Hello everyone! Mischa here.
We’re signing off for a little while but we'll be back in action on the 2nd January, (when we begin rehearsals for our tour). Just before we go, here's an update on our year and a heads up for what's to come in 2020.
At the beginning of 2019, we started a period of research and development on Alice Birch’s Many Moons. Immediately, we all felt there was something special about this play. It’s about isolation and how we love and connect, so it felt really pertinent to the problems we face now in the UK.
Looking back on that time in early 2019, what sticks out to me is that we all really looked after each other; we made sure everyone was heard and valued, and we began to lay the foundations of how we now function as a company.
May rolled around. We cast the show and rehearsals began for Many Moons. What a mad four weeks that was! Our designer Ross was fiddling with lights right up until the last second, and I loved how wild and spontaneous the atmosphere was. It felt like anything could happen onstage.
At York’s Create. Engage. React festival, we sold out and got some incredible audience feedback. Every time we performed, something changed; the people in the room really affected how we told our story. Both the actors and the tech team were so responsive to the different audiences.
After the festival, we got together with our Associate Producer, Zach Pierce. We had loved Many Moons so much and our audiences seemed to love it too. We had some sessions with Zach and thought about the possibility of forming a company, what kind of company we wanted to be, and what kind of work we wanted to make.
In the summer, we all were verrrrry busy. For starters, we all graduated from the University of York. Our company members Harry and Josh were in fantastic productions, Bel worked for the National Youth Theatre, Ross started as a Theatre Manager, and Zach began at York Theatre Royal. All the time, we were scheming what was next for Many Moons and the company.
October was so exciting for the company. We got ourselves a name and a fancy website, another Producer (Alice, we love you), and also won the York Performance Award 2019! We officially launched as Rocket Box on the 25th October 2019.
With the grant from the York Performance Award, we could plan our 2020 tour in earnest. We booked six dates, travelling all over the UK. Our members are from every corner of the country, from Cornwall to London to Hull to Buxton, and we all wanted to take Many Moons back to our hometowns and the places we love. As a company, we don’t want to just make work in London. We are looking forward to visiting so many parts of the country in this tour.
November was a bit of a mad month. We were contacted by The Pleasance, Islington, and were asked to be part of their 2020 New Work Season. A massive honour! We are so excited to be part of their season in May/ June, alongside some incredible other artists. We also created a Crowdfunder project, which so many of you donated to. Our total in the end was well over what we had originally asked for, which meant that we could extend our tour. (Rewards coming soon folks, don't worry!)
The December election also happened. As a company who believe in tackling issues head- on, this brought up a lot for us. I began to think about theatre’s place in culture and society, and what we can do as artists to make a difference. This year we’ll be thinking a lot as a company about the role we play in our communities.
In 2020, we begin our tour, and also begin research and development on our next project.
So that was our 2019! It feels amazing to look back on the last year and think of all that we’ve done. There’s a good thing said by Mike Alfreds: that a show has two lives, a production life and a company life. Both have to work for the show to be successful. The company have got to be communicating clearly, feeling respected and empowered, working hard and resting well too. We’ve got a lot to learn, and we’re making mistakes as we go, but I’ve got to say, I am so proud of Rocket Box. What a bunch of legends.
So all the best for this Christmas and for the New Year. Do get in touch, even just for a catch up. We always love to hear from you! Take care of yourselves.
Lots of love,