Insights into The Card | by Cast Member, Isobel Chadwick
Insights into The Card
by Cast Member, Isobel Chadwick
I had no idea what to expect when I joined the Claybody Community Company for The Card, but as someone trying to navigate the acting industry and gain any experience I can, I said yes to everything. I was given the opportunity to attend some cast rehearsals if I wanted to, as a way of learning about the rehearsal process – I decided to go every day.
At the start, I was really just observing, but I was soon welcomed into every part of the process with respect and as an equal to the professional actors. It felt so natural – I never felt out of my depth, just part of the process of creating a show. This experience was an education for me, a form of training, learning on the job but just getting on with it without being patronised or excluded.
It was so exciting to be given the opportunity and responsibility of opening the song on my own at the end of Act 1. I love singing and felt this was something I could completely trust myself to do, but it also felt significant for me, and made me feel truly part of the show. It was the perfect branch between something I felt comfortable with and capable of, and something with a solid element of nerves.
Throughout the run, every single show was a lesson and a joy. The main lesson being that things do go wrong, and you will make different mistakes every show, but it always turns out fine and finishes with the brass band playing and everyone clapping and feeling completely cheered up.
This experience was not only one of the happiest times of my life, but also an experience that gave me a tiny glimpse into what it could be to be an actor. The mixture of singing, laughing, twelve-hour days, dancing, being exhausted but having the absolute time of my life has only enforced my decision that I absolutely have to be an actor. I will go from this experience feeling assured, excited and extremely passionate about the rest of my life.
Insights into The Card | by Assistant Director, Nick Shaw
Insights into The Card
by Assistant Director, Nick Shaw
The Card was my first experience as an Assistant Director, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve worked with Conrad as an actor and we already have a good working relationship, so I was delighted to be offered the chance to work with him and Deborah in this role.
We began a number of weeks before rehearsals, going through the script, discussing how scenes would work structurally and reading through to give Deborah the chance to hear it out loud before finalising the rehearsal draft. I also sat in on some casting sessions, and we had a meeting with the Community Company to introduce them to the project and find out who would be able to commit to the time requirements of the project. A great part of the Claybody ethos is their community involvement, but this was the most ambitious project to date and would see the Community Company involved throughout the play.
Rehearsals were intense but brilliantly rewarding. It was fantastic to witness the dedication and talent of the brilliant acting company, Musical Director Rebekah Hughes, and Choreographer Beverley Norris-Edmunds. We only had 3 weeks to rehearse the entire show, so Saturdays and evening rehearsals were used to rehearse sections with the Community Company and excellent Acceler8 brass band. I liaised with Community Company member Katie Hambleton to plan availability and finalise which sections would have community involvement. After the first few performances I provided notes and refined sections, but the company admirably took on the responsibility of their part in the production and supported the professional acting company as they raced around backstage frantically changing from one character to another!
I learned so much from this project. As an actor I love the focus and detailed work developing and portraying characters, but I found great joy in working on a play as a whole and seeing it come to fruition from the ‘outside’ – a perspective which I will take into future work. Great theatre can be difficult to achieve, but I really believe that The Card was something special. I feel honoured to have been a part of it.