Sunday, 18 February 2018
Saturday, 17 February 2018
My life is basically revolving around Yew Tree but I don't think I'll ever complain. Especially when it offers so much for me as a young actor. I ended 2017 with the Open-Mic Night and the Christmas shows so my expectations were incredibly high going into 2018 and it hasn't disappointed. There's Connections where it's developed into a piece that I'm already super proud of. But has also challenged me as an actor more than any other piece that I've done in the past and I love it for that. We've got our first set of performances of Ceasefire Babies in early March and I know it's going to be amazing and a can't-miss.
But that's not all! There's Gold company as well. Where we're working on my very first miners play. If I'm honest, I was a bit sceptical at first when I read the script but now that we've got it on its feet and are performing, I adore it. Alan Wood, the playwright, did a brilliant job at creating such a moving and tragic play and I'm so happy to be taking part in it. I even get to perform a song with my friend Elliyah, which just makes it even more special.
Yew Tree has been the best part of my life now for nearly a year and I couldn't be more grateful to be part of it all. Whether it's taking part in productions, volunteering and helping with Sapphire company or just all the wonderful people that make me smile every time, I love being part of it all and I look forward to what the rest of 2018 has in-store for me!
2018! Let’s just say that the start to Yew tree 2018 has been a challenge already… And what we’re only 2 months in. National Theatre Connections is just around the corner and the entire cast have been working so hard. ‘Ceasefire Babies’ by Fiona Doyle is a play which requires so many skills from the cast in order to create this amazing story about how traumatic events from past conflicts can cause such a large impact on modern society. The rehearsal process from day one has pushed us to our limits with our acting skills but also physical skills. During the rehearsal process so far we have been able to explore the characters within the play and relating these youthful characters to events of ‘Ballymurphy Massacre of 1971’ which the play is inspired by. The music we have being rehearsing with has given the piece a whole new gritty feels to the performance helping us as a cast understand the problems faced by a war-torn country. I must admit though, trying to find a nice 1970’s costume for myself has got to be the hardest task!! Why didn’t they just wear skinny jeans?? Anyways Monday 19th February is when we start out intense weeks of rehearsals known as ‘Connections Week’. People who have being part of connections in previous years understand and know how important this week is. So to all the younger cast member’s this year, be ready to get pushed a lot by Sarah. Going to be stressful but trust me it will be worth it by the end. So everyone you need to get down to CAPA college on the 5th and 6th of March for a heart gripping performance of Ceasefire Babies. After last year’s success with Black's companies performance of ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare. Black company are performing a Brecht play later on this year near summer time. We workshopped many different texts ranging from contemporary and classical texts which all have different challenges. We decided on the play ‘Fear And Misery Of The Third Reich’. The Brecht play explores 24 interconnected playlets which describe the events which took place in German households in 1930’s. We knew the text was going to have a lot of challenging plotlines due to the fact that there were large amounts of suspicion and anxiety experienced by ordinary people. A large challenge in the text is going to be exploring the Jewish citizens who were impacted as well as the German households as Hitler and his power grew. The play has 24 scene which all have many different characters who represent different people in this society. I think the play is going to come with many challenges some which we are yet to find. With new members in the companies each year it’s nice to work on different texts with different people. There’s one thing about yew tree which shines out more than anything and it’s how we are constantly pushed to our limits if that’s throughout weekly rehearsals, connections, LAMDA exams or for some of us Drama school auditions. So best make most of everything that’s happening and take hold of every opportunity because who knows, I could be going to University after summer. Who knows?? Declan
Thursday, 4 January 2018
I returned to Yew Tree towards the end of 2017 after being a member previously for around two years. Having left at a time of change to finish off my A levels, I came back to find most members of Gold company had left and been replaced by new people even though I’d only been away 8 months. It’s a strange feeling returning somewhere that feels half familiar and half unknown.
Of course, after just a few sessions, you can feel yourself getting back into the swing of things – with all the classic Yew Tree games that you didn’t even realise you missed, and the remaining members who you haven’t seen in such a long time. So, eventually, you begin to realise that although everything and everyone seems to have changed, it really isn’t as different as you initially thought.
To begin with, I have to say that Halloween was one of the highlights of 2017. Working with my fabulous fellow witches, we put together a highly condensed performance of ‘Macbeth’. Well, the Macbeth witches part of it anyway. It’s always great fun taking on a character so different from yourself, and being a witch is one of the finest examples of this. We only had a few rehearsals, but the action came together in the end, with the help of our matching witch costumes and “witchy” makeup. We had two rather immersive performances which consisted of everything from randomly taking hold of an audience member’s hand to inspect it for blood to screaming and falling to the floor. It was certainly a very full-on way to get back into Yew Tree after my break!
This year’s (or should I now say last year’s) performances also consisted of Gold company’s Christmas performance “Ella” – an adaptation of Cinderella and my very last Christmas show. Again, I was cast with a character very different from myself – the flirtatious and outgoing Lois, who at first I felt quite self-conscious playing. However, by the performance night, my character had changed so much and become so loud and dramatic that even I felt as if I no longer controlled her! One of the best elements of this particular show was the beautiful music that accompanied it – it really added another dimension to the whole performance. I must also mention the relationships that all the characters built up with one another over the weeks of rehearsals – by the time this show had ended I felt much more comfortable with the new members of Gold company.
Finally, I finished off my return to Yew Tree with a Festive Open Mic night. It’s probably been well over a year since I last performed in one of these, but I have to say everybody was as supportive as ever. Every act was greeted with a welcome round of applause, so even the most nervous of performers went on to do a brilliant performance.
Now I’m looking forward to what 2018 holds for Yew Tree. It’s going to be my last year with this theatre company, but I’m sure there is much excitement ahead still. For one, I plan on writing a performance myself for a group of actors – this should be great practise for my studying Creative Writing at university in September. And I guess for now I’d also better cherish every experience with Yew Tree, as time flies by so quickly.
Or at least 2017 did anyway.
Tuesday, 2 January 2018
And the last blog for now although there maybe a couple later in the week - is Lucy who returned to us this year after a break and we’re very pleased she did...
2017- the year Donald Trump officially became president and the year I officially became a member of Yew Tree again... I know which one I'm happier about...
Anyway let's rewind back to January, when Black Company took on the daunting task of bringing to life a full length Shakespeare play. Baring in mind I hadn't picked up a script in over a year, it's safe to say my acting was rusty (so was my ability to socialise and generally be around people outside of my house, what can I say, being a mum is time consuming) but clearly Sarah had more confidence in me than I had in myself as she gave me the role of Lady Macbeth (I know, I couldn't believe it either). If you asked any female actor who their dream roles are chances are you'd hear "Lady Macbeth" more than once, so as you can imagine, excited as I was, taking on this part was nerve racking. I was the new girl feeling like I had to prove myself to a group of really talented people and I really wasn't sure I was up to it. Looking back now, knowing the amazing people at Black Company I obviously know there was no need to feel I had to prove anything as no one there has that kind of attitude. But alas, I was nervous. But fast forward a few weeks and all that had passed, I was making new friends and the fire inside me was being reignited. I felt at home, accepted, back where I belong. Not only was I getting to sit back and watch some ridiculously good actors, I was getting to work with them (shoutout to the Macbeth to my Lady Macbeth, Sam MG, who absolutely smashed it and inspired me raise my game to match him). We performed in June at the Hepworth and it was the most intense, rewarding performance I've had the pleasure to be a part of. Definitely the highlight of my Yew Tree year.
In summer we had a break from the serious stuff and focused on our devising skills. Devising isn't my strong point but the workshops were definitely helpful in getting back into that creative mindset.
Now we're into September, which brought a mix of emotions, sadness as we said goodbye to those who went off to uni, and excitement for the upcoming Christmas shows. I was also properly happy because Beth Mirfin was back and no one makes me shake my head in despair and laugh until I cry in equal measures in quite the same way.
Black Company decided to go for a different take on the classic tale of A Christmas Carol, using the ghosts as our main inspiration. It was a piece about choices and making decisions and how everything we do impacts the future in one way or another. It was interesting and thought provoking and I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it.
Last one for me was Gold Company's Christmas show. I'm not usually a member of Gold, but due to other commitments the lovely Ellie was unable to make the show dates and so I volunteered to fill in and take on her role. Unlike the monochrome aesthetic of Black Company's show, Ella was loud and bright and full of colour! (No hate on the black and white look for Black Company, I was a big big fan) My character for this 1950s take on Cinderella was Lucille, a heartless, selfish, gold digger, and I'll be honest... I absolutely loved playing her. Because let's face it, it's always more fun to play a baddy! Gold Company welcomed me with open arms and I was blown away by their talent.
And of course there was open mic night, a chance for everyone to get together, celebrate what we've achieved over the year, and enjoy the insane amount of musical talent the people of Yew Tree have in abundance.
To be honest I just love Yew Tree. See ya next year guys!
Monday, 1 January 2018
Our next blogger is the very lovely Elliyah! Hope you’re enjoying this series of insights into YTYT if you want to catch up on the blog joy just scroll back...
Yewtree - where do I start?
I’ve been at Yewtree for just over a year now and I have to say I have loved every second of it!
I started at Sapphire company during workshops in which we did work on physical theatre and different genres of acting - quite the treat! We then started devising Hansel and Gretel which was my first ever yewtree performance! My first show and I was honoured to be given a lead role - Gretel.
After that performance I was hooked and Sarah offered a place to me in Gold company, I’m not going to lie, at first I was terrified. It’s safe to say the nerves soon wore off as everyone there was so welcoming. As soon as I joined, the company were in the process of choosing a performance for later that year, and even though I just started they included me in that decision (something that had never happened at past drama company’s or at school even). Already, after only four months I felt more at home with Yewtree than anywhere else!
From weekly workshops to Open Mic Nights, from rehearsals
to performances, every element of Yewtree is a delight and I am so happy to be a part of it!
From the very beginning Sarah has been there for me with open arms and I could not be more grateful for everything she has helped me do and overcome.
I feel like I have become more confident and better than before in acting, performing and have become, in general, a better person. It has really brought me out of my shell.
All the friends that I’ve made there are so important to me too and I’m so glad that I met them all.
All in all Yewtree has had nothing but a positive impact on me and I love it and everyone there dearly.
We have a wonderful blog combo for our next blog - the very excellent 8 year old Emma followed by her equally excellent Mum Sam!
In Yew Tree I have really enjoyed myself this year. I have had loads of fun this year doing things like Remember the Oaks, Three little pigs, Little red riding hood, The Miners memorial and of course the xmas performance.
One of my favourite performances was the three little pigs which we did at Ossett town hall as I was lucky enough to play the wolf and I had longer lines to learn which I find makes it easier. I also really enjoyed working with the older ones doing the miners performances.
In Jade company we have had so much fun too, I really enjoy playing all the games and really enjoy it when Emerald and Jade play games together.
The best bit of 2017 has got to be winning the award for most improved junior drama student 2017.
I am looking forward to what I will do with yew tree in 2018.
by Emma Loynes
Emma joined Jade company in May 2016 and towards the end of 2016 Emmas name was picked out of the hat to play the part of Missy Moon in Jade companies xmas performance, this involved her learning a paragraph of speech rather than one line. She took this challenge seriously and within one week had already learnt her lines …..and those of everyone else haha
Her little face beamed with pride on the evening of the performance. This whole experience really boosted her confidence and enabled her to believe in herself.
In 2017 she continued to enjoy her regular weekly classes at Jade company whilst also taking the opportunity for more drama by enrolling on the Remember the Oaks performance which was performed in Barnsley and later on in the year the miners memorial service performed at Selby Abbey. Emma gains so much from working with the older members of yew tree youth theatre although she doesn't realise this, she just sees it as another opportunity to keep busy and have fun.
I've been lucky enough to see Emma perform quite a lot this year with YTYT and have enjoyed them all but I think my favourite has got to be the miners memorial performed in Selby Abbey, seeing such a dedicated talented group of young people perform the work created by Sarah alongside the brass band with such passion in such stunning surroundings was almost breathtaking.
Throughout the year YTYT Jade company have also welcomed Matthew and made him feel part of the team, it was lovely to see him performing at the xmas performance on stage, what an achievement this was.
Massive thanks go to not only Sarah but the whole team that makes up YTYT from the youngest to the oldest members for making 2017 an enjoyable one for the Loynes family.