Em, Powder Keg artist, takes us the first day back into BEARS

It still blows my tiny mind that we get to do this. Making theatre with our mates, exactly what we wanted to do when we left uni many moons ago. And it’s good, y’know? Getting something like the Hodgkiss Award really gave us the confidence boost Powder Keg needed. Yeah, we were really lucky to get it but after a day like today, we feel like we deserve it.

It feels like aaaaaaaaages since we worked on BEARS. The last time the five of us were together was in November, and that seems like at least five months ago, and so we weren’t sure how the first day was going to go. It’s always like that, though. First day back in work on a relatively new project. But we did it. Day one, ticked off, done, and we’re off. BEARS back together again.

Way back in November we agreed that we would take personal pledges to reduce our individual carbon footprint whilst working on the show. We all use public transport anyway, but we all agreed to be vegetarian throughout the process (apart from me, I went Full Metal Vegan on this in November, but I’m pretty sure I don’t mention it often enough). And as soon as we got into the Exchange today we could smell bacon butties.

In the room today it was me, Josh, Jake, and Ross. Mook was in work (boo hiss boo) so we were limited with the devising work. The day split into two halves. First, we focussed on establishing a language for the show. We figured that because the show in itself is abstract enough – a self-destructive piece of visual storytelling about climate change – we wanted the movement of the piece to be easy to understand. We want the piece to be accessible to as many people as possible, not just to arty types who nod thoughtfully and mutter. Josh ran a mini-workshop based on BSL that we’re going to build on as the week progresses. It was weird having the rehearsal room in almost complete silence for a while. Not like us at all.

After lunch (our favourite time of the day) we worked on the narrative structure and characterisation of the bears. We used the whiteboard like the super cool dudes that we are. But I’m not going to tell you much about what we came up with, because that’s a super secret Powder Keg surprise.

We’ve got an awesome sound designer coming in tomorrow, Xavier Velastin, and we’re gonna play with motion capture sound or something like that. I have no idea. Sounds like a mystery.

I think that’s it from me for today. We’ll post some pictures at the end of the week. Have a good one.

OOH WAIT! Before I forget, we have a fundraiser happening on 25th April to help us get to Edinburgh with another show. It’s gonna be hella rad. It’s pay-what-you-decide, but book some tickets on the event. Hope to see you there.

Love and violence,


Bears is the 2016 Hodgkiss Award Winner and runs in The Studio 14-18 June