New Writing, New Company, New Normal!
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
If there's one sure thing we can say of the entertainment industry it is the knowledge that we are able to march forward in the face of adversity. Covid has caused our industry, alongside many others, catastrophic damage, loss of livelihood and unimaginable heartbreak.
But, we will not be broken!! We will come back stronger than ever and ensure that we produce exciting, relevant, political, thought-provoking and entertaining theatrical experiences that will inform, pleasure and give hope & promise to audiences up and down the country; a space to laugh together, a space to cry together and a space to analyse our world and make bold choices of how we shape our futures together.
My name is Greg Barnett and I started 'Wild Mountain Theatre' to encompass all of the above. Together with our producer Hugh Summers and a team of incredible creatives we will aim to make bold, entertaining theatre that will shine a spotlight on the policies that affect our societies and work together as an ensemble to produce innovative work that will propel us forward into the "new normal" with covid flailing in our wake.
We are now in development for our first play 'The Farm', in association with Wiltshire Creative and are in the process of organising a two week R&D workshop for later this year to improve the script further through improvisation and collaboration. Recently, we had a 'behind closed doors' read-through of the play in its current state with a group of fantastic actors, the pictures of which you can see in this blog. This proved invaluable, due to the feedback from all involved and has proved to be a vital stage in the progression to grow this piece to full production; a perfect example of how working together as an ensemble can help create the strongest story telling.
Being back in a rehearsal room for the first time post covid was an emotional and exhilarating experience. Bouncing ideas across a rehearsal room floor almost felt as though our world was returning to normal, albeit a socially distanced "new normal". The play sparked fierce debate and a multitude of questions, with strong opinions being voiced by everyone in the room; a surefire sign that the piece is heading in the right direction.
As the writer, hearing the words read out loud by an ensemble of actors for the first time was terrifying and illuminating in equal measure, but exactly what the play needed at this stage of development. As an actor I have spent a lifetime in rehearsal rooms feeding off the energy of my colleagues. I always have a million and one ideas fly through my head as we rehearse and create and whether for stage or screen I can work together with my colleagues to ensure we tell our story in the strongest possible way.
Writing alone in a room brings a whole different challenge. The same ideas fly through my brain, but when I first put them down onto the page they are are often confusing and manic. For example, in one of the early drafts I got fixated on the line "Everything is connected". I proceeded to then try and fit literally 'EVERYTHING' I could think of into the play. As you can imagine this draft was a cluster of non-sensical thematic scenes which muddied the basic story that I was trying to portray; I totally lost the wood for the trees as I tried to ram home a plethora of existential insistences and forgot the dramatic integrity of the 'story' that is the essential heart of every play.
However, none of this 'word vomit', as I like to call it, was wasted. It has been the formative foundation for further drafts and has helped grow each character exponentially. The work that went into the first draft now acts as a bubbling subtext for the current incarnation of the play and learning about the characters in this way has taken them from a stale, two dimensional stasis, to a more dynamic three dimensional version on the page.
All of the work so far serves to help continue forward momentum in developing the play and bring the overall vision of the piece to realisation.
The next stage of development is to run the 2 week R&D workshop (mentioned above) in association with Wiltshire Creative, which is the umbrella company that encompasses the renowned Salisbury Playhouse, The Salisbury Arts Centre and The Salisbury International Arts Festival. Within the workshop we will be able to pull apart the work we have have done so far and through improvisation, with the aid of a movement director and composer, we will delve deeper still into the story and develop the characters and dialogue further to come out with a more solid version of the script, ready to go into full production next year.
Producing a play is an exciting challenge that we at 'Wild Mountain' are relishing and I personally am looking forward to sharing each step of the process with you!
Watch this space to follow our journey...
#theatre #livetheatre #westend #westendtheatre #regionaltheatre #salisburyplayhouse #wiltshirecollective #newwriting #theatrecompany #newtheatrecompany #ensemble #ensembletheatre #playwright #play #newplay #climatecrisis #climatechange #savethearts #saveourseas #globalwarming #climatedebate #sociopolitical #agitprop #dystopian #challenge #blueplanet2 #davidattenborough #stage #stageplay