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Cider With Rosie

Cider With Rosie

Presented by the Everyman Theatre Company

By Laurie Lee
Adapted by Nick Darke


With Susie Blake
(Mrs. Brown's Boys, Coronation Street, Wild at Heart)


Gloucestershire's theatre presents the classic novel of Cotswold life.

In March 2012 the Everyman mounted its own production of The Glass Menagerie - its first on the main stage for many years.  Encouraged by the positive critical and audience reaction, we are mounting our own stage version of Laurie Lee's evocative novel.  His memories of growing up and life in rural Gloucestershire between the wars have become an established classic.

Laurie Lee's gentle and beautifully touching story recounts the defining moments of his adolescent life, recalling glorious outings, frozen white winters, long hot, hazy summers, tyrannical teachers, erratic family life and of course that first cider-fuelled encounter.

With Laurie Lee's memories of an idyllic but eventful childhood and a liberal dash of traditional music, we will transport you to Cotswold village life in a not so distant past.

OPENING NIGHT SPECIAL:  Buy one ticket and get one free for the opening night performance (Thursday 21 March). Note: There is an extra £3.00 charge for opening night special tickets purchased via the website.

Click here to scroll down to our Extras section for our Directors Blog and Image Gallery.  Listen to an interview with the cast courtesy of the BBC in the Extras section.

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Listen to an interview with the cast courtesy of the BBC
Part 1
Part 2

Tuesday 18 March 2013

The actors had a day off on Monday! But things were busy in the theatre. The set was put up (looks lovely) and Michael, the lighting designer, focussed lights. Steve Anderson, the sound designer, finished compiling the sound effects needed for the show and began to set levels. Xanthe Parker (Deputy Stage Manager) and I decided where all the furniture needs to go, bearing in mind sightlines from all parts of the auditorium.

Today is a day set aside for plotting all the lighting states - this is when the show should really start to look atmospheric! If we're lucky, we'll start the technical rehearsal in the evening.

Saturday 16 March 2013

We are getting to the end of our residency in St Lukes Hall (which is where we’ve been rehearsing for the past three weeks). On Saturday morning we’ll have our final runthrough of the play – including an “eating rehearsal”! This will involve actors eating all the food that they will eat in performance. There’s a picnic scene, in which the actors will eat cake, tart, bread-and-butter, treacle and drink melted jelly! There’s also a scene at the kitchen table when they’ll have bread and soup. And a scene in which they eat a bag of prunes! Important, therefore, to have practiced all of this before getting onstage next week. It’s surprisingly difficult to deliver a speech when you’re eating cake…

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Today we had our first "staggerthrough" of the play - that is, when we try and get from the begining to the end without TOO many stops! It's a challenge for actors, but they all seemed to cope very well indeed. Michael Hall, the lighting designer, was there - I talked him through the sort of effects I'm after for the lighting plot. Stage Management team was also there, judging where props will need to be set in performance, and what demands there will be in terms of the set.

Jacquie Crago (Voice Coach) was also there. Following the staggerthrough, Jacquie had a session with the actors during which she gave constructive and relevant notes on voice and acting.
I reckon we're in good shape for our first Runthrough tomorrow!

Tuesday 12 March 2013

We're now into the final week in the rehearsal room. Monday and Tuesday are being spent recapping and working all the scenes in the play. Then mid-week we'll start "staggering through" the whole play, leading to run-throughs on Thursday and Friday. This is a crucial time for the actors and Stage Management, as they consolidate all the work that's been done so far.

Some of the actors have absolutely LOADS to learn - especially Richard (Derrington) who plays the older Laurie Lee. He narrates the entire play, and never leaves the stage. We've worked on a genuine-looking and genuine-sounding Laurie: he'll be dressed as Laurie appeared in the 1970s, and will be carrying a glass of whisky wherever he goes!

Friday 8 March 2013

The end of the second rehearsal week is looming. We have now “blocked” the entire play, and started to delve into characterisation work. This afternoon, I have had individual sessions with some of the actors. We’ve discussed what sort of vocal quality is required for actors playing children (e.g. how to take an adult resonance out, and replace it with an energised, forward-placed child voice). We’ve experimented with physicality and voice quality for the two Grannies (played by Nicola Sangster and Madeleine MacMahon).

We’ve also discussed the “awakening” scene between Rosie and Loll – what’s the difference between an adolescent girl and an adolescent boy? What actually happens in the Cider With Rosie scene?? We played with the characterisations of the Act 1 Baker (Simon Kent) and Milkman (Dougie Carter) – even though they appear only briefly, they still need to be played with a truth and purpose.
We’re working tomorrow. This will be a rehearsal about props and set changes – a challenge!

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Yesterday was Music Day in the rehearsal room. Musical Director Alex and I have decided to include the haunting song “Only A Rose” in the show. It’s mentioned by Mother as a song she used to sing to her husband; so we’re going to use it as a conclusion to Mother’s story at the end of Act 2. The arrangement that we’re going to be using is lovely – hopefully it’ll send shivers up the spine!

Today we are going to stumble through Act One (which has now been “blocked”). This, of course, is when it all falls to pieces, ready to be put back together again! Ah well, fingers crossed…

Monday 4 March 2013

What a lovely day we’ve had today! The entire cast, together with members of the Everyman’s Marketing Department, went to visit Slad (the Cotswold village in which CIDER WITH ROSIE is set). Luckily, it was a beautiful sunny day – so we were able to see the village and the valley in a great light. TV cameras, local press reporters and local radio were all there to get publicity for the show. I must say the actors were on good form, and gave some interesting interviews.

I think it’s important for the actors to have seen the cottage where Laurie Lee grew up (in terms of where it’s situated, how small it would have been for a family of eight etc), to have seen the churchyard where he is buried and to get a sense of the wide sweep of the valley and how much space there is. Slad is very atmospheric, and I hope that the Company is able to bring some essence of the village to our production.

Today will be dialect and text-work day. Jacquie Crago is our Voice Coach for this production, and is going to be in the rehearsal room all day focusing on the specifics of the Gloucestershire dialect (really important for us to get this right, as most of our audience will know this dialect VERY WELL INDEED!). We’ll start with a Full Company session, then Jacquie will work individually with each of the actors.
While the Voice Work is happening, I’ll be in another Studio recapping on the acting work that we started yesterday.

Each day we also plan to recap on the music that was taught by the Musical Director earlier in the week.
So… a very full day ahead!

- Paul Milton

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Another good rehearsal day yesterday, in which we attempted to learn harmonies, violin arrangements, cello arrangements etc. We also did a bit of characterisation discussion, which will hopefully pay dividends when we get around to “blocking” scenes.

I have asked the actors to come to rehearsals with a game to play (which will be played “in character”, e.g. today the actor playing Loll may lead a game for the rest of the family). This all helps in the bonding process, and assists the actors in creating a close-knit family.

Today will be about recapping music, and starting to structure/formulate the earliest scenes in the play.

- Paul Milton

Tuesday 26 February 2013

I think yesterday’s readthrough was really promising. Discussions began with the actors about “how to play children”. We have twenty-something year old actors playing very young children in this production. Of course, we don’t want any “general” playin
g of kids – so work needs to be done on specific character traits for these specific child characters. Today I’m hoping to start playing games with all the actors (in character) – games that can release and relax. If we play games in character, the actors will start to find a bond that creates a good family feel.

Today we’ll also start to learn music with Alex Kraus-Williams, our Musical Director (the play is going to have a strong musical element).

- Paul Milton

Monday 25 February 2013

Well, here we go! Today is the first day of rehearsals. The actors will be with us any minute now. Once introductions have been done, we’ll talk about the play – its structure, themes and flavour. We’ll show the actors the stage and auditorium, so that they know what “space” they will eventually be inhabiting. Members of the press will arrive to talk to the cast. Then we’ll have a break for lunch.

This afternoon, we’ll have a readthrough of the play – this can be intimidating for everyone concerned, so my mission today is to make it as relaxed as possible!

Thursday 21st February 2013

Cider With Rosie rehearsals start next Monday, and everyone here at the Everyman is very excited!  Already much research and preparation has been done, including consultations with Laurie Lee's family - his widow Kathy, daughter Jessy and second cousin John Light.  They've all shed lots of insight into the "real" Laurie Lee (author of the original novel Cider With Rosie).

The cast of actors is in place.  The company is being led by well-known TV actress Susie Blake.  Alongside her, Richard Derrington will be playing Laurie Lee himself (as an adult).  Charlie Hamblett will be playing younger Laurie.  Returning to the Everyman will be Simon Kent and Madeleine MacMahon, both of whom were here last year in Great Expectations.  (see images in the gallery section).  Also returning is Tristan Pate, who worked on a Valentine's Day project with us a couple of years ago.  We will be welcoming Rachel Dawson (who'll play the title role of Rosie), Nicola Sangster and Dougie Carter to the Everyman for the first time.

Another couple of days and we'll be ready to rehearse...

- Paul Milton

Nov 2019
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