4 Walls - Rehearsal Blog from Kate Spencer

Headshot of Kate Spencer

For the last few years, those in the creative and performance industry haven’t really known if they are coming or going. With theatres closed, filming being socially distanced, and reduced or socially distanced audiences, for many, it has been a very nerve-wracking, career-questioning time, for creatives both on and off stage. On top of that uncertainty, the discussions surrounding what type of work venues and theatre companies produce, becomes even more crucial, which is why working on this production feels like even more of a blessing.

How does it feel to be mixed-race or black? Does being an immigrant or a second, third generation immigrant affect your work ethic, and can a letter in the post change your moral compass? These are all huge questions that we don’t have the answers to, (who does?) but discussions we’ve had over the past couple of weeks. Questions and discussions that not only benefit our portrayal of the characters themselves, but help us to better understand the world we are currently living in, the world of the play we are creating, and to try and help us discover the truth behind the words.

4 walls is a play about belonging. It’s about family, the community, going after your dreams and the people you unexpectedly meet and connect with along the way. Rehearsing in the heart of Normanton, gives us a chance to walk through the city and the streets we are emulating, and with the added bonus and privilege of having Rukus, the writer, in the space with us and developing the script as we go, we are able to pick his brain and truly begin to understand his vision.

Joyous, sweaty and exhausting: how I’d probably describe our daily rituals to start the day. The competitiveness in the room from 4 square usually follows our sweaty warm up. Learning songs, creating movement sequences, discussing intentions and grinning pretty much sums up the rest of the day. And when the community cast join us in the rehearsal space, the room becomes even more alive. 

Rukus has created a play for the community and the people of Derby, which is why it is crucial to have people from the community involved in the production. The energy and light they bring to the room is like no other, and how well they have already connected and slotted into the piece after very few rehearsals really is testament to Rukus’ words.

And it would be hard not to mention diversity - with it being stated as one of the most diverse rooms many of us have worked in. But not only in our heritages, but our experiences, bringing even more vibrancy into the space. And as well as all the energy and heat in the room (from the discussions as much as the staging!) it is also one of the most calming, respectful ensembles (creatives included) I have ever worked with. No-one talks over another, everyone is encouraged to voice their thoughts, and no-ones experiences and opinions are invalid. 

We’re two weeks in and my body aches, but my heart is full, and as many of us have voiced over the past 2 weeks, we feel exceptionally lucky to call this our job.

Written by Kate Spencer.