BLMT supported The Dukes 2018 Williamson Park production of The Three Musketeers brought together a diverse group of 9 young people to perform as part of a diverse park show Community Cast featuring performers aged 16 to 72. It also gave the opportunity for aspiring director Shona Thompson to gain a professional directing credit and to build her knowledge of theatre directing by working closely alongside Artistic Director Sarah Punshon as Assistant Director.
Throughout the eight week rehearsal process the community cast developed performance skills, bonded as a company and worked closely with the professional cast. The group performed alongside 7 professional performers for a seven week run to an overall audience of 220,758.
“They (The Professional cast) were very enthusiastic about sharing warm up exercises. I particularly learnt a lot from watching individual actors become the role they had been given, offering their own interpretation.”
“It was good experience learning the level of professionalism needed when working on a professional production, I also found it useful to chat to them about drama schools and their careers.”
“Watching the professionals was an education. We saw their discipline, focus, energy and stamina. (We learnt) the importance of being alert, reacting and responding speedily, being physically and vocally ready. I hope I can put what I observed into practice.”
This was Shona’s first professional directing credit and she was a great addition to the project. Shona’s role on the show was to: provide support to community cast members, give direction to performers and to help implement Sarah Punshon’s vision for the show.
“Shona worked incredibly hard on the show, going way above and beyond the call of duty. She contributed several very valuable creative ideas during pre-production to choreography and set design plans, and was particularly invaluable during tech week coping with the many questions and concerns of the two teams of community performers, soothing anxieties and keeping everyone on track. I’m really glad to have had her involved in the show.” Sarah Punshon, Director
Post park show, Shona has found work in television, securing a one year placement working on Coronation Street. She has been contracted to deliver and direct future programmes for The Dukes Creative Learning Department and will continue to receive guidance and support from them.