The central importance of ‘community’ in A View From the Bridge offered us a truly exciting way to engage with the community surrounding Tobacco Factory Theatres. Introducing … our Community Cast!
Since January, Mike Tweddle (Artistic Director at Tobacco Factory Theatres and Director of A View From the Bridge) has led a 10-week theatre course – Get On Stage – for 26 adults aged 20 to 70, most of whom have never been on stage before. The course culminates with them taking on small roles and performing in our production, with five members of the group forming a ‘mini company’ and appearing on stage each night.
Assistant Director Sally Wippman explains more about the Community Cast and what working with them has meant for this production.
For the last 10 or so weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming a group of community members to make up the ensemble parts in A View From the Bridge. This delightful group of soon-to-be actors come from Bristol and beyond and have brought their diverse opinions, interesting perspectives and incredible enthusiasm to our production.
We have all felt a lot of gratitude towards the Community Cast – having them with us as part of this process has reminded us of the ‘magic of theatre’ that comes not just in story-telling, but in story creation as well. At our last rehearsal before we split into mini companies and joined the professional cast, we reflected on the joy that occurs when people come together in a safe, supportive space and have the opportunity to explore, play, interrogate, fail and thrive.
Two things really pinged out to me as we wrapped up our final discussion that night. The first: failure is key. Failure is a stepping stone. It’s a first attempt. It’s the try before the fly. And it’s absolutely necessary to the creative process. Without embracing failure, we’d never try anything beyond our immediate comprehension and control. We’d never reach the outer levels of our imaginations. We’d never contemplate the gloriously weird or the surprisingly magnificent in what we can or might create. The Community Cast reminded me in their observations that the permission to fail in this creative space meant that they could learn more, contribute more and grow more.
The second aspect of their rehearsals that clung to me was the feeling of ensemble. It’s truly unlike anything else to feel that you are working in synchronicity with a group of people, some of whom you may not even know very well. The unison comes not from interpersonal relationships, but from having the courage to fail and placing trust in yourself and others. It’s beautiful and, in the right creative environment, the feeling of ensemble can grow even among strangers.
I’m so excited to continue working with the Community Cast in the coming weeks as they make their theatrical debuts at Tobacco Factory Theatres!
Our Get On Stage and Community Cast members are:
A View From the Bridge runs at Tobacco Factory Theatres from Wed 18 April – Sat 12 May. To find out more and book, visit the main show page.
Posted on 17 April 2018