‘Lost For Words’ with William Shackleton

Only within days of graduating, members of the BA Encore team are already into the word performing professionally to audiences far and wide. Many are in rehearsals as we speak for shows heading up to Edinburgh this August. Some even in plays that are going up in a matter of weeks! And we shall talk about them all. First, however, we talk about one that’s just been. One that’s been a huge success. From newly formed company from our colleagues on the Acting and Contemporary Theatre course, ‘Chalk Line Theatre’, founded by Sam Edmunds and William Patrick Harrison. Both having achieved great success with their own work they’ve combined skills to create enthralling theatre to be seen in Edinburgh, Luton and who knows where else!

This is where the production of ‘Lost For Words’ began. Sam Edmunds, the artistic director of ‘Chalk Line Theatre’ was originally based in Luton where the festival ‘Imagine Luton’ has been taking place for the last 10 years. It’s an outdoor festival taking to the streets and entertaining passersby with clowning acts and acrobatics. So, with a cast of three; Nick Young and William Patrick Harrison, both from the BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre course from East 15, and one of our very own, William Shackleton, together devised their production of ‘Lost FWill in Luton for Chalk Line Theatre
or Words’. Funded by the Arts Council specifically for this festival.

It was a show involving three nomadic characters roaming through the streets with an accordion, a cart and their voices. It told a story of one man’s travel through the underworld, his resurrection as an angel and all sorts. A moving piece of theatre told in three stages with a song for each. This meant the cast had to work particularly hard in gathering people from the streets as most were simply running their day to day lives, not expecting to get roped into such a thing. Street theatre is such a specific form that none of them had really experienced in their recent. Although they had skills from clowning and Commedia del’Arte it was still quite new to them. Valid lessons to have learnt.

The reaction from their performances proved to be worth all their hard work. With expectations of audiences of four they in fact managed to surpass that and gather around sixty people! The children of Luton in particular adored their triumphant sea shanties and were in fact so struck by the actors they even asked for photographs with them afterwards! Good practice we hope for the future. And even the Artistic Director of Watford Palace tweeted about them saying “@ChalkLine_ Creating joy and madness in the streets”.

This project for William Shackleton has been a wonderful challenge with an inspiring end, having built up a plethora of new skills and another fantastic thing to have on his CV, he’s certainly a great member of our BA Encore team. So, bravo Will and Chalk Line Theatre! Here’s to the next project!

For the details on Chalk Line Theatre go to their website: https://www.chalklinetheatre.com


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