18th July 2011
Our development week began today in the studio of the Artrix theatre in Bromsgrove. Theatre manager Andy Woods has been incredibly generous, allowing our Little Birds team free access to rehearsal space — including for Talulah to begin building our enchanted forest.
Gloria, a veteran Little Birds storyteller who toured in A Little Bird Told Me, joined Talulah and Chip for their first meeting since their trip to see the Theatre of Widdershins. Most of the time was spent scheduling the three weeks of rehearsal, which will take place between now and the end of July, then one final week at the end of August (after we return from Greenbelt!). Chip and Talulah prioritised the trees and the puppets as being the main design elements that the storytellers would benefit from playing with as soon as possible — Talulah will build the rest from her own workshop back in Wimbledon. Gloria and Chip agreed that the first fortnight would be spent devising ways to enhance the Little Birds' stories, ready to add all the props as soon as we're back from Greenbelt. Then we'll have just two days to prepare for our special previews, after which comes our dress rehearsal!
Talulah had created a model of her forest to use as a guide. Her original plan had been to use old carpet tubes for the tree trunks, wrapped in moslin. We want our trees to look like trees, but also have a playful, magical quality. However, now we were considering using lighting stands to give the trees extra stability. To keep our options open, Talulah phoned some Bromsgrove carpet stores to see if they had any tubes going spare.
Eventually, the very kind Natasha at KSH Carpet and Flooring took us to their warehouse where the three of us began to load up Wulf with some carpet tubes. Very long carpet tubes... Some of them even had to be bent so that they would fit in Wulf — and Wulf's no Mini!
Afterwards, we drove to our home for the next few weeks of development: the beautiful Seven Hills, where we were greeted by our warm-harted hosts Richard and Bron — plus cat Amber and the two kittens Diamond and Sapphire! David, a new addition to the Little Birds team, joined us for a supper of spiced lentil fajitas served up by Chip (though we also enjoyed some chicken curry in our tortillas thanks to the tasty skills of Bron). We chose our bedrooms, marvelled at the glorious countryside, and finally bid each other goodnight — eagerly looking forward to the start of the real fun of tomorrow... Rehearsing A Bird In Your Ear!