5 Minutes with Rosie Marsh

The lovely Rosie Marsh, who’s playing Ally in Fetch, gave us 5 minutes of her valuable line-learning time to answer our questions.

Rosie Marsh, playing Ally in 'Fetch'
Rosie Marsh, playing Ally in ‘Fetch’

What do you like best about your character?

I think she’s hilarious. She’s not a bad person but she has let life make her bitter, and as a result she’s developed an incredibly sarky, quick persona with some brilliant one-liners. The nasty ones are always the most fun to play.

What’s your favourite past production that you’ve worked on?

Aah, really tough one! Probably for the overall experience, my first Edinburgh experience with the play I co-wrote, ‘twenty something.’ our whole cast were all mates, we were there for a whole month and we had an absolute blast. It wasn’t what most would deem ‘high theatre’ but I loved every minute of it.

What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?

Stop asking tough questions! Too difficult to say, but my favourite recent play was ‘King Charles III’; brilliantly written, funny and thought provoking, everything I like in a play.

What’s your favourite horror movie?

I hate horror movies. But I loved Hocus Pocus- that counts, right? (Blackshaw says: “It totally does”)

What scares you silly?

My own imagination.

You’re going to a Halloween Party, what are you dressing up as?

Im quite good at stage makeup so i like to crack out a zombie at a party; I like that you can go for a few looks with a zombie; zombie princess, zombie firewoman, zombie farmer….you get the idea.

Have you ever had a spooky experience?

Yes. I was lying in bed in our old house in Exeter, just about to turn the light off via the cord above the bed, when someone whispered in my ear ‘are you going to turn out the light?’ I screamed blue murder, and I maintain to this day that that happened!

Not a lot of people know that…

I find spiders so scary I will cry if you bring one too close to me.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I do love a bit of TOWIE. judge me all you want.

What really grinds your gears?

People eating too loudly. Or eating on the radio. Why?!? It’s disgusting!

Don’t miss Rosie in Fetch as a part of our Halloween Tales on 30th, 31st October and 1st November. Tickets are still available, but not for long.

How to make…a smoking jacket!

Michelle Bristow, our talented Set & Costume designer for Halloween Tales has done a wee photo blog of one of the makes – a smoking jacket.  To see it in action 30th Oct-1st Nov, buy a ticket!

  1. I took the pattern off a single breasted blazer ready to adapt (Yes this is Christmas paper, if you buy it in the sales – much cheaper than pattern paper!) .
  2. As the jacket was single breasted, I had to extend out the front panels to make it double breasted and I sharpened off the corners instead of them being rounded.
  3. Just about to cut out the lining.
  4. Cutting out the lining. I then used these pieces to cut out the top fabric, then I know I’ve got exactly the same seam allowance on all pieces.
  5. This fabric is on the fold so for every piece you see here, there are two in top fabric and two in lining.
  6. Cutting out (feat. my horrible living room carpet)
  7. After cutting out the wadding and matching the pieces, I began quilting the lining. Quilting all the pieces took the best part of three days.
  8. Measuring 2 inch squares as I went along. Halfway through the quilting I felt like it was never going to end, but I’m glad I persisted as the outcome is great and it looks much more extravagant and full.
  9. I was naughty and didn’t take any photos at the fitting but I went with all the pieces safety pinned together, as two people have to wear this jacket it needs to fit both of them, so I didn’t stitch until I’d rearranged all my pins (yes, all of them!).
  10. After I had stitched the seams I trimmed the seam allowance with pinking shears so it would lay flatter and be more neat.
  11. Top fabric sneak preview! I then stitched the collar on, as I fitted the jacket without it.
  12. Top fabric sneak preview! Although inside out, the jacket was beginning to take shape at this point, as we can see how the collar and lapels will lay.
  13. Sleeves in, I was really happy with these because they went in perfect first time, and I’m usually a bit of a sleeve faffer (always fun when you put them in inside out but don’t notice for a while)!
  14. Up until this point the lining and top layer have been separate, so here is me joining them together.
  15. Starting to look more like a jacket here, only the hem, cuffs and decor to do.
  16. Working out how big to make the cuffs based on measurements and markings I made from the fitting.
  17. Cuffs ready to have decoration added to them.
  18. Sewing buttons on the front. A few more decoration details to be added, and the rest will be revealed at Halloween Tales!

5 Minutes with Alex Yaghma

Alex Yaghma, playing Col in ‘Fetch’

The lovely Alex, who plays Col in Fetch, gave us 5 minutes of his time to answer some questions.

What do you like best about your character in Fetch?

What I like best about my character is Col’s naivety, he is completely unsuspecting, nothing unusual ever happens and he wouldn’t notice it if it did.  But he is thrown into a situation he can’t avoid and I like seeing how he deals with it.

What’s your favourite past production that you’ve worked on?

My favourite past production was a production of Othello. By Jove theatre company cast Othello as a woman and took a contemporary look at the struggles of being a woman in a mans world.

What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?

The best show I have ever been to was at the Battersea Arts Centre and it was a spoken word/poetry/music show called Brand New Ancients by Kate Tempest.  It was inspirational, powerful and down to earth.  Art at its most affecting.

What’s your favourite horror movie?

One of my top five, would be Paranormal Activity…not being able to physically fight back against something is really scary.

What scares you silly?

Not many things scare me silly…I usually do the scaring.  I hide and scare my friends a lot.

You’re going to a Halloween party, what are you dressing up as?

If I were going to a Halloween Party I would dress up as my own doppleganger…simple and effective.

Not a lot of people know that…

I’m from Birmingham.

What really grinds your gears?

People repeatedly pressing the ‘open door’ button on the tube…JUST DON’T PRESS IT, IT DOESN’T WORK.

You can see Alex performing as Col in Fetch by Duncan Gates as a part of our Halloween Tales production on 30th, 31st October and 1st November. Tickets available now.

5 Minutes with Ellie Pitkin

Ellie Pitkin, Director of Halloween Tales
Ellie Pitkin, Director of Halloween Tales

Managing and Artistic Director of Blackshaw and Director of Fetch, Ellie Pitkin, lets us grill her for 5 minutes.

Why did you pick Fetch for Halloween Tales?

Duncan initially sent us the play to consider for Wandsworth Arts Festival – we totally loved it but couldn’t find space for it in our WAFF program.  I was really drawn to the effective simplicity of the concept – a chilling story with 3 actors and 1 location – a director’s dream! Halloween Tales is a great way to present a cracking short thriller like Fetch.

What’s your favourite past production that you’ve worked on?

Ooh that’s a tough one – I’ll have to cheat and choose two… Audience with the Ghost Finder because it was such a joy to work with two talented actors on a fun, quick paced, and spooky script – fab opportunities to play with space and physicality.  And  Gormenghast: Titus Groan because it was such an achievement – our own adaptation of a classic novel, with an 18-strong cast.

 What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?

I think Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein is up there for me, and I’ve found Matilda pretty inspirational too – what they have in common is a beautiful synthesis of design and performance – and some really innovative staging techniques (I’m always looking to pick and steal little tricks from other productions).

What’s your favourite horror movie?

I’m a bit of a thrill junkie, and will watch any old tat – I’m particularly scared of little girl ghosts, but love anything with a spooky backstory.  My favourite of those I’ve seen recently is ‘Insidious’.

What scares you silly?


You’re going to a Halloween Party, what are you dressing up as?

A zombie!  I’ve got some excellent prosthetics which I haven’t had a chance to use yet.  Just not sure what type of zombie to go as…

Have you ever had a spooky experience?

I don’t really believe in ghosts, but I did scare myself silly recently – I was staying in a big manor house over the summer, everyone else went out, and I was all by myself in this vast place. I was just settling down to a DVD when I heard a regular thumping coming from upstairs. It sounded like a door being slammed over and over.  I tiptoed upstairs, with my finger hovering over the emergency call button on my phone.  As I approached the top of the stairs, the noise got louder, and louder.  SLAM, creak, SLAM.  As I got to the landing, I could see that the bathroom door was swinging open (creak), then slamming shut.  I thought it must just be a draught, and ventured into the bathroom.  Sure enough, the window was open a crack. I closed the window, walked out of the bathroom…creak, SLAM.  I turned around, the door had slammed itself shut again.  Well, it’s probably on a slope or something, so it naturally falls shut, and I could see the handle was fully engaged with the door frame, it was shut for good.  I turn again to walk down the stairs…creeeaaaak…I whip around, and the door is slowly inching open again.  I ran back downstairs.

Not a lot of people know that…

By day, I work as a financial administrator *spreadsheet high five*.

What’s your guilty pleasure?


What really grinds your gears?

Slow walkers and inefficiency.

You can see the fruits of Ellie’s directorial labours on 30th, 31st October and 1st November. Get your tickets now.

5 Minutes with Michelle Bristow

Michelle shows us her spooky designs at the Halloween Tales readthrough
Michelle shows us her spooky designs at the Halloween Tales readthrough

Our wonderful set and costume designer for Halloween Tales, Michelle Bristow, let us have 5 minutes of her valuable sewing time to ask her some questions.

What’s your favourite thing about working on Fetch/Halloween Tales?

The collaboration of ideas, me and Ellie gel really well and I’ve had a lot of fun bouncing ideas around the group, it’s fun to see people’s reactions to the things I’m trying to make creepy!

What’s your favourite past production that you’ve worked on?

Probably Blackshaw’s Alice In Wonderland, it was such a great production to be involved with.

What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?

Have to be a bit generic here and say Warhorse and Wicked are up there in the top 5!

What’s your favourite horror movie?

No faves I’m afraid! (Literally!)

What scares you silly?

I don’t really like dolls very much…

You’re going to a Halloween Party, what are you dressing up as?

I hate dressing up! Such a cliche for a costume designer but it’s the truth. Last year I painted my face like a day of the dead skull though, which was pretty cool.

Not a lot of people know that…

I hate dressing up.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I love mean girls, some of my friends call me Regina!

What really grinds your gears?

Uplifting quotes of the day….and passive aggressive notes!

You can see all of Michelle’s uplifting quote of the day posters and creepy designs and costumes at Halloween Tales on 30th, 31st October and 1st November. Tickets on sale now!

5 Minutes with Duncan Gates

Writer of Fetch for our Halloween Tales production, Duncan Gates, answers our (very challenging) questions.

Duncan Gates, writer of Fetch
Duncan Gates, writer of Fetch

What gave you the idea to write Fetch?

A segment on a BBC late-90s midweek evening show called ‘Mysteries with Carol Vorderman’, where a security guard reported having met himself at night . It had no other incident or closure and I’ve always wondered why anyone would make that up. That and a story in late-80s kids TV series Dramarama called ‘Back to Front’, where a kid gets a magic mirror and horror ensues…

Besides Fetch, what’s the piece you’ve written that you’re most proud of?

Right now it’s probably a Chekhovian sci-fi called Blue Dot – it made an audience member gasp at Martian racism.

Why did you decide to pick the M.R. James story (The Wailing Well) that you’re reading for Halloween Tales?

via jameslecky.blogspot.com
Picture of the man himself, M.R. James, via jameslecky.blogspot.com

It’s got a terrific range of tone, starting with Kenneth Grahame bucolic japes and ending on a Stephen King level of discomfort. It was also written for an actual scout group about the place where they used to camp – know your audience!

What’s the best play/show/concert you’ve ever been to?

It’s still Unlimited Theatre’s 2002 show ‘Neutrino’, because that actually changed my life artistically.

What’s your favourite horror movie?

Ring – 85 minutes of baffling unease, one massive long-form scare. Job done.

What scares you silly?

I have odd recurring mental images of being hit by vehicles at high speed. It’s either happened to me in a previous life or it will happen in the future. I don’t know which. That scares me. That and ‘Back to Front’.

Have you ever had a spooky experience?

I’ve heard a radio turn itself on; had something incorporeal fly through my head into a wall; been woken up by a whistling noise that made me feel sick and then stopped; had something touch my hand in the Edinburgh caverns. So yes, a few.

You’re going to a Halloween Party, what are you dressing up as?

I have previously gone to a Hallowe’en party dressed as the desert.

Not a lot of people know that…

An ancestor of mine was a champion penny-farthing-racer.

What’s your guilty pleasure?


What really grinds your gears?

People making art about things they aren’t interested in.

Come to see Fetch 30th and 31st Oct and 1st Nov and see Duncan read ‘The Wailing Well’ on ACTUAL HALLOWEEN. Tickets available now.

Blackshaw’s Favourite Horror Movies

If you’re stuck for ideas of what to do with yourself this Halloween, Blackshaw has two outstanding suggestions to help you out.

First, come to see our production Halloween Tales on the 30th, 31st October and 1st November. Get your tickets now!

Then, once you’ve been to see Halloween Tales, and scared yourself silly, have a super spooky movie marathon with these TERRIFYING suggestions from our cast and crew.

1) Ellie Pitkin, Director of Halloween Tales, picks: Insidious 

via edgeoftheplank.com
via edgeoftheplank.com

Most terrifying moment: All the stuff with  the baby monitor

Why it’s her favourite: Ellie says, “It’s full of classic  jump moments as well as an actual plot – plus it has all my favourite horror story things: ghosts, children, possession and ghost hunters.”


2) Duncan Gates, writer of Fetch, picks: The Ring

via huffingtonpost.com
via huffingtonpost.com

Most terrifying moment: The entire last ten minutes

Why it’s his favourite: It’s lo-fi, downbeat, oddly un-demonstrative, with a terrific ebbing undercurrent of ‘OH GOD WHAT IS THIS EVEN ALL ABOUT’, which lasts through the ENTIRE film and makes the real world seem even more terrifying afterwards


3) Writer M.J. Starling, performer in Halloween Tales reading ‘The Whistling Room’, picks: ALIEN

Via http://geekshizzle.com/
Via http://geekshizzle.com/

Most terrifying moment: Ripley, unarmed and in her underwear, realising she’s not alone on the shuttle.

Why it’s his favourite: It’s a classic haunted house story … IN SPACE. And what CAN’T be improved by adding “IN SPACE”?





4) Bethany Arnold, Blackshaw’s Events Manager for the Howling Halloween Party, picks: Sleepy Hollow

via youtube.com
via youtube.com

Most terrifying moment: Aside from the fact that Bethany’s mum showed her this film at the tender age of 7, when the little boy is under the floorboards and his mums head rolls on the floor and he can see it looking at him, and then he’s trying to stay silent but the horseman realises he’s hiding and starts hacking at the floor. (I think we can all agree, this bit’s horrifying).

Why it’s her favourite: Although it’s horrible (and scarred her for life), Johnny Depp is awesome.


5) Rosie Marsh, actor playing the part of Ally in Fetch, picks: Dumbo

via filmwerk.co.uk
via filmwerk.co.uk

Most terrifying moment: When Dumbo gets drunk and all the clowns go all pink and psychedelic and start floating around him laughing. Rosie knows that Dumbo isn’t strictly speaking a ‘scary movie’ but she makes a good point

Why she really doesn’t like it: Rosie says, “how is that a kids film?!? It’s terrifying, I thought he’d never escape from them! Couldn’t sleep for weeks. I now hate clowns and floating pink things.”


6) Nicole Locke, Blackshaw’s Administrator, picks: Fright Night (not the David Tenant re-make)

via electricshadowsfilmblog.wordpress.org
via electricshadowsfilmblog.wordpress.org

Most terrifying moment: When Jerry is hiding in Charley’s room, and then jumps out to threaten him

Why it’s her favourite: The marvellous 80’s special effects, particularly towards the end when a fake bat swings across the room.




7) Alex Yaghma, actor playing the part of Col in Fetch, picks: 28 Days Later

via superstarfantasyblog.wordpress.com
via superstarfantasyblog.wordpress.com

Most terrifying moment: When they are being chased up a tower block staircase by rage infected zombies

Why it’s his favourite: Alex says, “something about being chased and hunted really freaks me.”





8) Siobhan Whelan, Blackshaw’s Publicity, Press and Marketing Manager, picks: The Blair Witch Project

via movie666.com
via movie666.com

Most terrifying moment: ALL. THE. GIGGLING. CHILDREN.

Why it’s her favourite: Siobhan says, “despite it being a bit over now, it still absolute scares the pants off me. If I see piles of sticks anywhere, I assume death is imminent.”



9) Bryony Tebbutt, actor playing the part of Vic in Fetch, picks: Saw

via cinemablend.com
via cinemablend.com

Most terrifying moment: *Spoiler Alert* When the guy saws off his foot, and the “dead” guy wakes up.

Why it’s her favourite: Bryony says, “When Saw first came out it was a great original idea, and the story captured me, then at the climax of the film, when this happened, was so shocking and heartbreaking it has always stuck with me.”


10) Vikki Weston, Blackshaw’s Strategy and Planning Manager, picks: The Shining

via whatculture.com
via whatculture.com

Most terrifying moment: The Grady Twins. Always.

Why it’s her favourite: Besides the incredible soundtrack, what’s most brilliant about The Shining is that it’s really about a normal bloke going completely insane. Which is totally chilling.

So, whether we’ve inspired you to movie marathon your way through Halloween or not, do yourself a favour and get a ticket for Halloween Tales now!

NEWS: Halloween Tales tickets now on sale

Tickets are now on sale!  Clicky clicky to booky booky.

You can grab yourself a bargain by booking now – it’s £8 in advance, and £10 on the door.

Which night(s) will you be joining us?!

Thursday 30th Oct – ‘Fetch’ & ‘The Whistling Room’, a Carnacki story by William Hope Hodgson, read by M. J. Starling

Friday 31st Oct – ‘Fetch’ & ‘Wailing Well’ by M. R. James, read by Duncan Gates

Saturday 1st Nov – ‘Fetch’ & a post-show Howling Halloween Party (fancy dress encouraged).

NEWS: Halloween Tales, 30th Oct-1st Nov: Casting Call Open!

Our next show is ‘Halloween Tales’ featuring ‘Fetch’ by Duncan Gates.

The Casting call is now open! 

‘You think it’s all me and it’s not. It’s not always me.’
It starts as a normal night-shift – and then you start to see double…

We’re thrilled to present Duncan Gates’ new play, Fetch, as part of ‘Halloween Tales’, a spooky 3-day theatre event, in which Fetch will headline each night, supported by a different creepy, candlelit, armchair reading of a classic horror story.

If you’re interested in an acting role for the project, great!

We’re looking for:

1 male role, age 25-35
2 females, age 25-35

Show dates:
Thurs 30th Oct, 7.30pm
Fri 31st Oct, 7.30pm
Sat 1st Nov, 7.30pm

Show venue (also venue for auditions/reading/rehearsals): The Selkirk, Tooting

Tickets will be available sooooooooon *spooky voice*.

Blackshaw’s Big One 2014

What a fantastic event, with some seriously snazzy talent – check out the photos, and look forward to next year (we already are).

Photos by Richard Stratton.