Post Summer Blues

It might have been a while since our latest update, but things never seem to stop. Hand Me That Sound had a successful premiere at Stanwix Theatre, Carlisle, receiving some fantastic reviews from the audience.

Meanwhile, our Artistic Director Monica Nicolaides, had already started preparations for our next commitment. This time, a different approach was taken. A commercial event for the British Medical Association, in Liverpool. A 60s Mad Men Theme, and we went with some good old fashioned Rat Pack and Jazz music. The event was exciting, unique, fun. With 6 dancers in an amazing venue, in one of my favourite cities in the UK.

When one show ends, another is already on the way. And while summertime is when we take a small break to enjoy the sunshine, we came back to admin work. Commissions, applications, accounting, organising and many more. The website was updated, videos were edited and uploaded, photos were sorted and will shortly be added to www.monixarts.com.

Now, back from the summer holidays we are excited to announce that Monica Nicolaides has been commissioned to create a new work for Third Row Dance Company this term. So excited to begin rehearsals with them!

Here’s to a great start for September and hoping for more to come.

If you are looking for a choreographer and/or dancers for upcoming events, email: info@monixarts.com. We are always available for bespoke performances.

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Hand Me That Sound Finale!

So here we are, at the end of the Carlisle experience. The post-show day where I am back in London and the Hand Me That Sound project has been completed. 3 performances with 17 dancers onstage. Over 150 audience members, and excellent feedback on the work.

They worked hard, they did well on stage. A select number standing out (as expected in every show), with the rest being equally as strong. They work well as a team.

The story is strong and powerful. Now it can be developed into something bigger. Viewing this as stage #1 of the development process, it was a strong and dare I say successful stage #1. Leaving a few emotional audience members in tears (a complete surprise on my part, but also welcoming), the feedback was extremely useful for developing this work further.

The performers were an excellent group to work with and they should be proud.

Now back in Londonville we are getting ready for the next project!

Time for a well deserved rest

Monixxx

Week #8: Production week and 3 shows

The count down has began.

Monday began with the team taking on their technical roles. Lighting, sound, props, costume, set, backdrops, wings. All happening at the same time. We were in at 9 (well actually, THEY were in at 9, I was in the train somewhere near Lancaster at that time heading for Stanwix Theatre), we didn’t leave until 8pm. 11 hours, 1h lunch break, 2 30mins breaks.

I am impressed with their work ethic and how they all collaborated to get things done.

Tuesday was all about the lights. The lighting team knew it was crunch time for them. The others knew this had to be perfect. Plotting lights for 5-6 hours. A long lengthy process, which I thoroughly enjoy. We ended the day with a tech run. It went well, for a tech run. This is usually the moment I panic.

The first time a show is transferred from the studio to the stage. Will it, will it not work? It’s been a few days, what will it look like? I become a blank face with no expression (to the untrained eye), as I am busy writing notes. They good thing: they are used to it. The better thing: they know what I’m going to say.

Wednesday came and it was all about the show being on stage. It has to be good; well better than good. It has to be great! Why? Because we worked hard, because it’s an all or nothing show. Because it relies on them performing it great (as I know they can). Because if it doesn’t we won’t look good (and it would be a shame, because they can be great).

So here we are, Thursday before curtain call. The dress went OK. Yesterday went OK. Tonight should be better, because they are better than OK. I’m crossing my fingers, I’m staying quiet about my worries (because now is the time to build up their confidence rather than worry them about details), and am ready to give them a pep talk because they deserve it. And regardless, I’m proud of them. I just hope they are proud of themselves now.

Week #7: Rehearsal period over.

Today was the last rehearsal day with my cast of 17 performers. Our last class and last studio run through of the show. The set is done. Lighting and sound cues are set and costume is finalised.
6 days till curtain call. This was an exciting time. It is inspiring to work with new talent, create ideas from scratch and really dig deep into BSL. Many moments of slight “torture” (mostly from me to them), i.e. class, drills and conditioning, unexpected developments of broken toes, pulled muscles and illnesses, alongside the victorious ball game of two teams, experimentations of hit and miss.

Watching them today, they have improved and come so far in only 7 weeks. Raw talent that is slowly developing. Now it’s a matter of making sure that it transfers and develops onstage.
I can’t wait to see the performance in the theatre next week. If they keep going as they have been, they will do me proud.

Further, we managed to raise money for Deaf awareness week in support to our show.
If you’re around Carlisle next Thursday-Saturday, come watch Hand Me That Sound at the Stanwix Theatre at 5:00pm (14th and 16th May) and 7:30pm (15th May).

Week #6: Stage 2 of development process; cleaning

Hand me That Sound is finally complete. Production meetings are going well and now it down to crunch time. With only one week before production and performances time is precious.

Unfortunately for the flu going around – and a hairline fracture – we’ve had a few absences. Regardless we are powering through and I have to admit it’s great seeing all the performers becoming so immersed in the work and the process.

This basically means my role has extended into nip-picking every run through. (This isn’t that surprising in our field of work, as many of us strive for perfection. Either way this is my favourite part of the process after being on stage).

Two weeks till show day. Much done and so much more to do. Looking forward to a bit of signing!

Monixx

Week #5: Choreo almost there

Despite my temptation to move rehearsals outside in the ‘small field’ by the studios last week, it has been a hectic couple of days. 

Progress.. 3/4 of the choreography is finalised – technically is more like 90% of it done with only some linking scenes missing – and 60% of the sound score is complete. The energy was booming, something I love witnessing when everyone is buzzing in the studio. It’s amazing what a bit of sunshine can do to you!

Production is well underway, with costumes essentially finalised, props almost finished, and marketing pushing hard. ‘Hand me that Sound’ tickets are available, and if you would like to know more about the performances take a look at Hand me that Sound.

Cannot believe how fast this process is going. Yet, I’m enjoying every minute of it. (The luxuries of having a studio to yourself for full 8 weeks). Till next week peeps.

Keep signing!

Monixx

Week #4: Back at Carlisle after Easter

Week #4 is already done and dusted. It definitely went quick! The disease day after the holidays is always a bit of a slow one, but luckily a good contemporary class in the morning woke everyone up, ray for work.

Good news: progress is slow and steady with more than half the show ready. Music is found, plot is set, and we are half way there.
Better news: with the work being about BSL, we wanted to raise money for Deaf Awareness Week as it coincides with the performance dates. Hand Me That Sound is included in the Deaf Awareness Events. So if you’re in Carlisle 14-16th May, come and watch the show at Stanwix Theatre.

Till next week, keep smiling at the sunshine peeps!

Monixx

Week #3: Powering through before the Easter break

Morning class every day? Check!

Casting roles? Check.

Production meeting? Double check.

Sore bodies, tired muscles, brain overworked and counting down the days till the weekend? Triple check!

The last two weeks have been crazy; hectic. This week is panning to be even more chaotic. Kind of the last push before the holidays. Everyone’s been working hard, and we have our second production meeting tomorrow. The good thing: it is so amazing to have help with sorting out set, lighting, sound and costumes. The bad thing: they need so much information and that is still in the making! Argg, pressure for me to have answers.

There is progress, quite a lot actually. I just hope this doesn’t disappear in the next two weeks. I have to admit though, the best thing about being up here is the green for miles, the fresh air and the unexpected sunshine.

Till next time, keep on rockin.

Monixx

Week #1 at Cumbria

The first week up in the Lake District was phenomenal. Started with an early train in the morning to arrive at a very sunny Carlisle. A compact city  with a historic castle in the west and green grass by the river.

I started working with the year 1 students of the BA Performing Arts. Hard working and focused. This first week was all about getting to know each other, seeing their strengths and researching British Sign Language.

The creation process begins..

The new journey begins

Started a new commission this week in the North. So, it’s an early start on Tuesday morning, taking the train up to Carlisle from Euston. Looking forward to working with new bodies, new minds, new places. And the next few weeks this blog will share more of this experience!

For now though, have a good evening and enjoy the weather. Sun is meant to shine upon us.

Peace out my friends. Monixxx