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Blog No. 19 - Ellie Rose

Meet Ellie Rose, Assistant Director on Kill Thy Neighbour. Born in Haverfordwest, Ellie grew up in St Dogmaels. She’s had a wonderful time working on this production alongside Chelsey Gillard, Torch Theatre’s very own Artistic Director. This brand- new comedy thriller will be on the Torch stage, here in Milford Haven from 24 April to 4 May this year. Read below about her adventures on the co-production with Theatr Clwyd.


Week 1

First day and everyone is excited, a little nervous and anxious to get started. We met the whole team working on the project and at Theatr Clwyd - and I mean a whole team! Everyone is kind, welcoming and chuffed to start this new production. Kill Thy Neighbour author, Lucie Lovatt, is joining us all week, to work through the new script and develop any changes alongside the actors and our artistic director Chelsey Gillard.

This is my first time working on such a large scale, regional theatre play, and I was anxious I would be out of place, not good enough or a complete spare part. But this week has proven my doubt to be wrong - Chelsey galvanises the team, embraces everyone's ideas and brings us together. She is a collaborator and facilitator extraordinaire. Lucie, too, is so humble, precise and generous in listening to ideas and allowing them to shape her words.

Every morning, we all come together, chat through the gossip of the day and share stories and research any ideas that connect the world of the play to these incredible characters and their journeys. We then do table work; we read sections of the script and break them down, make cuts, changes and re-read the dialogue; to check if they hold the integrity of the story. We laugh, drink one hundred brews and dive head-first into the ghost village of Porth y Graith.

I cannot wait to get going on week two!


Week 2

This week we start putting the scenes on their feet. Working from Act 1 Scene 1 all the way to Act 3 Scene 3 from Monday to Thursday. The actors got to play in the space, feeling it out and making it their home. The set design by Elin Steele is incredibly detailed, full of texture and age, it reminds me so much of my grandma's 19th Century cottage near Boncath. So much of this play takes me home to Pembrokeshire.

There are a lot of lines for the actors! They each have their own approach to learning them and it's fascinating to learn how every actor has their individual process.

We had our weekly production meeting on Tuesday, this is when every member of the crew and creative team comes together to discuss the technical parts of the show like lighting, sound, rigging, set building and costume. It's amazing to be part of such a strong and cohesive team. Normally in small scale, fringe or collaborative shows (outside of regional or national theatre), I might have to direct and share responsibility for sourcing costumes, marketing, scheduling etc, so, to be allowed to only focus on the rehearsal room is such a gift.

We will run tomorrow for the first time. Wish us luck!


Week 3 & 4

We spent the past two weeks rehearsing the scenes and piecing together the firm foundations of the play. When you hear the words spoken again and again, you hear new things every time. The complexities and depths of Lucie’s writing, of these beautiful characters, keep revealing themselves.

We have a real, proper coffee machine in the green room (the room where the company can hang out on down time), and I’ve become a pro at making oat lattes and espresso – a very important skill for these long rehearsal days!

I have learnt so much about working with a large creative team and the responsibility of the director to foster a safe, inclusive, joyful environment; on listening, giving notes, direction and feedback. We have also worked with Bethan, our intimacy coordinator, on two sessions. Her role is to ensure the actors have full autonomy and different choices in the approach and delivery of intimate moments in the play.

Lastly, we had a visit from Heno, who filmed and interviewed the cast for the press for the show. Check it out soon!


Tech Week

We have made it to tech week! 

This is the week we transfer from the rehearsal room to the performance stage. We get to see the set for the first time, the lighting design, all the costumes and hear the score. It's all fantastic! 

We get to see the full vision of the show come together. Actors have the job of adjusting to the space and to the auditorium. Tic Ashfield, the composer, has made some incredible sound using a recorded live harmonium and a 1950s upright piano. She used samples of a broken, out of tune piano that she found in Theatr Clwyd back in 2014 to create the darker musical moments. Along with brushes on a baroque snare drum, a zither and a bodhran. To me it stirs up the feeling of the sea and the wilds of the Preseli Mountains. There is a loneliness and peace to the sound - something that reminds me of standing on the windy winter beach at Nolton Haven, watching the waves crash and build.  

My job is to keep an eye on the script, sight lines and generally support whatever Chelsey needs! We’ve consumed a lot of Haribo. 

We are ready for the audience to come and join us; to laugh and cry and gasp with delight and I’m not ready for this show to come to an end! Getting to come to work every day with such talented, playful, incredible individuals has been one of the best times I’ve ever had in theatre.


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