Backstage with Nina Berry

Join us backstage with Nina Berry the writer of our show Fans, which is currently touring the UK.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE STORY OF FANS?

This is the story of what it means to be a true music fan. The passion, the obsession, the lengths you find yourself prepared to go for that one artist or band who you simply couldn’t imagine your life without. This is the story of four friends and band members from completely different backgrounds, united by their love of music, searching for not only a sound and a philosophy but also a name. Each member has their own ideas and aspirations for the band inspired by their own music hero’s. Chris has an undying love of Green Day, Andrew adores ambient music, Charlie is obsessed with pop icon Madonna and Meghan’s heart is filled with such an expansive and eclectic mix of artists it’s almost impossible for her to choose just one. Whilst this is the story of the band each member has their own individual fan story to tell which explore everything from not fitting in at school and rebelling against your parents to falling in love and finally figuring out who and what it is that you want to be.

WHY GIG THEATRE?

Why not gig theatre? Obviously in terms of this particular show it’s the perfect medium to platform a piece which is all about people’s love of music but I love how it seems to be steadfastly becoming our generation’s chosen form of theatre. It was really important to all of the creative team that the show would be accessible to as many people as possible given that music is such a universal art form and gig theatre can provide that place whereby non theatre goers might otherwise feel alienated or unengaged. It’s part of The Six Twenty’s ethos that the kind of theatre they develop and produce is immersive, raucous and fun and there are times throughout the show where we want the audience to feel like they could actually be at a live gig. It’s the culture of it. Most theatre audiences will be used to being asked to switch off their mobile phones, remain silent and seated throughout the performance but we want to encourage our audiences to take photos, sing along and even dance if they want to!

WHAT DO YOU HOPE AUDIENCES WILL TAKE AWAY FROM FANS?

I hope it leaves them feeling uplifted, longing to listen to that artist they once loved or inspired to pick up that instrument they haven’t played in forever. Most of all I hope it leaves them looking back with fondness to a time or a place in their life that was punctuated by the music.

Catch the final 2018 performance of Fans in Sunderland on Friday 16 November at 7.30pm. Find out more

Fans is a collaboration between Nina Berry and The Six Twenty and is currently touring the UK. Find out more

Rehearsal #1

By Amy Foley
A member of the Choir in Choirplay and Marilyn in Breakfast Hearts

‘How do I imagine myself in the future?’

With a family? Successful? Living somewhere else? Who knows…?

What I can tell you is that in the very near future I imagine myself performing alongside a company of very talented young actors in Live Theatre’s Studio as we proudly present a double bill of brand new and exciting plays.

Choirplay by Robin French explores the theme of happiness and the endless battle of always wanting more, whilst Breakfast Hearts (also by Robin French) is a dark and funny exploration of the need to be loved and to eat each other.

Last night marked the first rehearsal date for the members of the ‘Choir’. After we all got suitably acquainted with one another over a slice of cake, we split off in to smaller groups in a bid to discuss how we imagined our future selves. This is a question which is asked in the very opening line of Choirplay, and a question which I have always struggled with, as whenever I think ahead and imagine what I’ll be doing in the future, when I get there it’s always totally different and nothing like I imagined, so I try not to plan ahead and think about it too much!

Along with my group members Jess and Steven, we reached the decision that we could never truly know what we would be like in the future but we could have things to hope for and this is what we focused on for the purposes of this task, coming up with things like; successful, confident, comfortable etc…

Post-it notes at the ready…we then wrote our ‘answers’ down and stuck them to the wall alongside the answers that the other groups had given. As individuals, we then picked the post-it note that we could relate to the most and read them aloud in succession of one another. I picked ‘Living somewhere else but I don’t know where’ – I think I chose this one because every time I move in to somewhere new, after a couple of months I start to think about what the next place will be like? I think I will continue to feel this way until I’ve found somewhere that I can truly call ‘home’.

Other answers included; ‘As a proper ‘grown up’’, ‘as an old man with nothing to worry about’ and ‘liking myself more’ – There was something really refreshing and also reassuring about hearing what other people had to say on the matter. This is something that we would like to potentially incorporate into the final show, asking audience members to write down how they imagine themselves in the future (on their way in) and then reading a selection of them back at a certain point during the performance.

The second part of the rehearsal involved a reading of the play with a difference, where each member of the ‘Choir’ was given a numbered envelope containing a number of fragments from the whole script. After taking a few moments to familiarise ourselves with the content of the envelopes, we then set out to perform the play in it’s entirely in a completely different order. The aim of this exercise was for each person to follow on with an extract that we felt connected to the previous extract. I felt that this was an innovative and interesting way of exploring the text before we start to look at allocating parts and work on character…something which I am very much looking forward to doing in future rehearsals.

My first rehearsal for Breakfast Hearts is this tomorrow. I can’t wait!