Sunday 31 December 2017

Pushing Yourself- Guest Post by Leah

After reviewing my new year’s resolutions post from the start of this year, I realised that I really need to aim to make my goals for this year a little more realistic to achieve for 2018.

Now that I’m in year eleven, my attitude towards school has changed quite a lot in the way that I am taking lessons more seriously and doing revision and am really enjoying pretty much all of my lessons. This year is also the year where I have realised that my previous habits (no revision apart from what I’m made to do in class and the possible brief flick through my notes 30 seconds before the test itself) may not be the best idea anymore because although it has worked in the past, I probably won’t be able to wing a test on everything I’ve covered over the past year and a half. So my aim is to make notes on everything I have covered since the start of last year (year ten) with the aim of achieving my goal that I have had set for myself for a while now, which is to walk out of all my exams with Bs as a minimum grade (which are 6s in the new grading system).

I am also going to aim to take better care of myself both physically and mentally: physically in the way that I am going to try avoid junk foods a little more and aim for more healthier alternatives and also stop staying up late watching things on my tablet as I always end up regretting it the next day when I can barely keep my eyes open. Mentally I am going to try do the best I can in terms of my school work to make sure I meet deadlines on time so I don’t stress about missing them, causing myself to have stress headaches most days of the week! I am also going to do this by making a better effort at keeping my room tidy to some degree so I don’t lose important work/revision in the mess, and stress myself out further.

Although this is all school related, I know and have known for a while that I need to get things under control a little more at school and with my school work in order to clear my mind and help myself make it out of my exams in one piece, with my social life and friendships still intact.

My goals for the new year have been made a little more manageable this time round, and I am currently on the road to achieving these with high levels of success. My advice would be to think about what you’ll be able to achieve within the new year and what will benefit you and perhaps your friends and family this year.

Hope you have a great new year!

Friday 24 November 2017

An Interview with The HandleBards

First of all, would you mind telling us a little about who The HandleBards are and what you do?

The HandleBards are a cycling troupe of actors who, every summer, carry all of our set props and costumes on the back of our bikes to perform Shakespeare at a variety of venues all across the UK!
How did the idea of combining Shakespeare and cycling come about? Would you say that it's one of the defining factors that makes your theatre group so unique?
It’s definitely what sets us apart from other theatre companies! It came from four friends knowing that they loved Shakespeare and adventures but thinking that perhaps walking across the UK would take a bit too long. So the next best thing was bikes. None of us were particularly bike savvy before our first tour but it’s safe to say that 5 years and 5 cycle tours later we are big bike fans now!
What's the longest distance you've ever cycled to reach a venue? Was it worth it when you got there?
At least 50 miles, we saw wild horses, had to do a detour to go to a radio station for an interview, nearly ended up on a motorway and we saw another cyclist get hit by a car. It was a very eventful day! The show was full (thankfully) and the audience were great but we were EXHAUSTED that night. It’s difficult for us to do big distances, because of all the weight we’re carrying we tend to go an average of 10-12 miles an hour but that was a LONG day!
After cycling such a way, does it drain you before a show? I was amazed by how much energy there was in your performance.
Yes and no. All HandleBards talk about their first ever 'cycle + show’ day and how exhausted they are. However your body is very flexible to it’s environment and eventually it adjusts and it doesn’t feel so bad - if anything it gives you an adrenaline rush!
Do you get many days off? What would the typical 'relaxed day' for you consist of?
During a typical HandleBards cycle tour we perform 6 days a week, cycle 5 days a week and get Mondays off. Days off we tend to explore the town/city that we are in and later in the tour we always go in search for a spa to just relax!
Would you say that your relationship with the people you perform with is part of what makes your performances so enjoyable?
The relationship between the actors is very important. For the first two years we were just a group of mates and we had a great laugh which was what made the shows so silly and fun I think. Now that we cast actors one of the things we look for is if there personalities will match and if they look like they will have fun together. Otherwise what are we doing it all for?
Where do you stay in between travelling to new venues?
We camp, stay in hotels, airbnbs and at the homes of people who see our show and are kind enough to let us stay - we meet some wonderful people through this and hear some amazing stories.
What would you say is the best thing about performing with The Handlebards?
Making people laugh. Having people say that we made Shakespeare accessible for them or for their kids.
On average, how long does it take you to have a show ready to perform? Learning huge chunks of Shakespeare text is difficult enough without having multiple roles!
We give ourselves 2 weeks to rehearse. We get the script two week in advance of this and try and get off book as much as we can before we go into the room. The shows are always a bit chaotic when we first go out on the road but that adds to the joy!
Finally, if there was one piece of advice you could give to aspiring actors, what would it be?
Just keep making your own theatre. Try out acting, directing, stage management, designing do it all (but give everyone else a chance too!) Getting a well rounded experience will set you up to be a good actor and a friendly one that appreciates everyone else around them - and being a nice person to work with is one of the best qualities to have as people will keep on hiring you!
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions Tom!

Friday 11 August 2017

Thinking About The Future- An Interview with Bailey

Meet Bailey: Bailey is a student living in some village in the middle of nowhere with an unlikely passion for film and editing.

Bailey's Instagram:
I met Bailey almost four years ago and was struck by his ability to broadcast and edit videos soundly. We’ve supported each other over the last few years and I could not be happier to introduce you to him. Bailey works tremendously hard to produce quality content for his YouTube channels and is here today to tell us a little about his views on the future and what it brings.

1) Firstly Bailey, if you don’t mind, tell us a little about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests?

My favourite thing I can do is make movies. The whole process, from the recording to the uploading can never get boring. Apart from that, I
play video games, workout and eat.

2) It’s a common belief that there are three types of people in this world: people who look to the future for happiness, people who look into the past for happiness and people who focus their happiness on the present. Which one would you consider yourself to be?

Id definitely say I live in the now and take happiness from just doing something and getting it done but I do feel it's wrong to regret your past, as that's what got you to where you are today and you should be able to take a level of happiness from it. I can't really say much about getting happiness from the future because apart from with goals and aspirations I don't understand that mindset but happiness from goals happens in the now when you achieve it so my point is now invalid

3) At school we’re always being asked the same question over and over again: ‘what would you like to do when you leave school?’ Do you believe that this is necessary in today’s society? A society where the average amount of jobs held by one person before the age of forty is ten.

Knowing where you want to go is always a positive. If you can define where you want to be then you're halfway to doing it, you'll only have the hardest bit left (which is actually doing it) however not knowing what you want to do can leave you more open to take in suggestions.

       4) Jobs in IT are becoming increasingly popular. Do you think that this will result in the death of traditional jobs like postal workers and solicitors?

Definitely jobs are going to get taken over by robots so the people who once did them get to sit and admire what the world is becoming!

5) At risk of sounding like school, do you have any ideas for what you’d like to do in the future? Do you think that it’s important to have some thoughts on the matter?

I know exactly what I want to do. And it's a bonus to know what you want to do in detail but not knowing isn't a huge downfall because there's always people who'll give their opinions on what they want you to do whatever you want

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions Bailey! 

Thanks for having me! :)

Health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday 28 July 2017

My thoughts on The Handlebards- As You Like It

On Wednesday night, my drama group went to an open air performance of Shakespeare's As You Like It. I'm not sure what I was expecting really. What we were told was that it was to be performed by a group of people that travel the length of the country on bikes and that it would be outside, in the rain, and we weren't allowed umbrellas. Regardless, I handed over the money and hoped for the best. 

I woke up on Wednesday to the sound of rain pounding my bedroom window. I kept checking the weather and it just seemed to get worse and worse. My heart now goes out to those women who had to cycle all the way from York! Thankfully, by six o'clock when we met up with my drama group, the rain had miraculously stopped.

 We set our blanket down on the grass with everybody else and were greeted by somebody in shin high green socks who told us if we couldn't see, to move right up to the red line. "We don't bite...but we do smell!"

Now sitting within an inch of the performance and the other end of the gardens to the rest of the group, it felt as if we were part of the action. When I say I was surprised by what I saw, I mean I was literally mind blown. 

There were only four actresses in the play, each with multiple different roles. They could be the beautiful Rosalind one minute and the rough Orlando the next! Audience participation was at it's finest, even if some people looked a little offended when they stole their picnics!

I am in love with this theatre group and will definitely see more of their work if I get the chance. They are touring across the country until September, so make sure to catch them!

All images were found on The Handlebards' website.
As You Like It dates and venues:

Health and Happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday 30 June 2017

Love From Lexie by Cathy Cassidy

   What a literary genius. Cathy Cassidy has only done it again- melted my heart with an empowering new series!

 Following The Chocolate Box Girls, the first instillation of Cathy's new series, The Lost & Found, was released earlier this month. One of the things I love so much about Love From Lexie is that it's universally applicable. You don't have to be the 'target audience' (which by the way, I'm assuming is children/YA) to understand the issues of today's society like domestic violence and the stigma surrounding sexuality. These topics are touched upon with the kind of  sensitivity understanding that the world needs much more of.

Lexie has been living with a care family ever since her mum went missing. Although she loves her new foster parents and even sister Bex- she can't help but hold them at arm's length incase her mum comes back. It's with the help of Bex that she sets up a group at the local library and The Lost & Found is born...but where does a band, a bunch of letters and the constant threat of library closures come into it? Well, you'll have to pick the book up yourself and find out yourself! 

Final Thoughts: Read it. Just read it :)

Health and happiness,
Marti xxx