The Youth Arts Network High Peak have struck again with their second collaboration – set in the murky shadows of Peak Cavern.
On 2nd November three audiences were taken through the chambers of the cavern, led through a dystopic world of uncertainty, panic and thoughts of the future. The performers have been on a journey which began in early September.
After a tour around Pooles Cavern, Fairfield DreamScheme and Kaleidoscope Youth Theatre were full of ideas! They met up, talked through everything and came up with the two themes – Trapped and Lost & Found.
Kaleidoscope Youth Theatre, from Buxton Opera House took the Trapped theme, and after some research Sian Dudley found the poem Darkness, by Lord Byron and loved it!
“As a bit of a Zombie super-fan anything apocalyptic is a winner with me!”she says.
They tried out loads of ideas in the rehearsal stages like throwing water around, writing in chalk on the floor (the floor will never be clean again) and lifting each other in the air. In the end it was just a case of asking ‘what looks the coolest, what makes sense and what can we do in a cave?’. Sian was also able to work with sound designer, Sam Woolstencroft, to produce some original soundtrack for elements of the show.
“Music has played a big part in shaping this piece. There is something extremely visceral about the modern British Drum and Bass music which really captures the essence of panic.”
Sam also worked with the idea of bird cry building as the light drops.
Meanwhile Fairfield DreamScheme had run with an idea for a mysterious disappearance, and more mystery when the group is reunited. Some worked on the script, some wrote the joke sequences and then Britney came in with a rap! DreamScheme first worked with High Peak Community Arts on We Make Our World last year, working with drama worker, Tammy Foley. This year they’ve taken on the creative direction themselves, under DreamScheme member Tamara Lacey. Who says
“I’ve enjoyed taking more responsibility this year, but it’s been hard having one of the main parts as well – it is quite stressful.”
Sian from the Opera House came in to one of their last rehearsals to work on the grand finale, a piece for both groups to perform together. Sam also took pre-recorded voice overs to feed into the mystery of their dialogue scenes.
Then lines had to be learned and costumes produced by young people from two local children’s homes. Manchester-based theatre and costume designer, Nerissa Cargill Thompson, spent 4 evenings on steam-punk customisation of a range of jackets, and a double costume for the character of Eve, who ages 50 years during the story.
After an afternoon of rehearsals to get used to the challenging environment of the cave, the whole show was ready to open for it’s three consecutive runs. Audiences quickly got used to being part of the action as they were asked for help and pushed around into new positions.
After all the shocks, the laughs and the drama closed, Eve delivers her message about the future of planet earth, and the audience were asked -
what would you do if you only had one year left?