Tag Archives: theatre

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Nearly Showtime!

With the weekend now upon us, two rehearsals left, it’s time to put all the hard work into motion and entertain our public.

Tickets have been selling reasonably well, but we’d love to sell more. Not only to ensure the future of our theatre, but also to reward the cast and crew for their months of hard work.

Adults are just £6 and Children £5, making us the lowest priced theatre in the area. So turn off that TV and make your way down to Briton Ferry Community Hall between the 22nd and the 25th Jan. Bring the whole family and we promise to entertain you with singing, dancing and boots full of laughter.

Tickets available by clicking here. Book now to avoid disappointment.

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Tickets Selling Well

So far we have sold 76 tickets for our upcoming production of “Puss In Boots“.

This may not sound like a lot, however, this side of the new year is typically a lot slower. So based on previous years, we are currently selling faster than we have ever done before.

On that note, I’d suggest you click right here and buy your tickets now, to ensure yourselves to best seats in the house. After all, it’s only three weeks until curtain up!

………………….Oh yes it is!

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We aim to prove them wrong!

Taken from an article in the Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-news/10486457/Curtain-falls-on-traditional-panto-oh-yes-it-does.html BFLT aims to prove them wrong and show everyone that traditional panto is still alive and kicking!

Curtain falls on traditional panto – oh yes it does! oh no it doesn’t in Briton Ferry!

It is one of the most cherished of Christmas rituals – with much of the pleasure of a trip to the pantomime derived from knowing exactly what you are going to get.

But for some of the most familiar elements of the traditional festive shows, it seems that their days could literally be behind them.

An analysis of this year’s productions suggests that the curtain is falling on many of the long-established features which have characterised the genre, with many abandoning the practice of casting an actress in the leading “male” role, and – perhaps worst of all – even doing away with the dame.

Many of the vanishing traditions are identified in new history of the genre, while others are indicated by an analysis of the National Database of Panto Performance, established this winter by enthusiasts.

The database shows only around a tenth of the 251 professional shows listed for the current panto season have female “principal boys” – known as the “breeches part” – a far lower proportion than in previous years.

It also suggests a growth in dame-less pantos this year, as producers opt for storylines, such as Snow White – the fourth most popular this year, 24 productions – which do not feature one.

Experts have suggested that the trend may be because younger audiences who have grown up with an acceptance of gay relationships do not understand the comic element of cross-dressing.

Maureen Hughes, a performing arts teacher and musical director, who wrote the new history of pantomime, said: “I think it is quite sad. There is also a lot of political correctness now that you didn’t have in the old days. Having fewer women dressed as men might be a reflection of that. You go to the panto knowing what you are going to get. But some traditions are slipping a bit.”

She also warns that some pantos themselves – in particular Mother Goose, first performed in 1806, and Puss in Boots, first performed in 1817 – are becoming increasingly rare.

She believes the two are no longer considered sufficiently “glamorous” to be staged, while Mother Goose is often thought “too difficult”. The play is known as the “Hamlet of panto”, for the challenging nature of the central character – not least the demands of the heavy, feathered costume.

Instead, a number of newer stage plays, such as Peter Pan and combinations of Robin Hood, and Babes in the Wood – which are not considered traditional pantos by aficionados – are taking their place.

The database adds weight to the decline. There are only two productions of Puss in Boots, in Hackney and Greenwich, and only one of Mother Goose, which has runs in Clitheroe and Lytham St Anne’s, Lancashire. By contrast, there are 15 of Peter Pan and eight of Robin Hood or Babes in the Wood, as well as 13 of Beauty and the Beast.

The tradition of a woman playing the part of the “principal boy” dates back to the early nineteenth century with Eliza Povey played the title role in the first Jack and the Beanstalk, at Drury

Lane in 1819. By the 1880s, the hero role was always played by a woman, although there were later periods where men – among them Cliff Richard and Norman Wisdom – played the parts.

The more recent trend away from women in the male roles has been put down to political correctness, as well as greater knowledge among children about homosexual relationships.

It has been suggested this makes them less inclined to accept the romantic relationship between the leading lady and the principal boy, if the latter is also a woman, because they may mistakenly think the couple are meant to be gay.

The dame emerged during the same period, built on a longer standing tradition of men playing female characters, which dated back to a time when it was considered in appropriate to appear on stage. Other changes have seen a decline in the “song sheet”, which is dropped onto the stage from the rafters, in favour of electronic versions. Some productions have even ended the practice of bringing children on stage for a sing-song.

Aerial displays, which are considered less spectacular for modern audiences raised on special effects, and specialist “skin parts” – where actors perform as animals – are also a thing of the past.

The practice of ending the performance with a series of rhyming couplets – traditionally spoken for the first time on opening night – is also decreasing.

The new book, A History of Pantomime, chronicles the genre from its roots in a form of slapstick theatre developed by travelling Italian actors, which arrived in Britain, via France, in the seventeenth century.

Over the course of the next two centuries, it gradually evolved in the format with which we are still familiar, and by the middle of the nineteenth century it had become associated with Christmas.

By then, too, most of the canon had been established. Aladdin – still considered, like Shakespeare’s Macbeth, to be an “unlucky play” for performers – was the earliest recorded, with a version in 1788, although the first full panto format was not until 1861, at the Strand Theatre. Others then emerged in the early nineteenth century: Cinderella (1804, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Sleeping Beauty (1806, Drury Lane), Mother Goose (1806), Dick Whittington (1814), Puss in Boots (1817, in Covent Garden), and Jack and the Beanstalk (1819 at Drury Lane).

The exception is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which only appeared as panto after the release of Walt Disney’s 1934 film version. Because the company still have copyright on some aspects, the dwarves in panto versions go by different names.

Simon Sladen, a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum and pantomime editor for The British Theatre Guide, who has set up the new database, said: “There has never been a set format for panto and the traditions are always changing and will continue to do so.”

Let’s prove them wrong!

dear

#DearActor

Dear Actor,

Congratulations on getting the part you auditioned for, you obviously love the arts and really shone in the part you read for.
When asked; “What’s everyone’s availability for rehearsals?” you didn’t speak up, leaving us to understand that as being; “No problems here, I’m not going away anywhere, you can count on me”.
Like I said in the opening of this letter, you clearly love the arts. After all, this is the amateur side, we do not get paid for it, we do it for the love of it. so, you can imagine my surprise/disappointment when you’re not showing  up to rehearsals. “I didn’t know” or “I forgot” are the most common excuses we here. How can you forget about your hobby? How can you not know? Did you not think to ask?

So, to summarise: #DearActor, Pull your finger out, or there will be no show!

sweet wrappers

How Can We Encourage Better Behaviour at the Theatre?

The following post was taken from https://medium.com/treading-the-boards/2e53c56eba50 
Composed by Michelle Rago  @ragomp

Rule 12: Keep your hands out of your mouth

I have a friend who remembers life events by what was occurring in sports at the time. “We broke up the night Maryland made it to the Final Four in 2002” is a good example of his type of recall. I have developed a similar condition, but not with sports. I now remember the performing arts events I attend by the misbehavior other audience members perpetrate.

Examples

  • The Nance, Lyceum Theater, 2013
    Someone’s telephone rang at the worst possible moment. It was such a loud and old-fashioned ringtone I thought it was part of the show. The actors had to wait it out before proceeding with the scene.
  • A Little Night Music, Walter Kerr Theater, 2010
    The woman behind me went elbow-deep in and out of a box of hard pretzels. You can’t eat hard pretzels quietly and she didn’t tax herself by trying.
  • Man and Boy, American Airlines Theatre, 2011
    The man sitting next to me never took his hands out of his mouth and he was a loud chewer. #GetAManicure
  • The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Round House Theatre, 2013
    If you can’t hear or don’t understand what is going on, by all means keep reminding your party and those of us around you.

Shows Can Also Be Organized by Offense

  • Gum-cracking:
    – The Flick, Playwrights Horizons, 2013 (Some people just have to fill the silences.)
    – Brian Stokes Mitchell, The Kennedy Center, 2013
    – Red, Arena Stage, 2012
  • Teenage girls giggling and pointing:
    – Once, Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 2012 (Yes, Steve Kazee is handsome.)
    – That Championship Season, Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 2011 (They couldn’t get over being so close to Mr. Big.)
  • Drunk couples in their 60s-70s giggling and pointing:
    – Company, Signature Theatre, 2013 (The sex scene put them over the edge.)
    – That Championship Season, Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 2011 (“They let you bring drinks in here!”)
  • Singing along:
    – Show Boat, The Kennedy Center, 2013
    – My Fair Lady, Arena Stage, 2012

The Strangest of All

And now for the strangest of all transgressions. It occurred during a performance of American Buffalo at The Studio Theatre, Washington, D.C., 2010.

This was the first time I ever asked to change seats. A couple sat down next to us and read their programs. This is a good sign. They are less likely to open the program to look up the name of an actor as soon as the first funny line is delivered. The gentleman made a show of taking off his jacket. This is a bad sign. He needs attention. The gentleman spread his jacket horizontally over his legs making sure to leave part of it on my seat. (His encroachment on my leg space is a given.) The lights went down and he rolled up his program and held it in his lap. This is a very bad sign. It’s not a comfortable way to hold one’s program so clearly the program is going to be handled in some way during the show. Within one minute I learned what he intended to do with it. He intended to scrape it along his face at two-minute intervals. This is not an exaggeration. SCRAPE SCRAPE on the right cheek. SCRAPE SCRAPE on the left temple. It was so loud. He looked like the Aramis man so he had plenty to scrape against. How could his wife not say anything? He took a break from scraping to read something in the program. It was way too dark to read so he resumed exfoliation.

I usually just seethe, too cowardly to say anything, and also too worried about disturbing more people by confronting the person. The most I will do is stare. On rare occasions I consult an usher. I stared hard at the exfoliator, but he didn’t stop. I shifted in my seat and stared again. Then I think he did it because I looked at him. Someone in front of us glared at him. He didn’t stop. The intermission finally came. Luckily there were other seats available and the usher kindly let us have them.

What Is To Be Done?

The issue of theater etiquette received a great deal of attention earlier this year when writer and theater critic Kevin Williamson, during a production ofNatasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, grabbed and threw the phone of a fellow audience member who wouldn’t stop using her device even after several complaints were made. Williamson was praised and criticized.

Publicly denouncing the sinner every now and then must do some good, right? Breaches of etiquette disrespect the artists and other audience members. It’s important for people to realize that their behavior impacts the actors and everyone around them. Patti LuPone stopped a production ofGypsy to eject a person taking pictures.

I have to believe LuPone’s response served as a warning to others in the audience and to those who heard about it after the fact. Some actors tweet their frustrations. This too helps build awareness.

I would like more performers to speak out about theatre etiquette. I have heard some artists worry about the negative impact of thrusting a list of rules on people who choose to attend a live performance, but this theatregoer welcomes those efforts.

Theatres should discuss etiquette in more detail beyond the usual “turn off your cellphones and don’t unwrap candy.” I realize that not many etiquette list compilers would have included “Don’t scrape your program against your face” but there are frequent sins that could be reduced with more discussion and education. (In case you’re wondering why I don’t just ignore it as has been suggested to me, I can’t. I’ve tried. I can’t. If you have tips I would love to hear them.)

Including a statement about etiquette in a program or Playbill seems to be increasingly rare. The following list of “Gentle Reminders” is the best I’ve seen. The list was included in a program from the Arts Club Theatre Company in Vancouver. I enjoyed their 2012 production of Intimate Apparelduring which I experienced no audience issues. I’ve reproduced the list below. It’s also included on their FAQ page.

Gentle Reminders

It is very important to turn off all electronic devices for the duration of the show. If you are concerned about missing an emergency call, please leave your name, device, and seat location with an usher and we will alert you if a call comes through.

Please be modest with your use of fragrances as some patrons may have allergies.

Please wait until intermission or after the performance to discuss the show. (Even whispers carry!)

We request that you refrain from eating or unwrapping candy in the theatre as it causes distractions for others.

Photography is strictly prohibited in Arts Club theatres. Please visit our Facebook and Flickr pages for photos of our productions, and YouTube for videos.

If you have a complaint about another guest, please tell an usher or the Guest Services Manager rather than approaching the person yourself. We will be happy to address concerns on your behalf.

Please contact the Guest Services Manager at 604.731.4687 ext. 403 if you have suggestions on how we can serve you better.

This is a great list! Why aren’t similar lists included more often? Here are two more good examples: Straz Center and Broadway Theatre League.

How Long Has This Been Going On?

Of course this is not a new problem. Lilian Bell, a novelist born in 1867, brilliantly satirizes the etiquette breachers in this 1906 New-York Tribunepiece.

“Etiquette of the Theater” by Lilian Bell, New-York Tribune, 1906

A Selection of Marvellous Quotes:
On arriving late:

Your purchase money gives you the right to disturb the audience and upset the actors.

On coughing:

If you have a sneezing or coughing cold so that everybody at home wants to send you to a hospital, don’t let the thought of disturbing some thousand people…keep you from going to the theatre. You may cough your head off; nobody will do anything.

On singing along:

If you like the music, sing or whistle it with the people on the stage…Besides, the actors are only doing their best. Why respect them?

On talking:

If you don’t understand what is passing on the stage, ask your escort what it is and have him explain it to you. It gives your neighbours an exquisite joy. Or, if you particularly enjoy the points, repeat them aloud.

My List

I have included my not-so-gentle reminders below. Please let me know if you have others (or if you disagree that this is a problem).

  1. Don’t eat.
  2. Don’t jangle your bracelets.
  3. Don’t dig in your purse.
  4. Don’t check the time.
  5. If you don’t absolutely have to cough, don’t.
  6. Don’t talk unless the performance calls for your participation.
  7. When the lights go down put the program away. Put the program in your bag or under your chair. You don’t need it while the show is being performed. Don’t touch the program during the show.
  8. If you must have something to drink during the show (yes, I realize more and more theaters allow and even encourage the audience to bring drinks to their seats) please be mindful of the noise that a cup of ice makes when you tilt it in and out of your mouth and please try not to do that during the show. Please also see that your beverage bottle does not take a rolling trip to the first row.
  9. Don’t crack your gum.
  10. Turn your phone off, obviously. Please don’t wait until the last second to turn it off. That moment when the lights go down before the show starts can be such a great one. Most often now it is dotted with blue screens. And make sure the blasted thing is off before intermission ends.
  11. Clean up after yourself. Why should someone else have to pick up your garbage?

That’s my list! Did I forget anything?

Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Briton Ferry Little Theatre, would like to wish all it’s members and followers a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We are all going to be very busy over this Christmas period, what with family, celebrations and of course, Panto rehearsals. Which is why we thought we’d take this opportunity wish you all the best for this Holiday Season.

See you all in 2014!