Broken Leg Theatre

Established in 2008 our company performed our first production in the basement of a small cafĂ© and have since gone on to perform two home-grown plays at the Nightingale Theatre, the Hackney Empire and London’s Greenwich Theatre.

Broken Leg is currently funded by Arts Council England to research our latest production, Three Generations.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Friends,

We're really excited to tell you about the next step for the Three Generations Of Women project.  2014 was a great year for us, and 2015 promises to be even better...but we really need your help!

We would love to share our news with you and have made a little film over at Indiegogo to get you up to date. Please follow the link and consider supporting us by either donating or helping to spread the word in any way you can.  

Everything and anything is massively appreciated.

Thanks so much to those who have followed us on this journey so far and to any newcomers...welcome!

BLT x

Monday, 13 October 2014

London reading...

A couple of weeks have passed since our showcase at Greenwich Theatre. Plenty of time to reflect and come back down to earth, but thinking of that night still lands me firmly on cloud 9.  


It was one of those evenings when everything seemed to line up just right.


The actors gave a fantastic performance and the energy in the theatre was genuinely electric.


Once Anna and I had given our totally-off-the-cuff-only-practised-80-times-backstage, opening speech, and taken our seats, I'm not sure I breathed for the next 2 hours (which made for some interesting interval-chats). The play was totally out of our hands at that point. But luckily it was firmly in the palm of a brilliant cast:

Gabriella Schmidt - Frankie/Young Gilly
Emily Spetch - Maya/Liz
Moir Leslie - Gilly
Gilly Daniels - Elsie




















And the thing which really allowed them to deliver, was the audience. At almost 300 strong*, and with just the right amount of booze inside them, they were a bit of a godsend. Of course the script still has to be tweaked and there is feedback to be taken on-board, but on the whole the audience really seemed to be taken in by the story, which was an incredible feeling. Plus they laughed in all the right places, which is always a nice immediate way of being able to tell that your audience is with you!

*Please note this is a rehearsal shot!

What feeling of accomplishment after a year of intense but massively rewarding work. There are still parts of the script to be tweaked, and Anna and I are aware that the next thing to do is to get a fresh pair of eyes on the piece and work with a director who can really lift it off the page and realise the play through action. That said it was heartening to hear that people already felt transported by the script and the actors' telling of the story.

Photographs (c) Amy Griffin
Broken Leg Theatre is now working with producer Beccy Smith to tour the play next Autumn and is currently in talks with several theatres. We will be sure to keep you up to date with any news. We have everything crossed that we can keep the momentum we have so far going next year. And we want to keep spreading awareness of the website itself! The living archive, found at www.threegenerationsofwomen.co.uk continues to be a real inspiration.

Three generations of the same family at the Greenwich reading

Until then, here is some of the audience feedback from Greenwich (and I promise I haven't just creamed off the good stuff!):


What was your overall experience of the play Three Generations of Women?

Great script. Engaging story, well acted, good pace. I'd definitely like to see the full production. Very, very good.

I loved the idea behind this play and thought the writing was brilliant - witty, moving and thoughtful. Everything a relationship with a mother is!

Compelling. Excellent dialogue. Fluently structured.

It made me cry and laugh- it reflected all aspects of my relationship with my own mother, grandmother and myself.

So make phrases/ stories I could relate to. So many stories I've heard through grandmothers and mothers.

Warm, funny, deeply moving.

Deeply moving - very powerful

Very powerful experience. Upsetting, fun and reflective.


What do you think of the play title Three Generations of Women?

Strong and feminine.

It's fine, a little bit generic perhaps. (Mother and child reunion? Like mother, like daughter?

I don't particularly like it. It underwhelms. Does not match the brilliance of the play

It not sure it accurately tells the story of what it's about, I fell it's about so much more somehow.

Descriptive but unimaginative

I love it. 



What so you feel worked well and what was less successful?

More acting, less static seating

Mixing times and eras really triggered emotions of love and loss and a curiosity about  family history.

Be careful of the dialogue in the 70s i.e 'pharmacy' and 'freaking out' - wouldn't have been said.

Actors were great! Script phenomenal. Pace was v good. Didn't notice time flying

There were so many brilliant bits - the ending was great.
The acting was awesome and I found I cared a lot about all the characters. The combination of very emotionally moving and brilliant wit and humour was excellent. It all worked very successfully and I can't wait to see the full performance.

Different age group of actress worked well. Accents worked well. Some lines of Elsie were lost (volume maybe.)

The story was very well constructed and an unexpected twist towards the end.  


Any other comments?

I thought there was a good balance between dramatic tension and comedy. I liked the monologues, well timed dramatic device. It might be a work-in-progress but it's already quite slick.

Very enjoyable and poignant. Thank you very much.


I particularly liked how patterns of behaviour are passed on through the generations, consciously and unconsciously.

Loved it! Very excited to see the final piece.

Utterly absorbing, clever interweaving of real experiences and anecdotes with the storyline. Loved the use of music too.  Thought the storyline worked very well - warm, personal, yet sophisticated and multi-layered.  Can't wait to see the full production! 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Leeds reading

The good news is we now have an ending, which always helps. After the Brighton reading Anna and I met with our mentor James Haddrell (Artistic Director, Greenwich Theatre) for an incredibly useful session during which we cloud-busted (what is the PC term for brain-storming again Anna??!) the different directions our story could take.

We've had a good six weeks to redraft and take on the feedback we received at the Brighton reading and the piece we took up to Leeds yesterday certainly felt like a step closer towards having a finished play.  The rehearsals leading up to this performance, held at Greenwich Theatre, have proved invaluable in beginning to fine-tune the dialogue; it can sometimes be a challenge to do 'long-distance' writing - Anna and I are based in Brighton and London respectively - so thank god we have a space to come together and battle those troublesome parts of the script with professional and responsive actors. This feels genuinely collaborative and exciting.

And so, to Leeds. It is hard to envisage how different this process would be without such support from our partners. Leeds City Council came through for us once again by hosting us in the fantastic Carriageworks theatre, bang in the middle of Millennium square. It was a great space to work in and make ourselves at home in for the day.


We were also able to organise some interval drinks with the venue, and there is no denying the merits of a wee dram to tickle an audience into laughter after a long day at the office. Either that or the second half is just funnier.

But in fact our Leeds audience seemed extremely focused on the story, which in turn was very helpful for us to take an unflinching look at the narrative thread of our story. The feedback session proved immensely useful and illuminating. This is certainly a script which asks some engagement of its audience so it was extremely helpful to quiz our attendees on what they had gleaned of the story and at which point. On the whole it was a reassuring response as everyone had in fact followed the action (phew!) and were very switched on. Perhaps even a little too switched on......someone in the audience identified a bit of a plot-hole. Whoops.

Thank god for these sessions.