Brassed Off - Blog from Seren Sandham-Davies

As Brassed Off draws to a close this Saturday I thought now would be a good time to complete my blog sequel.

I promised in my previous blog to discuss some of the processes I experienced in rehearsals which have proven to be useful in developing my character. Our director, Sarah Brigham, introduced me to the ‘actioning’ technique which makes the intention behind every line clearer. Prior to rehearsals, Sarah lent me ‘Actions: The Actors’ Thesaurus’ by Caldron and Lloyd-Williams. I would highly recommend any aspiring actors to take a look at it!! In rehearsals we also explored physicalising some of the scenes between my character Gloria and Adam Horvath’s character Andy. We spoke the lines whilst either pushing the other person away or pulling them closer. By physicalising these scenes we were able to clarify the thoughts of each character and understand whether they were in conflict or attempting to resolve the situation.

Before we knew it we were into tech week. This is when we transfer the work from the rehearsal space into the theatre itself and marry it with sound, lighting, scenery and costume. Witnessing the set for the first time was very special . We had an idea what the set would look like as we were shown a small scale model on the first day of rehearsals but to see it in reality was another thing entirely. Technical weeks are notoriously long and emotions usually run high. Thankfully, ours went relatively smoothly. We ended the technical week with three dress rehearsals then we were on stage for the sold out previews and performing to the wonderfully warm Derby audiences.

The show has been so well received and the reactions overwhelming. The feedback from audience members in the foyer after the show, on Twitter and even people approaching me during my food shop in Sainsbury’s has shown what an impact the play has had. It’s a story which people can relate to and a period in recent history which many members of the audience have experienced. We had a post show discussion last week conducted by ex-miners and miners' wives. Their own stories and experiences were not dissimilar to those of the characters on stage. To be able to represent something real and portray the plight of those involved in this crisis has been a sobering experience. The current political climate with public services under threat and attempts being made to dismantle unions makes the play probably more relevant now than when the film was first released in the 90's.

As the curtain is about to fall on Brassed Off I have been reflecting on what a wonderful seven weeks I have spent here in Derby. The theatre must be one of the friendliest in Britain. Everyone is passionate about their roles and the theatre's dedication to education and inclusion makes it a really vibrant and exciting place to work. The cast and crew become a family in this short period of time and I am already dreading goodbyes! Alas, all good things must come to an end!

Thank you Derby! Over and out,

Seren x