The Stage2 BlogThese are real kids, with real words
Here at Stage2, as a charity committed to the betterment and welfare of young people on and off the stage, we often avoid posting political statements to ensure that we remain non-biased and true to our aims that any young person, regardless of background, ability, ethnicity, gender or belief feels safe, feels comfortable, feels included.
But right now – organisations, like us, need to stand up and actively work to protect the lives, the opportunities and the safety of young people of colour. It’s not enough to just post a black square. It’s not enough to just donate a sum of money. The BLM movement is more than just politics or a cause that will simply go away when you stop talking about it. The BLM movement is a proponent of change and recognising that yes every life matters – but across the world, black lives matter less – and this needs to change.
It’s very easy for us here in the UK to distance ourselves from what is happening in the US but what’s important to recognise is that this is a global problem. The UK is not innocent in the consistently unfair treatment of BAME individuals and it’s time for us all to own up to the fact that we need to do something about it.
Silence, in nearly every racist/discriminatory period of time, from the Holocaust to the Silence = Death Movement, has been the characterising factor that has allowed atrocities to happen. It is not enough to be silent or neutral, it’s time to be actively anti-racist.
If you are reading this and like us are asking yourself what you can do to help, here are some ideas to consider:
Avoid asking your BAME friends and colleagues what you can do
Do your research, there is a multitude of information about the movement that anyone can readily access. Bombarding your BAME friends and colleagues with “how they feel”, or “what can I do?” is unhelpful and places the burden of representation squarely on their shoulders. Do your research. Also, please understand that they may not be responding as quickly as they normally do – this is going to be a difficult time for your BAME friends and replying to messages and texts may not be in their top priorities.
Here’s a link to a document that’s a little old now but has lots of suggestions for valuable reading on the subject:
Write to your MP
Did you know that companies based in the UK are exporting tear gas and rubber bullets to the US which are being used to forcefully stop protests? Amnesty International is urging UK residents to write to our local MP’s in order to put pressure on these companies to stop exporting. You can find your local MP via writetothem.com
Sign the enquiry campaign into the number of BAME deaths during the Covid-19 epidemic
Are you aware that BAME individuals make up one third of the current Covid-19 patients in intensive care? Or that BAME families make up double the average of households who have lost their jobs? You can read more and sign the petition here:
Share and Sign Petitions
There are a large number of other petitions to sign, and each one can usually be filled out within a minute – learn about their stories and sign to support below; you can make an even bigger contribution by sharing them as well, or donating to fund visibility campaigns!
Justice for George Floyd
(This one requires a US Postal Code, but if you can sign, then do)
Justice for Belly Mujinga
Talk about, follow, share and spread Anti-Racist Content
One of your greatest contributions could be the sharing of information pertinent to the movement – organisations that are Anti-Racist like CRER, Race on the Agenda, Show Racism the Red Card are excellent UK based organisations and charities who actively spread such information. Help them in spreading this information and help educate others.
It’s important that any information you share is meaningful, informative and that you fully understand what you’re sharing and how it might impact the movement – whilst #blackouttuesday was a good way to show your solidarity it quickly backfired when people also used the tag black lives matter as it clogged up social feeds being used by protestors and activities who were reliant on information being spread. This follows our first point – do your research!
Support/donate to/volunteer for a cause or charity
Good organisations to support during this period (and always) are charities that are actively engaging in an anti-racist mission statement. If you have money or time, please consider giving your support to some of these worthwhile charities:
Whatever you decide to do, whether it’s protesting, posting or reading – please join us in showing the world that #BlackLivesMatter
Stage2 Staff are furloughing
After careful deliberation and with the approval from our Board of Trustees, Stage2 Core Staff will be undergoing a period of furlough as part of the national government scheme to protect small businesses.
Our intention is to furlough Liz and Alex for a period of three weeks, followed by a week of working, followed by a further three weeks, etc. for the foreseeable. Please see the full list of proposed furloughed dates below.
During these periods, both Liz and Alex will be unable to respond to your emails or contact directly – though they will endeavour to respond to you as soon as they are able. The Stage2 phone has been turned off and please do not attempt to contact either member of staff on their personal phone numbers during this period.
20th April – 10th May : FURLOUGH
11th May – 17th May : WORK
18th May – 7th June : FURLOUGH
8th June – 14th June : WORK
15th June – 5th July : FURLOUGH
6th July – 12th July : WORK
We intend to keep our Saturday online activities running through the help of George and Maya, though please don’t ask them questions to do with the running of the company etc. they may not know the answers!
17th March 2020 (Email #2)
I hope this finds you and your families well. I also hope that many of you had some very happy children at the weekend after the Cast of The Grimms was announced! (If you missed this, just visit www.stawww.org/blog).
Below is an update with information we have at the moment and what we intend to do moving forwards.
Before we get in to that, I would just like to personally thank each and every one of you for the abundance of positive support in light of this sudden cancellation. The world feels a bit mad at the moment, but knowing that we have such a strong, supportive network of families who understand the value of what we’re doing and having to do in light of the circumstances, is very uplifting – so thank you once more.
What we know:
The BCU have informed us that they intend to remain closed to outside hires until the end of March. They have advised that this will be reviewed in early April and may continue into the foreseeable future.
The hires team have assured us that they will keep us updated as the situation progresses and we will be monitoring this as best we can in the coming weeks. Communicating with you on a need-to-know basis. Please wait for us to contact you – if we haven’t been in touch it’s because the situation hasn’t changed.
The performance venues that we hire (The Crescent and the MAC) have both informed us that they intend to remain open to the public until they are advised otherwise by our local authority – please see below for an update on this point.
What this means:
As you know, we have been forced to close for the remainder of our Spring Term. As far as possible – BCU allowing – we intend to return to our standard operations for the Summer Term. If BCU prove to be unwilling to open their doors but the situation has improved we will be looking for an alterantive venue to start our operations again.
Events like the Showcase are still going ahead and we may, within the coming weeks, attempt to hold a Photosale to replace the one displaced from last Saturday. Following this point, if this proves to be unfeasible, we will research into ways of conducting a photosale online with a virtual marketplace. Failing both of the above, we will be rescheduling for the event to take place within the Summer Term.
Things to consider:
At the time of writing, the Showcase is still going ahead, however following the notice of reducing public gatherings the mac are holding an emergency meeting of their board of trustees to decide what to do moving forward. In the event that the Showcase needs to be cancelled, we will let you know immediately.
On the above
The UK Government’s response to public gatherings without formally forcing arts organisations (who rely on public gathering to trade) to close is directly affecting small to large-scale theatres, drama groups and arts based organisations across the country, of which Stage2 is one of! If you have any time whatsoever, please add your voice to public opinion polls like here. Helping your local theatre or community arts centre now will ensure the continuation of these services after the Covid-19 mess.
The Grimms cast packs are going to be delivered to your home addresses (or given to you at LAMDA lessons) throughout the week. If you haven’t received this by this Saturday please let me know.
In the event of:
The Showcase being CancelledWe will alert you via this platform as soon as we are informed that this needs to happen. We will attempt to move the date to a more convenient time and refund anyone who can subsequently not make the new date.
BCU remaining closed for longer than currently expected.We will notify you via email as soon as it becomes likely that we will have to postpone the start of term.
For members in the Cast, with a show in July and not many Saturdays to rehearse – we may schedule separate rehearsals with Cast that take place at either the Stage2 Office OR at a separate venue. This will be to get a head start of blocking for when we do start running again. This will only be done with complete assurance that no individual poses a risk to others or puts themselves at risk by attending.
The Crescent closing – meaning the cancellation of The Grimms.In the unlikely event of this happening, we will liaise closely with the Crescent to move the event to a logical point further in the year. We will ensure that paid for tickets are refunded or transferred to the relevant rescheduled date.
Please bear with us over the coming weeks as we try to adjust to the circumstances. Drama and Theatre is quite hard to apply electronically, but we’ll be thinking of ways to engage with you and your young people in an online platform in the meantime.
If you have any questions or suggestions for us that are outside of the above, please respond directly to this email.
For those of you who are occupationally affected by the shut downs currently happening (and suddenly have more time on your hands), I would recommend signing up to a local Covid-19 support group (there are lots on Facebook and online).
There are many people within the community who have been made more vulnerable by the situation, and if you are able to provide resources, energy and/or time (even if it’s a phone call to an elderly person) to help your neighbour now’s the time to do it.
I hope that the above makes sense and is clear of our intentions moving forwards.
Best wishes and please stay safe!
13th March 2020 (Email #1 – sent to all current members)
As many of you will be very aware, the current situation re: the spread of the novel Covid-19 virus, continues to worsen here in the UK. Previously, our stance has been to continue operations until told to cease by the local authority or by any one of our venues.
It is my unfortunate task to inform you that as of today, the BCU (the building we meet in on a Saturday) has made the decision to cancel all future bookings until further notice. This means that we will not be running tomorrow or any Saturday for the remainder of the Spring Term.
IMMEDIATE ACTION – PLEASE RESPOND
Please can you respond to this email as soon as possible, stating that you have read and understood that Stage2 will not be operating for the remainder of the Spring Term. We will use our email list to send further updates (see below).
We would welcome any support you can provide in the speedy distribution of this information, checking in with your friends and fellow parents that they have also received this message.
If we have not received confirmation from you by 6pm we will endeavour to phone you this evening to ensure that the message has been received – this is in-line with the procedure for our “inclement weather policy” – it is important to us that clear information is received by everybody.
MOVING FORWARDS – LONG TERM ACTION
After today, we will ensure that you are alerted to any and all future updates via the email address that this email has been sent to/we have obtained via phone. If you would like to request that it go to a separate email address or include another parent or family member, please let me know when you respond to the first immediate point.
Summer Term and Term Fees
We know that for many parents and families this cancellation may pose a big inconvenience – we cannot apologise enough for this. This decision was presented to us today and we are respecting the BCU’s plan of action in order with immediate effect, to protect the wider public as well as the safety and health of your children (and you)!
We are currently liaising with our Board of Trustees RE: Payments and Refunds for the Spring Term and monitoring the situation closely for the Summer Term. We still intend to continue operations for the Summer Term and are liaising with the BCU about their proposed closure into April.
Showcase Evening (24th March)
We have spoken with the MAC and the venue intends to keep its events open to the public until informed otherwise by the local authority. We intend to continue our private LAMDA Tuition and the event itself.
If you are fearful of public gatherings and the potential health risk they pose and no longer wish to attend, we would ask that you inform us in writing as soon as possible. If you are also requesting a refund of ticket money, we would ask that you include this in writing as well.
We have been in communication with our Board of Trustees about this as a separate matter and will be contacting the individuals who are participating today.
Casting for The Grimms
As stated, we still intend to go ahead with the Summer Show and we don’t want to disappoint people who have put in the hard work and commitment to audition. I intend to live-stream/announce the Casting tomorrow on Social Media, and send scripts and paperwork in the post following this, so please tell your children to tune in!
We are doing our best to manage this unique situation and want you to know that your children’s safety, health and happiness is always of paramount importance.
If you have any questions at all in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to ask me via email or over the phone – 07961 018841 or 07790464288
PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE EMAIL RECEIPT ASAP
|5||Twin 1||Reuben Jones-Rigby|
|6||Twin 2||Hemal Pallan|
|15||Big Bad||Elijah Dix|
|22||Van 1 (Aries)||Sean Domanski|
|23||Van 2 (Aurora)||Alisha Harris|
|24||Van 3 (Jazz)||Janick Kouegoua|
|25||Robber 1||Sophie Marley|
|26||Robber 2||Nancy Matthew|
|27||Police 1||Joseph Hack-Myers|
|28||Police 2||Oscar Peters|
|29||Demon 1||Dylan Jones|
|30||Demon 2||Oliver Charles-Peers|
|31||Witch 1 (Baba)||Brianna Whitty|
|32||Witch 2 (Morgana)||Eve Hack-Myers|
|33||Witch 3 (Tituba)||Liv Grant-Bryson|
|1||Technical Leader||Daisy Wilkes|
|3||Assistant Director||Liv Grant-Bryson|
|4||Stage Manager||Alex Butler|
|5||Sound Operator||Lina Mesref|
|6||Asst. Stag. Man.|
I’m Lauren Brine from Stage2 and I am taking part as a Writer in The Young Writers’ Festival.
I wrote a piece called, Two minds, One brain, which is all about a young boy and how his life changes after a brain transplant. When the piece was finally finished I was inexplicably relieved/happy, and then came the next anticipation: the casting.
When I first received the e-mail telling me about my cast, I read it and I was happy. Just happy. I thought it sounded good and all the people fit the parts assigned to them, but nothing more than happy. But then came the second Saturday back, the next week. And as I was watching the cast come together, talk to each other and read through the script, I began to realise it was in fact a very good match. Everyone works together and there is the perfect balance of ages, maturity and experience.
On this same day, was the first rehearsal. As I said, I am a writer, but I chose not to act in my own piece, so instead I sit with Alex (the director of my piece) as he directs, inputting my opinion’s and generally observing form the side. And as I watched the first blocking directions being put into place, it made me see a different side of my piece. A piece that I had written. A piece that I had spent at a whole summer on, looked different. The cast and the actions when paired with the script made it come alive, and as I watched Alex direct it, and the actors act, I was very, very, very happy.
The first rehearsal went well, and really showed how well the cast work together. As well as the beginning of the blocking process, we also did research, read throughs and character-building exercises. All of which were very beneficial. Overall, it has been such an amazing process that I am proud to say I am part of, even though it has only been fully going for two weeks.
The Young Writers’ Festival
20th & 21st December 2019 – 7.30pm – £12
@The Hexagon Theatre, MAC Birmingham
Tickets available online via the MAC Website
The Young Writers’ Festival
The Line Up
This term Stage2 brings you The Young Writers’ Festival – a festival-style evening of short one-act plays written and performed by the Young People of the West Midlands. We started our rehearsal process last Saturday and we’ve already produced some fantastic work so far!
These original piece of writing were written with the stimuli of change – we can all agree that the World is changing dramatically right now, and Stage2 believes that young peoples voices matter in the greater dialogue.
Here’s a little bit about the pieces as well as the young authors who wrote them.
Two Minds, One Brain
By Lauren Brine
Two Minds, One Brain is a weird and wonderful journey into the life of William Harper; a young boy who suffers from an incurable headache. With revolutionary new science, a surgeon manages to complete the first successful brain-transplant, meaning no more headaches for William. Only, it’s not just William who wakes up after the operation…
This play with a cast of 5 delves into the concept of identity and how our lives might change if we were to not be wholly who we were.
Lauren Brine, aged 13, may be in your heads currently for her “simply superb” (Behind the Arras), portrayal of the titular character Alice in Stage2’s most recent production of ALICE (based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland). Even as the youngest of our Writers, Brine has shown a maturity in her writing that belies her years.
By Reuben Jones-Rigby
Set in America during the roaring 1920’s, Reuben Jones-Rigby’s The Pyramid follows the life and trials of gangster boss Don Marlo as he navigates his way up the chain of command. It’s all dancing and music, cigars and good times until Marlo forgets who he is and who he’s loyal to…
This play with a cast of 6 focusses on the change of circumstance for one power-hungry Don.
Reuben Jones-Rigby, aged 17, is currently studying at BOA and has been connected with Stage2 for several years. Reuben has a real zest for life and can often be seen at Stage2 practicing his dancing or playing the guitar for the wonderful group of 7 – 10 year olds he assists with in the afternoon. The Pyramid is a stark contrast to the picture we’ve painted above, it’s gritty, solid writing with a strong structure and excellent characters.
By Ellie Waide
This yet to be titled piece by writer and poet Ellie Waide, is a performance poem reminiscent of the work of Kate Tempest. Each verse is cleverly crafted and characterises the struggles faced by a generation expected to save the world. With a cast of 5, this piece is stylised with elements of choral speaking meaning Waide’s words are brought to vivid, impactful life.
Ellie Waide, aged 16, is currently in her GCSE year – a talented young writer with a history of excellent grades in her LAMDA Devising Exams, Waide has stepped up her game for the Festival and this piece is sure to have hearts resonating and consciences questioned.
The Ones Left Behind
By Elijah Dix
1914, The Great War – little did they know at the time that it was the first part in a two-part series. War changes everything and in The Ones Left Behind, writer Elijah Dix, conjures these brave characters to life – presented by a cast of 4, we see their highs and their lows and how they change as people under such extreme circumstances.
Elijah Dix, aged 15, has recently stepped into the role of Peer-Mentor here at Stage2 – a year long commitment where dedicated young people help those around them – mentoring younger, newer members to fully achieve everything they want to! The Ones Left Behind is written with a blend of natural and stylised text – aided by a chorus of 6 voices who carry us through the trials and tribulations of the men and women on the front-line.
By Liv Grant-Bryson
“(…) time flies. Time is ever changing, it flies, gallops, it ambles, it crawls
but still it is constantly moving”
Time changes everything, even though we can’t see it or touch it, Time changes everything. In this piece of choral speaking, written in the style of authors Claire Dowie and Steven Berkoff, Liv Grant-Bryson attempts to give voice to this conceptual entity. With a cast of 5, aided by a chorus of 5, young people, this piece is as moving as it is thought-provoking.
Liv Grant-Bryson, aged 16, is one of Stage2’s most recent Trainee Tutors – the highest position a member can reach at Stage2. From the time that Liv joined Stage2 she has consistently surprised and impressed both tutors and audiences alike. A remarkably talented young woman, Liv has turned her attention to writing and this piece is an excellent demonstration of a young person with something to say.
By Toma Hoffman and Maddi Stewart
The World as we know it has come to an end. Unlike our current fears of Climate Change bringing our civilisation to its knees, the apocalypse in New Beginnings is a lot more bitey. This piece, written in collaboration by Maddi Stewart and Toma Hoffman, follows the struggles of a band of young people desperately trying to survive the zombie-wasteland. These young people, bereft of an adult presence, cling wildly to any sense of the civilisation they left behind, leaders of the pack come and go but do they really need a leader?
Stewart (aged 16) and Hoffman (aged 14) both have a long history in Stage2, having both achieved accolades in performance and peer leadership. Stewart is the current leader of our drama workshops for under 10’s (Stage1) having a natural ability to lead and teach young creatives. Hoffman joined Stage1 when he was only 7 years old and since then has blossomed into a talented young actor. Writing is a new game for both authors and the text carries a lighter humour even amongst the zombie-hordes.
The Young Writers’ Festival
Friday 20th & Saturday 21st December 2019
@ The Hexagon Theatre, MAC Birmingham, B12 9QH | 7.30pm | £12