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A Beginners Guide to Panto - By Mary Brennan

The Herald's performance critic and resident pantomime expert Mary Brennan shares her enthusiasm for that particularly British festive night out:

That man’s a wumman, that wumman’s a fella...
And that’s how it is in Cinderella.

And not just in Cinderella, but in Mother Goose, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin and all the other fairy-tales that have been pressed into panto-service ever since theatres realised, as far back as the 18th century, that pantomime was a hugely popular entertainment and a boon to box-office.

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What is the Point of Short Film - by Matt Lloyd

What is the point of short film?


Real, grown-up filmmakers make features, right? Well-crafted narratives with a familiar cast and a dependable 3-act structure, a beginning, a middle and an end, that deliver your money’s worth. 90+ minutes of intelligent, considered, well-paced entertainment. Films that form the backbone of a night out, or the centre-piece of a night in.

Short filmmakers are just starting out, surely? Learning the craft. Or they’re selling products (commercials), music (promos), concepts (video art), or worst of all themselves, in glossy look-what-I-can-do calling-card exercises.

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A Beginners Guide to Performance Art - by Gareth K. Vile

A Beginners Guide to Performance Art by Gareth K. Vile

Do you like a good script, but sometimes long for something more personal and intimate? Are you interested in contemporary performance, but wonder what on earth is going on up there? Have you read the programme, but still aren’t clear about what the show is about? Then worry no more: here’s the eightfold path to performance art enlightenment.
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Musical Sushi by John Harris

I know how you feel. Why would you go to a contemporary music concert? No tunes (or only rarely, and then rather grudgingly). Peculiar, occasionally laughable noises from perfectly normal instruments. Nothing you can tap your foot to. And – probably worst of all – the nagging idea that everyone else in the audience, if there is anyone else in the audience, is coming from somewhere slightly alien. From somewhere where random peeps and parps make sense, and are maybe even found to be enjoyable. I mean, what on earth are they getting out of it?

As I say, I know how you feel. I wasn’t born with the contemporary music gene. And nor was my Mother-in-Law (most definitely not alien), who hated contemporary music when I first knew her. So much so that not so many years ago she would - although supportive to a fault - come to the contemporary music concerts I put on out of a sense of sheer, overwhelming pity.
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Rough Mix 2010 - Ruth Barker looks back

Looking back on the project, Rough Mix has certainly been influential. Although pinning down exactly how it has influenced me is somewhat more complicated.

I think that Rough Mix was my first step into the theatrical as a sphere of specialism – theatrical as opposed to performative. I learnt a lot about the differences between these two frameworks, and about the similarities of concern. I’d never worked alongside actors, choreographers, or playwrights before. I’d never seen actors at work and I knew very little about the most basic processes of development. And so at a purely knowledge-based level I learnt a lot of skills, as well as feeling privileged to be given an insight into others’ working methods.

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Latest Comment

J. Sharp Taking A Walk
07 September 2014
Very much enjoyed your show at the Brunton Theatre last night and the silent walk to start was an excellent addition, creating the perfect atmosphere....