At the end of 2018, with our funds dwindling, we were very happy to receive a further £3950 grant from the Rix Thompson Rothenberg Foundation. The Rix Thompson Rothenberg Foundation have always been brilliant in that they have consistently supported the project when no-one seemed to want to! They were the very first to fund the project in 2016 and now again in 2018. Their lead has been encouraging of other funding bodies to follow suite. Subsequently, with Clarity CIC’s support in re-writing our bids, we have been pleasantly surprised to receive a further three grants: First £1500 from the David Gibbons Foundation, then £500 from the David Soloman Foundation and most recently a further £6950 from the National Lottery’s Awards for All. It has been a good start to 2019!
During the same era work began on the new Activity Hut and once completed during February we were allowed to use it for the first time. It was good to be finally back in our drama space!
However, there had been some re-thinking around the needs of the project and, as a result, Fiona and Lisa, the Otterhayes Managers, suggested that we have use of a workshop building on site as a dedicated studio space for the duration of the project. I readily agreed because it will enable us to have whatever sets we need in place on a semi-permanent basis. This will save a good deal of time in setting up each week and also helpful for the group because they will be able to rehearse the story in a ‘filmic’ environment each week.
However, there will be a delay in moving into this new workshop because it is full of stuff including woodworking machinery etc. It is also right next door to some new building work which is taking place in the grounds i.e. it is a chaotic and muddy building site currently. Realistically it will be a few months for the space to be available to us but then we can begin the re-construction of the main set in this new space.
In the meantime, we have been continuing as normal with practising different story scenes and also making and decoration set items etc. The most recently this has involved ‘distressing’ the model Silverhawk to make it look old! Ron then wired up all the lights so they can be switched on easily. As with his other work it was expertly done and looked rather brilliant. We plan to experiment with filming the model ship with the group so they get a flavour of what is involved.
We have two new people in the group. Lucy used to come to the group in the past and has now re-joined it. She is happy to be the New Doctor and we have been experimenting with adapting her role to the story. Holly Windibank, another resident, has also begun coming along each week and has been co-opted in to running the bar in the lounge area of the ship!
In addition, we have a new collaborator / actor. Bayely Drew is an Exeter College Student who has an interest in becoming a film maker. He initially came along to a couple of sessions to meet the group and most recently has been experimenting with the role of the EPQ (Emperor of the Purple Quadrant) in the film. We are happy to have Bayley with us who runs Bayley Drew Productions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLWt0WyitF8yLPPv7h04HGQ
We have been looking for a costume maker for some time and so we were pleased when Karen Bowler contacted us in response to our advert on the Costumer Makers Southwest Facebook page. Karen works in Plymouth where she runs Classic Costume. Based in the Barbican district, Classic Costume offers high quality ready-made and custom-made reproduction historical dresses, specialising in the Regency and Georgian (18th Century) eras. http://www.classic-costume.co.uk/ Karen is looking to explore new avenues and so we are very happy to welcome our new maker to the team!
Simon has also been visiting regularly and we have been experimenting with filming the Silverhawk crew against a green screen which has been great fun. Simon brought in some of the first experiments recently so the group could see themselves against various starry backgrounds. Simon has built a good rapport with the group over time – everyone in the group is much more exciting to see him than me these days!