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Wrapping Up Rehearsals - Behind the Net Curtains

Posted on 14 May 2019

As Coventry and Warwickshire celebrate their Year of Wellbeing in 2019, the Belgrade Theatre is gearing up for a four-day exploration of how engagement in art and culture affects health and wellbeing for over 50s.

Titled Connectivity and Community, the series will include a performance of a show called Behind the Net Curtains, devised and developend by the Belgrade Elders Company. Set at a 100th birthday party, the show tells the interlinked stories of different guests attending, and will be performed on Thursday 16, Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May.

Since rehearsals began in January, Elders Company and Belgrade Arts Gym member Margaret Emerton has been blogging about her experiences of taking part in the project. With rehearsals drawing to a close this week, she reflects on the process so far, and looks forward to the show opening this week.

Behind the Net Curtains

Phew, I remember the end of the first week of intensive rehearsals. We were all exhausted. At least we had the weekend to recover and take in all that we had learned!

Each session started with games that warmed up our bodies, voices and minds. Whilst we had fun, there was a real purpose behind them. They reinforced basic stage skills: knowing where we are on the stage, awareness of fellow actors and reminding us to think of where the audience will be. Other games made us aware of how a walk or movement or a facial expression can convey so many feelings. Without warming up our vocal cords and repeating tongue twisters, how will that stage whisper be heard?

Behind the Net Curtains

Our sessions continued with more stage techniques: more scenarios to work on, even becoming an object or working at different physical levels in a scene, (if you end up on the floor there’s always help to get up) or how to move stage props. Each session is different, with so many things to remember. Already we are thinking quicker, working more easily in a group.

It has been a pleasure to work with so many brilliant professionals, a truly wonderful experience.

Slowly the stories are being revealed, and we can see how our work over the last few months has been woven into these stories.

Behind The Net Curtains

As in life, the stories feature highs and lows. We will be challenged, maybe, to face our fears or trigger long-forgotten memories, but we know that we will support each other… it is often easier to play the joker.

At that time, the script was not yet finalised and no parts had been allocated. This is when the hard work started: learning lines and delving deeper into the characters so that they become part of us.

Behind The Net Curtains

Then, another three weeks of intensive rehearsals before the performance, and yes, we all worked very hard.

We are all looking forward to our live performances, we hope you are too!

Behind The Net Curtains shows at the Belgrade Theatre on Thursday 16, Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May, forming part of our Connectivity and Community series. Tickets are available to book now.

Behind The Net Curtains