Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A post show interview with Designer Faye Brinkworth

Jemima Yong: How are you feeling now that the production has ended its run? What kind of feedback have you heard from people?

Faye Brinkworth: Exhausted but exhilarated. It has been so much part of my life since December that it feels very strange for it to be all over. That's the thing with theatre, it is all temporal. You and your team work incredibly hard for a long time for a run that only last six performances. Now that the production has ended it provides a great opportunity to reflect how much I have learnt working with both Blind Summit and Central students.

The feedback I have had from friends, family and colleges has been positive. I think what was interesting about our show was it was something different. I had never seen a one hour puppetry production performed all to Mahler's first symphony in or out of Central and I don't think many other people had either. It was great to offer a show that was innovative in so many ways. The puppets were definitely the highlight of the performance and everyone had their favorite characters whether it was Buck, the pug, the squirrel..!\

JY: What's been the most challenging thing you've had to work through during this production?

FB: The most challenging...that is a difficult one as there have been many. I think the hardest thing was to ensure that we maintained a simple beauty that was contained both within the aesthetics and the narrative we were telling.

JY: What do you think is the largest misconception people have about your practice?

FB: I think the largest misconception that people hold about theatre designers is that designing a show is easy. Perceptions of how designs are formed can be slightly off track as some think once you have read the play/script then the design just happens or appears. I wish at times it could be that easy. Design is about understanding what your director/collaborators vision is and then being able to create a visual language that supports that. One design may go through many many changes and mutations before it is finalised. During and after that point there is much collaboration and negotiations within your team to ensure that it can be constructed within all the parameters set whether in budget, time, man power etc..! The list goes on.

JY: What was it like working closely alongside a professional company? What was it like working in particular with Blind Summit?

FB: It has been a great opportunity to work with Blind Summit. Every professional company or practitioner that I've worked with have very different processes, and it is understanding how one can best support and learn from their individual techniques that can produce the most learning outcomes as a student.

Working with Blind Summit has really opened new doors to the way I approach and think about theatre. I had never done or been involved in any kind of puppetry before Call of the Wild, and it was certainly a huge learning curve. Suddenly issues that I had never had to think of before such as puppetry sight-lines and costuming puppeteers were as important as designing set or costumes for the production. As the Call of the Wild was also a devised piece, meaning that it constantly evolved and changed within the 6 week rehearsal period, it challenged me to be objective in the way I assessed what worked and what did not within the design.

Mark Down and Nick Barnes are incredibly talented practitioners with immense imagination and insight to create shows that are creatively diverse and challenging. It has been a privilege to work with them and I look forward to seeing many more of their shows.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

"When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows, his great throat a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger world, which is the song of the pack."

-Jack London

From all here at The Call of the Wild,


for joining us on this journey... 

If you have any feedback about the show, do email

The Company

Buck: Ashleigh Cheadle
Buck: Jack Parker
Buck: Meghan Treadway
Spitz: Maisie Turpie
Ysabel/Judge Miller/Billie: Meilir Rhys Williams
John Thornton/Servant: Fernando Gordon
Man in Red Sweater/Sol-leks/Timber Wolf: Lauren Little
Manuel/Moose/Timber Wolf: Sophie Wyburn

Toots/Timber Wolf: Matt Hutchinson
Rabbit/Dave: Charlotte Quartermaine

Production Team
Costume and Associate Set Designer: Faye Brinkworth
Associate Puppet Designer: Caroline Bowman
Lighting Designer: Leo Flint
Sound Designer/Production Sound: Janek Pearce
Production Manager: Stephen Evans
Assistant Production Manager: Claire Waddington
Stage Manager: Christopher Stone
Deputy Stage Manager: Nikita Wolski
Technical Manager: Michelle-Sophie Van-den-Bergh
Technical Manager: Paul Panayi
Chief Electrician/Programmer: Lewis Smith
Electrician: Jamie Redford
Puppet Constructor: Sara Clark
Puppet Constructor: Joanna Hruby
Puppet Constructor: Irena Stratieva
Puppet Constructor: Isabel Lyster
Puppet Constructor: Gareth Martin
Puppet Constructor: Jodie Gardner
HOD Scenic Art: Louisa Mozzilli
Scenic Artist: Heather Dolan
Scenic Artist: Lucy Schmidt
Set Constuctor: Rory Evans
Creative Assistant: Sian Ross
Documenter/Photographer: Jemima Yong

Collaborator/Documenter: Catherine Alexander
supported by the Centre of Excellence in Training for Theatre
Costume Supervisor: Karin Schuck
TSD Workshop: Alex Turnpenny and Stephen Heath

Blind Summit Theatre
Director: Mark Down
Set and Puppet Designer: Nick Barnes
General Manager: Helen Hodge
Producing Assistant: Lorraine Wood

Dog Days are Over

Buck is checked one last time by Caroline before Nikita takes him backstage for his final performance.

Image by Tony Simpson

Thank you for the awesome feedback and encouragement you've given us!

"Really elegant, it was like reading a storybook"


"I want to thank you today. You've given a great gift to me. A story well told!"

"The puppets were brilliant!"

"What a brilliant, choreographed and poignant show."

Image by Tony Simpson
Image by Tony Simpson

Backstage, the actors are all pumped and ready to go! Though tonight, they're especially nervous. Cards and well wishes fill the room as they get ready for the last performance and write a few thank you notes to Blind Summit and the puppet makers who've made this production the wonder that it is....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tonight! Tonight!

The 24th of Febuary, opening night. We've been working non-stop. Just finished our dress rehearsal and we're still editing, making it better. Here's a little visual taster of the show and what goes on behind the scenes!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our BBC Debut!

The feature on Blind Summit is on the BBC today. Here is a link to the website….I think the 6.30pm news will be a lot longer.

Click ‘Watch Now’ BBC London News on the right hand side.

The company watching the live broadcast of the 6.30pm news during our dinner break!

The Day Before....

Some new paint designs for the puppets are tested out in the afternoon run.

Here we are, one day to our opening night. Things are still changing - things will always be changing. That's the best thing about this process. The morning run allowed us all to appreciate what we've acheived, try things out (the new paint effect) and find the gaps we need to work on.

It looks like we will be simplifying things from here. There were too many styles at once, we need "something simplier, more puppety", we need the same language all the way through - really focusing the narrative from Buck's point of view.

The BBC came back again to film a bit of the dress to air this afternoon on London News. Time has flown by since they last visited, but now we've got a show. "We're working hard and fast, but we're in a good place".