Archive for the ‘pre-production’ Category

Getting down and dirty in Wolves and West Brom

September 14, 2009

Just spent the day with the design/making team in our new shop in the Mander Centre, Wolverhampton and our old shop in the Queens Square, West Bromwich.

This run of the Corner Shop (for those of you who don’t know) is a remount of the original production which took place almost exactly a year ago in West Bromwich.

Rob and Johnny discuss the options

Rob and Johnny discuss the options

Remounting a site specific production in a new location is bound to bring with it difficulties – the original show had been specifically made around the venue you were using then. It utilised the unique features of that space and tried to use them to make something that seemed utterly at home in that location. Inevitably, then, a remount elsewhere throws up a number of problems.

Our intention this time is to create something that is less reliant on the space we are using physically, but drawing on its relative location and what that means to the audiences who attend. We want, this time, to create a show that can be toured to other similar locations, if people want it. Therefore, the show’s significant relationship to its current location is based around the shopping centre itself, and what that means to people coming in to see a show about small local shops there.

But we’ve still got the complication of taking the original design and fitting it onto a new, differently shaped space.

Originally, we had a large shop with pillars every 3-4 metres and a staircase rising to a second floor about two thirds of the way back.

Our new location has pillars as well, but not so regular. It has a staircase, but it is right in front of the main entrance and it descends to a lower floor.

What they do have in common is that they are both a little grubby at the moment.

We are also working with new designers, as Purvin is busy on another project (luckily he is still involved to a degree and was with us for a short while today).

After much discussion between Rob (who is the principal designer/builder), Johnny (who is leading on the design/making), Deb (who is production manager) and me (one of the co-directors) we seem to have found a place for everything and a route for the audience that makes sense.

Following this discussion, we uprooted ourselves and went to West Brom, to the original location to see if there was anything that could be salvaged from there for the remount.

Walking into that space was odd, it still held the echo of the original production. The partitioning had been stripped out, but wallpaper still ghosted on the walls. The patina that the original design team had laid down around objects was still there, but the objects themselves had vanished. In the sweet shop, there was still the sickly sugar smell of mouldering confectionery.

Johnny in the old shop in West Brom

Johnny in the old shop in West Brom

For Johnny, who didn’t work on the original production, it was good to see what remained and how it related to our earlier chat, for us it triggered memories in a way that images can’t.

It feels like we are really getting into motion now.

Posted by Steve Johnstone co-director

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The Corner Shop print arrives!

August 20, 2009

Always an exciting moment in the pre-production process, you know a show is really going to happen when the boxes of posters and flyers arrive. It feels like the countdown to opening night starts here! We’re planning for tickets to go on sale on 1st September, so the next week or two will no doubt involve all sorts of strenuous legwork by loyal Foursight and BCT footsoldiers distributing 27,000 flyers and persuading shopkeepers in Wolverhampton to put a poster up in their window.

If anyone would like to help distribute a few flyers to interested parties, do let us know…!

Corner Shop print

Corner Shop print 005

First site visit with design team

August 4, 2009
Corner Shop venue

Corner Shop venue

Just had our first meeting at the new site with Purvin & Rob Hill who worked with us on the original design and build. The new space is a large empty sports shop right  in the heart of the Mander shopping centre  opposite a sad and empty  Woolworths, all very appropriate for a production about small corner shops.

The space is great, very similar to the previous shop space in West Bromwich but with a major difference in that the large central stairway, which rose up from the middle of the space in West Brom, this time goes down, rather like a subway. It does impact on the central space which we used for the street scenes in the previous run but will no doubt throw up interesting creative challenges for how we work around it.  Purvin suggested  smoke and red lights  rising up from the stairwell, very atmospheric, perhaps a bit too hell-like for a show about corner shops.

The two large shop windows open out onto a busy walkway in the shopping centre so we are hoping that inquisitive shoppers will peep in, curious to see what is being created inside. We are hoping members of the public will come into the space within a cordoned area and view the work in progress, perhaps have guided tours at later stages when the different spaces have emerged.

So now to a mammoth task, the gathering of materials. A lot of wood to be ordered, charity shops to visit for dressing the different spaces, 70’s wallpaper to find, shop goods and fittings to source and wheelie bins to scrounge for those dark street corners.

The Corner Shop performances come to Wolverhampton

July 24, 2009

Foursight Theatre and Black Country Touring have teamed up with Wolverhampton Arts & Museums Services and the Mander Shopping Centre in Wolverhampton to bring our much loved 2008 production of The Corner Shop to Foursight’s home town of Wolverhampton for the first time this autumn.

Performances will run from 23rd October – 8th November 2009 (full details on Foursight’s website here) in a disused shop unit in the Mander Centre and this blog will record the whole process of transforming this empty site into a bustling, colourful set for our promenade performances, as well as the highs and lows, stresses, strains and delights of the rehearsal process.

We will be blogging weekly from here on in, and the aim is to increase posts to daily entries once rehearsals start in mid-October, so do stay tuned!

Thanks for your interest in this project, and we hope to see you at a performance in due course!

The Corner Shop 2008 production in West Bromwich

The Corner Shop 2008 production in West Bromwich