We played at a folk festival! Well kind of …

Hey, it’s Grace again, ready to tell you all about our marvellous experience in one of my new favourite towns, Doolin. As you left things with Oli we were preparing for our first performance in Doolin, somewhere that I can now call one of my favourite towns I’ve been to, EVER! (I will unashamedly love Doolin forever!!)

Donkeying around

We arrived in Doolin on a very windy Friday afternoon to find that our performance field was inhabited by none other than one of the cutest donkeys I’ve ever seen. Despite the (in my opinion) wholly unnecessary signs warning you that could only pet the donkey at your own risk, we discovered that he had a very itchy neck and really did not like having his nose stroked! The donkey, let’s call him Eric, did not actually stay in the field with us, as after a conversation with the Aliee River Hostel staff who were kindly hosting us, Eric was removed into another field. This, it turns out was actually quite a big disappointment for many people who were staying in Doolin. As we set up the tent that evening, every other comment we heard from passers-by seemed to be lamenting the loss of Eric. We later found a picture of Eric in the tourist information centre, making us feel slightly bad for forcing the removal of a local celebrity from his field.

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Look at how cute Eric is!!

Yet more flyering – but so much more …

Well aware that, although fab, the Doolin Folk Festival which was happening the same weekend as our performances would cause us to have to compete for audience members for our shows, we set about flyering as soon as we arrived. Oli had some important calls to make and emails to send as he is our Artistic Director and all that. So, we split into two teams to tackle the flyering. Adam and Rowan taking the left side of the town. While Ana, Hanna, and I took the right. Now, I have mixed feelings about flyering. Having no previous flyering experience before this tour I was unsure of how to approach it. At times it can be lovely as it gives you the chance to meet some really lovely, and interesting people. At others, however, it is one of the most utterly soul-destroying activities as person after person tells you they are not interested in something that you have put your heart and soul into. I’m pleased to say that Doolin provided the former, rather than the latter kind of people. Every single shop, B&B, and café we went into happily accepted our flyers, chatted with us about the show, and all said they would tell their customers to come and see it. I have never met a group of more lovely, welcoming people, and a little piece of my heart will always be in Doolin with all of those incredibly kind people.

My heart will also remain in Doolin because of its A-MAZE-ING chocolate shop, aptly named ‘The Doolin Chocolate Shop’. When Ana, Hanna, and I entered the chocolate shop to see if they would take some flyers, and we were in heaven!! They even had a VEGAN peanut butter chocolate slice!! Now if there are two things in my life that I love more than anything (apart from theatre of course) it’s peanut butter and chocolate, so I had not been so happy in a very, very long time. I mean I didn’t need confirmation that I loved Doolin, but the chocolate shop definitely sealed the deal!

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If you ever go to Doolin, you MUST go to this shop!!

 

Once we had successfully filled every shop with our beautiful flyers, we went back to Eric’s field to set up our tent. As we have now had lots of practice at erecting our exceptionally easy to put-up tent from the brilliant Bell Tent Boutique, our tent sponsors for this tour, we got it up in no time! We then, however, saw the beautifully clear sky cloud over. Now our Bell Tent can withstand many, many weather conditions, but our van cannot and so a damp tent along with 6 very damp actors can only spell a very, very bad smell. Therefore, fearing a Roundstone part 2 kind of event, we checked the weather, and then decided to take the tent down.

You always meet the nicest people in hostels!

Thanks to Aliee River Hostel we had access to A REAL KITCHEN!!! Team cook had not been so excited for an extremely long time! We cooked a lovely stir fry, a fab curry, and nice big pot of pasta for us all. As we discovered pretty early on, Doolin may be beautiful, have lovely cafes, pubs, and chocolate shops, but it is not the best for basic amenities. The nearest grocery shop was not within easy walking distance. So, a special shout out must go to chef Savage for making a delicious pasta dish by, ‘heating up a couple of tins of things’ (kind of quote from Oli).

But the highlight of being able to use the hostel facilities must have been the people that we met in the bathroom area. After a day and the majority of the night at the Doolin Folk Festival, as you can imagine the majority of the hostels’ residences were very jolly by midnight. We heard lots of fun stories, got given some very sage advice (eating is cheating, and you can sleep when you’re dead), and even enjoyed a good old dance with a particularly talented Irish dancer, let’s call him Gavin.

The kindness, fun, and enthusiasm of everyone we had met during our time in Doolin was epitomised in our audiences. We would like to particularly thank Michelle West and Paul Reardon of Paul Reardon Photography for being exceptionally generous and wonderful audience members!

AND we went on a boat trip …

After some fab performances over the weekend, we thought we’d treat ourselves on our day off on Monday. So, while Adam and Rowan decided to take a well-deserved lie in, Ana, Hanna, Oli, and I took a boat trip to the Cliff of Moher. As we were reliably informed by the captain, the winds were light, but the swell was strong. This meant that we had a rather choppy boat ride, but Han had been saying that she wanted to go to a theme park, so that’s basically the same thing as a rollercoaster, right?? The cliffs were beautiful, and although we couldn’t see everything because it was rather foggy, the scenery was still exceptionally beautiful!

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When we got back from the boat trip, we said goodbye to the hostel and headed on the road again. After a short stay in Castle Gregory at the beautiful Green Acres campsite, today we arrived in Killorglin. This town is beautiful, creative, and community-orientated town, and we are really looking forward to performing in and exploring this wonderful place!

 

 

 

 

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Rain, Rain, Literally just please go away.

BOOM BOOM, 2 BLOGS IN 1 (sorry, we’re a bit behind so we’re trying to catch up).

Okay so here’s the deal. Grace and I realised that we need to do a whole lot of blogging (like a WHOLE lot of blogging) to keep you fantastically keen beans updated and interested in what’s going on with us, and in case you hadn’t realised, Wi-Fi can be pretty scarce when you’re rambling through the Irish countryside in a van and begging unsuspecting campsite-owners to please let you use their showers because I haven’t showered in ten days and I smell like I died some-time when we were crossing the Irish Sea.

Sorry, this is getting to me a little bit.

ANYWAY, we’re going to be alternating between blog posts. So buckle up kids, cos it’s my turn.

The Emerald Isle

Oh BOY is there a lot to update you on. So in our last post, we left you in Enniskillen, a lovely town in the South West of Northern Ireland. Well since then, we’ve crossed the border and headed in to the Republic of Ireland, spending most of Monday driving around the countryside looking for Wi-Fi and somewhere to grab a fantastic pint.

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A BoxedIn NightOut in Galway

Of course, we ended up in Galway – now for any of our intrepid friends who may be thinking about coming to Ireland in a campervan, be warned, Galway isn’t a particularly welcoming city for campers. There’s a load of history and politics – I won’t get in to it – but basically, there is only one spot that you can park up. Which of course, we didn’t know, so after driving for about 5 hours, we spent another hour and a half roaming around central Galway in our creeper van looking for somewhere to park without someone calling the police.

Which, in fairness, seems like a reasonable response.

We parked up by the docks – a beautiful little Marina with yachts and boats, overlooking the Atlantic ocean, and then spent the evening in central Galway. We ended up in a pub called The Quays – a fantastic little haunt reminiscent of one of my favourite pubs in London, with live music from Sult and Three Legged Dog, both local to Galway. We enjoyed a few drinks and just soaked up the atmosphere – if you’re in to live music, Galway is an absolute must. There are tunes spilling out of absolutely every pub, and the level of talent is astounding, It’s an amazingly creative city, at least from what we saw, and to be honest, I’d recommend it to anyone.

Out of the city

We woke up the next morning in need of a wee and a shower, so we drove a little bit around the corner to Salthill. If it wasn’t for the temperature, this place could be straight out of the Caribbean. Clear, blue water and long, white stretches of sand adorn this promenade. While some of us opted for the local public shower, Hanna, Ana and I went for a dip in the sea. Which was freezing, but I can only imagine it was infinitely more refreshing.

We took a short walk around Galway, taking in some of the sights. The Cathedral is stunning, but my personal favourite was our short stroll by the Salmon weir, where we could see tens of fisherman wading through the water and trying to catch the Atlantic salmon that migrate upstream this time of year.

And then, we headed off and on to the next location, Roundstone.

Which was stunning.

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Literally just such a cute place.

This coast of Ireland is referred to as the Wild Atlantic Way, and it’s clear to see why. Mountains rise and fall out of nowhere, and scrub adorns the almost purple rock terraces. Lochs here and there reflect the clouds and the sunlight back at you, and every crest suggests a stunning ocean vista. Which is exactly what we were greeted with in Roundstone. The sun was shining, the day was warm, and we hopped out of the van to rustle up a warm shower and hand out some flyers. Unfortunately, we had no luck with the shower, which meant that we had to stay about a mile and a half outside of this beautiful town in a smelly caravan site. I was disappointed.

But I totally shouldn’t have been.

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Quick detour to the Caribbean and then back to tour I guess…

This is the view that we had when we arrived. Yet another clear, white beach, and the picturesque blue water. I knew that the Irish coast was supposed to be beautiful, but this was something else.

We had dinner on the beach, and hung out a bit until we decided to go to bed, the soft sound of the waves in the near distance lulling us to sleep. Everything was so quiet and peaceful.

NOPE

In fairness, we should have been a bit more prepared for the rain. When we woke up, the van was literally ROCKING from side to side with the wind and the rain, and even stepping outside filled our shoes up with water.

It was freezing, the rain was lashing down, and the sea was now thunderous and angry.

We showered (shower rating 3/10 – so powerful it literally hurt, and mouldy shower curtains, but warm at least) and then headed in to town. We were huddled up in our waterproofs, and when we pulled up in our performance location by the Roundstone musical instrument shop, the weather had gotten worse. The wind was absolutely howling.

We banded together and tried to get the tent up – a massive shout out to Bell Tent Boutique, our tent sponsors for this project. Despite literal pouring rain and gale force winds, the tent absolutely held its own – we struggled against the weather to get it up, but when it got up, it stayed up. This is a piece of canvas suspended by a pole and guy ropes that can withstand gale force winds man that is actually so freaking cool. Like think about that for a second. Man I love this tent.

The tent could withstand the weather, what couldn’t, was us, which meant that we had to take the tent down and cancel our performance.

After wandering around the town trying to find somewhere we could leave our clothes and our tent to dry, we called it a day early, and spent the rest of the afternoon in a pub, chatting, playing card games, and waiting for the awful weather to pass. This was our first cancelled show, and while I was disappointed, I was so immensely proud of how hard everyone worked to get the tent up and down again that it almost didn’t matter.

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These are a load of superstars we have here.

 

Back at it again

It didn’t stop us for long though – the rain on Thursday was bad, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the day before. So, we came in to town and got that tent pitched.

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LOOK AT HER SHE’S SO PRETTY!!

We spent the day flyering and trying to wrangle up an audience, before taking to the stage with To The Ocean. Considering the weather and everything, we were kind of dying to perform, and I was blown away with the work that the guys did. Really really fantastic, they totally blew me away.

Our final night in Roundstone was spent around the table at the community centre, watching a movie and sheltering from the last of the rain.

We’ve now arrived in Doolin, performing on the fringes of the Doolin Folk Music Festival. It’s really very exciting and even though the weather is still a bit rubbish, we’re buzzing. Tonight’s our first show, and I honestly can’t wait.

 

We’re in Ireland!

So last time we left you, we were on the ferry to Northern Ireland, excited to explore a new country and perform to our very first Irish audience. Well, we can definitely say that our stay in Northern Ireland fulfilled all expectations and was a success!

We disembarked the ferry and set off on a touristy day out. We started out in Carrickfergus and went to go and have a look at its castle. As we walked around the castle, we were stopped by a man in full medieval costume who told us some interesting facts about the castle. We were not, however, able to buy any of his Carrickfergus merchandise, we are on a budget on this tour let’s not forget! Consequently, we set off again to explore some of the beautiful Irish countryside, stopping at the Glenoe waterfall which was a perfectly scenic place to have our lunch.

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We’re not just stopping at Carrickfergus. Watch out small Irish towns, we’re coming for you!

The ‘Back of the Van’ tour takes us to 17 locations all of which, apart from Edinburgh, are rural locations so we wanted to ensure that on our days off we explore as much of the picturesque countryside as possible. So, after our lunch in Glenoe, we made our way to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and after that the natural phenomenon of The Giant’s Causeway. Both of these locations were truly amazing pieces of coast. It was clear for us to see how these locations could feed and inspire the magical story of the Selkie and make the fairy-tale believable for so many people, not just Grace in ‘To the Ocean’. In Carrick-a-Rede we even saw a seal, although the only picture we took looked like a grey blob so you’re going to have to trust us on this one!

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The beautiful Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Our day finished in Port Gelnone, the home of the wonderful Jess Armstrong and her fantastically kind family. To say thank you for letting us stay at her house, we treated Jess to some camping-stove-fried tofu. Team cooking led by Chef Savage created a very successful meal. As we had no show the next day, we treated ourselves to a trip to the pub after dinner and found what is quite possibly one of the most charming, small, rural pub that many of us had seen.

The next morning, we left Jess and the rest of her wonderful family and started our journey to the next location on tour, Enniskillen. After being extremely lucky and experiencing some pretty spectacular weather since beginning our tour, as we drove along the Irish roads we had our first experience of rain. We were all very much expecting this to happen at some point, so as we continued to travel to Enniskillen we planned the best ways to stay dry whilst flyering in the rain. But as our luck would have it, by the time we arrived in the town the rain had eased, and we were able to explore the town and drum up some interest in our shows whilst remaining nice and dry. After a mandatory Aldi stop to buy food for dinner and extra snacks we headed on over to Riverside farm caravan park for a much-deserved rest.

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Sitting down together for another 5* camp stove dinner

We kicked off day 2 in Enniskillen by setting up our tent in the grounds of the Lakeland Forum. As people prepped for a 10km race that was to be held there, our great bell tent boutique tent attracted a lot of attention and we were lucky that this in itself generated a lot of interest in our show. Our audience for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ were wonderful and seemed to really enjoy the energy of our performance. For our Sunday night performance of ‘To the Ocean’ we welcomed our youngest ever audience member, 5-year-old, Mia into the tent. If there ever was pressure on our actors to play a 5-year-old convincingly, it’s when an actual 5-year-old and her parents are in the audience. Again, we had another absolutely wonderful audience and we cannot thank them enough for the lovely comments after the show, as well as all the support we received on social media. Part of the aim of this tour was to make theatre more accessible to rural communities, and we cannot express how much joy it brings us to see that we are able to achieve that.

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And we all had a pretty good time too!

So, thank you to the Armstrongs, Bell Tent Boutique, Riverside farm caravan park , and every member of our audience in Enniskillen. We cannot express how grateful we are to you all. This morning we packed up and left Enniskillen behind as we begin our journey to Roundstone and the Republic of Ireland, as we take BoxedIn Theatre international for the first time.

 

 

 

 

We’re on tour!

Monday 4thJune came, the day that we had all been waiting for. After months of planning, rehearsing, and fundraising it was finally time to embark on the ‘Back of the Van’ tour! As we clambered into the van and pulled out of Oli’s drive, waving St Andrews goodbye, the prospect of what we are actually embarking on hit me. We’re spending the next two and a half months touring the UK and Ireland in the back of Vanny DeVito. Now, as you can imagine, such a daunting prospect initially induced a state of panic. Though this passed very quickly, as we sang along to ‘Queen’s Greatest Hits’ while sunshine streamed through the windows of the van. The thing that really makes this tour so special is that we’re all good friends. The fact that we have all taken on production roles means, not only are we all fully invested in all aspects of this project, but it has also allowed us all to get to know each other really well over the past 6 months and as a consequence we already feel like a slightly dysfunctional family. So, as we joined the motorway, any fear was calmed with the familiar feeling of being on a family road trip.

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Look at our little faces, full of excitement and anticipation for our travels!  

After a short travel stop in Glasgow to buy some last-minute essentials (which of course included snacks), we arrived in New Galloway for our first night in the van. New Galloway was a beautiful village, and although we were disappointed with the very early closing hour of its pub, it was a lovely place to spend our first night together.

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Our very own BackStreet Boys in New Galloway. 

Bright and early the next morning we set off for Newton Stewart, the first location on our tour. We were warmly welcomed by Sally the steward of the golf course where we were performing and set about erecting the tent. Thanks to all the tent-erecting practice we’d had over the past week as part of our pre-tour prep, we were able to put up the tent in no time. It’s also worth noting at this point that the ease of construction of the tent should also be attributed to the fact that we were not using a tent we had made ourselves, but a tent which has come from the fabulous Bell Tent Boutique. Once we had put up the tent and BoxedIn-ified it, yes of course there are fairy lights in the tent! We set off into the town centre to commence flyering for our shows. We met so many lovely, helpful people and this only served to emphasise to us why we wanted to bring theatre to communities like Newton Stewart.

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Look at our beautiful bell tent!!

The biggest challenge of tour that we were not expecting, however, was revealed to us on that evening after our performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Of all the difficulties we had planned for, we had overlooked one very, very pesky problem, midges. It was all we could do to avoid being eaten alive as we sat outside eating our dinner after the show. Although the experience for us was ‘thoroughly unpleasant’ to quote Oli Savage, we definitely provided entertainment for the rest of the campsite as we ran around trying to swat away the millions of tiny insects that were thirsting for our blood. Which for a touring theatre company is a small, very, very, slight silver lining.

The next day entailed some more flyering to drum up interest in our performance of ‘To the Ocean’. As we all took it in turns to spread the word, and with the tent already being set up, we were afforded some free time to explore the town. A definite plus of visiting rural locations is that it allows us to explore some beautiful countryside! A beauty which was highlighted by the sunshine. The weather also made the experience of flyering a lot more pleasant, and we were able to drum up a good audience for ‘To the Ocean’. It’s safe to say, however, that we all had favourite members of the audience for this show. The two dogs that came to watch us!

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The beautiful Newton Stewart, thanks for being our home for a couple of days. 

As we left Newton Stewart to return to Anwoth Campsite after the show, there was a palpable feeling in the van that we would all miss the little town that had been our home for the past couple of days. But we were also excited about travelling to our next destination. As I write we sit on the ferry to Ireland and all of the team (apart from Adam) have never had the opportunity to properly explore the country before, so we can’t wait to get there!

Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram  to  keep up to date with everything we do on this crazy adventure. And to make sure we haven’t been bitten to death by the midges!

 

 

Crowdfunding for ‘Back of the Van’

April is our crowdfunding month for the ‘Back of the Van’ tour, and as it comes to an end we thought we’d spend some time reflecting on the past month, all the fun events we’ve had and the amazing people who have supported us.

We kicked off our fundraising with a classic bake sale, on Wednesday 18th. Yes that’s right we did something on a Wednesday. Admittedly visiting day traffic meant we had to spend a fair amount of time giving people directions, but it also meant there were many more customers for our sale and we could spread the word about our tour to even more people.      

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Next, we took things up a gear and went on a pub crawl. This may not be the most conventional of fundraising events, however, we all had a great time and it was lovely to spend time with some of the people who have supported us.   

Then, because we all needed a bit of a break, we held a movie night and watched ‘Get over it’. Set in a high school that stages its own production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, this film was definitely as divisive as marmite! But again, we had another lovely evening.   

Now, as we’re currently based in St Andrews, and because ‘To the Ocean’ is based on the Scottish folk story of a Selkie (if you don’t know what a Selkie is, look it up, there are lots of different versions of the story and it’s a good time!), it would be silly of us not to take ourselves down to the beach at some point during our Crowdfunding month! On Wednesday 25th we had a beach barbecue complete with smores and even some vegan snacks.       

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Photo by Annabel Steele 

To round everything off, yesterday we had our very own little summer fete in Lade Braes Park. The weather was perfect and we all had a wonderful afternoon in the sunshine. This was a great way to round off our fundraising as we were really reminded of why we are so passionate about the ‘Back of the Van’ tour. In a community setting we were able to see the joy that fun activities and sunshine brings to people, and we hope we are able to achieve a similar outcome with our tour.    

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So, as we come to the end of our crowdfunding month, I asked our artistic director Oli to sum up why we’ve been working so hard to raise as much money as possible for this crazy project.   

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The thing with modern theatre is that it’s become really settled. It knows what it is and where it is, and as a result it doesn’t seek to go out and engage new audiences. Many theatre makers are happy to hide behind velvet curtains, creating nonsensical and self-indulgent work, and then getting angry when they see that ticket sales are dwindling.

Theatre is not something that should wait for people to come to it. It should go to them. It should seek them out. Because the medium is caught in a massively middle-class echo chamber, and that will spell out destruction.

Working outside of traditional (and dare I say intimidating) spaces to engage with audience members who may never have been to see shows in the past is not just important to the medium, but important in opening dialogues and spreading positivity across our wounded nation. This project is exploring how we can do that practically, both in the short and long term. And that is why it’s important.   

Our fundraising month had not come to an end yet, so if making theatre more accessible is something that you believe is as important as we do, then head over to our JustGiving page now and donate whatever you can spare. Also, make sure you’re following us on   Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram  to ensure you’re kept up to date with all of our crazy adventures.

Join our team today!

BoxedIn’s going on tour, but not just any tour, an INTERNATIONAL tour. From the 3rd June to the 19th August we’re travelling around the UK and Ireland to bring some pretty magical shows to some pretty magical places. This tour will take us to 17 different locations over the course of 3 months, and all 6 members of our team will be traveling around in the back of 1 van.  

As you can imagine, a tour on this scale is no small feat, and it comes at an equally sizeable cost. Which is why we’ve decided to dedicate the whole month of April to our crowdfunding campaign. We want YOU, yes you, to join our team and embark on this crazy adventure with us as we attempt to make theatre more accessible. But why would you want to be a part of this wacky idea? Well, we created a fun and informative video to explain our whole concept. 

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So now you’re all informed and excited to join our team, I presume you want to know how you can go about doing that. Well, it’s quite simple really all we’re asking for is a donation, it doesn’t matter how big or small, anything you’re able to spare will be much appreciated! Just head on over to our JustGiving Page. We are so incredibly grateful for every single donation we receive, and to show that we’re giving a series of perks to people who donate. This is just our way of saying a massive thank you to all of you who decide to donate, because it means so much to us to know that people are as passionate about making theatre accessible as we are!     

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In addition, we’re also hosting a range of fundraising events over the next couple of weeks. This Wednesday (18th) we’re kicking everything off with a fundraising favourite, a bake sale! Head on over to the library between 12 and 6 to get yourself a tasty treat! Then on Friday (20th) we’re taking things up a gear, come and join us for some drinks. We’re starting at the Whey Pat, but who knows where the night will take us! After that we’ll all be in need of a bit of time to chill, so we’re hosting a film night on the 23rd. We’ll be screening ‘Get over it’, the not-as-widely-known-as-it-should-be adaptation of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ set in a high school. Oh did we mention it also contains some very catchy musical numbers, what’s not to love? ‘To the Ocean’ is based on the folk story of a Selkie, and we live in St Andrews, so obviously we had to go down to the beach at some point. On Wednesday 25th, we’re heading on over to East Sands to set up a bonfire. There’ll be songs, snacks, and hopefully you too!! And finally, to wrap up our crowdfunding month, on Saturday 28th April we will be holding our very own summer fete in Lade Braes Park. Come and help us start summer a little bit early, with some fun for all the family! All the details for our fundraising events can be found on our Facebook page.    

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We would like to take this time to say thank you to everyone who has already joined the team and shown their support! And we can’t wait to welcome the rest of you to our team, don’t forget to head on over to our JustGiving page if you want to join! Make sure you’re following us on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date with everything BoxedIn! 

Tips and tricks for life on the road

Since we announced our plans for ‘Back of the Van’, we’ve been asked by many people how we’re going to handle living in the back of a van for two and a half months. And while we are very excited, and can brush these questions off with a simple ‘everything will be fine, we back ourselves 100%’, we are also aware that we’re taking on a challenge. So we did some research on how to stay sane on tour.   

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Enjoy the journey    

Often long car (or van in our case) journeys can turn you into Donkey from Shrek as you’re constantly wondering ‘are we there yet?’ This is not, however, a great approach to have when you will be spending many a day on the road, as the negative energy will start to get you down. Sitting down is boring, there is no getting over that. But we won’t just be sitting, we’ll be travelling around some beautiful places with five of our friends. Taking time to look out the window, sing along to the radio, chat, and just enjoy each other’s company are some of the ways we’re going to make the journey a bit more exciting, and ensure we don’t get the back of the van blues.    

Have a DJ rota    

The ‘Back of the Van’ team love a good sing-song, but we do all have slightly different music tastes. To keep things interesting, and make sure we don’t get bored, we’re all going to take it in turns to have control over the radio. There will be a rota to minimise the potential for arguments and to ensure everyone has an equal amount of DJ time.      

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First aid kit    

Now, while we may be spending a lot of time inside a van, we will also be performing outside, and visiting various towns and possibly occasionally entering their public houses. These activities may result in the need for plasters and paracetamol. In these incidences a first aid kit is a necessity, something that is often overlooked when packing for your summer holiday.  But we’re going to make sure our’s fully stocked, because it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Food

Making sure we’re eating properly on tour will be a challenge due to our limited cooking space, and various dietary requirements that need to be accounted for (we have vegetarians and a vegan (gasp!)). But it is important we feed ourselves properly to make sure we have enough energy, and are getting enough vitamins ect so that we don’t get sick. But we need not fear because Oli is a masterchef, and has already begun to think about meals that we will be able to all enjoy together.     

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Remember to enjoy every second  

Yes there will be some difficult times on tour, there’s no denying that. BUT, this is also going to be one of the best summers of our lives. We get to spend 2 and a half months with our friends, travelling to beautiful locations around the UK and Ireland, doing what we love, and bringing theatre to places that would not normally see it. So the most important thing for us to remember throughout this crazy adventure is to enjoy every second, because it will go by quicker than we think, and we’ll never have another experience like it ever again!   

If you would like to support us, head on over to our JustGiving page,. And give us a cheeky follow on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out about all the fundraising events we have coming up this month. 

BoxedIn Tours to America!

Lol April Fools Innit

 

Okay, so maybe we lied a little bit. We’re not going touring to America. Obviously. That would be mad.

BUT we ARE starting our crowdfunding campaign in just a couple of days – which we’re obviously really excited about. As well as being a collection of three really great shows, this project is going to explore ways of combating economic and geographic inaccessibility to theatre in the UK and beyond. We love live performance – we think it’s fun, engaging, and incredibly powerful, and so we think it should be accessible to everyone. Not just those with money to spare.

Hopefully, you guys think that’s a good idea as well – which is great! We’d really love any and all support you can give us, so if you’re as exited about the Back of the Van project as we are, so stay tuned for updates!

And of course, no crowdfunding project is complete without some kick-ass rewards.We know we’re not supposed to be releasing the funding page for a few days…but hey. We like you. And we’re pretty sure you can keep a secret. So here’s little sneak preview of what all the supporters of our Crowdfunding campaign can expect to see coming their way.

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Just like last year, all our rewards are tiered, which means that every donation to help us on our way will receive not the tier you reach, but the prizes for every tier before it. That means that if you pledge £15, for example, you’ll qualify for the ‘Well Read’ reward tier, as well as ‘Musically Inclined’, ‘Karaoke Queen’, ‘Sitting Pretty’ and ‘A Good Egg’.

Literally any amount at all – A Good Egg

You’re just an all-round good egg aren’t you? Whether you donate a penny or a pound or a hundred pounds, we are so grateful that you want to support us and help bring this project to life. No matter how much you donate, we’ll include your name on our weekly shout-out list (going out every Saturday) that we’ll publicise across all out social media branches. So the whole world can know just how much of a good egg you are!

£5 – Sitting Pretty

A pretty reward is fitting for such a pretty soul. As well as being included in our weekly shout out, you qualify to receive our digital design pack, create by our very own Rowan Wishart (take a look at the image at the top of this page for an idea of just how much of a talented little bean she is). The pack includes Facebook cover photos, as well as a selection of laptop backgrounds and phone backgrounds – one for each of our three shows, and one for the tour as a whole. Just remember to leave your email when you donate, so we can get them to you!

£7.5 – Karaoke Queen

Sing-a-long time! You’ll be receiving our digital design pack, and of course, a shout out on our social media – and that’s not all. Play On – one of our three shows – is an original song-cycle created from some of the songs and poems in Shakespeare’s plays, and we’re going to be recording all the tracks before we head off on tour. This reward tier will get you digital copies of three of those songs, so you can listen to them at any time!

£10 – Musically Inclined

Go on, treat yourself. For JUST an extra £2.50, you’ll get access to all 8 of our tracks from the song cycle, plus the 2 bonus tracks that will be a part of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As well as everything else, of course. Which means you can have the whole Back Of the Van experience without even stepping outside!

£15 – Well Read

A purely academic choice, of course. With this tier you’ll not only be getting a shout out, our digital design pack and ALL of our songs – you’ll also be getting digital copies of our scripts for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and To The Ocean. Wanted to work out how on earth we’re performing A Midsummer Nights Dream, a play of 21 characters, with only 6 actors? Or maybe you want to hold on to the magic of To The Ocean after it’s been performed? Then this would be the tier for you!

£20 – DJ BOTV

Going retro – we like your style! We’re going to be printing a limited number of CDs with all 8 of our tracks as well as the 2 bonus tracks from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So not only do you get everything from the other reward tiers, you also get a hard copy of all of our tracks, complete with album art, lovingly crafted by our very own Rowan Wishart.

£25 – You stay in touch now!

You’re so amazing – we absolutely have to stay in touch! With this reward tier, you qualify for 2 free tickets to any one of our shows in any one of our locations (usually valued at £5) – and that’s not all. We’ll be sending you three postcards, lovingly hand-signed by every member of the Back of the Van Team, from different locations while we’re away on tour – including one postcard with a photo of the whole team with the van! That way, we couldn’t possibly lose contact!

£30 – You name it

Wow. You’re so generous – at this point, you name it. Literally. Just so the whole world knows quite how important you are to us, we’re going to be printing your name in 20cm letters along the side of our van. Which means that you’ll be right there, by our side, for the whole project! We’re happy to take joint donations for this one – if you want to team up with some pals to get something written on the side of the van, that’s totally okay with us!

£40 – Fully Catered For

Hey big spender! You look like you deserve to have some proper care taken of you. We’d like to cordially invite you to join us for a meal in the back of the van – breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it’s totally up to you (although we do make a mean eggs benedict). We’ll meet you at an agreed time around any one of our performance locations, and treat you to a proper meal, Back of the Van style.

£50 – Road Trip!

You’re basically part of the crew at this point. So we want to give you the chance to experience what life in the van is really like. After we’ve treated you to a meal at your chosen time of the day, we’ll whisk you away to some local destination – ideally a beach, but we’re open to suggestions. Oh, and of course, ice cream is on us!

 

What is devised theatre?

The second part of our ‘Back of the Van’ is the play ‘To the Ocean: A Modern Selkie Story’, a piece which was created by our sister company, BlackBox Devising Company. But what actually is devised theatre?? I hear you cry. BackBox describes itself as: ‘St Andrews’ first devising company run by and for students, creating cutting edge theatre using the voice of our generation.’ Which sounds pretty cool, and it is pretty cool. This does not, however, answer the question of what devised theatre actually is.

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When I signed up for BlackBox I had no clear idea what the process entailed, and even after a semester in the company I’m not sure I could give you a proper definition. This is because devising is a mix of many approaches including improvisation, scriptwriting, collaboration, and script work. So I did some research. While there were many different definitions that reflected parts of my experience in a devising company, the one I identified the most with was from Vanessa Garcia’s article The Paradox of Devised Theater on the Twenty-First Century Stage, she describes devised theatre as ‘theatre that begins without a script. The script gets “written” as the rehearsal process takes place through a series of improvisations and collaborations.’ The idea of the script getting written almost as a side-effect of the rehearsal process is particularly interesting, because for me that is how ‘To The Ocean’ came into being. Now, that is not to say that a lot of hard work didn’t go into its creation, because believe me it did. The process, however, was not as stressful as I’d initially imagined it to be. It was fun, we worked as a team improvising scenes which could then be improved and refined. We weren’t working with a script where you have to uncover your character, our characters revealed themselves to us. We got to know our characters as they as the grew along with their story.

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Garcia’s definition also highlights the collaborative nature of devising. As a relatively inexperienced actor, I found the prospect of working with people who knew a lot more about theatre than I did daunting. But these concerns were quickly allayed. Our first couple of workshops focused heavily on getting to know each other, and after these I felt much more comfortable with the group of people with whom I was working. ‘To the Ocean’ has a small cast of four, and along with Oli our director, we all quickly developed an understanding of our personalities, and the different approaches we all brought to the same scenes or ideas was very interesting. Collating a range of different reactions, opinions, and thoughts about different issues is what I think makes a devised piece of work so special. This is why BlackBox can say they create ‘cutting edge theatre using the voice of our generation’, because that is truly what they do. We as students of a certain age are representative of our own generation, and the beauty of devising theatre in a university such as St Andrews is that its students come from a wide variety of backgrounds meaning that many different voices can be heard.     

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Devised theatre has become more popular over the past couple of decades. Where I think the practice particularly excels is in its ability to deconstruct social issues. Different people respond to different events in completely different ways. There is a huge criteria of factors which affect one’s response to any given situation, ranging from age, gender, ethnicity, location, to infinitesimally small details such as what you had for breakfast. No one can quite predict how the human brain will respond to things. The beauty of devised theatre is that its collaborative nature means an event is not just seen through one person’s eyes, it is not just portrayed in a way which reflects one brain’s dissection and summation of a situation. In a time where we are finally seeing more and more people develop their own political voice, this aspect of devised theatre is particularly exciting.    

To sum up, I shall borrow another quote from Garcia, ‘devised theatre is a theatre made up of the essence of art—collaboration and process—a deep, underground process that participants must enfold themselves in’. Devising demands dedication to the process, however, the end results pay off. While ‘To the Ocean’ may seem to be an unassuming modern fairy tale, anyone who knows anything about fairy stories can tell you there is much more to this genre than it simply being a bedtime story. Fairy tales have the ability to highlight how magic can exist in the world today, they show how to get through times of tribulation, and fundamentally demonstrate what it means to love and be human. To explore these ideas in a devised theatre setting was especially pertinent because the multiplicity of voices that went into the creation of the story helped to reflect the universal quality of a fairy tale.

‘To the Ocean’ will be performed alongside BoxedIn’s version of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Play on’ this summer from the 2nd June to the 19th August as we take our ‘Back of the Van’ trilogy on tour. Make sure you’re following us on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep updated on everything we’re up to!

 

Interview with Anoushka Kohli and Bailey Fear

As LOBES goes up next week, we sat down with the stars of the show Anoushka Kohli and Bailey Fear to discuss their LOBES experience.

So, let’s start from the beginning, what made you audition for LOBES?

A: I’m not entirely sure why I auditioned for LOBES. It’s not like I knew Oli or Henry, I just sort of decided to go and do it because I was intrigued by the premise.   

B: I wanted to audition for LOBES because it sounded like such an interesting and different play to work on. Also the opportunity to work on such an original piece of student writing was really exciting.   

And now you’ve had time to get to know your characters, how would you describe them?    

A: Difficult. Not in that she is difficult as a person, I just think there are so many elements to her that are offset by completely opposing, contradicting characteristics. She’s very reliant and dependent on Y, but also deeply concerned with being independent. 

B:  Y is a dreamer. He wants to escape the banale everyday for a more creative life, which for him means being a writer. He’s a romantic who loves X deeply, but he struggles to understand her. This means that despite his best efforts he often ends up making situations worse.        

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You’ve been working on the play since the end of last year, what’s been your favourite moment during this rehearsal process?  

A: Because this play has it’s very dark moments, I was worried that I’d be constantly feeling sad in rehearsal – that it would be a dense process, but the amount of laughter and silliness that goes on is astounding. We do a fair bit of mucking about. So I’d have to say my favourite moment is the early evening rehearsal when Oli, and then Bailey, successfully tried to convince me that the St andrews aquarium has meerkats because they’re aquatic. All lies.    

B: It’s hard to pick one favourite moment. I think for me it was working with such a talented group of people. Everyone involved in this play is incredible. It’s infectious and inspirational to constantly be surrounded by such talented and passionate people, and that has made this process something special.      

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And what have you learnt from being involved in LOBES?   

A: That if you’re on stage for the entirety of a show, you need to know the person you are playing and the person you are acting with inside out and back to front. That’s all you have, you can’t just rely on being a good actor, it’s not enough.     

B:  I’ve learnt lot from being involved in LOBES. Potentially the stand out thing has been how to work with such a small group and not fall out. It sounds silly but we spent most days with each other in a small room working on a very intense and at times tricky play. Naturally problems and tensions increased at certain points, but learning how to work together and communicate effectively meant these moments were few and far between and we are still all really good friends.     

You seem to all have had a good time working on LOBES, do you have a favourite scene or quote?   

A: My favourite scene is the poem scene. It’s just so wholesome and real. When the person you love shares something with you that you really dislike and you have to find the kindest, but also the most helpful, words you can possibly find without causing an argument. I like how much we walk the line in that scene.

B: For me the poetry scene in which Y reads his poem to X is a favourite. It’s such a beautifully written scene that feels so real and natural to act in.     

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If you can, try and sum up what the play means to you in one word.   

A: Trust 

B: Different

Thank you very much to Anoushka and Bailey for taking the time to answer our questions. Tickets for LOBES are available on fixr, Tuesday is sold out, but there are still tickets available for Wednesday and Thursday. So get yours now!