The Midnight Flower Press
We chat to Choreographer and Director Deborah Galloway about dance, the arts and why you shouldn't let rejection get you down.
Deborah choreographed YMT's The Midnight Flower Press (2015) at the Barbican Theatre Plymouth and her other credits include: Dark Arteries (Rambert) and INALA (Premiere Edinburgh International Festival, Sadler's Wells, UK tour and Royal Variety Performance at The Palladium 2014/2015).
Effort wins over skill with me every time. I’m drawn to performers that respond to the task I’ve set with every inch of their being. I then have something to bounce off and we can start creating together. I’m interested in the individual and the unique qualities that are revealed through embodied movement. Worrying why you cant kick your leg up, double pirouette or back flip will hold you back from giving your best. Every show has a different kind of movement vocabulary so don’t try and second guess the choreographer.
The Midnight Flower Press - Barbican Theatre Plymouth 2015
Tips for auditions:
‘Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.’ Albert Einstein.
Be brave, take risks and make every audition an experiment for you to learn from. If you’re not successful this time then reflect and learn from it, subsequently making changes for the next time. See it as a process of constantly moving forward.
I often do breathing exercises and warming up all parts of the body before an audition so I take the attention away from what I’m thinking.
Remember the outcome is out of your control. You can only give your best and enjoy having a go, meeting new people and trying or refining improvisation exercises. Rejection can seem so personal but there are so many elements that are out of your control.
When I started to cast performers I realised I needed people to blend together as a company or fulfill a vision I had of the character or role. Often brilliant dancers lost out in the audition for reasons that had nothing to do with their talent.
Finally, even if you’re knackered, look interested and awake. We’ve all seen the ‘bored’ look creep over faces especially when you feel a bit out of your comfort zone. Regardless of talent, no-one wants a negative energy in the rehearsal room so think about how your posture, facial expression, behaviour and energy comes across.
What/who should young people research in the arts?
There are lots of websites out there to help you and give you fantastic opportunities if you do the research. Check out Dance UK, Youth Dance England, National Youth Dance Company and Centre for Advanced Training Nationwide.
I’d look up institutions and colleges that deliver good acting or MT course s i.e RADA and research their youth companies that you could audition for.
Most professional dance companies have a Youth Company which enables you to work with professional choreographers and theatre makers. Rambert has a Youth Dance company called Quicksilver and London Contemporary Dance School (The Place) has Shift Dance Company.
I would also look up your local Cultural Institutions, Museums, Galleries, Theatres and Arts Centres to see what opportunities there are. There could be discounted tickets or free training opportunities and lots of places across the UK offer discount scheme for the under 25s.
Try not to get stuck in your own genre. If you like dance go and see some art, if you like acting go and listen to live music or join a Gamelan orchestra! Be diverse, open and receptive to the arts in general. You may be able to draw upon these different experiences when you least expect it!
Look at your mindset and how the way you think can have an impact on your life and career journey. As a starting point I’d suggest the book Bounce by Matthew Syed. For me, it destroyed some old beliefs I had that were holding me back and opened up how sports psychology and strategies for achieving could be used in the arts. Have a read: It might make you think differently when facing auditions and your reaction to getting a job or role or not getting one.
Finally, if you’ve read any good books or found good sites online share them through YMT or FB comments. Sometimes we protect our knowledge and keep our finds to ourselves. In my experience doing this has never projected me forward ahead of others, in fact quite the reverse.
Sweet potato fries.
Peru. I'm interested in history, culture and the mysteries of lost empires.
THE most important question: Scone (as in stone) or Scone (as in gone)?
Blame my parents... I'm a gone.
Let the fun begin...
The countdown has begun. I'm joining forces with an uber-talented creative team and the fantastic young artists at YMT to play, devise and create a brand new musical - The Midnight Flower Press - I can’t wait. This year the show will and be centred around a starter-script and storyline that I’ve written. The idea comes from a young adult novel I’m planning to write next year and offers lots of opportunity for devised work to develop characters, create dynamic visuals and flesh out the drama. I always love getting stuck-in generating additional material with everyone. Mostly I’m looking forward to working with the positive, energetic creativity that ymtuk actors always have.
What influenced the show and what makes it unique?
When I was looking for show stimuli a few months ago I stumbled across the amazing novel Millions by Frank Cotrell Boyce, which has a lot of money it in. This inspired the idea of using loads of paper in a show and led me to the idea of writing a show based around a printing press. Since then the story has developed into being set in a cotton factory and so the use of cotton in both raw and twine form has been added, making it very exciting. In a nutshell we’ll be let loose in a rehearsal room with immense amounts of paper, stuffing and string! What more could an actor want, eh…?
What can audiences expect?
Set in London during the Industrial Revolution, the show follows the dramatic underworld adventure of cotton-factory worker Flora and her Flower Press gang. In a time when child labour and exploitation was common place, and having a voice was dangerous, the young workers stumble across a secret way to get their voice heard, make a difference - and make mischief along the way! Audiences can expect quite a physical production, with great songs, drama and maybe even object manipulation and puppetry.
What are your favourite musicals, plays and artists?
Ooo this is always a tough question - there are so many to choose from. I love the musicals Miss Saigon, WhisperHouse and Little Shop of Horrors for their high stakes and unique styles. Favourite actors include Imelda Staunton, Ian McKellen, Ben Wishaw and Shailene Woodley - each of them give such strong performances whilst staying true to the truthfulness of their character’s situation.
I think my favourite plays include the recent National Theatre of Scotland production of Let The Right One In. It was physical, dramatic and scary (vampires!). Curious Incident is also a great production and Complicite’s early show Out Of A House Walked a Man is a total favourite of mine. The cast used instruments, puppetry, physical theatre, song, loads of different languages and followed a simple but exciting storyline. I’m hoping The Midnight Flower Press is going to be as exciting!
Describe the show in 3 words
Paper. Fluff. Mischief!
The Midnight Flower Press is showing at the Barbican Theatre Plymouth from 14-15 August. Book your tickets here.