How we’ve moved online: An interview with Technical Supervisor Nick Toll
24 Aug 2020
We are pleased to share the news that our 2020 Players teams are currently in rehearsals at Bell Shakespeare HQ. The Players are preparing for a limited tour to NSW and ACT schools during late term 3 and early term 4. The Players will be presenting two plays; Macbeth: The Rehearsal by Head of Education Joanna Erskine and Such Sweet Sorrow written by Joanna Erskine and Matt Edgerton.
Due to social distancing, rehearsals have been quite a different experience than usual. An incredible amount of work has gone into making sure this is a safe experience for all, as is the process of returning to schools. The teams are still receiving the same support from Voice and Text Coach Jess Chambers who is embracing the new technology of Zoom, running the sessions from her home in the ACT. Movement Director Nigel Poulton was initially unable to travel down from QLD and trained The Players over Zoom, with Jack Crumlin assisting in the room. However, despite the many changes and challenges, the joy of performers, directors, stage managers and production staff being back in a room making theatre has been palpable.
We’ve also adapted scripts to ensure social distancing measures are in place and included more than a few clever references to current events within the shows. From a Montague spitting in disgust at a Capulet, to Romeo and Juliet’s first kiss, to a ‘masked’ ball, to Lady Macbeth’s handwashing, we are constantly finding new challenges and opportunities to respond cleverly and creatively!
The Players will be visiting a range of schools including those from the Central Coast, Hunter region, Bowral, Bomaderry, Nowra, Wollongong, Bathurst, Canowindra, Wellington, Mudgee, Dubbo and of course the ACT and across greater Sydney. The Education and Production teams are also hard at work developing an exciting online version of the Players to reach all the schools around Australia who we won’t be able to visit in person this year.
We are so excited to be visiting schools again after months of online activity. The Education team has been overwhelmed with messages of support from our friends in schools we cannot visit. We look forward to visiting them all in due course.
“More than anything, I wanted to let you and your amazing performers know that when all returns to normal, and the borders are reopened… we would love to continue to support the company.” Teacher, Cabra Dominican College, Adelaide SA
When things return back to normal I would love for Bell Shakespeare to return .” Teacher, Scotch College Adelaide SA
“We understand that it must have been a very difficult decision for your excellent company and wish you all the very best as you navigate your way through the challenges which lie ahead. We would very much like to reschedule should the opportunity to travel to Tasmania goes ahead. The students always love your presentations which enrich our English and Drama programmes so much. Warmest regards to you and to company members and we hope to still see you in 2020!” Teacher, Launceston Church Grammar School TAS