Just 17 Days

April 8, 2010

Which makes it 2 weeks tonight to our opening night – and in 17 days it’ll all be over. I pray! – and, God willing, we’ll be in some kind of a state to celebrate. Until then, on with the…

Another day which could have been devoted entirely to promoting all the wonderful things that are happening all the casts begin to work together – which was once again diverted into the defending our good name against  (IMHO) unjust allegations re: the involvement of volunteers helping with stage management, based on a serious misunderstanding of what we – and this project – are all about.  I’m not going to comment further on that, at least for now.

Instead, I think I should let some of our volunteers speak for themselves. Here’s Shaun’s testimony as to how he got initiated into The Southwark Mysteries:

Monday, 22 February 2010

Spontaneously unraveling the Southwark Mysteries

I don’t have that many spontaneous moments these days, with a family including two young children spontaneity can be sparse at times but not today!

It all started with a tweet from my colleague @jfourgeaud.

Will be heading this evening for a workshop to join the “Southwark Mysteries” cast. Gonna be fun! http://bit.ly/bQGnPS

This I thought sounded very interesting, so I followed the link to the site.
On the site was a link “Be In It” and an email address to request a place on this evenings introductory workshop. So after a quick call to my wife, I sent an email, got one back and here is what happened.

On first arriving at the South Bank University, I ticked off my name then headed to the rehearsal room, which the university had very kindly given to the Southwark Mysteries to use to practice and rehearse for the play.

Everyone was very welcoming when I arrived and we were warned in advance that a “name game” was coming later so we should take the opportunity to introduce ourselves to each other and learn a few names.
There were some people that had done this type of thing before and they seemed impressed that I had only decided earlier on that day on the spur of the moment to attend.
We started off with the writer and producer of the “Southwark Mysteries” John Constable, giving us an introduction and some background on the play.
John asked us all to say our name and a word or two to give people an idea about ourselves, he started then turned to his right. Hold on that’s me, I wasn’t ready so the first word I thought of popped out “Passion”.
We then discussed the community cast contract, covering some principle and behaviours we would like to see from ourselves and others during the next 7 weeks.
A very large & long roll of paper was placed on the floor, for the ideas to be added. These included : take direction, respect, honesty, enjoy yourself, be non judgemental and one of my favourites “be brave”, as well as many others. These words and phrases were all very positive gave me a real sense of what it going to be like working on this community project.
During the workshop we also did some physical exercises to help us become more aware of others and get some understanding of what it might be like to be on a stage with lots of other people moving around. This turned out to be quite an interesting observation of human nature and behavior.
We also did some reading, which got very interesting when we had to just read a line when we felt like it, but not interrupt each other while agreeing non verbally who was going to say the line.
There was also a song to learn which I enjoyed immensely.
We started how we finished with a word and mine was “enlightened”.
My eyes were starting to be opened into a world I knew nothing about but was starting to look very interesting and enjoyable.
All in all one of the best evenings out I have had in ages and certainly the most spontaneous in the last few years, leading to my first blog right after an event.
So as a new member of the community cast of “Southwark Mysteries” I look forward to next Monday for more social interaction, learning and enlightenment.
Also a final thank you to Julian for giving my spontaneous side an opportunity.

Posted by Shaun Phillips at 2/22/2010 11:11:00 PM shaunph.blogspot.com

On 21/03/2010 Shaun makes a progress report:

The whole play is now starting to feel more real now the groups and parts have been assigned and we are having to work a bit harder now.
I am finding myself singing the Ballad of Mary Overie in my head and tapping the tunnellers beat while practicing in my head on the train.
Also I have been practicing being an old drunk, again while I’m walking in the street, at work or getting on the train. Monday evenings are currently the highlight of my week.

And, his most recent comment, responding to news that we were being criticised for involving volunteers in our stage management, he says:

Perception is not reality.
I think people will be blown away, when they come to the play and would be amazed at what has been achieved on limited resources.
Personally I would pay to have this type of experience again, not that you would charge people to be in a cast, but the experience for me has been and still is one of the most inspirational things I have ever done.
I have some amazing things occuring in my life at the moment, so much so that I feel I’m approaching the crest of a wave (which may be considered literal, when I skipper a Yacht in Greece next month.)
Being able to work with the Production team, the community cast and the professional actors is a huge reason for this, I am so loving the experience. ( Please excuse the American grammer ;-) )

Where else can I spend an evening being Blind, Drunk, tied in hell and still be home by 10.


Shaun’s our most prolific blogger and already one of our great community ambassadors. Our ranks are swelling! 🙂

For those who don’t tend to visit our Comments page, let’s sign off tonight with two wonderful expressions of support from Jennifer, one of our Sisters Of Redcross in the community cast, and Sarah, our volunteer design team star. Both originally became involved through our work at Crossbones Graveyard.

Jennifer: Can’t say clearly enough how much I support what John, Katey and all the others have achieved over the last couple of years, working so hard to get the funding for and putting on, this amazing play. I agree with Shaun, minds will be blown on seeing it.

I am having such fun, being in the community cast. Was deeply moved by what we rehearsed yesterday, this experience will stay with me for a very long time.

All love and Blessed Be this fantastic community work.

Jen x

Sarah: i like the southwark mysteries because it includes all those who are struggling in there lives , who have not had societies advantages… this play … it seems to me … is kind of about how every one of us can in there own small way help and change, the world .. and each other …that no one is ever in a place of not being able to change there way,,, so if perhaps we all just tried to be good to each other and care … the whole world …could change … it is only luck really that means that i have a home …i could by a very small problem be amongst those who have no home .


Bless you both – and Shaun – and all who make this journey with us:

May The Spirit be with Crow
And all them that walk beside him
When he walk about The Liberty
With but his Goose to guide him.

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