the WiFi was really fast. Basically everything we look for in a coffee shop, oh and there were plugs for charging all our electrical devices. We hit the jackpot. Once Oli had secured where we were performing, he and the others who had stayed in the van came to join us. As the rain had cleared, we now had to set about letting the good people of Eyemouth know we had arrived. We split into pairs and went around posting flyers through letterboxes and putting our posters up in any shops that were still open.

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Safe to say it was a little bit grey when we arrived.

One thing that we had noted upon our arrival was the flags of all the ‘Herring Queens’ around Eyemouth. We continued to see these throughout our walk around the town, and those who have received the honour of the title of the ‘Herring Queen’ have plaques on their house denoting when they won this prestige. Obviously this phenomenon piqued our interest, how did one achieve this honour? What did this job entail? So, after dinner we did what any good millennial does when they don’t know the answer, we googled it. Google, however, let us down this time, even the Wikipedia page didn’t shed light on what a ‘Herring Queen’ is. We therefore had to be resign ourselves to the fact that we would never fully know the answer.

Even though this question still hung over us, we managed to get a good sleep, until we were rudely woken up by a rather loud lorry. Anyone would think we were sleeping in a working harbour … oh wait we were. The day was rather grey, but Ana and I adopted a positive spirit and went to the town centre to commence the first flyering shift. The weather, however, seemed to put a lot of people off a stroll along the promenade as it was kind of dead. We didn’t manage to hand out that many flyers at all. But those we did give flyers to, for the most part, seemed genuinely interested, which was a very positive sign! After our flyering shift Ana and I went back to the van to have our lunch. As we strolled along the harbour side we saw some worrying police tape near our van. We passed Adam on his way into town, and he told us that we had to go up the hill, past Gunsgreen House, and then down the hill, but we could still make it to the van. Ana and I were intrigued, and it’s safe to say we were not the only ones. It seemed like half of Eyemouth had come to see what was going on. The reason for the police presence is yet another elusive Eyemouth mystery that was never properly solved. All we know is that the lifeguards were involved. After the excitement of a possible crime scene, we went back to Oblo to get a coffee and some WiFi and were later joined by Oli and Rowan who were working on marketing for the Edinburgh Fringe. Our shows are on sale on line and they’re selling remarkably well, so head on over to get your tickets for ‘To The Ocean’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ now!

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What a beautiful place to perform!

And then it was call time, and we headed back to the van to put the tent up outside the beautiful Gunsgreen House, where we had kindly been allowed to perform. Our beautiful Bell Tent Boutique tent didn’t look at all out of place in front of the stately house. It struck me how out-of-place, yet totally in the right place the almost stately home was in this little seaside town, and how it made so much sense for our tent to be pitched in front of it. The aim of this tour is to make theatre more accessible, so when we arrive in 16 out of the 17 locations (not including the Edinburgh Fringe, obviously) of our tour we don’t really fit. What is a travelling theatre company doing in Roundstone? Or Enniskillen? Or Bala? But all the towns and villages we have visited have had such a strong creative community, which may not be apparent upon first glance. So, when we pitch our tent in all these locations, even though we may look a bit strange with our hippy van and big bell tent, we’re finding ourselves amongst a lot of like-mined people. We are finding places where we fit.

With some new direction under our belt for the first scene, our performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was a really good show. And then when it was time to make dinner, we were joined by some rather fitting guests, seals! Ana was particularly taken with them, she may even have shed a tear or two. Topic of conversation at the dinner table then shifted from talk about seals, to discussion of other animal-related things, until we were reminiscing on the great film that is Madagascar. Then, after what can only be described as the BEST Mort impression ever by the one and only Hanna Lawson, we decided to watch Madagascar together in the entrance hall of the harbour building. While team clean did the washing up, Ana, Oli, and I brought up all our tent cushions, snacks, and prosecco. It was like the best sleepover ever!

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Aren’t we the cutest dysfunctional family ever?!?!

The next morning did not pass in such a wholesome way, however, as I was mentally scared forever. I was back at the promenade, just innocently doing some flyering. I was mid- ‘Can I interest you in some free theatre?’ – when something wet landed in my ear. It took me a moment to process what had happened, and then it hit me, a seagull had just pooped in my ear! I went over to Rowan in a panicked state of disgust, and she took me to the public toilets to get myself cleaned up. You’ve got to give it to the bird that it managed to aim directly into my ear. There was next to no spillage, and there was no poo on my clothes. But it was just a very, very gross experience!

But the day was made better, by not only the reappearance of sunshine, but also a visit from our friend Caitlin Morris! It was so lovely to see her and her family, and to have some friendly faces in the crowd for our performance of ‘To The Ocean’. With Caitlin having already seen the original performance back in the harbour café last November, we were excited to show her how different it is now, with not only different cast members, but also in a completely different location! The Morris family, and the rest of the audience, seemed to really enjoy the show, which was great! So Rowan and Hanna decided that a celebratory ‘pizza crunch’ was in order. Adam, Ana, Oli, and I didn’t fancy a takeaway, so Oli and I went to the Co-op to get some ingredients for dinner. As we were walking through town we saw a sight that we knew would not please Hanna and Rowan, a closed fish and chip shop. We went back to warn them and the Morris family who were strolling through the town in blissful ignorance. I have not seen such a disappointed Rowan possibly ever before. They did, however, manage to console themselves with some treats from the Chinese instead.

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Look, our friend came to see our show!!

Monday morning came around and we were rudely awoken again by lorries and a very hot and slightly smelly van (I mean fair enough, we have been living in it for nearly two months now!) and at just after 10:30 it was time to leave Eyemouth and head to our next location, Douglas. I’m going to leave Oli to tell you about our time in Douglas. All I’ll say is that it was not what we were expecting …

 

 

The time when we met everyone’s family

Okay, so maybe we didn’t meet everyone’s family. But, as you’ll know if you’ve read Oli’s previous blog post, Bala was all set to be a weekend of fun, family, and festivities (it was a special someone’s birthday after all). And it certainly did not disappoint!

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Look at what a beautiful view we had to wake up to!

Happy birthday to Oli!

Although Saturday may have been a very special day, that didn’t mean there wasn’t still work to be done. I was on the first flyering shift at 12 with the birthday boy. So, at just after 11:30 we wondered into town to get him his desired birthday breakfast, croissants. We walked into the Co-Op, went over to their bakery section, and were met with extreme disappointment as there were no croissants left! A disaster I’m sure you can agree, one must have what they want for breakfast on their birthday!! This meant we were now on a mission to find Oli a croissant, we searched high and low, and eventually the Spar came to our rescue and Oli was able to snag their last croissant and pain-au-chocolat.

Once the birthday boy had been fed, we set about flyering the town. There was so many lovely people, and we had a really positive reaction from the people of Bala. One of the highlights of the day, however, was when Oli caught a glimpse of his parents who had come up to Bala to surprise him. It was like watching a child who just got exactly what they wanted for Christmas, as he skip-jumped across the road (the green man was flashing on the traffic lights don’t worry. We take road safety very seriously here at BoxedIn).

Literally so many family members

So, it turns out that Bala was the most convenient location for not only Oli’s parents, but Adam and Hanna’s too. We all met Adam’s parents on Friday night when they came down to look at the van their son had been living in for the past month and a half. We also met Lucy, the CUTEST dog ever. She will probably hold the title of my favourite audience member ever for a very long time!

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She’s just sooooo cute!!

Saturday was the day to meet the Lawsons and the Savages. I nearly flyered this jolly family who were walking down the street towards me, until I saw that one of them was Hanna and expertly deduced this meant they were probably her family. Now, the Lawson’s do not do things by halves, if anyone was coming to support Hanna that meant they were ALL coming to see her. I met her parents, Grandparents, and her Grandparents’ friends, all of whom are truly wonderful people!

Later that afternoon Rowan and I went back to the van to have our lunch and stumbled across the Savages having a family birthday lunch by the lake. Carol and Ken were also so kind and easy to talk to, and it was really special to be surrounded by such a warm family atmosphere.

And it blew up like a circus tent!

That afternoon, we set about putting up our Bell Tent Boutique tent in our new performance location by the Penllyn leisure centre. There was a strong breeze coming off the lake, and as soon as we opened the entrance of the tent to put it up the tent filled up with air. It stood taller than it had ever stood before, and from the inside it looked almost like a big top. We managed to battle the breeze and put the tent up, and that evening there was a lovely atmosphere as the tent was filled with family, friends, and residents of Bala.

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How pretty is our tent??

Party time!

After the show, Carol and Ken kindly took us all out for dinner at Plas Yn Dre to celebrate Oli’s birthday. As we all sat around the dinner table enjoying a delicious meal, Ana and I reflected on what a special experience we are currently a part of. All the people around the table had experienced the joy from our performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and the tour had impacted all our lives in some way. Even though not all our families were there, the camaraderie around the table made us feel like we had created our own little family that weekend in Bala. It was a truly wonderful evening.

Once we had lined our stomachs with some good food and the parents had left us, we hit the town! Now Bala has a great selection of drinking establishments, and at night it even has some of my favourite places, pub-clubs! For those of you how have not experienced a pub club before, you are missing out. We lit up the dance floor with our moves and enthusiasm (which may or may not have been ignited by a couple of tequila shots), and we partied the night away.

The day after the night before

The next day we all woke up a little worse for wear, some worse than others (I’m sorry I was grumpy Adam!). Adam and Oli went for breakfast with their parents before they had to make their ways back home. And Hanna and her family left to have lunch with a family friend.

After family time, we set about flyering the town again. Although it was a bit quieter because it was a Sunday, we were still greeted with lots of enthusiasm. And that evening, even though the Lawsons were the only parents still standing, we had another fab audience!

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Photo creds to the Lawsons for capturing this special action shot. 

Road trip to England?!?!

The next morning, we woke up to RAIN! It was a definite shock to the system, and a reminder of how lucky we’ve been with the weather so far. We all got ready for the day, hopped in the van, went to Co-Op for some breakfast, and then set off on a road trip to England. It may be home to half of our team, but we were yet to go to England. As it is a pretty long drive from Bala to Keswick, we had scheduled a stop in Manchester. I had never been, but I’d heard great things, so I was VERY excited, and I was NOT disappointed! Once we arrived in Manchester, Hanna, Oli, and Rowan went to the bank to sort out important financial things, Ana met up with a friend, Adam found a coffee shop to charge all his electrical appliances, and I went to Boots because as much as I love local pharmacies they do not stock everything, and when you live in a van having all the necessary toiletries is a must. I then met up with Hanna and we went to a vintage shop/vegan café called Teatime Collective. Now, you don’t have to be vegan to appreciate this place, if you have taste buds you will have a good time, 10 out of 10 recommend. Hanna and I then browsed the shops vowing not to spend any money. A shout out to Thunder Egg who managed to make us break this promise we made to ourselves, because we needed those clothes.

After our whistle stop visit to the city, we set off to the Steele’s house, as they had very kindly agreed to host us that evening. We arrived in the pouring rain which could have put a dampener on things, but we were very warmly welcomed into their beautiful family home. I had forgotten how nice it was to be in a building where you could walk up the stairs. This may sound weird, but when you’ve been living in a van for nearly two months, it’s the little things that bring you joy!

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Thank you to the Steeles for such a lovely evening!

Annabel had also invited some of our friends from St Andrews, Ellie Burke and Henry Roberts round so we could have a mini summer reunion. Nicky and Tom were the hosts with the most providing us with multiple snacks, copious amounts of alcohol, and delicious barbeque on one of the only days this summer that has not been barbeque weather. By the time we all went to bed we were very full, very content, and very excited to get a good night’s sleep!

The next morning came around far too quickly. And once we had emptied the Steele’s hot water tank as we do very much enjoy having access to an actual, proper shower, we headed off on our way to our next destination Keswick. I’ll leave it to Oli to tell you all about our adventures here. Spoilers, we have found some more incredibly kind and wonderful people who are willing to support this crazy adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saying goodbye to the Emerald Isle

When Oli left you, we had arrived in our final Irish destination, Crosshaven. Now, I’ve made no secret about how much I love Ireland. I think my most overused phrases this past month have been, ‘this place is my favourite’, and ’10 out of 10 coming back here’.  So, as you can imagine, the prospect of performing in Ireland for the last time was not something I was looking forward to. I was, however, very much looking forward to visiting Crosshaven because, well, it was another Irish destination and the Emerald Isle hadn’t let me down so far, and Crosshaven certainly did not disappoint!

We arrived at the GAA (Gaelic Athletics Association) our original performance venue. And whilst it was a lovely location, it was a bit too far out of town, there were no permanently accessible bathrooms, and we couldn’t actually find any members of staff to talk to. This presented a slight problem. We needed a performance venue, we needed to publicise our show, we needed access to showers, and we needed food, like fast. It was gone 1 and we are a hungry group of travellers. So, we headed on into the town.

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The beautiful view from the GAA

Of course, our first port of call was the local supermarket to buy our lunch. As I’ve stressed before, this tour is not cheap, and we are all students, so saving money is of vital importance. My standard go-to lunch is a good bit of bread and hummus and an apple, nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive. Rowan managed to out-do all our finds though, and got herself a whole tomato, pesto, and olive focaccia for only €2!! It’s safe to say we were all a bit jealous of her steal. Although, it must be noted that it did somewhat defeat her, apparently it got very oily towards the end!

After we’d had our lunch it was time to get to work. Our new performance venue next to the Rivers End Café was secured, and we all set about writing our updated location on our flyers while Oli went in search of some showers for us. Han played us all her ‘Vannn’ playlist (spoilers it’s full of bangers!!) while we wrote in the sunshine. All in all it was pretty idyllic. Then Oli made our day even better by telling us that he had found us showers! We must thank the Royal Cork Yacht Club for letting a smelly touring theatre company use their lovely showers for three days. It was an absolute treat!

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Ana, Hanna, and Rowan all went for a yummy breakfast at the Rivers End Cafe before their flyering shifts. 

Once all our problems had been solved it was time to get on with publicising our shows. We split into teams of two as usual. Adam and Ana canvassing the shops, Hanna and Rowan taking the left side of the town, while Oli and I took the right. Posting flyers through letterboxes is usually a harmless task, however, after just moments earlier telling Oli that I had never been attacked by a dog while flyering I faced THREE near death experiences. Fun fact for you all, running away from dogs after walking up the mountainous drive ways that EVERY HOUSE in Crosshaven seemed to have was NOT easy! But hey, at least it helped keep me fit I guess!

At the end of all our flyering shifts we all met up again. Adam and Ana had done an exceptionally good job and had found Dennis and Jolene at Cronins Bar, who have earned Catherine-level status as being absolutely amazing! They posted about our shows on their Facebook page, let us use their toilets, and even offered us free dinner! Which we took, I mean come on its free food, also it looked AMAZING!! After a lovely dinner, a couple of drinks and a few games of cards, we all went to bed satisfied and looking forward for the next day in Crosshaven.

 

The next morning was our first experience of the marina showers. Now, after a week of campsite showers you cannot understand how excited we were to wash our hair in a proper shower, where you can control the water temperature and how long the shower runs for. We were not disappointed, it was bliss. Freshly showered and smelling and looking beautiful we set about the day’s task of flyering to drum up interest for our show. In a slight change to our usual schedule, the three flyering shifts were intersected with a tent putting up session, because Adam had to watch the England vs Sweden match. Now, we’ve been putting this tent up now for over a month, so we were not prepared for something to stall this well-oiled machine. We’ve experienced many different types of weather on our travels, rain, wind, extreme heat, but what we have not had to encounter so far is a sea breeze. And let me tell you, these are deceptively tricky beasts. We had to fully attempt to put up the tent TWICE because the first time the breeze nearly blew the tent away. This meant that Adam missed the beginning of the match (sorry pal!), but our beautiful Bell Tent Boutique Tent was up, and giving us lots of free publicity by being a great spectacle of interest.

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Isn’t she pretty! 

The community of Crosshaven had been brilliant in spreading the word about our show, and this meant that we had our biggest audience for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and certainly the highest number of children we’d ever had in the crowd. As our shows were created to be fun for the whole family, it was really interesting and informative to see how the children responded to our show. Shakespeare can be difficult to understand even as an adult, but we really think the addition of original music helped to keep the children engaged in what can be a tricky piece of theatre! After the show we were presented with the offer of yet another free dinner from Cronins, which we did not dare turn down. We sat outside the pub to enjoy our food, and after we had finished the Crosshaven Ukuleladies began to play. The atmosphere was magical as everyone gathered around to sing together against the backdrop of the setting sun.

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Look at the Ukeladies being fab!! 

The next day started off very much like the last. I LOVE HAVING ACCESS TO A SHOWER!!! and, having learnt from our previous mistakes, the tent was set up at a much faster speed. We then welcomed our biggest audience to date for ‘To The Ocean’, and after we had packed everything away, were gifted with the generosity of the Cronins staff and another free dinner. After dinner we bought ice creams to celebrate our final night in Ireland, and then went into the pub to play a good game of ‘Who is most likely to …’ I shall not give away any secrets that were divulged during this game because, what goes on tour, stays on tour. But let’s just say there was a lot of laughter.

This morning we got up bright and early and left Crosshaven. After a brief stop in Waterford to buy another tent (I’ll let Oli explain this one), and some lunch, we set off to Rosslare to catch the ferry over to Wales. I am currently sat on the ferry as I write, and I cannot wait to get to St David’s!! I went with my family when I was younger, and it only holds good memories for me. So I am so, so excited to go back! But I’ll leave it to Oli to tell you all about that part of our crazy adventure!

Our largest audience so far!

Now this blog post is coming to you a bit late, because it was my 21stlast week and that’s the only excuse I have. But also, this is a cleverly-timed marketing ploy because we go back on tour TOMORROW after a well-deserved week off. So, this little reminiscence is a chance for you to GET HYPED for our last couple of shows in Ireland!

When Oli left you, we were waving goodbye to Killorglin, Puck, Catherine, and our biggest audience to date on a high. And it’s safe to say that this high was not burst at any point over the next couple of days!

After our Killorglin performances, it was time for us to have another day off to explore the beauty of Ireland! We started our day in Killarney, a lovely town which can claim to have possibly the world’s best value ice cream. I mean €1 for a ‘small’, which was quite possibly the biggest Mr Whippy I’ve ever seen in my life. Ice cream envy, and the fact that it was perfect weather for a Whippy almost made a girl wish she wasn’t vegan. I said ALMOST before anyone gets angry!!

Once the monster ice creams had been demolished it was time to head to Killarney House, and some of the MOST BEAUTIFUL gardens I had ever seen, ever. As Ana, Hanna, and I sat in the sunshine we got a call from Oli saying there was a free photography exhibition in the House. He did not need to tell us twice, not only was it free (a very important factor when you’re a broke student on an international theatre tour), but it was also photography which is objectively great!! We went into the house and saw some of the most breathtakingly stunning photos by Norman McCloskey. McCloskey had collated an exhibition of photos he’d taken around the Killorglin National Park that you just have to see to understand how amazing they were. He managed to create something that was both completely natural but also had an ethereal quality to it. I mean, that’s the beauty of nature.

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Look how pretty it is!!

While I was walking round the exhibition for the five-hundredth time (safe to say I’m a fan), a man who worked at the house came and asked us if we were going on the tour of the house. Due to some error in communication between Oli and Rowan, Adam, Rowan, and I ended up on the tour. As we walked through the large, white, ornate door to embark on our tour, we all shared a look that let each other know we were not 100% sure what was going on. The rooms were beautiful, our tour guide was very well informed, and we learnt a lot about the house (not that I could tell you any of it now, it’s been a while), but all in all it was a bit of a bizarre experience. We felt like three school children who had accidentally gone into a class they weren’t supposed to be in. Once the house tour was over, we made our way back out into the gardens where Ana, Hanna, and Oli were waiting for us. When the joking about how we ended up on the house tour was over, we headed onto our next tourist destination, Muckross Abbey.

We all spilled out of the van into the car park and were greeted by a very strong smell of horse manure. As we made our way towards the Abbey, the origins of this smell soon became clear, as horse and cart rides were being offered to the Abbey and through the surrounding countryside. Obviously, we were too poor to be able to go on one, but they really added to the charm of the place, giving the whole experience a nice Jane Austen vibe.

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Getting our Northanger Abbey vibes on

Carrying on along the Austen theme our next adventure was to Muckross House, or as we like to call it, all of ours’ dream home. When we arrived, we had our lunch on the grass alfresco style and then started to walk over to the house, passing the sign to a sweet shop we all made a mental note to stop there on the way back to the van. The gardens of the house were stunning, and because it was such a lovely day we decided to go and explore them first before entering the house. We ‘found’ a little beach next to the lake at the bottom of the garden, with a view that I can only describe as breath taking, I mean look at it!! Oli taught Ana and Hanna to skim stones so that we actually knew what we were doing in ‘To The Ocean’, while Adam, Rowan, and I sat on the rocks, watching and soaking up the rays. After the most idyllic half an hour I think we’ve had on tour so far, we made our way to the house. But after finding out that you had to pay to go in, we decided to explore the gardens a little bit more. In case it hasn’t been clear so far, we’re doing our days out on the CHEAP, we decided to explore the gardens a little bit more. The sun was out, and we made the most of it!

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Almost too stunning to be real

Once we’d done enough sunbathing in the gardens it was time to hit the road again. We, however, faced the biggest disappointment of the day on the way back to the van, finding out that the sign we’d seen advertising a ‘sweet shop’ was a piece of massive false-advertising. Entering the building we expected to find a shop full of jars, old-fashioned sweets, and that sugary sweet smell. Instead, we walked into a gift shop that sold about four chocolate bars. Now that might be a slight exaggeration, but what is not an exaggeration is how disappointed we all were! So, slightly disgruntled, we loaded ourselves back into the van and made our way to our next performance location, Kenmare.

After scouting which location was to be our performance site (we settled on the patch of grass at the end of a car park opposite the church), and buying food for our barbeque that evening, we headed off to our campsite just outside of Kenmare. At just £30 a night for us all we were not expecting 5* accommodation, however, that was exactly what we got at Dromquinna Manor! The toilets and showers were eccentrically called ‘his/her stables’ as they were converted stable blocks, they had showers that ran for longer than 4 minutes AND you didn’t have to pay for them, there were plugs to charge our phones ect, and the toilets were so clean, like so clean. (It’s safe to say I appreciated these facilities a lot!!) The campsite also had a ‘games room’ for campers to use, where we could all do some work, and charge our electrical devices. Another huge plus for (insert name here) is that it provided campsite-wide WiFi, and as the first leg of tour drew to an end we were definitely running low on data.

The next day we set off a little earlier than usual to commence flyering as we had had a full day off the day before. We divided into teams of two and were assigned two flyering shifts each. Rowan and I canvassed the town for an hour and a half, before we started visiting houses, posting our flyers through doors and talking to residents about the shows that would be happening that evening and on Sunday. After a three-hour flyering shift we were very much looking forward to lunch and stumbled across quite possibly the perfect café for a couple of English lit students of the vegetarian and vegan persuasion, the ‘Bookstop Cafe’, a charming vegetarian cafe and bookshop. The staff were lovely and welcoming, and the food was absolutely delicious! If you’re ever in Kenmare, this is definitely a place to visit!

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The Bookstop cafe even does vegan carrot cake!!

 

It was then time to start getting ready for the evening’s show. The weather was lovely for sitting in the shady garden of the café, but not so lovely for putting up a tent. We did come up with the genius plan of taking the bottom of the tent out though, so that the audience didn’t overheat. The brilliance of a Bell Tent Boutique tent is that it’s so easy to put together, so it is therefore super easy to take apart. We can change our performance space and adapt it to any climate without worrying that we’re going to be spending another hour trying to work out how we’re going to put it all back together again! Kenmare provided us with our biggest audiences for both shows to date. It was amazing to perform to so many people, and we would like to thank everyone for coming and for your generous donations after the show!

After our last performance of ‘To The Ocean’ on Sunday night, we packed up the van, got ourselves a quick take-away for dinner, and started our journey to Cork. After a long drive in the dark, we finally made it to Cork and found the motorhome car park that we were sleeping in that night. We set our alarms for a 4:30 start and prepared for a solid 4 hours of sleep! It’s safe to say 4:30 arrived far too quickly, Hanna was full of beans excited for her week in Texas, while the rest of us rubbed sleepy dust from our eyes and struggled to wake up. The drive to Cork airport took half an hour (creds to Oli for driving that early, I could barely keep my eyes open!), and then Han and I were dropped off outside the airport. We all said our goodbyes as we prepared for a well-deserved week off!

Now that week off has come to an end. Just thinking back over everything that has happened over the past month, I can’t wait to see what we get up to in the month to come. Watch out Ireland, Wales, England, and Scotland, we’re coming for you!