Casting Open: CAILLEACH ÓG

We’re looking for a stellar cast for this exciting new play, to be performed as a one night only, industry showcase on 2nd March at the Pleasance Theatre, Islington (London).

Click here to apply!

Deadline for applications: Thurs 9th Feb

If you wish to take part please include your EMAIL ADDRESS and PHONE NUMBER in your application. Without this information we cannot consider your application.

Character Breakdown
DÁITHÍ
DÁITHÍ – Male. 30s/early 40s. Good Irish accent (Donegal).

DÁITHÍ owns and runs the pub in which the majority of the play is set, along with his wife, MÁIRE. Despite noticeable tensions in their marriage, he does love his wife. He is a realist and sceptic with a dry, mocking sense of humour. Presents a hard front to the world to cover up his vulnerability.

SNIBBER
Snibber – Male. 50s/60s. Good Irish accent (Donegal).

Snibber is the ever-present fixture in the local pub, never seen without a glass of whisky in his hand. He is somewhere between a best friend and adopted father to DÁITHÍ, the pub owner. Cheery and always on the look out for something to make him chuckle.

Winner of Blackshaw’s Showcase Award 2016, CAILLEACH ÓG by Gerry Moynihan, has been in development for a year.

Myth and reality clash when a strange woman arrives in a quiet pub in the west of Ireland on a stormy November night.

Husband and wife DÁITHÍ and MÁIRE UÍ DHOMHNAILL own a pub in Bally Briocht – frequented by local barfly SNIBBER BANNON. A strange woman calling herself CAILLEACH ÓG arrives, and is soon making wild claims about being “The Mother of Mountains” as well as being “all wise and all knowing” much to the amusement of DÁITHÍ, MÁIRE and SNIBBER.

DÁITHÍ subsequently finds his fate increasingly intertwined with that of CAILLEACH ÓG. And as his life very quickly unravels beyond his control, he desperately tries to hold on to his marriage as well as his sanity.

But who exactly is this strange woman called CAILLEACH ÓG? And what really brings her to Bally Briocth?

“CAILLEACH ÓG…? She arrived on the back of a pig. What else do ye need tae know?”

Auditions & Rehearsals will be in London locations on the following dates:

Sat 11th Feb 3-6pm (Auditions)

Sat 18th Feb, 11am-4pm

Sat 25th Feb, 11am-4pm

Sun 26th Feb, 11am-4pm

Mon 27th Feb, 6-9pm

Wed 1st March, 6-9pm

You will be needed all day/evening at the Pleasance Theatre on 2nd March for rehearsal and performance.

Whilst unpaid (expenses cannot be offered), this is a great showcase opportunity (we will be inviting lots of industry folk, and welcome your suggestions for industry comps (including casting agents). The aim of the show is for the piece to be picked up for further development/production – past winners have taken the cast with them when this happens! You will also be able to get production photos for your portfolio.

 

Vacancy: External Communications Coordinator

Can you make Twitter sing? Are you organised, enthusiastic, and looking to take ownership of a company Facebook account? We’re looking for someone to look after our social media here at Blackshaw, and make their mark online. Take a look at our work on our website and see if we might be the company for you. There’s also this handy blog post that tells you why you should join us.

Please note: This role is voluntary, part-time and UNPAID. We’re very flexible and work around company members’ availability.

Let us know if you’re interested by sending a copy of your CV and a covering note to say why you think you’d like to work with us, and we’ll set up an informal meeting with you (email ellie@blackshawonline.com).

Responsibilities include:

– Helping to develop content for social media posting (alongside our existing team)
– Writing copy for, and programming, tweets and facebook posts
– Writing occasional blog posts for the Blackshaw blog
– Responding as Blackshaw, to tweets and comments/posts on Facebook
– Supporting the rest of the team with the development of Blackshaw’s voice and presence online

What you can get from working with us:

– Attend super fun events and theatrical productions
– Receive mentoring from professionals in the team to expand your expertise in your field of interest
– Shadow other Blackshaw team members to gain new skills, experience, and expertise in other areas of work
– Optional: Contribute as a co-host or content producer for the company’s fortnightly podcast, the Blackshaw Arts Hour

– Optional: Contribute to the wider press and marketing campaigns for Blackshaw’s productions

–  Get to meet lots of lovely theatre people

Emma, who’s leaving this post for a full time job in Cardiff, reflects on her time in the role:

Blackshaw Theatre are an inspiring theatre company and I had a great time working with them over the last year and a half. They are a very welcoming and talented group of people who really made me feel part of the company from day one.

I was employed as the Press and External Communications Officer. This was my first ever job in the Arts, it really gave me an insight into the Theatre Industry. The role involves programming the social media – being ‘the voice’ of Blackshaw and contacting Press during show times.

What I loved most about this job was how involved I was. Although I ran this role from home (often in my PJs with a cuppa), the communication within Blackshaw is amazing and I was able to keep up-to-date with everything going on, and program the social media accordingly.

I wish Blackshaw all the best and I can’t wait to see what great things they do next!

 

Please note: This role is voluntary, part-time and UNPAID. We’re very flexible and work around company members’ availability.

Let us know if you’re interested by sending a copy of your CV and a covering note to say why you think you’d like to work with us, and we’ll set up an informal meeting with you (email ellie@blackshawonline.com).

 

Vacancy: Social Media Coordinator

Can you make Twitter sing? Are you organised, enthusiastic, and looking to take ownership of a company Facebook account? We’re looking for someone to look after our social media here at Blackshaw, and make their mark online. Take a look at our work on our website and see if we might be the company for you. There’s also this handy blog post that tells you why you should join us.

Please note: This role is voluntary, part-time and UNPAID. We’re very flexible and work around company members’ availability.

Let us know if you’re interested by sending a copy of your CV and a covering note to say why you think you’d like to work with us, and we’ll set up an informal meeting with you.

Responsibilities include:

– Helping to develop content for social media posting with our Publicity, Press and Marketing (PPM) Manager
– Writing copy for, and programming, tweets and facebook posts
– Writing occasional blog posts for the Blackshaw blog
– Responding as Blackshaw, to tweets and comments/posts on Facebook
– Supporting the PPM Manager with the development of Blackshaw’s voice and presence online

What you can get from working with us:

– Attend super fun events and theatrical productions
– Receive mentoring from professionals in the team to expand your expertise in your field of interest
– Shadow other Blackshaw team members to gain new skills, experience, and expertise in other areas of work
– Optional: Contribute as a co-host or content producer for the company’s weekly radio show, the Blackshaw Arts Hour
– Get to meet lots of lovely theatre people

Vancancy: Press and External Communications Coordinator

Are you totally awesome at talking to people? Are you keen to gain experience in networking and building relationships with press and bloggers? Ever fancied being on the radio? Or perhaps you’ve been on the radio before and you’ve caught the bug. If the answer to at least the first of these questions is ‘yes’, then we’d love to hear from you.

We’re looking for a friendly, outgoing person who can work with us on building relationships with press, and help us engage audiences through our radio show. You don’t need to have any theatre expertise whatsoever;enthusiasm and a desire to get involved with Blackshaw is all that’s required. You can have a listen to our most recent Blackshaw Arts Hour radio shows and you can check out our work on our website. There’s also this blog that explains why working for Blackshaw is just about the best thing ever.

Please note: This role is voluntary, part-time and UNPAID. We’re very flexible and work around company members’ availability.

Let us know if you’re interested by sending a copy of your CV and a covering note saying why you think you’d like to work with us to info@blackshawonline.com and we’ll set up an informal meeting with you.

Responsibilities include:
– Attending press and networking events on behalf of Blackshaw, with other team members
– Building relationships with press, bloggers, and other individuals or organisations that we want to engage with
– Writing press releases in conjunction with the Publicity, PR, & Marketing (PPM) manager
– Contacting press, bloggers, producers, and other industry folk, to encourage them to come to see, review, and write about Blackshaw productions
– Working with the Blackshaw Arts Hour producer, and the PPM Manager to implement a clear promotional strategy for the company, across radio and press
– Contributing content ideas for the radio show
– Optional: Acting as a regular co-presenter for the Blackshaw Arts Hour, our weekly radio show (please note: you won’t be required to co-present every show)

What you can get from working with us:
– Attend super fun events and theatrical productions
– Receive mentoring from professionals in the team, to expand your expertise in your field of interest
– Shadow other Blackshaw team members to gain new skills, experience, and expertise in other areas of work
– Write content for blogs, the website, or social media
– Meet lots of lovely theatre people

We look forward to hearing from you!

Casting ‘Staying Alive’ & other shows

We’ve got an open casting policy at Blackshaw, which is massively important to our ethos – we love to build networks of new artists, meet new people and ensure everything is fair.

When I was casting ‘Staying Alive’ by Kat Roberts, last weekend, the process we used is tried and tested over the 5 years we’ve been staging shows.

1. We list the job(s) on casting website ‘casting call pro’, and we do our best to let everyone know about the opportunity, by shouting about it all over the internet (our twitter, facebook, website, and newsletter).

2. When the ad closes, I sit with another Blackshaw team member (often casting call pro-pro, Vikki Weston) and shortlist the applications.  This is a pretty long process, but it’s important that we look at every single application, and we do it in stages –

a) The quick once over – this is a cursory glance through each group of applicants to rule out people who look totally wrong for the role (this might be because they’re the wrong age, or have the wrong ‘look’ for any roles which are specific on character’s appearance). We eliminate quite a few applicants in this way.

b) The cover letter check – yes, we read those. If an applicant has tailored their cover letter to the project/role, that really does go in your favour (and yes, we can tell when you’ve copied and pasted a universally-applicable blurb).

c) The CV check – we look at all sorts of things here; previous work, training, showreel, headshot gallery, and role-specific talents (in the past we’ve had roles which need various skills/attributes: a northern accent; circus skills; violin playing, etc).

d) The comparison – once we’ve eliminated people based on role requirements, we compare the shortlisted applicants, and narrow it down to a manageable amount to audition (we usually aim for 5-10 people per role).

3. Organising Auditions – with the experience I’ve gained here, I think I’d make a pretty excellent events planner, PA, Programmer…pretty much any role that involves organising…anything.  This is the stage where we wrangle actors (and their busy lives) into audition slots.  We try to arrange auditionees into groups, as I find you can tell a lot from seeing actors read with other actors – usually more so than seeing them solo.

4. The auditions – Each group has a 15 minutes slot, which is usually 5 mins performance, 5 mins for me to give some direction (I might ask them to switch roles, read the character differently, or something else), and 5 mins for me to gather my thoughts and make notes.  I like to have one or two people on the panel with me – usually an Assistant Director, the writer, or a Blackshaw team member – it’s useful to have a sounding board!

5. The decision – I’ll have a pretty clear idea from the first few minutes of an audition, and will review my notes.  Once you have a shortlist, it’s then a case of working out which combinations of people will work – an actor could be fantastic, but if there’s not another actor which will work as their romantic interest, or teacher, or father (or whatever character relationship we need), it won’t work.  When it comes down to the very final decision making (when you’re looking at a bunch of super talented actors), a lot of it is based on cast chemistry and combination options.

I’m always happy to offer feedback to actors I see audition, and am keen to keep the process as open as possible – we always meet tons of brilliant people at auditions, and I’m so pleased we get people coming back time and time again, whether they’ve been successful previously or not. I like to think it’s because we make the process so darn straightforward.

 

Ellie, Managing & Artistic Director

Working for Blackshaw – New Writing Night Manager, Nicole

Hello all,

this is my first blog for Blackshaw and I thought that I would take this opportunity to tell you all a little bit about myself and discuss my role within the company.  Currently I’m an undergraduate student at Royal Holloway University of London, studying English Literature and Creative Writing – final year so extra exciting and nerve wracking.

It was last September that I took on the role of Administrator for Blackshaw, and what an amazing experience it has been so far!  It is great to be able to work alongside such passionate and enthusiastic people who share a love of the theatre. When they made the offer for me to expand my role within the company I was delighted to become both the Administrator and New Writing Night Manager.

As administrator I get to take minutes at meetings and make sure everyone knows the tasks they have to do, sending them lovely reminders on Trello*.  But I am ever so pleased to be taking over the position of New Writing Night manager from the wonderful Lizzie Cooper.  Now I get to work with directors, actors, writers and many other people to create a wonderful opportunity to showcase new writing in front of a live audience.

I am ever so excited to take on this role, and am looking forward to the next New Writing Night on the 30th September at The Horse and Stables in Lambeth, and hope to see many of you there – it’s gonna be great!

See you there!

Nicole

*Trello is the app we use to manage all the company’s tasks – it’s a giant ‘to do’ list!

Hello and Goodbye – New Team Members

Lots of ‘ex’ (and current) committee members have told me how their work with Blackshaw was more useful to them in job interviews, than anything else on their CV – not just for jobs in theatreland, but in all kinds of industries – it’s that ‘transferable skills’ thing I hear so much about.  Plus, potential employers are always wicked thrilled to hear that a prospective employee is such a great manager of their time and an altogether excellent, conscientious, and ambitious individual, that they have a job in their spare time.  That they have a passion.  Supporting the arts is sooo in, darling – if you don’t have a part time voluntary role with an arts organisation, what do you do with your evenings and weekends (no, seriously, what do you do? Does it mean more episodes of Orange is the New Black or Grey’s Anatomy than I currently manage to fit in? Because I watch an inordinate amount of TV, even with two jobs on the go – it’s brilliant.

The Blackshaw Team turnover continues, as Lizzie Cooper waves goodbye to her role as New Writing Night Manager with us.  If you’ve been to, or taken part in, one of our New Writing Nights, you probably have an inkling of how brilliant she has been at this job – wrangling actors, writers, directors, rehearsals, performances, photographers, front of house staff, technicians (and lots of other things) takes serious organisation skills, and she’s been working remotely to do all of that for the last 12 months.  Yep, Lizzie’s been telecommuting* from Cardiff, while she trains to be a qualified Stage Manager. She’s on to the final, placement, stage of her training now, so has handed the reins over to Nicole, our super duper company administrator.  So, Lizzie’s moving onwards and upwards, and Nicole is too – role development, innit.

Of course, Lizzie won’t be ‘gone gone’.  She’ll be on hand as our ‘consultant stage manager’ for as long as we like (she’s good like that), and (if we can afford her…) we’ll be working with her on lots of future projects.  It is so fantastically satisfying (smug moment) for me to see Lizzie go from a third year undergrad stage managing Blackshaw’s Gormenghast: Titus Groan (2012), through to a permanent role with us as Events Manager, then New Writing Night Manager, then on to her place on the Stage Management course at Cardiff (her experience with us was a clincher, appaz), and now into the wide world of Stage Management.  The world is your clip board.  Or something.

Along with all this goodbye-ing, we’ve got some lovely Hello-ing on the go. Our new Publicity PR & Marketing (PPM) Manager, Siobhan, is a perfect fit for us, and does clever email marketing for a regular job, so working with us will expand her horizons (probably) and skills (definitely) into marketing for theatre across all of the mediums (yes, all of them), and we get a brilliant PPM Manager.  Winning all around.  Siobhan’s joining us at a really good time actually – you may have noticed our site is somewhat reduced at the moment – that’s because it’s getting a complete overhaul by the very talented Richard Stratton (our IT Manager, amongst other things), and our newsletters will get an overhaul too.

Some things are shiny and new, some things are not new, but still shiny.

PS – remember, there are always opportunities to work with us, as a PPM assistant, or events assistant, or, when we have projects running, as Front of House, or a production assistant.  PLUS, if you sign up to our newsletter, you’ll be the first to hear about our casting and designer/crew opportunities.

– Ellie (Managing & Artistic Director of Blackshaw Theatre Company)

*it’s not like teleporting, don’t get too excited

Admin in the Arts

By day I am just an ordinary administrator in the arts and by night…I am an administrator in the arts. OK it may not be the next blockbuster but it certainly keeps me on my toes. My day job (the one that pays for the other) is for a university as a research centre administrator which involves assisting art and design academics with their paperwork and research budgets etc. After clocking off from work I turn my talents to helping Blackshaw. These jobs involve pretty much the same things; event management, helping out with projects, looking for funding. Blackshaw has provided me with a great chance to hone in my skills on my interests and in turn got me a job I am very happy with. Like with any organisation admin is a part of life and the arts are not exempt just because they are fun. Now, some people I have met resent the need for administrators they see us more as bureaucrats than administrative support. Yes, sometimes the rules and procedures can be disheartening and bewildering but a good administrator will help keep the bureaucracy at bay so academics and artists can get on with their work.

In the arts you have the ‘talent’ on the stage, you have the ‘crew’ backstage and you have the ‘admin’ completely out of sight making sure nothing gets in the way. It ain’t glamorous but nothing would ever get done without us.

If you are interested in getting some experience for your CV or are just interested in helping then we have some volunteering opportunities for you.

  • Administrator
  • Publicity, PR & Marketing (PPM) Assistant
  • Social Events Manager

Click here to find out more about these jobs .

– Nick

Lack of Experience?

bottles

How many times when going for a job have you been told ‘you don’t have enough experience’? I was told quite a few times and I realised that the jobs market had landed itself in an endless paradox. How could anyone get experience if no one is offering it? Well I came to learn that you can pick up these necessary skills doing the most extraordinary things.

I offered my help when Blackshaw were planning a big Fifties Flashback event in a pub in Waterloo. I was asked to attend a couple of event meetings and before I knew it was up a ladder hanging streamers from a ceiling. A whole evening of fun followed and all I had to do was man the door and sell cakes. The thing I loved the most was seeing everyone in Blackshaw take their turn in the different roles, all pulling together as a team.

A couple of months later I was asked if I could organise a launch party for Blackshaw’s production of Gormenghast: Titus Groan. It had a literary theme so naturally I dressed as the Black Rabbit of Inle from Watership Down (cheery). While being offered the events role at Blackshaw I was also applying for a research admin job at Chelsea College of Art and Design (my dream job/career…hopefully). I got an interview and prepared to talk about my previous office job, but they didn’t want to hear about that, they were too interested in my job at Blackshaw. That’s when I realised that while I had been having a lot of fun (and drinks) putting together the big social events I had also greatly increased my chances of getting a job! I had become the perfect candidate! I am now working at Chelsea in a job I love and still helping Blackshaw with Events.

Now I have new interests and therefore new skills to try and pick up within Blackshaw. This means there is an opportunity for someone to step in and take the reins.

Interested? Then contact us at events@blackshawonline.com so we can have a chat about the role and Blackshaw.

Ideally we are looking for someone who wants to gain experience but if you already have penchant for event management then do get in touch at events@blackshawonline.com.

And voila! Here is the job description:

Assistant Events Manager

The Assistant Events Manager will assist the Events Manager (where necessary) with the organisation, set-up and running of New Writing Nights. They are jointly responsible, with the Events Manager, for Blackshaw’s main events. This includes but is not limited to; finding venues, coordinating event planning meetings, choosing themes, sending an event brief to the PPM Team, recruiting and coordinating performers and a running order. They are also responsible for recruiting volunteers for the event, creating volunteer rotas, schedule for ‘get in’ and ‘get out’ and managing floats. They should also liaise carefully with the Funding and Finance Manager on budgets and recording takings/float. They should liaise closely with the PPM Manager to keep event promotion up to date, as well as having access to and frequently using the Blackshaw social media accounts in order to personally support promotion of events.

They are the secondary representative for Events on the Blackshaw committee and are only expected to attend the meetings when they wish, or in place of the Events Manager if they are unable to attend.