It’s been an interesting 2 months since we at Devious Theatre have started our ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ residency in No. 76 John Street. It’s been pretty busy too… hence why this is the first time I’ve gotten around to doing any blogging here on the artists residency blog. But now that the madness of the first 8 weeks has subsided and Scratcher is done and dusted, I’m suddenly afforded the time to write! So I thought my first contribution to the blog should be a reflection on what we’ve done so far. Both in terms of production and space.

It was a bit overwhelming starting our residency at the same time as starting a new production of a brand new show. At the same time we were figuring out how to turn No. 76 into a theatre, we were starting rehearsals. As we were finding the right place for our porridge, tea and cups in the kitchen, we were doing costume tests and designing sets. As we were ripping down walls and cutting up carpet, we were shooting promo videos. It was a very intensive couple of weeks but it was by virtue of having a space we could work in and call our own that we managed to get through a huge amount of work. Indeed, at no stage did we fall behind on the production which was a massive bonus and proves how well the time and space worked for us. If I fell behind on anything, it was blogging here….tut.

No. 76 is by no means a conventional theatre space. It has low ceilings, white walls and is entirely carpeted! However, by virtue of being in residency we were able to accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives (as Bobby Darin once sang) and the feedback we got when audiences started filing into No. 76 was really positive. We had some problems (sight lines, not enough chairs, too hot, too cold) but we’ve put them down as teething problems and we’re confident that we can make the next 2 productions of ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ as effective and integrated into the space. Even after 8 weeks we still find ourselves lauding the fact that we get to rehearse in the same space that we perform in. There is no greater luxury for a theatre company. We also managed to get in all theatrical mod cons like a green room, dressing room and tech area. The adaptability of the Arts Office lended itself very well to a team of up to 20 people working there for a week. Not to mention accomodating an audience of 70 plus every night.

Scratcher went down exceedingly well and it was nice to fill the venue for the last 4 of the 5 nights. The next 4/5 months suddenly have a lot of momentum. It’s given us a great deal of confidence as we launch into the new production Shifting by John Kennedy, this week. Again, we’ll be transforming the place into a theatre venue, this time with a different layout and arrangement. But since we’ve ever so slightly gutted No. 76 the first time around, got rid of our seats and rigging, we’re now left with an empty canvas from which to work!I’ll be blogging more regularly here in the run up to Shifting, I swear!

Do pop in and see us, the kettle is always on!

John Morton

Shifting runs from 18th – 23rd of April in No. 76 John Street.

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