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The day has arrived. D-day. Or S-day, depending on how you look at it. In just under 8 hours time we’ll be kicking off Smitten, the latest and final installment of our In The Future When All’s Well theatrical residency here at No. 76.

The seats are in, the venue has been dressed, the lights are hung, the stage is set, there’s all kinds of cables running to all kinds of places but most importantly, Smitten is ready to go for Kilkenny audiences.

It’s already ten days since we performed Smitten at Solstice as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival and ten days on we’ve added a scene or two, a light or two, and installed the show quite comfortably back into what’s been our home for the past six months.

On the show itself, it’s well worth noting that it does contain strong language and sexual references throughout. We’re advising a minimum age of 16, with parental discretion advised. Doors will open at 7:30pm, seating can be filled from 7:40pm and the show will commence at 8:00pm. Due to the nature of the show and venues, latecomers will not be admitted until a suitable break in the performance (interval). There will be one interval of 10 minutes maximum for folk to stretch legs, grab a breath of fresh air with smoking permitted outside the building only.

Tonight marks the first of a seven night run for the show, building on Scratcher (five nights) and Shifting (six nights) in order to facilitate demand for the work produced over the course of the residency. Our thanks to everyone who’s made the opening night possible, especially Mary and Niamh here at No. 76, Maeve Butler (Cillin Hill, seating), Vincent Dempsey and all at Barnstorm Theatre (Rostrum for tiered seating) and of course, you. Without you, we wouldn’t be doing the work we do.

A limited amount of tickets priced just €8 are available for tonight’s show, booking on 086 1048191 or in person at the Arts Office until 6pm and pre-show from 7:30pm. We hope you’ll be entertained!

Smitten performs June 26 – July 2 here at No. 76 John Street. Buy your tickets online, reserve via mobile on 086 1048191 or 056 7794138 (office hours). The box office is open 10am – 6pm daily with tickets for the week priced just €12. For more, visit DeviousTheatre.com.

Every time we’re just about to start the heavy promo for the next show we’ve got coming up, you can usually find myself (Ken), John, Paddy and anyone else who’s involved in the hands-on side of things standing around asking ourselves “why do we do it?” On normal Sunday mornings everyone else is tucked up in their bed, rolling over for a second sleep but at Devious Theatre it’s absolutely all systems go and yesterday was no different.

The days turn into nights here at No. 76 and likewise the weeks run into weekends as we’ve taken to running things seven days a week since Scratcher. So yesterday, true to tradition of our promotional poster shoots, we found ourselves setting up lights, green screens, moving furniture and everything else besides from the early hours of a Sunday morning for the cast to clock in at 10:30am to get into costume, makeup and everything else that was required.

The only thing we’ll tell you for now is that the promo material involves a couch – and that’s all you’re getting for the moment. Our thanks to Susan and Terry (VibrantIreland.com) for the donation of the couch for the production. We were told it was going to be a comfy couch with plenty of room for men sitting down and it’s living up to everything we thought it would be.

But at the end of the day, we take great pride in our promotional material. You’ve seen the videos from Scratcher posted here on the blog already, along with the promotional imagery that was used for the play. Those on the Friends Of programme may have a small but growing collection of DVDs complete with custom artwork for each production while the front of No. 76 is also becoming a gallery to show posters and photos from previous productions.

We put the time and effort into planning and plotting these shoots, making use of green screens, multiple cameras, lighting setups, picking locations, days, times and everything else because, when it comes down to promoting a show – and promoting a show effectively – these things matter. The process has become second nature to us after five years of early morning setups leading to late nights at the desk but if there’s one thing we couldn’t stress enough as a theatre company, particularly when you’re starting out, is to never skimp on your promotional material. Ever.

With Heart Shaped Vinyl (2007 version) we took the bold step of creating not one, but six individual posters for the show. With Cannibal! The Musical (2007) a conversation over breakfast one morning lead us to recreating the last supper over two mornings. With Trainingspotting (2008) we had our main poster, plus an individual poster for every cast member and their back story, shot at different locations over a two week period. With Stags and Hens we built a fake pub toilet for all the images that went into the main poster, plus created different posters and photos for elements within the show (like shooting for a gig poster for the fictional band in the show, appearing in 1978, which we would go on to hang in the toilets in the theatre).

On one side, we do it because we can do it. We’re lucky to have, within our core group, film makers, graphic designers, photographers, sound designers and more (some people wearing a lot more than one hat) but more importantly we do it because we know it will capture attention. It will turn heads. It will, hopefully, bring people through the door and into a seat on the night of a performance. That time, at the weekend, pays great dividends in the long run.

Lesson for the day aside, you’re about to get more of the same from us for Shifting. Yesterday’s photo shoot at No. 76 went down great with the cast, yielded some great shots and thanks to the quick assembly work of one Paddy Dunne, should yield some fantastic promotional posters as well. But for now, all you’re getting is a couch. You can figure the rest out.

With the photos done, next weekend we move onto the video side of things for the first of the promotional trailers for Shifting. If you’ve already seen enough and you’re looking for tickets then look no further – you can get your tickets online here (with secure payment).

Yes folks, proof that theatre now exists at No. 76 John Street.

While theatre exists, we may be beating our actors up in rehearsals. Just a little bit.

But the most important thing, is that Ken (as in me, as in I) gets to sit down during rehearsals, with his feet propped up by fellow actors. Mind you, I’ve already been physically put through a chair, so I figure getting to sit down every now and again isn’t so bad.

Rehearsals are ticking along very nicely, schedules are being hammered out for the final two weeks before we head to Dublin and the record for “keepy uppy” stands at a prestigious 118.

In preparation for Dublin, we hauled the main cast of Scratcher to Dublin yesterday for a few hours at THEATREclub’s space at The Lab on Foley Street, all done under the watchful eye of Annie Ryan, Artistic Director and founder of The Corn Exchange. The feedback and external views on the show, provided by Annie, at this stage of production have proved to be most valuable indeed.

With the show opening in Kilkenny just under three weeks from today, we’ll be opening up the ticket sales this week through DeviousTheatre.com and here at the Arts Office on John Street. They’re not available to buy in physical form just yet, but trust me when I say you’ll be the first to know!

For more rehearsal photos from Scratcher, keep an eye on our own site over at DeviousTheatre.com and if we’re not already linked up on Facebook, drop us a line!

Testing… testing… is this thing on?

It’s the morning of January 25th which means that we’re now, officially, a fortnight into the our residency at No. 76. It’s actually been that action-packed and that non-stop with building, decorating, reading, rehearsing, eating, boiling of kettles, running around, dancing, prancing, singing, falling, hanging posters, watching DVDs and so much more that we haven’t had a second to get to the blog. Seriously. Ish.

Allow myself to introduce… myself… I’m Ken (McGuire), one of two Devious Theatre contributors you’ll find on the blog here for the next six months as we recount tales to others on the goings on of our theatrical residency at the Kilkenny Arts Office.

As a background to this, we (as a company) were invited by Mary Butler to take part in the residency scheme here in the latter stages of 2010. Between myself, John (Morton) and Paddy (Dunne), we devised a scheme and a theme for the residency, one of our biggest undertakings in the near five years that we’ve been functioning as a company. In the past we’ve produced works such as Heart Shaped Vinyl (2006/7), Cannibal! The Musical!! (2007), Trainspotting (2008), Smitten (2008), Stags and Hens (2009), Accidental Death Of An Anarchist (2009) and Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay (2010). We’ve also won some awards along the way including a PPI radio drama award for The War Of The Worlds (2008). We’ve dabbled in Shakespeare with devised performances of Shakespeare In Bits (2009) and now, after all of that, we’re undertaking to produce not one, or two, but three full-length productions inside a six-month window, a new radio drama and a series of rehearsed readings to develop new work.

That’s what the residency is all about for us.

Developing new work.

We’ve been given a golden opportunity (and our repeated thanks again to Mary, Niamh and Kilkenny County Council for their support over the years and again this year with the residency) to develop as professional, as a company, to create new work and nurture new actors and writers. We’re taking on people we’ve never worked with before, we’re branching into areas of theatre we haven’t worked in before (at least in our guise as Devious) and we’re doing is all from the cosy confines of No. 76 John Street.

We invite you to the Arts Office to sample the delights of residency titled In The Future, When All’s Well. For all is not well and all is not certain. We’re currently midway through the rehearsal process for our first production of 2011, Scratcher, written and directed by John Morton. After that we’ll be moving on to Shifting, written by John Kennedy, a young writer we have taken on board for the term of the residency and come June we’ll have arrived at Smitten, a show produced in 2008 to great local acclaim but now rejigged, refreshed and all-singing all-dancing.

We’re going to get you up to speed with everything over the next few days in terms of Scratcher, pending auditions for Shifting, a scheduled appearance at a festival of new theatre in Dublin and much more.

If you’re passing No. 76, do drop in. You may find us in rehearsal, you may find us playing some kind of ball game, you may find us sitting at a desk hammering out emails, running poster designs, chatting on Facebook, you never know. The point is, the door is (almost) always open. The front windows have been taken over by a display of some of our artwork over the years and we’ve got daily screenings of our past productions on DVD as well so if you’ve missed a show, you’re welcome to pop in and catch one on the big screen (wall).

We’ll be back again shortly…

***

You can follow The Devious Theatre Company on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or drop by DeviousTheatre.com. If you want to contact the company at any stage, drop into the Arts Office and look for Ken or John or email info@devioustheatre.com.

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Art at No. 76

The aim and focus of the Art Residency at No. 76 is to enable the successful applicant to research and develop their practice. Other aims of the residency are to: give insights into how and why artists create their work, build relationships and further promote the Arts, provide an awareness and further appreciation of the Arts, cultivate and develop new audiences. The Kilkenny Arts Office is part of ArtLinks.ie

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