11 Questions with the Vocal Coach of The Suppliant Women | Mary King

The “outstanding” (★★★★★ The Telegraph) The Suppliant Women has received wide-spread critical acclaim, not least for the power of the “choral power unleashed” (★★★★★ Whatsonstage) from the chorus of 27 young women recruited from local communities of South London who sing and dance their way through Aeschylus’ 2500 year old text. It seems fitting, therefore, that Mary King – Vocal Coach to finest of London’s musical theatre and opera stars, and who has coached these young women since their recruitment in September – should be in the hot seat for our 11 Questions today:

1. Can you describe your job in three words?

Fascinating, energising, varied!

2. What’s it like working with a community chorus of 50+ ?

All of the above (Answer 1) – stimulating and never dull

3. What was it that first got you interested in singing/music?

Been interested my whole life, but remember being absolutely awestruck by hearing Kathleen Ferrier on a recording singing Blow the wind Southerly – I must have been about 8, and I’d never heard anything like it

4. If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

My super power would be the ability to get on a magic carpet at the end of a rehearsal / day’s work, and to be home in seconds…..(and a bonus if it could also be used for getting to work, or even making trips to seaside / countryside / parks and gardens…)

5. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Either doing a vocal warm up with the cast, or sipping a dry white in the bar…

6. What is your favourite show you’ve seen, read or worked on?

Too many to mention, so it would change every day of the week – Bernstein’s Mass in 2010 was pretty amazing!

7. What’s the best thing about teaching?

Seeing / hearing people develop over a rehearsal period, and accomplish things which are a) amazing and b) that they didn’t necessarily know they could…

8. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

Hopefully it will be thought provoking; touching and exciting

9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Stick in there… never give up

10. Who is your ultimate hero, and what would you say to them if you could meet them?

Not sure I have an ultimate hero / heroine… I met Bobby McFerrin once, (who would be on my list, if I had one) and could only mumble…

11. Confession time. This is a safe space: tell us something you’ve never told anyone before

I cannot change my new light bulbs….

Captioning Awareness Week – 11 Questions with Caption Hero Miranda Yates

Here at the Young Vic this week, we’re celebrating Captioning Awareness Week, spreading the word about captioned performances to the 1 in 6 people in the UK who are currently deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

Enter, Miranda Yates, who has long been captioning the Young Vic’s productions and also happens to be our Caption Hero (I mean, how could she not be?!). Whether you’re a captioning regular or you didn’t know the word existed, we hope Miranda’s 11 questions will give you a little insight into accessible theatre…

1. Can you describe your job in three words?

Self-contained, persnickety, silent

2. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Trying to be calm – finishing off a takeaway coffee!

3. What was it that first got you interested in captioning and access?

A long time back now  whilst working at the Almeida Theatre (I still am!) I was inspired by the work of Graeae Theatre Company to look at ways of extending access for Deaf and disabled audiences. This led to setting up a regular programme which included captioned and audio described performances. Later following a successful funding application we trained with Stagetext to caption in house and I became a captioner.

4. What’s the funniest thing that’s happened at captioned performance?

I did a show recently in the West End where the lead character because of illness swapped to their understudy half way through the show – that was a surprise!

5. Have the actors ever gone off script or tried to test you?

At this very venue not so long ago in the Life of Galileo – not naming names – but they’re definitely regretting not being on my Christmas card list this year – ha ha!

6. What is your favourite play you’ve seen, read or worked on?

Passion at the Donmar Warehouse – I didn’t caption it but worked on the audio description for it. Sondheim all the way – genius!

7. What’s your favourite thing about being part of the wonderful world of theatre captioning?

It’s great to do a job that reduces the barriers that D/deaf and disabled people face and promotes access to the magical world that theatre is.

8. Who is your ultimate hero, and what would you say to them if you could meet them?

Joni Mitchell – unlike the Caption Hero I’d be a bit lost for words if I ever go that opportunity!

9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Think less – do more! (I don’t always manage it!)

10. What would you say to someone who had never been to a captioned performance but secretly wanted to?

Just go – what’s to lose?!

11. Confession time. This is a safe space: tell us something you’ve never told anyone before.

I think I accidentally cooked a hamster once – the cage was outside and it was a hot day! When I went to check the hamster had gone quite stiff – we buried it in our back garden … #BadPetOwner

Find out more about Captioning Awareness Week and Stagetext‘s work. See our upcoming accessible performance schedule on our Access for All page.

Wings: 11 Questions with Nick Gasson

Nick Gasson is currently starring in Wings at the Young Vic. His character is struggling to rebuild his communication skills after experiencing aphasia – a condition that affects the brain and leads to problems with speech and language.

We caught up with Nick to ask him these 11 questions . . .

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 1. Can you describe your character in Wings in three words?

Recovering stroke victim

2. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to anything else they are likely to have seen before?

Wings is an extra-sensory experience!

3. What’s the most exciting thing about being part of this Young Vic production?

Working with such an amazing team of actors and crew

4. Emily Stilson was a wing walker. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Going on the ‘tea-cups’ ride at the funfair!

4. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

Apart from hugely impressed at Juliet Stevenson’s performance, I think they will feel like they have a better understanding of what goes on in the head of someone who’s had a major stroke

5. What has it been like working with Natalie Abrahami?

Wonderful. Her approach is always collaborative and the final results are finely detailed

6. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Reading the papers!

7. What is your favourite play you’ve either seen, read or worked on?

There have been so many but in terms of taking part, playing the old tramp Davies in 3 tours of The Caretaker. Plays that really stunned me when I saw them include Bent and Angels in America, both at the National Theatre.

What was it that first got you interested in the theatre?

Writing and performing in play at primary school

8. What’s the funniest thing that happened to you recently?

I was in my local bar in Spain and Bobby Davro walked in. You have to be fairly old to know who he is, but he was a popular comedian / entertainer on TV in the 1980’s.

9. What’s the one thing you value most in life?

Got to be either health or the feeling of warm sun on your face

10. Who is your ultimate hero, and what would you say to them if you ever met them?

No longer with us: David Bowie. I’d say ‘Fancy a pint?’. Alive: Judi Dench. I’d say ‘Fancy a cuppa and a chat?’

11. If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?

I wish I’d been born in ’67 rather than ’57. So much changed for the better in those 10 years.

Wings runs at the Young Vic until 4 November. Juliet Stevenson stars as Emily, an aviator who suffers a stroke that destroys her sense of reality. Fragments of her life come together as she struggles to find her voice and sense of self.

Click here to book tickets from £10

 

11 Questions with the cast of My Name is Rachel Corrie | Erin Doherty

Erin Doherty plays Rachel Corrie in this year’s JMK production My Name is Rachel Corrie. She has received plenty of critical praise with The Guardian describing Erin’s portrayal as “one of the year’s great discoveries with a stunning performance” (★★★★). So without further ado, it’s over to the lady herself…

1. Can you describe your character in My Name is Rachel Corrie in three words?

Determined, quick, hopeful

2. What’s the most exciting thing about being part of this Young Vic production?

The opportunity to tell Rachel’s story

3. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

(I hope) Charged

4. Did you do anything unusual to prepare for this role?

We went to Israel and Palestine. We wouldn’t have been able to make this production without it.

5. What was it like working with JMK Award winner Josh Roche?

Fantastic. Collaborative. Enriching.

6. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

For this project: Listening to Mozart, lying on the floor of my dressing room.

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Erin Doherty in My Name is Rachel Corrie. Photo by Ellie Kurrtz.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Learn to live off little so you can continue doing what excites you.

8. Who is your ultimate hero and what would you say to them if you ever met them?

Well I met Juliet Stevenson last Saturday – she’s a huge hero, a superhero, I think I managed to tell her she’s great…not much else came out.

9. What is your favourite play you’ve seen, read or worked on? 

Mercury Fur, directed by Ned Bennett at the Trafalgar Studios in 2012 – blew my brains out.

10. What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud? 

A phone conversation with my sister, Grace.

11. Confession time. This is a safe space: tell us something you’ve never told anyone before.

I used to think my cat was my twin. Yes. I really did.

My Name is Rachel Corrie is currently sold out, but you can queue for day seats or check the Young Vic website for returns (it might be your lucky day) to catch Erin doing what she does best (10 minutes after lying on the floor listening to Mozart).

11 Questions with the cast of Life of Galileo – Billy Howle

We know you’ve been waiting for it, it’s 11 Questions time with Billy Howle. Currently on stage at the Young Vic until 1 July in Life of Galileofind out what Billy thinks needs inventing right now 👇🏽. 

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Billy Howle in Life of Galileo. Photo by Johan Persson

1. Can you describe your character in Life of Galileo in three words?

Inquisitive. Dedicated. Trusting.

2. What’s you’re favourite thing about working with Joe Wright?

Forgetting everything I thought I knew.

3. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to anything else they are likely to have seen before?

Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.

4. What invention do you think the world is lacking right now?

Truth-o-meter: Bullshit detector, namely for politicians.

5. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Singing / Dancing / Sleeping / Eating

6. What is your favourite project you have worked on as an actor?

I don’t have favourite – but this is pretty darn lush.

7. If you could travel anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why?

Boldly go where no man has gone before (with Patrick Stewart).

8. What was it that first got you interested in the theatre?

Doing funny voices and fancy dress parties.

9. Who is your ultimate hero, and what would you say to them if you ever met them?

“Unhappy is the land that needs heroes”

10. What is your favourite midnight snack?

Semolina.

11. If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?

70’s/80’s so I could see who my parents were before me.

Life of Galileo runs 6 May – 1 July at the Young Vic directed by BAFTA Award-winning director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice). Book tickets now.

11 Questions with the cast of Life of Galileo – Jason Barnett

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Jason Barnett in rehearsal for Life of Galileo. Photography by Johan Persson.

As we edge closer to the opening performance of Life of Galileo we took 5 minutes out with Jason Barnett who is playing the role of Federzoni. Jason returns to the Young Vic after appearing in Mad About a Boy in 2012.

1. Can you describe your character in Life of Galileo in three words?

The. Most. Important.

2. How did you find the rehearsal process in comparison to other productions you’ve been in?

It’s been hard. There’s an awful lot to excavate, but it has been fascinating every day.

3. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to anything else they are likely to have seen before?

The space, the design, the integration of the music. I think it’ll be AMAZING.

4. Have you ever invented anything before?

Yes. Caribbean sushi!

5. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Catching up on Masterchef on iPlayer.

6. What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?

Doctor Faustus . . . or maybe Henry IV Pt 1 . . . or maybe Measure for Measure . . . or maybe Big White Fog . . . or maybe, or maybe . . .

7. If you could travel anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why?

Tooting High St ‘cos South London rocks!

8. What was it that first got you interested in the theatre?

The kids from Fame.

9. Who is your ultimate hero?

Martin Luther King.

10. If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?

The ability to lose weight at will.

11. If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?

I like the idea of being around for the Dizzy Gillespie / Miles Davis jazz era.

Life of Galileo runs 6 May – 1 July at the Young Vic directed by BAFTA Award-winning director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice).  Brendan Cowell plays Galileo following his acclaimed performance in Yerma.  Book tickets now.

11 Questions with the cast of Life of Galileo – Brendan Cowell

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1. Can you describe your character in Life of Galileo in three words?

Brave, wise and naive.

2. What’s it been like working with Joe Wright?

Joe’s a bit of a visionary. He has wild ideas but the uncanny ability to make them all assimilate effortlessly. And he has a big sweet heart!

3. How did you find the rehearsal process in comparison to other productions you’ve been in?

Well, we rehearse a lot. On Yerma, the script was being written whilst we worked, whereas with Brecht it seems crucial to analyse the text thoroughly before experiencing it.

4. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to anything else they are likely to have seen before?

We’ve taken a dense old play about science and tempted it into a sexy and visceral night of dreams and brutality.

5. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Getting dressed! I never got into drama school so I lack proper preparation. I try and make people relax.

6. What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?

Hamlet (all three)

7. If you could travel anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why?

I am scared of the ocean and of anything beyond the earth, unlike Galileo. I’m happy with all I know to be real.

8. What was it that first got you interested in the theatre?
My sisters were singers and dancers growing up. Watching them made me want to make things up.

9. Who is your ultimate hero, and what would you say to them if you ever met them?
I would have liked to meet Jeff Buckley and maybe drive along the coast of Spain with him.

10. If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
Will Power.

11. If you could relocate to another planet, which would it be and why?
No, I can barely control my feelings and curiosities for this weird and wonderful joint called Earth.

Life of Galileo runs 6 May – 1 July at the Young Vic directed by BAFTA Award-winning director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice).  Brendan Cowell plays Galileo following his acclaimed performance in Yerma.  Book tickets now.

Photo credit: Johan Persson