PROPerty of Polka!
March 25, 2019
You may have heard that we’ve got a big birthday coming up this year, so we’ve decided to do something BIG to celebrate with schools across the borough!
PROPerty of Polka is the fun-filled, action-packed tale of our 40-year history, made especially for schools in Merton. So far it has been performed at 23 schools and enjoyed by over 3,000 people! That’s pretty big. This is the story of how the show came together, how we took it out on the road, and the exciting adventures that now await the summer term…
The PROPerty of Polka project was inspired by the props and costumes that have brought our stage to life over the many years we’ve been making plays. I’m sure if you took some items from around your house you’d be able to think up some fantastic adventures yourself!
The first job for the Polka team was to take a step back in time and decide which shows to include. Recognise any of these?
It was then the job of our clever designer Sophia to find the props and costume. She also made replicas of any items that were either too fragile to use, or that were new ideas thought up by Jess and Ramin in the rehearsal room (we really will get to them in a minute…) What’s in the box Sophia!
Sophia’s job was especially important because not only was she in charge of all the props and costumes for the show, she was also in charge of filling all of those baskets in the photograph full of exciting things for our school groups to explore as they get inspired to make their own play. More on that next week…
Once the shows had been decided and the props had been sourced it was time to get to work in the rehearsal room. The show was directed by Roman, who also directed The Wind in the Willows at Christmas time. There were only two actors – Jess and Ramin – who had to work together to tell their story. You may have noticed that the actors have the same name as the characters. That’s because the characters were based on them! The actors explored ideas with Roman in the rehearsal room and they made the show together, inspired by the props and costumes Sophia had provided for them. This way of working is called Devising. There is no script, so your imagination is free to run wild!
There were lots of things for Roman and the team to consider. How can we make a show that can be moved around from school to school? How can we still have sound and lighting effects without being in the theatre? How do we decide which story to tell when everything we are exploring is so fun and interesting?
Sitting next to Sophia in the picture below is Zoe. Zoe is our producer, which means it’s her job to help answer these questions and pull the whole show together. She’s the person with the best overall understanding of how to make the show the best it can possibly be.
Come back next week to find out how we got the show on the road, and how we found the answers to some of these questions!