I hope life’s being treating you well since my last post, and that all of you based in the UK have been enjoying the amazing weather we’ve been having! The only down-side to this gorgeous sunshine has been the amount of hours our dancers have been rehearsing inside for The Voyage, still they’ve been managing to make the most of it on their breaks, sunbathing and showing off their six-packs. I’m sure the weather has helped Legs On The Wall settle in too, can you believe that they’ve been here for nearly 3 weeks already?! The time has certainly flown, and having seen the wonderful material Moho and LOTW have been creating in that time, you’d have certainly thought it had been longer!
Rehearsals have been going extremely well. We’re using a hall at the NEC for our rehearsals and we’re so lucky to have such an amazing space. It’s massive and so it has allowed us to build the ship and mark out the buildings that surround Victoria Square in Birmingham so we can use the landmarks for reference when blocking scenes and phrases. The only slight restriction we have is with regards to the height of the hall, which means that we’ve not been able to add the final layer of our cruise liner as it’s too high and we wouldn’t be able to get in the aerial practise we’ve needed to achieve. I’m sure you’ll agree that the ship really is going to be such a spectacular set when it’s docked in front of the Town Hall building in Victoria Square in 3 weeks’ time.
Last week we had a press launch and officially introduced the press to our cruise liner – and I think it’s fair to say that they were impressed, not only by the sheer scale of the commanding structure, but of the hard work, commitment and talent that has gone into creating The Voyage. Paul Kaynes the Creative Programme for the London 2012 Festival in the West Midlands, Stuart Griffiths the Chief Executive from the Hippodrome, our producers, our very own Kevin and Legs On The Wall’s Artistic Director Patrick Nolan were on hand to deliver a few short words about the show. We then gave the journalists an indication of what to expect from the stunning film projections that will be transforming Birmingham’s Town Hall with a short slide show from Logela Multimedia. It was then over to our performers from Moho and Legs who gave a sneak preview of some extracts of the show to give a flavour of what’s to come in 21 days.
I managed to grab a few minutes with Kevin after this and ask him a few questions about The Voyage (true journalist styley!) – here’s what he had to say:
“Jus: What does it mean to be invited to be involved in the official Olympic celebrations?
Kev: It’s a tremendous honour. We’re all absolutely thrilled to be opening the London 2012 Festival. There is a real feeling that we want to do everybody proud and acknowledge the honour that we have been given and do it justice.
Jus: Is The Voyage Motionhouse’s most challenging production to date?
Kev: This is the biggest production in terms of the scale of the production without a doubt. We have created pieces in the past where we worked with a thousand young people, so that was bigger on the numbers scale. But there is no doubt in terms of scale of the project, the money that has gone into it and the profile, that this is the biggest to date. It’s just extremely thrilling and humbling to be given this opportunity.
Jus: Where did the concept of The Voyage come from?
Kev: The Voyage is a story that explores the courage that inspires us to embark on journeys in pursuit of our dreams. Olympic athletes are journeying to the UK from all over the world in hope. Their hopes will be different. For one athlete it will be the hope of a gold medal whereas for another it will be the hope that they are fit enough to run in their heat, but it is hope nonetheless. In countries across the world people have made similar journeys to other lands in hope. Some journey to make their fortune and aim to change the world, while others journey in the hope of having their own home and a better standard of living for their children. This theme of journeying in hope is a fundamental theme in life and so I wanted to create a show that speaks about a moment in time but that mirrors an experience that binds us all. It was really looking at the Olympic moment and realising that there was something profound for us all to celebrate.”
Thanks Kev! There was plenty of press coverage from the day, so here’s a short excerpt of film below, courtesy of Nicky from the Express and Star as she chats to Kevin and one of our longest standing company members Claire. (For links to more press coverage check out our Facebook page here).
Last weekend was a long weekend of rehearsals, but they proved extremely productive. The community groups from across the West Midlands joined forces with our professional performers, members of the brass bands and our choirs for 16 hours of full-on rehearsals. Phrases and moves were practised and polished and logistical and practical things were rehearsed, like how to get 140 performers on and off a life-size cruise liner in a slick fashion! The amount of things our creative and production team need to think about on a daily basis is just phenomenal! Check out some of the rehearsal pictures from this weekend and from our press launch in our Facebook albums here and here. You can also see some behind the scenes film footage of our Quest groups in rehearsals here courtesy of Warwickshire College.
This week is proving to be pretty hectic as we try and cram in as many rehearsals as we possibly can, as the following week we need to move to a new hall in the NEC which means we won’t have the ship to rehearse on. Instead we’ll be working on our crowd scenes and audience interaction – oh yes if you join us, you’ll get to be part of
the action and the story as well! Before our move though there’s going to be a full rehearsal of the show, so I’m hoping to get as many piccies and as much film footage as possible – watch this space for an update next week.
Well I’d best get back to all things The Voyage, so bye for now and I’ll be in touch again soon!