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Saturday, 23 April 2011

Auditions - Storyteller 2011

Auditions – Storyteller 2011
Auditioning Online till 22nd May – London Auditions 21st May
Performing Monday 11th, Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th July 2011

For three nights in July Milk Bottle Productions is coming to the New Wimbledon Studio with our new show Storyteller 2011 – and we’re looking for additional storytellers to join the company. 

This first Storyteller show of the year is called The Natural History of Trolls by Robert Crighton, three stories covering a hundred and fifty years of history, two Queens and their subjects in the fairy kingdom.  Midst this epic timeline is the story of an ordinary commute gone wrong, when a troll-like tramp in an Underground carriage turns out to REALLY be a Troll.
For more background to the show do visit the Storyteller vlog or check out earlier posts on this blog.

Each successful auditionee will be given a two / three minute portion of the story to perform for one night only.  You would be part of a chain of eight-ten storytellers passing the baton of the story to the next person. 
Rehearsals – from 1pm on the day of performance.  You’ll work intensively with Robert and his team on your story for that afternoon and then perform it that evening.  There is no other rehearsal.  Successful auditionees must turn up to rehearse knowing their lines and be ready to work their socks off for the rest of the day.  There may also be an improvisational element to the show for some company members.
Fee – profit share.  We do not calculate this will be a vast amount, due to the size of the company, but it should cover expenses. 

For the next four weeks you can audition online.  Record a video of your performance of the sample script – found below on our blog and upload it to a YouTube or other type site and send the link to us at with a copy your CV and any other info you feel might be of use.
Please don’t send video files to us direct – we won't open them.
Whether you upload your video to YouTube or another site, do keep the upload private / unlisted – we don’t intend to have your video’s judged by the mass media marketplace.  We will not forward or use these videos unless you give us permission. 
For those who are technically ill equipped – or who would like to be seen physically – there will be one audition in London on Saturday 21st May.  Just send us a CV to (don’t bother about a picture, it is irrelevant to storytellers) and we’ll let you know the time and place of the audition and pass on other relevant details.

We’ll be working online – so keep an eye on your inbox for initial confirmation of casting.  We’ll send those out on Wednesday 25th May.  For those cast there will be follow up material, a contract and the text of your monologue.
The show will be returning to London for a six week run in late November – so there may be follow up casting to this short run later in the year – even if you don’t get cast this time around.

23rd April – Online Auditions and Applications Open
21st May – London Auditions (time and place tba)
22nd May – Online Auditions close
25th May onwards – Confirmation emails, general contact
11th July from 1pm – First Team
12th July from 1pm – Second Team
13th July from 1pm – Third Team

AUDITION TEXT:   This is still a draft and so may contain material which will change prior to the show.  For those auditioning on Saturday 21st May there will be other monologues to play with – if only to stop the audition panel getting very bored with the repetition.

Once Upon a Time there was a young Princess
Who encountered a fairy at the bottom of her garden.
Now, being a Princess, this was one BIG garden
And one had to go a long way to find anything living there -
Let alone a fairy.
This fairy didn’t talk, but it could dance in the air
And, most thrillingly, turn itself into ANYTHING
The Princess happened to think of.
The Princess first discovered this little creature
When she had briefly escaped her governess
And gone for a walk in the grounds to think.
It was thinking about stuff that got her highness
And a lot of other people, into a lot of trouble.
The Princess was thinking about a story
She had been reading in a book all week.
As she ran the improbabilities of the story through her mind
She thought she would hear a rustling amongst the trees.
Slowly, carefully a tiny fairy, exactly like in the book, appeared.
She held out her hand and onto it the fairy
Sat, looking at the princess with its miniscule eyes.
But there was something wrong with its form.
The fairy in the book had dark hair, not light brown...
And as she thought it, the hair changed colour.
A lesser child would have dropped the creature
But she had been brought up well and wasn’t fazed.
The Princess simply stared and thought – thought
Really hard
That the fairy should have a beard!
And at the Royal command – the fairy grew a long beard.
The experiment was clear, the creature could change shape.
So the Princess cupped her hands round the fairy
And took it back with her into the house.
From that day till she turned eleven, the fairy
Was a prized companion to her in her loneliness.
The Princess was an important person, she knew that,
There were future duties which scared her family
And that was why her life was very dull indeed.
But in the snatched moments alone with her fairy
She could play and mould its shape and form
Into her hearts contents.
When the Princess was eleven she discovered
That there had been a death in her family. 
She wasn’t all that worried about the person who died
More that it meant that she was now an
Even more important person.
She wasn’t just any Princess now – one day she
And she alone would be Queen.
The future Queen sat thinking about this when
Her fairy appeared beside her.
As she thought about this life changing step
The fairy started to change.  Grow.
It grew to man size – no, her size...
Her shape.
The fairy was a mirror image of herself – the face reversed
As in a real mirror.
Only it wasn’t exactly the same as the Princess.
It wore a crown and fine jewels and held a sceptre
And a ball and there were voices
Chants and prayers
And ceremonies and
It was all too
The young Princess didn’t lash out as such,
She was too well brought up for that.  She didn’t
Scream or shout or attack the fairy, physically or verbally.
But she did think of a rejection – she did think
With all the passion of a child – that the fairy
Was a horrible, evil, terrible creature and must
And the nasty fairy, silent and obedient to the last,
Just faded away...


Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
Teaching Gods: The Ultimate Selection
Written and Performed by Robert Crighton
With Special Guests – Catherine Eccles and Simon Nader

For over two years Milk Bottle has been touring the multi-award winning Teaching Gods storytelling show – but all good things must come to an end.  Prior to the launch of a new show in the autumn Milk Bottle presents the very best stories from Teaching Gods for the last time.  Including the hilarious tale of The Alternative Seagull, the charming children’s story (not for children) Bink! and the madcap title story Teaching Gods itself.  ABSOLUTELY THE LAST CHANCE TO SEE!

Tickets £10 / £8 concessions
Special Ticket Prices for attendees of The Revengers – See details below.
Show starts at 7pm – doors open 6.45pm.
Sunday 22nd May at the Barons Court Theatre
Box Office: 020 8932 4747
Baron’s Court Theatre, “The Curtain’s Up”, 28A Comeragh Road W14
Nearest Tube:  Baron’s Court (Piccadilly/District Lines)

The Cast:
Robert Crighton
Robert is the author of all the monologues and performs the award-winning Teaching Gods.  He is only entrant in the 25 year history of the Lost One-Act Festival to win three awards in successive years.  A major new talent, Robert is returning to London with his touring production of the best of his stories.  With Milk Bottle he has produced a mix of work, from classical drama to new plays, but returns to a favoured format, the monologue.  His last show was the tour-de-force The Complete Sherlock Holmes, in which he performed every single story over 32 performances.
"… you'd better be quick to catch Robert Crighton enthrall you..." Remotegoat 2011

Catherine Eccles
Catherine’s theatre credits include A Servant of Two Masters, 21st Century Faust and Crave.  She has recently finished filming in Ben Fellows’ latest feature film, Greenwich Village Massacre and plays the role of Witch Guinevere Westmorland in Children’s TV series, Spooked.  She’s a regular performer with The Kitten Club as self devised comedy burlesque character and compere ‘Vixen DeVille’.

Simon Nader
Simon Nader trained at The Academy Drama School as The Stage Scholarship winner. Collaborations with Robert include the previous London runs of Teaching Gods, and Teiresias in BLIND SPOTS (2010). Other credits include BILLY BLISTER’S CIRCUS (Watford Palace Theatre), MAGGIE’S END (Shaw), OF MICE AND MEN (National Tour), THE OTHER SIDE (Gilded Balloon Edinburgh), CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (Union Theatre) and most recently THE REVENGERS (Barons Court). Feature films include: IRONCLAD , Fodor’s HAMLET, FUR MEINEN VATER and THE DEAD INSIDE. TV incl. URBAN LEGENDS (Channel Five) and a daily show on ITV’s Men and Motors Channel as a presenter: CASH LOUNGE.

In association with THE REVENGERS!
* If you buy your ticket for THE REVENGERS and at the same time purchase your ticket in advance for "TEACHING GODS and other stories: The ULTIMATE selection!" which will be at Barons Court at 7pm on Sunday May 22nd, you will get both tickets at the concession rate saving a whopping £4.50! Lovely job? For more info see: *

Orange Grille Productions presents:
“Following their hit play Maggie’s End, Tyneside-based writers Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood, are returning to London with their dark comedy: “THE REVENGERS!” Katy Dream is a sex-symbol; a kick-ass kung-fu queen who, as Gemma Peel in hit TV show “The Revengers” once killed a man with her tongue… Twenty-five years later she’s plain old Katy West, caring for her wheelchair bound, Castro-obsessed Marxist husband Jimmy. Enter charming but sinister loan-shark Gary to bring more than a touch of drama back into Katy’s world… “An extraordinary dramatic comedy – a shining example of great theatre which should not be missed” Tribune”
May 10th-15th and 17th–21st 7:45pm/Sat mats 2pm £12.50/£10.00

Monday, 18 April 2011

Trolling along on the crest of a wave...

I've been a little quiet in blogging terms for the Storytelling show - but that's partly because for the last week or so things have been picking up speed.  I've been assist directing The Revengers (running at Barons Court in three weeks or so), rehearsing Teaching Gods: The Ultimate Selection, directing Dancing at Lughnasa and generally feeling the get up and go.
Most importantly the final work on the first Storyteller show is reaching its conclusion - partly because it just is, partly because some of it has to be ready in a few days. 
Two points follow from those statements - first point: the first Storyteller show?
Well, Storyteller is the blanket title for any storytelling show I'll do this year, but there will be more than one of these.  The aim is that when I get to the London run over Christmas I'll have two or three different shows which will change every few weeks a. to stop myself getting bored and b. to fit the changing season (something Christmasy, something New Yeary).
Second point: ready in a few days?
Very soon I'm going to open auditions for storytellers and performers for the New Wimbledon run in July.  The first set of auditions will be online and then there will be a physical audition for those who aren't technically minded on Saturday 21st May.  Which means I need to have a section of text performable for auditions.
The main body of the show The Natural History of Trolls is written and bedding in.  It'll change over the next couple of months in little ways - little cuts, rewrites, new words - but nothing needs obvious rewriting.  As followers of this blog will know it's the other sections, the subplots, which are still is disarray - which is unfortunate, as these are the sections the rest of the company will perform. 
I say are in disarray, that's no longer true - they are almost complete.  But there's still a lot of work to do.
Trolls is now structured like this:
Prologue - consisting of four short monologues, with some of the backstory, set in the distant past.
Trolls, Part One - the main bulk of the story, set in the present.
Interlude - consisting of four short monologues, with more backstory, set in the less distant past.
Trolls, Part Two - the conclusion of part one.
I've also created two different openings to the show - neither of which has won me over yet. 
So, it'll be a matter of honing down the Prologue and the Interlude, ready for the auditions to start.
That's where it's at.
Next blog - audition info.

Friday, 8 April 2011


Fabulous news - I haven't been able to mention it as the contracts hadn't been signed, but Storyteller will be coming to London four months early, this July - but only for three nights and - most important - there is no guarantee that when it comes back in November the story/ies will be the same.  We'll be at the New Wimbledon Studio and I can't wait - especially as I'm hoping to work with lots of other people on this project.  I got very tired of being alone for the last show.  But these things are not what this blog are about.  This is to chart the progress of the show - Storyteller - as I write it.  And I'm a little late with my blog this week.  For this stuff got to the vblog

I've been at something of a disconnect for the last two weeks or so.  That isn't to say I haven't been active, but I haven't quite been in the room.  In the next week or so I'll be gearing up to Teaching Gods: The Ultimate Selection, putting the finishing touches to the first Storyteller show and countless other acts (creative and often not) and so, feeling myself drift, I didn't fight it.  This week I can afford it, next week I cannot. 
Sometimes we are not inspired, but as professional creatives we carry on regardless.  And sometimes you are feeling inspired and the world knocks you off your perch and you lose the moment.  Any strong emotion will tend to bend your will away from the task in hand.  For example, being in love - impossible to work effectively whilst in the first throws.  Deep flaw in the plot of Shakespeare in Love. 
Not that I'm in love or anything - just angry.  It was watching the rolling coverage online of the arts cuts last week that threw me completely off any real progress.  The more I looked, the angrier I got.  I'm not going to get political about this beyond IT'S ALL COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY - WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE - AGGGGGHHHHH!
And then I'd make another cup of tea, sit in front of my laptop in the garage and try to make a passage in Storyteller work better.  The problem looks something like this - you sit down and write a story called The Natural History of Trolls.  You pull this story apart, put it back together and finally rewrite it totally.
Then you have an idea for all the material you ripped out - rework it as a prologue to the main story.  Marvellous.  Should work.  You've got the bones of the story there - cut and paste - brilliant.
Now make it good.
Whilst really angry.
So I did some admin instead - designed a poster - direct a rehearsal for Dancing at Lughnasa - printed off the contract for the New Wimbledon Studio - sent some emails - watch almost every documentary Adam Curtis ever produced - direct another rehearsal for Dancing at Lughnasa - look at a stove - buy a book of stamps - post contract - shoot a lot of penguins late at night when you can't sleep - cut 12 thousand words from The Rivals for a youth theatre production - listen to the rushes for Bink! CD release - re-edit an opening for Teaching Gods - direct another rehearsal for DaL - walk the dog - drink a lot of tea - go to various meetings - notice that it's a lovely day.
Ah.... that's better.  The words move again, progressing on that expressway out of mediocrity and into the city of words that sing.  Well - that'll be for the audience to decide.  I could have set my sat nav incorrectly.