8

Yesterday I got back from a couple of days in London. I was there to take some classes (there’ll be a separate post about each of them) but obviously I did a little more than just work. The headlines of this trip are:

  • While I was at my first class I bumped into two people from NYT 2012 (always lovely). Libby (on my right) was on my course and the girl on my left is Phoebe Elliott. She is a year younger than me and we’re in an informal race to see who can get equity first and keep the name. Having identical names does lead us in to amusing situations of knowing where the other one has been and if they’re around!
  • I had my first burrito ever. It was big and very filling and spicy and I don’t know what beans I had in it.
  • Me and Rosie went to The Shed to see Hotel (there will be a separate review post on that).
  • We then got becoming-a-tradition post show late night ice cream from Snowflake.
  • After class the next day I met James and we had a lovely Italian at a place out near Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (James is studying Musical Theatre there) before spending several hours just walking round London together and talking.
  • I then met Rosie and some people from her course in a pub and that’s the beginning of a two pubs and an accommodation kitchen drinking session that led to me spending the night listening to Kanye West and Christian RnB covers and being up at 4am (not a usual Phoebe awake time) discussing gender and sexuality minority issues with Sam (a guy on Rosie’s course).

I also saw an inordinate amount of celebrities while I was there. Over the two days I was in London I saw the following people wondering out and about:

I also picked up some new music from Sam which I’d like to share with you. He’s called Ásgeir Trausti and he’s Icelandic. You can listen to the song I listened to at 1am in a pub through some headphones here. It’s very beautiful and I really hope you like it.

I’m also going to the theatre tonight so a post about that and the rest of the posts about this trip will come over the weekend. Keep your eyes peeled!

Lots of love,

Phoebe

10

Yesterday I went on a bit of an adventure - for the first time ever, I went to London by myself to see some theatre. I can be quite an anxious traveler so to do this and know I didn’t have someone to pick me up or make sure I was on the right tube was kind of a big deal for me.

I arrived at what I was pretty sure was the theatre (spoilers: it was) but I was almost 2 hours early so being a smaller venue, it wasn’t open yet. This led to me surprising the good people of London by my willingness to help (I’m not kidding, everyone was surprised that I offered to help them). My favourite had to be the two old ladies from Barcelona who asked for directions to the British Museum; they were really lovely and after we’d looked at my map we talked a bit about my brother’s trip to Spain that’s happening in a few weeks.

The play I saw was called Grounded and it was fantastic but more of that in a minute. I met the actress, Lucy Ellinson, in Edinburgh because she was one of our resident balladeers at the Bloody Great Border Ballad Project but she was also up there with the play I went to see. It sold like hotcakes and because I was working I didn’t get to see it hence me going down to London. I saw her on the way in and we had a chat before she had to get in to costume etc.

The Gate Theatre itself is really beautiful. It’s very simple and small but really stunning to be inside. The house is more of a black box studio space with three blocks of seating around a small thrust stage.

I hold my hands up here and admit that I am a complete set perv. The space Lucy was performing in was gorgeous. It was a material box, that became transparent when lit from inside, probably measuring maybe 2mx2m and seperated the audience from Lucy. There were 45 lights inside the box including the lighting panels on the floor (each with between 225 and 400 individual lights). It’s fair to say I had a hard time not touching the box.

The play itself was magnificent. I won’t try to tell you the plot because hopefully some of you will get the few remaining tickets for the extended run. The basic premises is the story of a female fighter pilot who’s grounded because she gets pregnant and when she returns from leave she’s put on drone strikes. It explores how being in control of the strikes affect the pilot and her life. Watching it was a complete adrenalin rush and also very sad but it was hard to focus on the sadness of it when I was leaving the theatre because I was too hyped up to speak or really even breathe properly. 

It literally left me breathless.

I hung around in the pub next door for a bit with Lucy and her friends to discuss the play and other things. It was so lovely to see her again and to have a chat but really I feel most grateful at I got to see her perform. I can’t think of when I was so enthusiastic about a piece of theatre. It was a privilege to be able to see it and an honour to be able to discuss it afterwards.

I then had a 5 hour train journey back to Newcastle. Normally it’s only about 3 hours but there was engineering works on the line. I get really tired if I train travel too much in one day so I got to the point where I deliriously thought I looked rather beautiful in the window so that’s what the last two pictures are.

For me it is a source of pride that I had such a fantastic day in a constricting leather skirt and a translucent shirt that can get very hot very quickly - screw you practical fashion, I can dress how I want!

If you can get to see Grounded and get tickets then here is the website:
http://www.gatetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/grounded.aspx

If you want to read an interview with Lucy then please do so:
http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/sep/01/lucy-ellinson-grounded-interview

Lots of love,

Phoebe

Grounded runs at The Gate Theatre until October 5th 2013.

10

I’m back home! I slept for 12 hours last night! I’ve hugged my cat! Later I’m having a shower in power shower that I don’t have to share with 17 other people! I had an amazing time in Edinburgh but I definitely missed some home comforts (and some people who I had to text every day to stop me missing them too much). 

These are some photos taken by me (and some by my friends) that I really love. Too much goes on in a month for me to do all the highlights for you but a couple of things that stood out were:

  • I made new friends with people I really like and admire (volunteers, actors and tech people alike)
  • I saw Aoife twice for two very lovely meals
  • I saw lots and lots of theatre (as you all know)
  • I walked a lot through some really gorgeous parts of Edinburgh
  • I ate at my favourite restaurant
  • I networked like a woman possessed so I might have a couple of things coming up I think you’ll all love
  • There was lots of pizza
  • I found lots of new music that I adore

That’s everything that immediately comes to mind but there was so much more and things that spring to mind that you wouldn’t understand (just because you weren’t there so they’re probably not funny to you). I’m so grateful to have had such a wonderful time and such a fulfilling experience. I’m looking forward to getting back in to the swing of things at the Tyneside and building on everything I’ve done over the past month.

I’ll keep you up to date, I promise!

Lots of love,

Phoebe

7

Today I got back from a trip to Edinburgh to see my friend Nicola's first year exhibition (she's at art school). I can't believe I haven't been up to see her before this and it was lovely to spend time in one of my favourite cities with one of my favourite people. Here are the headlines:

  • I had a table all to myself on the train up.
  • Me and Nic spent the night taking selfies and making fanmixes as well as watching Princess Diaries 2 on Netflix.
  • Nic (finally) gave me my 18th birthday present which is an absolutely gorgeous, baby soft scarf from Sarajevo.
  • Ysanne joined us today and we went to see Nic’s piece in the firs year exhibition.
  • The rock (Nic’s piece) took her a week to polish, is from a stone circle, has real gold on it and it kind of about the significance of artefacts and their preciousness.
  • I love the rock.
  • We went back to Nic’s flat and chatted about everything from uni to Greek mythology from a female/feminist perspective.

I had such a great night/day but now it’s definitely time to catch up on all that sleep I’ve missed out on this week! See you on Wednesday when I’ll tell you all about my interview for Edinburgh.

Lots of love,

Phoebe

5

Today I trekked (via train) to Manchester and back for the Manchester Met University open day. Their school of theatre is accredited by Drama UK (previously the CDS and NCDT) so is a drama school. While I was there I saw many beautiful people, another travellator, some beautiful street art and I fished a cool key from in between two stones in a wall in a park with my Swiss Army knife. I also had a tour round the theatre buildings, talked to a member of the Acting course staff and went to a talk given by another member of staff from the Acting course.

The talk was only about 20 minutes long with 10 minutes for questions and it wasn’t really anything I hadn’t heard before. The Acting course is vocational and focuses completely on acting; if you’re looking for something that is more diverse then it is suggested you look at the Contemporary Theatre & Performance course at the Cheshire campus. There are 30 - 35 contact hours and the training provided is text based classical training in classic naturalism. All pretty standard stuff.

I really liked the staff, the students I met and the look of the course and facilities so I am going to apply to MMU in October when applications open. I do think it helps that I already have a friend who’s just completed first year and has given me his honest evaluation of the course. I’m really glad I went to the open day though (even if it did mean being up at 5:45 this morning).

Lots of love,

Phoebe

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8

I went to York to visit my friend Jen at uni. This is the first of my trips around the lovely United Kingdom to visit my friends at their new cities and homes.

It was a relaxed visit (they always are with me and Jen) so after we had a wonderfully loud and merry reunion at the station we went into York and had lunch at Pizza Express. Jen had the gorgeous raspberry lemonade shown above. I have a bit of thing for aesthetically pleasing bottles and jars but I decided not to be a creep and just take a picture instead of trying to convince the waitress to let me keep the bottle.

We also went to a cool shop called Ark. Jen had a whole bunch of things to try on so I picked up a dress (which I think goes quite well with my bra - clearly it was meant for women with some sort of bust) and I also tried on a fabulous bright pink faux fur coat which I almost bought. I didn’t buy it and I don’t regret it. Realistically, I have nothing to wear it with.  

After that we went back to her halls and I met her friends while we cooked some rubbish (amazing) food. We watched a couple of films that evening and the next morning and, before we knew it, we were heading back to the train station so I could be back for Young Company rehearsals.

It’s lovely to be able to see my friends in their new homes and meet their new friends. It makes me miss them less and more in equal measure. I really look forward to visiting the rest of my friends very soon!

Lots of love,

Phoebe

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The final verse of the Ballad has been put up! You can see me and everything. I’m in the orange top and pink trousers at the back. 

It won’t make much sense if you haven’t watch the rest of it so here is the link to the first verse:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qEk82ZWipU

And here’s the link to the lyrics:
http://www.northernstage.co.uk/st-stephens/whats-on/the-bloody-great-border-ballad-project

I had such a fantastic time doing the ballad. I got to watch and meet so many wonderful, talented people and I’m really proud of the end product. I hope you like it.

Lots of love,

Phoebe

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