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Friday, 20 September 2013

Cuckold's Art

I'm on the cusp of recording the audio book version of Cuckold's Fair, a storytelling play that I wrote in late 2009 and I'm looking for some helpers to be in the artwork as the original design work isn't really doing it for me anymore.  Basically I forced one of the cast to put a flower in their mouth and I took a rubbish picture which I then added a rubbish effect over and sort of got away with it.  So I want to create something new for the audio book and a re-issue of the book cover.
It's based, though not literally, on a nightmare sequence in the play that reads something like this...

They saw... a wall... and there were the Foliate figures
Building the wall, stone by stone.

            “It’s an ancient art, dry stone walling,
You need to examine the gap and then look and
Choose a piece that will fit the space perfectly.”

The dreamers watched these human shaped plants
Picking up the stones, examining them, but they
Didn’t seem to place them with any real care,
Just plonked them in, pushing other stones
Aside if they didn’t fit properly.

 “Man likes barriers.  This need to build
Barriers, boundaries, it’s something we don’t understand. 
Don’t respect.  We have no need for these things. 
These walls, these...”

And a Foliate Woman threw one of the stones
Across to the dreamers.  But it wasn’t a stone anymore.
It was a skull.
The dreamers silently screamed, a hoarse silent cry
Of dream-sick despair as the Foliate figures built
A wall, stone by stone.  Skull by skull.  Face by face.
Laughing, passing the skulls of mankind, the Foliates were many
With endless others building a great wall infinitely long.

 “It goes round the globe.  It’s our greatest work.”

And from the empty eyes, the millions of skull-sockets,
The shoots sprouted and crept and bushelled and expanded.
The dry skull wall burst into terrible life,
From dry skull to coppice in seconds.

 “This is our world and we want it back.”

And the dreamers felt the Foliate figures tear their heads off,
Felt their heads being added to the wall.  And the foliage forced
Its way out of their throats, eyes, ears and noses

And at last, when all breath was impossible, they woke up.

A cheerful image, as you can tell.  And for the artwork I want to create something similar, but different.  I'm fond of the covers for Asimov books which often bore no relation to the content literally, but captured something of the grandeur of vision.  
So, I want to create the image of a wall of, if not skulls, then heads, wreathed in foliage.  
And for that I require heads.  
Your heads, if you're willing.  
I'm going to organise a photo shoot for the image and if you're free and can make it to the bar of the Quay Theatre from 12.30pm till 2.30pm on Saturday 28th September I'd like to take a picture of your head.  
Just your head.  
It'll be fun.
You'll get to sit in a comfy chair, be lit interestingly and I'll take a selection of pictures.  It'll take a few minutes and then you'll be free to enjoy the benefits of the nearby bar or just the joy of freedom.
And, with some luck, you'll be one of the heads in a wall made by the foliate spirits.
I will use the image to create, not just an LP cover, but also a final work of art which hopefully will be displayed and available for those who helped make it happen - and I can send you copies of the originals if you want.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Return of the Trolls

Time to start giving you some details about what's coming up next year.  I've given you the broad outline, now for a little bit more.  The first project for Project 10/52 begins on New Year's Day 2014 and continues online for the whole year.  In fact, a bit of it will start in the fag end of 2013, but that's the old material, so it doesn't count.

The Trolls Trilogy
An Overview

It all started two years ago, when I decided to write a piece of storytelling over the course of a year.  I would vlog and blog about it, premiere it towards the end of the year and then do a run over Christmas.  And then I promptly killed that idea off by booking it into performance in July.  This was The Natural History of Trolls (NHT) - which appeared at the New Wimbledon Studio July 2011 and then in Suffolk and London again in late November the same year.  For full info on the 'journey' of the production of this show go to this blog post and work your way up forward in time, or watch the vlogs - the first one is here.
I've been coming back to this story every so often, as there seemed to be more directions to take it.  Slowly, two other stories came to me, mixed in with all the random material that didn't get used the first time.  So, in line with the original plan for NHT I thought it appropriate to write the next two stories over the course of a year, ending with a masterwork epic showdown in December.  Only this time the story will be 'broadcast' online in weekly installments - so you get to follow it as it goes along.

Part One: The Natural History of Trolls - revisited
Because a trilogy tends to work best in three parts and not everyone who might listen to the weekly show will have seen the first part, I'm going back to NHT and recording it for free online release this December.  That way everyone gets a chance to listen to the story from beginning to end.  However, this recording will only be in four episodes, not strung out over months, so a more involved listen.
I have made changes to NHT over the course of its life and the audio version will have a number of minor revisions.  I'm going to change a couple of names and slightly alter the way the second half works - but it will still be in essence the story of Bernard, Vicki and a mass chorus of orange penguins.
The Natural History of Trolls - the first part of The Trolls Trilogy - will be released online daily from the 28th to 31st December 2013 on my audioboo board, latest by 12pm each day.

Part Two: Lost Tribe of the Trolls
The first part was all about a rather buttoned up tribe of trolls, trolls with a Victorian view on life, who were trapped underground for much of the 20th Century.  This story (LTT) is all about the trolls that got away, about The Noble Guild of Trolls (Luton Branch) who adapted to the modern world and (to some degree) lost their souls.  In it a person called Robert (who's remarkably like me) is guided by a character currently known as the Recording Angel, who collects memories, specifically of war.
It's a story about how the old world changed into the present, about how we remember the past and how much that we think is new is just repackaged.

Part Three: The Paper Moon Trolls

I won't abbreviate the title of this show as (even with the late addition of a The) the acronym is most unfortunate - but it's such an apt title I won't change it.  This is the final chapter in the lives of the trolls, creatures who change at the will of others, who are effected physically by ideas.  The guide character in this story is Peter Git - a bio-engineer and theorist - who is trying to find a way of splicing troll and human DNA.  It's a story about ideas, about changing the world by changing the way you see it, and about what the dark side of the moon actually looks like.  It is also, as eagle eyed observers will have gathered, partly a homage to Peer Gynt.

So that's the outline of Project One - appearing on a laptop near you.  This project is the opening and close of Project 10/52 in that the final live performance of the trilogy will mark the end of the season.  It'll be a big performance and a closing party, hopefully with food and drink and laughter and thought.  I have a feeling I might be quite tired by the end of it all.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Damn You - That Was My Idea! Except, it wasn't really...

I had this really great idea for a show about five / six years ago.  I can't prove this, there are few decent notes and no witnesses.  I was going to get recordings of a famous production of Hamlet and get a modern cast to exactly copy the performance from the recording and put that on stage.  It was going to be great.
And then I found out The Wooster Group had done it this year.
How dare they? I thought.  That was my idea!
Well, no, that's not fair, it's not their fault.
Ideas are cheap, ideas are easy - it's not that I'd told them and they nicked it.  I'm sure loads of people had the idea.  It's just they did it first.
No, look, they're not bastards.  They're not.  They took an idea and they ran with it.  Good on them.
Okay, now I think it's clear that what's really going on is that I'm beating myself for not doing it first, externalising irritation with myself and projecting it onto The Wooster Group.
Nope, still haven't dealt sufficiently with this yet.
To be fair, my idea would have been staged a bit differently.  I didn't catch the show, so I can't be certain.  I was going to have the "To be or not to be" speech done as a showdown between different actors, just like that bit in Zoolander when David Bowie turns up for no readily apparent reason.
That would have been cool.
Oh well.
Never mind.
Think I've calmed down now.
Or maybe I'm just glad I dodged a bullet as many of the reviews said it was a bit dull.
I think the point I'm attempting to make is that you shouldn't sit on an idea for too long, because anyone can have an idea.  However, not everyone will make that idea come true, and if you've had the idea you should get off your arse and make it real.  This is what next years Project 10/52 is all about.  I'm clearing out some of the ideas, the ideas that are sitting about, not really doing anything.  They're not fully fledged plays, many of them will never be born into the world as such, but they might make it into something special over the ten projects I've got lined up for next year.
And if they get written up, recorded, performed or published then no one is going to get to those ideas first.  They'll be my ideas, made manifest.  So there.  And then perhaps someone will write a blog about how some bloke called Robert Crighton got to their great idea first and call me a bastard.
Except you can't, because I've already had that idea and written a blog about it.
This'll be the point where someone emails me a link to a blog/book/thing that's said this same point already, then I'll look pretty stupid.
So, just in case this happens, I'll get in an early...

The Storyteller Will See You Now

Coming up as part of my Artist in Residency...

Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
The Storyteller Will See You Now
One-to-One Storytelling in the Quay Theatre Bar

Written and Performed by Award-Winning Storyteller Robert Crighton
Artist in Residence at the Quay Theatre

“My father was a lovely, kind, reserved...
Nut job.  I say this in the nicest possible way.
When he died he believed that he was both fifty
and a hundred at the same time...”

Problem Tree is the impossible story of one man’s father and a tree that can’t exist.  A story of the First World War, of running away from your past and hiding in the future.  Let storyteller Robert Crighton guide you through his alternative vision of the world in the genial environs of the Quay Theatre Bar – one-to-one storytelling, just for you.  Get yourself a drink and perhaps a bite to eat, sit back and relax for twenty minutes of you time.

What the Audience Said: Saturday 12th October 2013
“How fabulous!  Thank you Robert.  I will keep thinking about aspects of that story or two stories!  Truly wonderful!”  
Jacqueline Cooper Clarke
“Absolutely brilliant!!  Light and airy, dark, happy, sad, perfectly crafted and enjoyed every minute.  Bravo!” 
Peter Day
“Funny, weird, intriguing, enthralling.  That’s the story.  The storyteller, knockout.  Beautifully delivered.  A thoroughly enjoyable experience.”
Kevin Roychowdhury

“Totally brilliant!  Mesmerising, intriguing, I could have sat for another 20 minutes!  Thank you! J” 
Marion Tuke

All Performances Pay-What-You-Want

Performing Saturday 12th & 19th October 2013
at twenty minute intervals between 12.20 and 2.40pm

The Quay Theatre Bar, Quay Theatre, Quay Lane, Sudbury, CO10 2AN

Book your one-to-one encounter by calling 07704 704 469
or email

Available Slots
(NB: This list is updated as bookings come in, though it is possible we'll get behind and some listed slots may have been taken)



Tuesday, 10 September 2013

In the Residence...

Right, the cat's out of the bag.  I'm an Artist in Residence.  The Artist in Residence at the Quay Theatre.  I'm residing.  Making art.  At a theatre.


It's just, and this is the odd thing, I've actually started making less art, not more.  This is a glitch.  This will change.  But there's been so much planning and general work getting this far, that I have tended to forget that I should really sit down and do something theatrical.  Create something, write something - you know the thing.

I'm getting going on re-rehearsing The Summoning of Everyman and starting on the storytelling event The Storyteller Will See You Now which I'm doing in the Quay Bar next month.  But these are not the main event, as it were.  They are shows I've done before.  I'm not creating these from scratch and I've got ten shows to pull together for next year - twelve if you break Project One: The Trolls Trilogy down into three.  Which I'm not.  Cos that would be scary.
I am aware that I'm mostly concerned at the moment with fundraising.  The above shows are fundraisers, I'm sending emails and press releases to raise awareness and cash - these are necessary things if next year is to be anything like it could be.  Even this blog post is, by talking about these things, part of the general HELP-fund-me blob that is my life at the moment.  And that's fine, because I'll either get the money, or I won't.  The art will continue, just much, much smaller.
But, today I sat down and wrote words.  Today, I got in the zone.  Today, I insisted that to forget the whole art thing is rather a betrayal of the whole art thing.  And Artists in Residence don't do that sort of thing.

So there.

And what did I write?  A scene, the draft of an episode for Project One: The Trolls Trilogy, from part two, Lost Tribe of the Trolls.  An encounter between the Recording Angel and Robert, someone who's remarkably like me.  This episode will be released probably around May next year.  I then made some general notes about part three, The Paper Moon Trolls, which you won't hear till the latter part of 2014.  I'll go over this first project in detail on this blog next week.  Or you can visit the Trolls page of the Project 10/52 website here...
And if you want to hear it, see it, be involved in it and other projects of mine, then click on this link and be a contributor.

Yup, back on the money.  Epic fail.

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Summoning Also Comes To Suffolk

For one night only I'm bringing my version of The Summoning of Everyman to Suffolk.  The tickets are all Pay-As-You-Want and can be reserved by contacting me by email or telephone - there are very few seats available so do book now!


Milk Bottle Productions Presents...
The Summoning of Everyman
An Immersive Theatre Production
Adapted and performed by Robert Crighton

The Summoning of Everyman is a powerful morality tale, written by an unknown author in the late medieval period, telling of the struggles for one man, for every man, to let go of his life.  This interactive performance brings this struggle directly to the audience, asking them to become part of the story, asking them to stand in the footsteps of Fellowship, Good Deeds and even Death himself.  It’s a question that each generation has to answer: can you really take anything with you after death?  Moving, beautiful and thought provoking – ultimately the Summoning comes to Everyone.

This is an immersive performance, everyone will be asked to help create the show in various simple ways.  Don’t worry this isn’t Pantomime, there are no songs or catchphrases.  The audience is moved around the space by Robert as characters in the story – the performance is personally addressed to you.  No acting skills required, just to stand, sit and be yourself, guided by Robert through the story.

All tickets are Pay-What-You-Want, so you choose at the end of the show how much you want to give.  
To book tickets email Robert at – or call 07704 704 469 - and he will confirm your booking in 24 hours.

Performing Monday 11th November at 7.30pm @ the Quay Theatre, Sudbury
Congregate in the Quay Bar from 7.00pm – NO ADMITTANCE FOR LATECOMERS
The Quay Theatre, Quay Lane, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2AN

WHAT THE AUDIENCE SAID: Guildhall Lavenham, Easter 2013

“We were so impressed... Robert Crighton is a one man tour de force he has you gripped from start to finish.”  DC Starpop

“A rewarding experience both as an audience member and a participant!  A fascinating interpretation of this medieval morality tale and I recommend it highly... a compelling one man show.”  Nick Elliott

“Touching and inspirational.”  Phil Hope

“With absolute ease he made the text accessible to a contemporary audience...” David Owen-Bell

“I would certainly recommend Robert and this 5 star performance to Everyman and Woman!!   A truly sensational performance by Robert!”  Dan

“... a compelling and engaging piece of storytelling...”  Annie Eddington

"A veritable tour de force..."  Rev. Stephen Earl

“Great acting, and what a memory!”  Arthur

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Press Release - Quay Theatre Artist In Residence

The Quay Theatre has just announced the arrival of its first ever Artist in Residence - award-winning writer and performer Robert Crighton.  At a packed launch event this Sunday lunchtime, live streamed on the internet, Robert was finally allowed to let everyone know all about this latest and most exciting of projects.
His programme of events involves an online project recording the early British drama Before Shakespeare, a season of Shakespeare's poetry and street theatre, as well as the centre piece of his residency Project 10/52 - ten shows in fifty-two weeks - one man, one year.  All ten shows are new works, to be written and produced by Robert over 2014, starting with a weekly audio broadcast of a new work on January 1st and ending with a big production at the end of the year.
"A theatre isn't truly alive unless there is an internally driven artistic agenda," says Robert Crighton.  "This is about bringing art - theatre, poetry, images - to the people of Suffolk as well as to anyone with an internet connection.  All the productions will be ticketed as Pay-What-You-Want, so anyone who is hard hit by the current economic climate can still come and see great theatre.  Also, to make this happen I'm looking for alternative ways to fundraise."
Fundraising is being done online with a crowd-source funder, as well as with special live events over the next couple of months - including a special one-to-one storytelling show, The Storyteller Will See You Now - where he will be performing the story Problem Tree on Saturday Lunchtimes on the 12th and 19th October and his acclaimed production of The Summoning of Everyman on Monday 11th November at 7.30pm - booking can be made by calling 07704 704 469 or contacting Robert online.
"I can't expect to find any large subsidy to make this happen," says Robert, "so crowd source funding is a brilliant tool, because it connects you directly with your audience before the show has even happened.  And it means I don't have to look for big sums from people, just ten pounds from many is enough to make a real difference."

The residency has already started, with the first recording work for Before Shakespeare underway.  Robert hopes to involve as many people as possible in his work, so expect also to see some random pop-up events and street theatre over the next few months - if you want to be part of them, or be there to catch them, then follow Robert on Twitter @RobertCrighton where he will be posting regular updates as to what's going on.

For the full launch speech for the first ever Artist in Residence at the Quay Theatre, click here.

Main Milk Bottle Website:
New microsites for Before Shakespeare and Project 10/52: &
Additional photos are available.
Press Contact: Robert Crighton
Tel: 07704 704 469

The BIG Project Launch Speech In Full

This speech is released on this blog at the same time as I'm making it - so there maybe some changes and if it is a little rough, please forgive me, this has been finished in a bit of a rush.


Hello Everyone, welcome to The BIG Project Launch – I’m just going to talk for a little bit to make sure the online connection is working... [AD LIB]
 The name The BIG Project is a total misnomer – what I’m about to talk about is big, but it’s less a project as a way of life.  It’s a lot of little things.  But collectively they are BIG.  It was only the other day that someone (who was in the know) pointed out it should have been called Project A.I.R.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the bar, of the online world, I am delighted to finally announce that I am the first ever Quay Theatre Artist in Residence.
I started residing here a few weeks ago, I just haven’t been able to tell anyone.  This means that I’m going to be producing a seriously large amount of Art – theatrical, physical, mental.  With the emphasis on the mental.
The residency is to last until the end of 2014, and though I’m going to be doing a fair amount in the fag end of this year, the real meat begins on January 1st 2014.  A lot of what I’ll be doing for this residency will be a bit random – we’ll see what comes up as I go along.  There will be live theatre, online audio work, street theatre, performance art, installations perhaps.  The Quay has given me the space, let’s see how I fill it.
But I wouldn’t get you here for vagueness - there are also lots of solid plans.  To guide you through what I’m going to produce, and what I’d like you to help me do, I’ve broken the residency into four themes - Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.

Something Old
The first project of the residency has already started and is a holistic, rolling project which will hopefully have a long life over the next five / ten years.  It’s called BEFORE SHAKESPEARE

Twitter Feed: @B4Shakespeare
Before Shakespeare there were hundreds of years of dramatic evolution across the British Isles.  Apart from a few noble exceptions these plays are often passed over, ignored or simply unknown.  Much is simply lost.  This Project is about what came before Shakespeare, about the plays, fragmentary and extant, that shaped the theatrical world that shaped our dramatic history – and it will explore this world through the words and the sounds of those words.  Though these plays do get performed occasionally, they are often not recorded, they disappear from sight in a way that Shakespeare and many of his contemporaries do not.  So, in a small way, I will begin creating recordings of speeches, scenes and (hopefully) full audio productions of plays rarely experienced away from the page.
Accompanying these recordings will be additional material, discussion and talks on the plays and anything else that comes to mind at the time.  I’ll hopefully be joined by other actors, directors, academics to help create new recordings and feed your interest.  I hope that others will join in, creating their own versions and share them.
I’ve already started recording some pieces – bits of The Summoning of Everyman, the play God’s Promises by Suffolk lad John Bale and hope to begin on the plays of John Heywood and The Chester Mystery Cycle over the next few months. 
Not only will I be producing these online, there will be live versions – I’m reviving my production of The Summoning of Everyman (more on that later) and producing with the Guildhall in Lavenham a show called Fit For A King – presenting two Tudor Entertainments from the Court of Henry VIII - The Pardoner and the Friar & John, John and His Wife Tibb. That’s performing at The Lavenham Guildhall on Friday 24th January 2014 - ticket Information Coming Soon
But, to be honest, exciting though the Before Shakespeare project is, it is just the side show – the occasional thing.  I’ll pootle away at that for years.  Now for the meat.  We’ve covered something old, now for something new

Something New
I have been playing it safe.  For the last few years I’ve been letting all the crazy ideas stew inside my brain, now is the time to let them out!  Starting on the 1st January and lasting for the whole of 2014 I’m going to write and perform the works that should never happen, in as many different ways as possible – online as audio/video/text as well as live on stage in diverse venues - from theatres, to function rooms, to your living room – if you invite me in.

This is Project 10/52 – Ten Shows in Fifty-Two Weeks – One Man, One Year.

Each of the Ten Projects are completely new, never seen or heard before works and will be accompanied by texts, audio recordings, books, downloads, videos and any other medium I can manage to record and disseminate beyond the four walls of a traditional theatre space.  I want these projects to be available to people around the world.  Today’s live streaming, still relatively low tech at present, is a declaration of intent.  The live performances will be mostly be in very small spaces – ticketing will average only ten to twenty people a night – but many will be available to all thanks to the internet.  Not only that, all live performances will be Pay-What-You-Want where possible, so you can judge how much my work is worth.

Project 10/52 all kicks off on January 1st with the first instalment of a weekly audio work broadcast online every Wednesday.  Project One is The Trolls Trilogy
I wrote a storyteller show a couple of years ago called The Natural History of Trolls – I’m going to write the rest of the Trilogy, starting with Lost Tribe of the Trolls, which will be broadcast January to June ish, followed by The Paper Moon Trolls until the end of the year.  And for those who missed the first part of the trilogy – that will be available free online this Christmas.  Over the year the online broadcasts will build, with omnibus editions once a month for easy catch-up, ending with a special performance of the whole trilogy here at the Quay Theatre in December 2014 – which will also act as the end of Project party!  Follow me as I meet a Recording Angel, the lost Trolls of Luton and the adopted son of the Trolls, Peter Git.  And for actors out there - casting for this project is now open.

The second project will perform here in February – it’s called You Have Been Watching.
It’s an exploration of surveillance culture and I’ll be looking to involve local performers in this, as the way we use cameras in day to day life has largely impacted the young.  Not only that, I want the audience to use their mobile phones, ipads, cameras of any sort, to record the performance in progress – then share that material online to create a palimpsest version of the show.  These will stay up individually, and hopefully be used to create an “official” version which I’ll share after the show.  This is a show that maybe more installation / performance art than traditional theatre/drama – if it doesn’t head off that way, then I will record an audio version to go online as well.

Project 3 will appear in March and will be straight theatre – it’s a play called Hang for reasons that will become clear if you catch the show.  It’s a collection of stories about what we consider normal – how our attitudes to normal can be incredibly fluid.  Take the story of Brian.  Brian wants to be a zebra.  He’s passionate about his case, but he is obviously a freak.  But then the world turns inside out - people are starting to turn into animals and no one knows why.  How do the new people fit into this brave new world.  This will be available online as an audio drama at least, a video version would be lovely, but let’s not run before we can walk.  Casting for this play is now open.

Project 4 I have an exact date for its first performance – it’s Wednesday 23rd April 2014 – otherwise known as Shakespeare day!  It’s his 450th Birthday next year and so I’m writing two plays which touch on his work.  This first is The Juliet Inquiry and will be performed at the Lavenham Guildhall.  It’s a complete re-imagining of the play where the two families are close friends until Romeo and Juliet get together – only then does the feud start.  Set during and in the aftermath of the 2011 riots, this is a story of how love and desire can destroy as well as heal.  Again, there will be an audio version, and casting is open now.  In June there will be a what if play about Shakespeare himself, Historic Crimes, which won’t please the purists. 

And while I’m on the subject of Shakespeare, online as part of my residency, I’m producing a year long series of recordings called Shakespeare the Poet. 
Over Shakespeare’s birthday year I will be performing every single piece of non-dramatic poetry Shakespeare wrote, as well as a few choice pieces from the plays as well.  Starting with the sonnets and mixing in other verse, there will be a different bit of verse to listen to online, available on audioboo.  Mixed in with that will be the the Narrative Poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.  Special pop-up performances of these works and The Sonnets and other short verse are also planned, hopefully in odd venues and with very little prior warning.  Unless you’re a contributor, then you’ll get loads of notice, but that’s something I’ll talk of later on. 

Back to Project 10/52
I’m not going to go into detail of all the productions planned by Project 10/52.  There’s my homage to B-Movies Beware of Blob in May – for which I will need a lot of volunteers to blow up balloons. Historic Crimes, as mentioned, in June and in August my response to the anniversary to the declaration of war in 1914 – Metal Harvest – a piece that will explore how people are still being killed by that war. 

But I will make a special mention of Project 7 which will be available for performance anytime and anywhere (within reason) from the latest July till 31st December 2014,  I call this project Home Invasion of the Storyteller and it’s a way of spreading my work beyond Suffolk and the internet, without the cost and hassle of organising a tour.  This is a touring show travelling to a venue near you – your house!  Anyone can invite me to give a private performance, so long as you supply guests, reasonable refreshment and (if a long way away from Suffolk) and sofa to kip on.  I’ll tell two stories – one from my ganderbag of past work and a brand new piece written specially for Project 10/52 –

Attack of the Christmas Squirrels is not a Christmas show.  Don’t you just hate it when adverts for Christmas start – even in the middle of summer?  Well, that’s what the show is about.  The hero of the story – Reg – hates Christmas adverts and decides to save Christmas by training a crack squad of squirrels to remove all trace of Christmas and return it to something special.  But can Reg stop himself from going too far, destroying Christmas completely?
I won’t charge a set fee for the show, just politely ask the guests to give what they can, as with the other shows on offer.  If the performance is far away you will need to give up a sofa for a over-night stay.  NB: This show is NOT for children’s parties - though children can be guests so long as adults vastly outnumber them.

So, that’s... almost everything... but before I mention the last few shows, I have to get to the vital part of this gathering.  It’s all very well being the artist in residence – but I can’t do all this alone.  I need help.  And that brings me to the third theme...

Something Borrowed
Help!  I’m looking for actors, collaborators, helpers, balloon blower uppers, witnesses and the kindness of strangers.  As I work I’ll use social media to call out for random objects, props, and sometimes just someone else to be in the room.  Making yourself up to be a zebra is weird if you do it by yourself, it isn’t when there are friends.

So, don’t be a stranger, you think all this is interesting – send me a Tweet, or email or whatever – if I can get you involved, then I will.  If I can’t – then, what harm has it done?  You said “HELLO”.  I like hello. 
And then there’s the question of budget.  I need help there too.  There will be a financial return for me from these shows, but it probably won’t be much.  So I’ve started a two pronged approach to fundraising – there are to be some live events this year and also there’s an online campaign, which I urge you all to please give sometime to.  I’ve started a crowd source fundraiser with wefund and I’m asking for £2000 – which for a year’s work is nothing.  If everyone in this room and everyone online gave £10 / 20 then it’s done.  And if you give, there is a return – ten pounds gets you a thank you and priority booking and updates on pop-up shows but twenty pounds or more gets you a copy of one of the scripts/making of books that accompany Project 10/52 as well as other content no one else gets.  
And then there’s all sort of other grovelling thank yous I can devise.  I want anyone who gives to feel part of the project – so if you’ve given then you’re part of the conversation, you are a stake holder.  I want to make sure I have an audience before I begin, to have people who want to engage with the work I’m producing, as well as helping me to transmit the work further online to the rest of the world.  Your support now means I have a budget, an audience and support before I go to the dread market.

The live fundraisers are in London and Suffolk.  Firstly there are (currently) two performances of The Summoning of Everyman – one at the London Theatre on Saturday 26th October and here at the Quay on November 11th.  Obviously, as fundraisers, I’d hope you give generously.

The other live fundraiser is here, in this very room – a one-to-one Storytelling show – on Saturday lunchtimes called The Storyteller Will See You Now.  You book your slot and get a personal, one-to-one story told in my little story tent.  Sign up sheets are available here, online people there will be an email address to contact for your slot.  I’ve got two dates for that at present - the 12th & 19th October, from 12.20 at 20 minute intervals until 2.40pm - but if there’s more demand, more slots will appear.  Again, it’s Pay-Want-You-Want as you leave.  Cross my palm with silver.

And now to the last theme – we’ve had something old, something new, something borrowed...

Something Blue
Milk Bottle Productions has now adopted an official rating system.  
Red Top – Skimmed Milk – fine for all.  This is for shows like Attack of the Christmas Squirrels and Beware of the Blob.  Harmless and silly.  
Green Top – Semi-skimmed – some language but not excessive.  
Blue Top – full fat.  I.e. Potentially obscene.  I have decided that it is time to stop censoring myself, and so there are two projects which may – they may not – not be your cup of tea.  If so, don’t come.  
They are - Project 9 – projected for September – which is called The Single Source of All Filth. According to the Rev. Jeremy Collier (deceased) the single source of all filth was the theatre – so time to prove him right.  It’s going to be a Cabaret of Censorship and, well, filth.  Open minded auditionees welcome. 
And less light hearted is Project 10 – projected for October – called Shiny Medusa.   
This is a serious look at the male mind, in light of modern feminist campaigns about the depiction of women.  It’s a nightmare of fantasy made manifest, of dreams taking revenge, of turning yourself into something plastic and shiny... the Shiny Medusa.  Again, open minded casting is open.

To conclude – there’s a lot going on.  A lot of it is me pootling, a lot involves others.  For those worried that my recent health issues might get in the way – let me assure you this has been taken into account.  It is because I’ve been ill for the better part of two years that I am grabbing this good health by the scruff of the neck – and I’ve got understudies if I fall ill.
For the professional actors on the tinernet, I’m looking for people now.  I can’t give full break downs as much of this is unwritten, what I’m looking for are people I can work with, who I click with artistically.  The work is sporadic, so, though fee paying, is not going to get anyone rich, but that means it should fit round other work commitments.  If you’re interested send me an email and a CV and we’ll meet up and go from there.
Local people, don’t have to make such an effort – I’m here, I’ll tell you when I’m in the building – just collar me.
So, lastly, there is information to take away – on my blog or here physically – and there are things to sign up for – performances (there are reservation sheets) and pledges to give online.  I’ve got till November to find the money, otherwise it’s prostitution.  So, sign up, sign in, get involved.  Follow me on Twitter @RobertCrighton or my blog, email me, get in touch. 

Thank you all so much for your patience.  This is Robert Crighton, Artist in Residence, signing out.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Four Days...

Only four days to go before I launch The BIG Project - and I'm buried in photos.  Tuesday was a good day for that - I had some friends help me out, so I wasn't just sitting alone painting myself up to look like a zebra.  I did a reasonable job of it - I know now how it should be done, so next time I'll be able to do a cracking zebra face.  It was a brown striped zebra, which initially felt a bit wrong as it meant I looked like I was blacking up.  Luckily the zebra-ness of the face came through and awkwardness was averted.
If anything the zebra face was a little too intense - you can see why tribes have used animal imagery for warpaint and the like.  He's quite a mild zebra really.
But, Hang it all, I can't tell you any more of that.  It'll all come out on Sunday 8th September at 1pm in the bar of the Quay Theatre, Sudbury or Live Streamed Online - at the Robert Crighton: Storyteller ustream channel.  Full Launch Info here.

So, as I can't show you the final shots themselves, here's a couple from the pre-shoot.