Saturday, 28 June 2014

Anne Boleyn Part 3

The following photographs are from the final dress rehearsal and taken by Barry Parsons of East Anglian Photographic Services. Thanks Barry! Set design by Ginny Bain, constructed by James Utting. Lighting design by Tom Porteous. Stage Manager Sarah Farmer. Directed by Clare Howard

The ghost of Anne Boleyn.(Rebecca Aldred) I wonder what's in that bag!

James 1st (Chistopher Neale) and Cecil (Pete Sessions) have a stand off

James is rather taken with George Villiers (Steven Scase)

Henry is rather taken with Anne

Warren Ray Lynch as Henry

Sloop and Simpkin. Cromwell's hard men (Alex Cowley and James McDonald)

Anne searches for William Tyndale

Lady Jane Seymore and Lady Celia read the forbidden text

Cardinal Wolsey (Peter Wood) and Anne

James 1 in Anne's coronation dress

Onstage costume changes are always tricky

James has an audience with the Anglican clergy

...and the Puritans

Dr John Reynolds (Peter Woods) and Lancelot Andrewes (Ian Macdonald)

Cromwell (George Norton) and Jane Seymore (Hattie Amey)

Anne meets the country folk and Tyndale

Anne and Cromwell saying Martin Luther's prayer

Queen Anne with country women (Eileen Collisson and Kelly Brooke)

Another show over and done and what a big one! My heartfelt and huge thanks go to the following people - 

Chrissie Blackburn
Holly Hambidge
Martin Frost
Eileen Collisson
Edna Rudd
Judith Symonds
Sarah Prince White
Ginny and Hero Bain
Bethany Hughes
Anne Giles

See you soon for the next one..........

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Anne Boleyn Part 2

And so we approach production week. All fittings with the actors are now complete. The wardrobe has been a hub of tea fueled, fevered activity and we are down to one side of A4 of to do's. I'm sure this will all change on Monday at the first dress rehearsal.

The Anne Boleyn dress is now finished. Sean from Reflective Arts came in and took some pictures of the fitting sessions with Rebecca.
Rebecca in her  Spanish farthingale.

Pinning the bodice for a perfect fit

Adding embelishments
Some adjustments were needed in fitting the sleeves. They were very tight under the arm

The finished article

Slightly less impressive but no less beautiful. The scene in the play where Henry's eyes first meet Anne's is a court masque. Anne with Lady Rochford, Jane Seymore and a couple of other ladies in waiting are dressed in similar gowns and masks. I knew we had some green velvet (curtains!) but there wasn't enough for 5 dresses. We didn't have the budget to buy another 10 metres of velvet at £16 per metre so I hunted around for an alternative..........

Basic court masque dress. They will be worn with an underskirt and a Tudor shirt
..........and found this beautiful embroidered taffeta reduced to £2 per metre!

Would loved to have made the masks but no time. These bought ones aren't far off though

This is Warren Ray Lynch who is playing Henry. I'd made this splendid gold outfit a few years ago for the Henry VIII in 'A Man For All Seasons' about 5 years ago and it only got about 5 minutes of fame on stage. As luck would have it, it fitted Warren a treat so after a bit of work here and there, it will be Henry's costume for the Masque scene where he meets Anne

This is another Henrican gown I found in our collection. It's from the costumier's 'Nathans' and dates back to at least the 1950s. 'Nathans' later became the world famous costume company 'Angels'. It really is a substantial piece of work. It's incredibly heavy. I was hoping that this would be Henry's entrance costume but after 2 dress rehearsals it's looking less likely that it will be used as the change is too quick (too heavy to use Velcro!) and too hot!! Quite sad about this as I think you will agree that it does look very impressive. This kind of thing happens a lot at dress rehearsal. You really don't know what will be practical until it's on an actor on stage. This has also happened to the beautiful English hoods made by Eileen. They covered the ears completely and the actors just couldn't hear properly so they had to be cut. They will definitely be going on display though. You can't have too much ego as a designer!!

This is King James (Christopher Neale) who came to the English throne in 1603, just over 60 years after Anne was beheaded. The challenge here was to show the time difference. Fashion hadn't changed that much but there were subtle differences.Ruffs had been and gone (almost). Breeches now reached to the knee and there was a lot of lace, everywhere.

King James is portrayed as a very flamboyant character in the play so I really went to town with the ribbons and lace. The outfit below is an onstage costume change made doubly difficult by the fact that he keeps wandering off during it! Trying to make his breeches stay up was the biggest challenge and one of trial and error. In the end, we used ribbons, and press studs and hooks and eyes!

I could go on but tomorrow is first night (Thursday June 19th at 7.30 pm). There will be lots of sweaty shirts and tights to wash tomorrow and hopefully not to many alterations. The backstage team take over and I can start working on the July show.

I will hopefully post some production pictures very soon. In the meantime, come and see the show. It's excellent.

For information of times, prices and for booking, please follow this link -