Actors & Performers' Blog

Creating & Producing New Work Together

Tara Robinson & Steffan Donnelly co-wrote, co-created and co-produced My Body Welsh, the newest production from their two companies Invertigo Theatre, The Conker Group, and venue partner Pontio, Bangor. It’s an investigation into small town life on Anglesey, what it means to be from somewhere, and how truth, history and stories weave together to forge a sense of national identity. It toured across Wales in January 2017 and is published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.

Co-writing, co-creating and co-producing is definitely fun, rich, varied and exciting, it’s also satisfying and sometimes tricky. We’ve jotted down some basic advice based on our findings working together...


We have zero advice for how you find this person. For us it happened by chance working on Titus Andronicus at Shakespeare’s Globe. We discovered we had the same sense of humour and enjoyed each other’s company. But that in itself is a good start. The thing we advise is …

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While the four leads give a strong ensemble performance, there are also some valuable lessons in this film about the intangible depth that preparation can bring to a screen role.

Without the structure offered by theatre rehearsal, and the fillip provided by the approval of the director and other actors, it can be hard for screen actors to do an equivalent amount of preparation.  (In fact I believe that even greater preparation is needed because of the intense scrutiny of the camera.)  And, let’s be honest, there’s a leap of faith required that the time and emotional energy spent, alone, developing a character’s backstory will pay off.

The performances of Ewen Bremner and Jonny Lee Miller stand out in ways that suggest extensive emotional preparation.  (I’ll try to write about them without spoiling the plot)  I worked with Ewen on the very first piece of film I directed, when he was in his …

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The session I SHOULD have called at Devoted & Disgruntled or Why fringe theatre is only for trustofarians

Last Saturday I went to Devoted and Disgruntled 12: What shall we do about Theatre and the Performing Arts Now in Bristol, hosted by Improbable. For the uninitiated it is an open space event - a sort of free for all conference, where attendees make up the seminar agenda when they arrive.

I'd never been to one before and it was an engaging experience to say the least. I didn't call a session (though now I realise I should have hence the blog), but went to a broad range from '(How) can we teach playwrighting' (I had stuff to say about that); 'Mothers who make'; 'Can you be an artist in the evenings and weekends'; and the one that inspired this blog: 'Come and rant at two White Male Artistic Directors'. That last one got me curious for sure.

I bumbled bee-d into it for the last 15 mins as I'd got caught up in another conversation and in fact (disappointingly) no one was ranting at these two Artistic Directors at all. This was because they were talking about things …

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7 Reasons to attend Surviving Actors London 2017

7 Reasons to attend Surviving Actors London 2017

When attending an Actors event in London, why are you best to choose Surviving Actors? The answer is simple - variety and value!

·      In one place you can get advice from top Industry players and organisations either in a group or one-to-one.

·      Participate in workshops and seminars.

·      Discover opportunities for flexible actor friendly ‘in between’ jobs.

·      Network your socks off with a variety of Directors, Producers, Casting Directors, Playwrights and Screenwriters. 

·      Get the chance to put all you’ve learned into action auditioning for Out of Joint Theatre Companies next UK tour.

·      The event itself is supported by many leading industry organisations including Methuen Drama, The Actors Centre, Equity & …

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I have a confession to make: despite the plaudits and accolades it has received, I don't think ‘I Daniel Blake’ is a very good film.

 I'm making a distinction here between its political significance and the quality of filmmaking.  As a piece of social commentary it is outstanding: angry, deeply compassionate, full of integrity and typical of the committed work of a man who has, for 50 years, been shining a light on the iniquities of our increasingly divided society.

 But, as filmmaking, it is not Loach's best.  And perhaps it's worth exploring a few of the things that let it down, particularly in terms of the strengths and flaws of its acting.

 Aside from a rather clumsy and predictable storyline, there are some simplistic and obvious characterizations, such as the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ benefits assessors.  A number of the supporting cast are weak.  I know Ken Loach likes to use nonprofessional actors and …

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