It’s A Wonderful Life blog – Natalia Campbell

Hi All,

Natalia here – for the penultimate week of our It’s A Wonderful Life tour.

What a week!

Now as you know, we take our show to communities all over England and Wales.  The show has been designed specifically with local communities in mind, and therefore our venues are picked accordingly. This week however was quite varied in terms of the type of venues visited.

On Wednesday we performed in a school, Thursday a village hall, Friday an arts centre, Saturday an old town hall (which was actually an old court room), and then yesterday back to the familiar setting of another village hall.

David in the old court room
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It’s A Wonderful Life blog – Natalia Campbell

Happy New Year to All! Natalia here, back for blog duty.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas.

There’s a lot to catch up on as we were performing right up until Christmas, during the Christmas holidays and just before and after the New Year.

Firstly, the good news: our production of It’s A Wonderful Life featured in Lyn Gardner’s top theatre picks in the Guardian this week.

Now, where have we been? Oh Yes, Kent: Faversham to be exact.

What a great place! We were greeted by the lovely Alison, promoter of the venue who made us feel very welcome. It was quite a big space so no problems with our tall lamp, but we did have some issues with our other lighting fixtures. I don’t want to give too much away for those yet to have seen the show but put it this way: they add a little special something that makes for a very realistic Bedford Falls setting.
For our lighting to work effectively we need lower ceilings and more importantly, places where we can actually hang the lights. We needed a bit of creative thinking to get around this and fortunately, the venue had some similar lighting we could use.

I have previously mentioned the individual characters we play but I haven’t as yet mentioned the other non-acting roles of the show. On a tour like this, everyone is hands-on. In practical terms this means that all company members assist in all get-ins (removing from the touring van all pieces of the set and going on to build the set in the space – putting up lights, placing props, costumes, chairs etc.), followed by the get-out at the end of the performance (dismantling the set and placing it all back inside the van.)
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It’s A Wonderful Life blog – Natalia Campbell

Hello All! It’s Natalia here, reporting for duty on another week of the It’s a Wonderful Life tour.

You’ll be glad to hear that this week has been a bit calmer on the tour front, as we performed mostly at home (aka Farnham Maltings). After having a lovely two days off we were back in Farnham, all of us well rested and very much ready for the next week.

Now then, I must apologise to you lovely readers as I haven’t yet introduced the rest of the company:
We have Jack Reid, who is playing George Bailey, Mick Strobel, David Matthews and of course, Silki Morrison – our Stage Manager who looks after us with the patience of a Saint.

So this week we kicked off in St. Leonards near Hastings. It’s quite a long drive from Farnham. There was a terrible accident on the way up which unfortunately made us quite late for the get-in. The venue is a new space for the company; and a new venture for the promoters too.

The venue was a bit kooky in the sense that the space had previously been a large garage. Remodelled, it now works as an incredible playing space. The distinctiveness of the space created a very unique playing area which included a bar and a much lower ceiling. Unfortunately, we had to sacrifice one of our lamps from the show and re-block one part due to the specific layout of the venue. On the bright side, the space made for a very intimate atmosphere for the audience, capturing a whole new level of closeness that added a special dynamic to the show.
We stayed local, and by the time we left there was a strong wind blowing through the streets. We were staying right on the sea front where we were able to enjoy the relaxing sounds of crashing waves.

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It’s A Wonderful Life blog – Natalia Campbell

Here I am, Natalia Campbell reporting for duty.

Well, what a first week on tour.  Talk about hitting the ground running!

The time we spent at Farnham Maltings rehearsing was a real pleasure – straight forward, easy and fun.  After building the set and it fitting neatly into the space, we were able to get on with developing the piece without any technical glitches slowing us down.  We also had the good fortune of performing our dress rehearsal in front of the UCA Acting and Performance students, who were a terrific first audience and provided invaluable feedback.

Our tour consists mainly of one night performances – meaning we have to do a get in and a get out at every venue, and rest our weary heads at different hotels each night.   The majority of venues we are performing in are village halls and a few art spaces.  The real magic of the show comes from the fact that we are performing a show about a small community within a setting of a real small community; exposing the effects of one person’s actions upon his/her community.  The whole show acts as a virtual mirror for the audience, which makes for very shiny eyes at the curtain call.

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It’s A Wonderful Life blog – Natalia Campbell

Over the coming weeks, Natalia Campbell – who is currently playing multiple roles in our rural tour of It’s a Wonderful Life will be keeping a blog of her time on the road.
Natalia and the company will visit over 40 rural communities around the country giving audiences a chance to experience an intimate staging of this much loved story.
For more information on Natalia, please visit or follow her on twitter @tallycampbell1

Hello, and welcome to my It’s a Wonderful Life blog!
My name is Natalia.

Every week, I will be telling the tale of our It’s a Wonderful Life on the road up and down the country.
Below is a picture of the company just before the beginner’s call on our opening night at Cranleigh Arts Centre:

From left to right: Me, David Matthews, Mick Strobel and Jack Reid

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Jack Reid’s Wonderful Life

With only two days to go until opening night, we managed to catch up with Farnham Maltings newbie, Jack Reid, who is playing the main protagonist in our rural touring production of It’s a Wonderful Life.

  • Who are you?

My name is Jack Reid. I have been an actor for about 15 years now and have worked all over the UK and abroad in roles ranging from a man who was eaten by plastic furniture to Sherlock Holmes, from musicals to Shakespeare. Although this is my first time working with Farnham Maltings, I did some filming in Farnham about 12 years ago playing a Nazi violinist, so it is nice to be back in a less controversial role. Continue reading →

The Lamellar Project

greenhouse teamed up with SHPLive.TV to award seed funds for new performances which embraced the potential of live streaming to engage audiences live and online. Pursued by a Bear were one of the companies given funding to test the potential of the internet to create exciting transmedia experiences. In this blog, Artistic Director Helena Bell, discusses the processes and discoveries they made through this experiment.

The Lamellar Project
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no strings attached: Holly&Ted on Pond Wife

In October 2014, we awarded Holly&Ted £1000 as part of the no strings attached scheme to make a contemporary adaptation of the classic fairytale, The Little Mermaid. Holly has written us blog about their journey so far…

Credit: Will Patrick

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associate company: interview with Bucket Club

In February, our associate company Bucket Club held a two-week residency here at the Maltings for the research & development of a new piece that will be touring rurally in 2016. We asked Nel and Matt about life as two members of the Bucket Club company…

Lorraine and Alan
Credit: Jassy Earl
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