Actor, producer, barman, juggler...

by Andrew Wilson

2 August 2018

“You’ve got to be able to multi-task!” Pip Honeywell accepts the challenge of making a cappuccino while telling the story of how he and fellow actor EJ Martin created pluck.productions. If you are a Park Theatre regular, you already know Pip Honeywell as one of the smiling faces behind the bar, whipping up coffees and cocktails. You may also have seen him onstage last year in A&…

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Behind the scenes: surviving the “McKellen Marathon”

by By Andrew Wilson

6 September 2017

Park Theatre had two objectives for Ian McKellen’s one-man show, Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others & You which ran for the first week of July.One was to raise £250,000.The other, according to Dorcas Morgan, the theatre’s Development Director, was to make sure McKellen survived the week – “Not just alive but in good spirits!”Of the…

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History of Park Theatre in (approximately) 10 objects: #2. Seats from the old Palace Theatre Watford

by Andrew Wilson

25 September 2016

 Fancy connecting with over a century of British stage and television history? Channelling people connected with everything from pantomimes to House of Cards? Just walk up the main staircase to the landing below the Morris Space and sit down on one of numbered fold-down seats there.The seats are from the Watford Palace Theatre, which opened in December 1908 and is now a Grad…

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The Knight From Nowhere/The Bells

by Andrew Shepherd

Tuesday, 15 December, 2015

Every time we come to play in Park Theatre we try to set a challenge for ourselves in Park 90. For Much Ado it was making it smell like Christmas and a 10 foot tree. For Hamlet it was a disappearing ghost. This year we are recreating the most famous melodrama in Victorian Theatre originally staged for around a capacity of 2000 in a studio space for 90...and it has not been without its challenges and detractors. We are in our final week mounti…

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Starstruck in Stokey: Park Gala 2015

by Andrew Wilson

Thursday, 12 November, 2015

All photos by Darren Bell except where indicated.Spotted in the crowd... “Omigod, isn’t that...?” gasps Rose, my fellow Park Friend, clutching my hand as she searches for the name. “Over there, by the door. In the velvet dinner jacket!”&ldqu…

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A chat with Jonathan Maitland, author of Dead Sheep

by Andrew Wilson

Tuesday, 31 March, 2015

  It was Denis Healey, then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, who famously said in 1978 that being attacked by Geoffrey Howe in Parliament was “like being savaged by a dead sheep.” Jonathan Maitland has a rather more affectionate metaphor for describing Howe’s relationship with his wife, the formidabl…

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Kill Me Now Rehearsals

by Andrew Wilson

Tuesday, 17 February, 2015

  It’s ten minutes before a full run-through of Kill Me Now in a rehearsal space in South London. Greg Wise is kneeling at the end of a large bathtub, talking quietly to a technician. The words “pump” and “blockage” and “we’ll try it later” can be heard. ​Greg Wise and technical advisor Peter Large  The bath will have a prominent place on stage in Kill Me Now. Wise’s charact…

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Intern

by Jessica Hodgson

Wednesday, 10 September, 2014

 Personally I’ve always loved theatre. Whether going to see shows with friends and family or participating in performances myself throughout my school years, it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but I have never before had the opportunity to experience what makes it all work. Until now…Although my time so far as part of the Park Theatre family has been short, the small but extremely dedicated team has…

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Creative Minds and Hearts

by Melli Bond

Thursday, 27 February, 2014

I have some newly appointed Creative Learning teachers and I'm very pleased to add them to our little team. They are all geared up for our new term and we are ready for action.We have gone into wonderful discussions about what being truly creative means and what a joy it is to delve into your imagination - and this can be done at any age. With the little ones its all about engaging the early senses - and what better way to do that with an exciting interactive story where you can be anyone and anywhere. What worlds can you create? What lives and lifetimes can you explore?Wi…

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INTERNSHIP AT PARK THEATRE

by Chelsea Collins

Tuesday, 28 January, 2014

If you’re thinking about applying for an internship with Park Theatre, I highly recommend it.  My experience with the Park Theatre family is one I wouldn’t trade for anything.  It was my first time in London, hailing from New York, and I was nervous. The Park Theatre family was welcoming and made adjusting that much easier for me. I had a lot of fun working with the lovely people that make up the Park Theatre team and thoroughly enjoyed my time being a part of it.            The Park Theatre team is small; y…

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HAZEL'S ACTING ADVICE

by Hazel - Park Theatre Dog

Tuesday, 7 January, 2014

It's wet and messy this time of year but thankfully I get to enjoy evenings in the theatre keeping nice and dry on stage. I tend to just rest leading up to performance time and when I'm not on stage I have a relaxing lie down on my bed either in my Grotto or up in my office. I have a special toy that someone left for me and I've named him Cuddly Adam. He looks a little bit like our Adam here - well a toy cuddly version anyway - and I do love carrying Cuddly Adam around with me. People have asked if I get nervous before going on stage but I actually don't get nervous. I think…

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OUR GRAND OPENING SEASON ANNOUNCED

by Melli Bond

Wednesday, 20 March, 2013

Today's launch has stirred the team into a frenzy chills and excitement. After 3 and 1/2 years of hard work we are finally at the day we can announce our opening season. Yay! We are so proud too - we've been working really hard to make this happen. You will see our personality coming through in our choices of productions. It's all about passion, issues, intimacy, love  and a bunch of good old fashioned laughter to round it off. We've always said we want to make you laugh and make you cry - and hopefully you will all do that - this season an…

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The New Year

by Jez Bond

Sunday, 6 January, 2013

We are still in the early days of 2013 - the time when the brain goes into autopilot and tries to end every date you write with the digits from last year. Is that an inability of speed to adapt or a subconscious desire to cling to the past?  At the Park we've constantly been adapting and evolving alongside the very visual physical changes of our emerging building. We're most certainly looking to the future. This will be our grandest yea…

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 1 January, 2013

It's a new year and we want it to be a happy one. I saw these instruments in the window the other day and it made me really happy - thinking about them being played by people I love. My family is a little bit musical and so I've always been a huge fan of live music and musicians. I really like listening to people sing or play when they really feel it - when it's personal it's pretty amazing. I'm …

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THE LACK OF OFFICE PARTY

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 18 December, 2012

With our over addiction to work we have pretty much forgotten to hold our office party. Well of course we also don't really have a physical office yet - it's ever changing and anyway office is a state of mind in our world. Nevertheless I managed to get some of the team together this Tuesday evening for some much needed Mexican and Margaritas. We can't help ourselves but chat about work. We tried talk…

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THE BROCK RETURNS...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 13 December, 2012

Some months ago the 'Brock' appeared onsite to aid demolition - but at the beginning of this week its power was unleashed again with even greater consequences. This time its task was to remove the thick reinfornced concrete slab floor between lower and upper ground levels. It took a matter of three days - albeit rather noisy ones - and finally after months of wondering what the true height in Park200 would feel like, we were given the opportunity to stand in the stalls-to-be and look up at the ceiling to experience it. It was truly a landmark and as we fast approach Christmas it sig…

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WINNERS AND LOSERS

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 12 December, 2012

As ABBA has been telling us repeatedly since 1980, the winner, when all is said and done, takes it all.  We can surmise that it doesn’t matter what is taken, provided there’s nothing left for the person who hasn’t won.  This can be a hard slice of cake to swallow, which is why Benny and Björn's consoling lyrics and open vowels are as important today as they were back when Thai-dye short sleeved shirts were the done thing to we…

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PUZZLED

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 6 December, 2012

No time to blog - hardly time to eat - just pushing through to get the season finalised - much harder than I thought - the giant jigsaw puzzle of it all! Now, hold on, I thought I had it but... where does this piece go?

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TWO WEEKS TIL DICKENS DEC 21ST

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 4 December, 2012

I know I mentioned this before in a blog but I'm just so darned excited about it! With only two weeks to go I encourage all you wine lovers and Dickens fans to make sure and book your tickets for our wonderful event! I would hate for people to miss out on the fun! It starts with a wine tasting with lush wine provided by Enologia and followed by dinner with a very special Dickens Family tradition. I can't wait! I'm trying to decide what dress to wear. Come either black tie or Dickensian - what will you choose? Or maybe do a mix of both - we are theatricals so really anything g…

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STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 29 November, 2012

The extension to our back of house staircase just went in today - what a result! Okay it's not quite as magnificent as the one in the picture (obviously that's the one leading to the actors' dressing rooms) but hey, it serves its purpose! For a few months now the upper office had been built but there was no way to access it. It's exciting to be able to get up there now: to measure up for a sofa, table, shelving etc. Our home away from home! I wo…

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THINGS ARE GOING WELL

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 28 November, 2012

Should we be worried?  We're optimists, positive thinkers, bad company at a quiet breakfast table.  The chances are we'll always tell you how well things are going even when the roof has collapsed and the façade has fallen off (neither of these things have happened).  But it's surely a worrying sign when even Gary, our esteemed construction manager, says things are going very well.   If you've been to the site in the last week then you might have felt the difference as well as seen it.  Park 200 is just about to disappear from si…

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HOLIDAY SEASON IS COMING....

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 27 November, 2012

That's right it's creeping up on us that festive time of year where we are celebrating traditions old and new. I hope some of you fantastic people out there would like to come and join us to celebrate a wonderful Dickens Family Tradition this holiday season. We are having a reading from A CHRISTMAS CAROL - in honour of the bicentenary of Charles Dickens' birth. It's going to be a wonderful evening and with the weather all cold and windy outside it makes it so much fun to be inside all warm with beautiful candles, divine wine and food glorious food! As a Park Theatre blog …

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PERCEPTIONS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 22 November, 2012

Sometimes things move too fast, you need them to slow down so you can catch up, be ready in time. Sometimes so slow that you wish you could grab the reins and turn a trot into a canter. Inevitably the things that seem, in the moment, to move at a frustrating pace are at the exact speed necessary for our journey - but life is a cruel teacher; it gives the exam first and then the lesson. So these statements can only be understood with the benefit of hindsight. Theatre challenges perceptions, buil…

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THE HYPOTHETICAL AUDIENCE

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 21 November, 2012

One of the best things about working at Park Theatre is the range of activities involved in the standard working day.  That's partly because building a theatre and programming the work that will bring it to life is a perilous juggling act.  And it's partly because we're a very small team trying to cope with a huge variety of tasks, many of which are completely new to us. 'If you build it they will come' is a mantra that we throw around every now and again, but the reality is slightly more complicated than that.  It takes time and effort to at…

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FLOOR OUT

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 20 November, 2012

Major construction going on all today and this week. The floor is finally coming out in Park 200 getting ready to create that beautiful open space where we can look from the circle down into the stalls. It's pretty loud noisy and dusty. Makes me think of playing in a sandbox to the extreme! It's gotta be fun tearing stuff down right? I'm thinking that's one of the best kicks about being in the building trade - it's not so much the building up as the tearing down which is pretty fun!   

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WHAT TO CHOOSE?

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 13 November, 2012

So many choices! What to choose? Children Shows, Happy plays - stories that make you escape Horror Shows, Scary Plays - stories of murder and rape Pieces from days of old to stories that help you never grow old All in a days work at the Park We'll have them all from light to dark

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SOMEONE ELSE'S WEEKEND

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 8 November, 2012

I love the weekends. Well, I don't have a "week end" per se (I refer to my blog of two years ago!) but I'm beginning to love other people's. You see, given that I receive in excess of a hundred emails on a weekday, Saturdays and Sundays are a much needed opportunity to catch up with the backlog. There's nothing more frustrating than when on, say, a Tuesday afternoon I deal with three important emails while twelve new ones (all equally demanding my attention) come through (I refer again to an

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THE SECOND TERM

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 7 November, 2012

Exactly one year ago today, fresh faced and bushy tailed, I arrived in the Park Theatre development office in Greswell Street to begin my first day as part of the Park Theatre family.  At that time the first steel joists hadn't arrived on site, the construction office had a 'WE LOVE SUPERYACHTS' sticker on the door, and we were around £400,000 short of an Education Floor.   As far as I'm aware we are still pro superyachts, but the sticker has long since disappeared into the rubble, to be replaced by an outreach space that we hope will outlive al…

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HAPPY 2ND ANNIVERSARY TRANSMISSION

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 6 November, 2012

It's been 2 years now that Transmission is up and running and it's high time we came out of the lime light and said hello! Transmission is a weekly workshop co-founded by myself and fellow actress/singer/producer/director Ursula Campbell. We have designed it for the working actor who likes to keep in touch with established and emerging theatre makers in order to keep their skills sharp for the next job or…

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Pigeon Holes

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 1 November, 2012

In the midst of programming decisions we start to question every choice: - Is everything you've worked so hard to achieve judged purely on the basis of the first show. - What does the choice of this show say about you? (The first show can only be one genre - yet we have a broad artistic policy) - Or, are people less quick to judge than we might imagine? - Do we simply need to consider a season o…

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SIGN

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 31 October, 2012

For the first time last night, we were able to plug in the sign at the front of the building and watch Park Theatre come to life.  It has actually been a frustrating couple of weeks on site, as the epic construction of walls and spaces has given way to the more prosaic fitting of pipes, wires and cables.  Electrical work is less dramatic than steel alignment, and less sexy than Gary, our construction manager.  (It's a little known fact that, as the diamond of aesthetics, Gary is the most beautiful naturally occurring phenomenon in the Park Theatre construction office).…

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MISCHIEF NIGHT

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 30 October, 2012

The night before Halloween is known as Mischief Night. In the states they are getting more than their fair share of evil mischief. My hometown is a washout but thankfully all relatives are pretty much ok. Last time we had a scary hurricane I came down from New York to surprise my family - I had made it just in time. But this week has been scary for a lot of people and I'm thinking of them and wishing them well. Especially relatives who are actually being transported to shelters! I just can't imagine.  Here in London at least we had a pretty sunny day today and it …

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UPDATES AND CHANGES

by brackets digital

Thursday, 25 October, 2012

In the aftermath of the gala and the success of the Education Floor campaign, we've been working on changing our website for the next phase.  It's still a work in progress, but do let us know if you have any suggestions for how we might make it better!  We'll also be changing our Facebook presence, which we will explain as soon as it's ready to launch.

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DIGITAL

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 24 October, 2012

Amy has often protested about the digital segregation of the Park Theatre family.  As the beloved and recently deceased Maureen wheezed her way through our staff meetings, game for anything and a match for almost any word processing software, the rest of us used to stare guiltily at whatever shiny product we had been able to exchange for our souls.  As a hapless Apple junkie, the immortal and immaterial part of myself has all the integrity of a naked credit default swap.  [That's just a little credit crunch joke to set the morning off with a bang]. As you mi…

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INSPIRED

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 23 October, 2012

Am feeling inspired. My dance teacher Shanie always said "don't be tired be inspired" and I think his daily mantra has stayed with me. I've had a very long few months behind me working on putting together the Gala, proposals, building a company, making decisions with Jez about the build, all sorts of stuff that sounds fun but put together can also be very tiring. Sure it can be tiring but the thrill of securing our Education Floor - thanks to incredible kindness and generosity of so many people just keeps me going.  I'm also in a wonderful position w…

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DELIVERY

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 17 October, 2012

For anyone lucky enough to have a ticket to the gala on Friday, make sure you get your hands on a few strips of raffle tickets while you're there.  The Park Theatre team has been buzzing around London all week, collecting unique and often very unusual items for the auction and the raffle.  The neighbours raised a few eyebrows as I accepted a massive box today from Tracy Rose, who has designed a hat to mark the birth of Park Theatre.  I've also got several piles of signed books waiting for a new set of shelves, and photographs of a wonderful cottage on the west coas…

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A WEEK TO GO...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 11 October, 2012

It's almost a week until Park Theatre's first ever fundraising gala night... We're almost sold out and are very busy with all the preparations - dietary requirements to finalise for the chefs, tickets to email out, programme to send to the printers. It's like organising a weddding: a large wedding for 275 people! This is the biggest event in our calendar so far... and very exciting! A week on Friday will be awesome! Can't wait.... 

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THE FIRST PLAYERS

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 10 October, 2012

We had a very exciting day today, as for the first time we had a group of children on site.  The children, who all live on the Andover Estate, were given a special tour by Jez.  They also had the distinction of being the first people to play a game in the half-built Education Floor.  If you're curious, we played a special version of Grandma's Footsteps where the persecutors had to don a hard hat and a high visibility jacket along the way!  It was a fantastic evening, and we can't wait to welcome more young people from the local area to the finished buildin…

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HIGHER QUICKER FASTER WIRED

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 9 October, 2012

With only 9 days until our Gala I'm totally wired. Gail and I stayed up late last night working on the program. There are more little surprises that we'd like to have on the night - this means more coordination and planning and execution. It probably wouldn't seem so big of a deal expect for the fact I'm trying to get through lots of proposals - this means reading lots of plays - as many are new plays. Everything requires full attention. So I guess my default position is to go into a hyper mode where I feel like I'm working super fast. Well was nice to check in with y…

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EDUCATION FLOOR

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 4 October, 2012

How exciting. We just had a board meeting on our education floor. A year ago it was a site office and then it became a store room and now it's a nearly finished education office and adjoining workshop space - to be used for rehearsals, play-reading and education work. I would ask Charlie to take a photo - but he's off running five marathons back to back in order to help raise money to finish it off! You can sponsor him by donating any amount at all to the education floor right here.  

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THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 2 October, 2012

Wow folks! We are almost entirely sold out for the Gala! I'm so thrilled. We've been working so hard on planning it and we are really getting excited now. I just wanted to take a second to thank some amazing people that have been helping me with some very special prizes for the night. This isn't by any means a complete list - just some people I need to thank for helping me personally. Here goes: Deirdre Nazareth, Veronica Bainbridge, Erin Browne, Ellie Scully, Kirsty Caldwell, Ryan Andes, Nick Hart ( Spencer Hart) Tracy Rose, K-tee, Katia Loma, Bertie Carvel, Imi Bond, Duncan…

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CASTING

by brackets digital

Friday, 28 September, 2012

Last week I wrote about what a strain it can be to hear certain characters' voices, and to see them in three dimensions.  (Other characters, it must be said, are so autonomous and assertive that they happily do your work for you.)  In last week's case, it was in the end an actor who unknowingly helped me on my way to hauling that particular slippery character off the page and onto his feet. Which brings me agreeably to one of my tasks this week: casting.  The final step in making a chara…

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The Philosophy, History and Sociology of Flying in the 21st Century (abridged)

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 27 September, 2012

As I sit here on the balcony of a beautiful penthouse in the Algarve, from where Mark Cameron and I are penning Park Theatre's first ever Christmas show, I feel incredibly privileged. The work is hard, but the warm weather and comfortable surroundings make for an incredibly pleasant change of scenery - and the occasional game of tennis and trip to the spa certainly doesn't hinder matters. Best of all I am being treated to both flights and…

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HAPPY YOM KIPPUR

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 25 September, 2012

I  don't know if you can say "Happy" Yom Kippur but I would like to extend an acknowledgement to all who celebrate this lovely holiday and tradition. I was speaking to one of my best friends who told me it's about atonement and how Yom Kippur comes after the Jewish New Year. It sounds to me the perfect time to reflect on one's life and way forward just after celebrating a new year. Starting fresh and reflecting on your life I think is hugely important for anyone of any faith. So for all of you recognising Yom Kippur whether it is your faith or not I wish you al…

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THE UNBUILT

by brackets digital

Monday, 24 September, 2012

The ‘Unbuilt’ was the affectionate term my ex-boyfriend used to use for Park Theatre when distinguishing it from The Old Vic (my other place of work at the time), which was known as, ‘The Built.’  My BF was a lot younger (lol), not in the arts and not familiar with London. So, according to him, the best way to distinguish Park Theatre from The Old Vic was the fact that it was already built. Apart from the obvious differences between size, scale and the small matter of a couple of centuries, there are ways in which we very much hope to resemble The …

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THE EXTRA MILE

by brackets digital

Saturday, 22 September, 2012

We love it when our supporters go the extra mile, and we had an extreme case of that today when Brigitte flew in from Germany to take a tour of the site!

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HEARING VOICES

by brackets digital

Friday, 21 September, 2012

The other day, a well-known actress said to me that the last time she attempted to write a script, she felt like the characters were about two inches high, standing there on the page, looking up at her pleadingly and making desperate hand gestures at their mouths as if to say, 'Give us something to say!  Let us speak!'. She was powerless to help them. With me, lately, it's been a somewhat different problem.  At least my friend's characters popped up in 3D; one of mine has been refusing to even stir himself that far.  All I could do was…

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LIGHTING THE SECOND FLOOR

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 20 September, 2012

We've had so many discussions about the lighting for the education-studio-cum-rehearsal-room on second floor level. The difficulty is that we want it to be both a rehearsal space (for rehearsals, workshops and classes) and a performance space (for readings and rehearsed readings). I want to keep any lighting, tracks and other gubbins off the ceiling - as I'm concerned about ceiling height: not that it's uber-tight but it's not vast either and I alwa…

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TENNIS

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 19 September, 2012

I had been working at Park Theatre for a few months before I learned what was really going on.  Jez leaned in - a nervous moment - and whispered to me, ‘can I tell you a secret?’  I told him he could, and promised that I’d never put it on a blog or anything.  ‘The thing is’, he said, ‘I’m really only in it for the tennis.’  I nodded; yes of course.  ‘It dawned on me that in most jobs it’s hard to find time to work on your backhand.  And so I thought: why don’t I build a theatre, and…

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A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION A LITTLE MORE ACTION PLEASE

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 18 September, 2012

Who doesn't like Elvis? I have been on what feels like a mission for some action - waaaaa- not that kind of action- naughty!  No I'm looking for the action in the drama. The piece that moves, that shakes and yes the play that makes you scream! I'm off again tonight - my usual nightly routine in check: Walk Hazel - check, Feed Hazel - check, send that last email - check - Location prepped - check. And I'm off. So keep these great invites coming in please people - and when you are thinking about your next production try to think about Elvis - sometimes too many words c…

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MILESTONES

by brackets digital

Friday, 14 September, 2012

Yesterday was my birthday and (as Jez mentioned in last night's blog) it also happened to be the day of the Park family dinner at the theatre's local restaurant, Season Kitchen. Milestones like this always prompt us (for good or ill) to project ourselves backwards and forwards in time.  Melli (Creative Director) and I will always remember the first time we celebrated my birthday together, during the run of a show called Independence back i…

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PHASE ONE COMPLETE!

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 13 September, 2012

No doubt those of you who follow us on Twitter will have seen the barrage of tweets and pics this evening from Season Kitchen - where we enjoyed a delicious meal - and then from back at the penthouse on Clifton Terrace for more drinks and an inspired photoshoot courtesy of our very own Charlie Ward. It was an important time for the team - a milestone in the journey of Park Theatre; phase 1 (the completion of the residential apartments) was over and phase 2 about to begin. So with champagne up on the roof terrace overlooking the Shard and St Paul's cathedral, the entire team - Amy, Ch…

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THE PRE-AUCTION AUCTION

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 12 September, 2012

As you probably know, we have an extremely exciting auction lined up for our gala, to be hosted by Lord Archer.  Just to get you in the mood, we'll be doing a small pre-auction auction, of one very special lot that can only happen on one evening.  It's worth looking out for over the coming days, but in the meantime I can give you this little teaser: it involves a personal tour around one of the most interesting buildings in the world, with one of the greatest actors as your guide...

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ORCHIDS ROSES LILACS

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 11 September, 2012

I was thinking about the natural light again in the building. I've always wanted to include something of outside on the inside - you have to find flowers in the Park. The question will be which flowers grow well indoors? I personally grow orchids in my house. They all have ladies names and they are all in full bloom at the moment. Orchids love light. They don't really need a lot of water - they like a nice shower every now and then but not to sit in water. My orchids have such various personalities too. I would like to know what flowers you'd like to see in the Park? 

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PARTIES

by brackets digital

Monday, 10 September, 2012

Park Parties are a particularly good breed of party. Not only can we style it out on a roofless, windowless building site in the depths of Winter in our building-site chic attire (short skirts, woolly tops and steel-toe capped boots); we also have an amazing amount of energy for them allowing us to keep going even after a long day.  A lot of this comes from the adrenaline of just talking to people about Park Theatre, and our genuine passion of being involved. Parties are essential to our fundraising but also to our bonding as a family and a way of getting to know our supp…

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WRITING IS REWRITING

by brackets digital

Friday, 7 September, 2012

All summer I've been working on the rewrite for my (temporarily title-less) Park play, sometimes in my head, sometimes on paper or on the screen.  But now that the new term is under way I've got my head down, tapping away at the new draft in earnest. I tend to approach rewrites in one of two ways, depending on what stage I'm at.  Towards the end of the process, I'll just open up the previous draft and, with notes from myself and others by my side, go through scene by scene, cutting an…

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PETITION FOR SIGNAGE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 6 September, 2012

It's been over a year - and still no useful response from Transport for London. What a shame! Short blog today: it's all here https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/latest-news/petition Please sign up!

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COMPLETION OF FLATS

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 5 September, 2012

The flats are nearing completion, and every time I take a look they become more alluring.  I had a few minutes to spare early on Saturday morning, and so went up onto the balcony of the penthouse flat to have cup of coffee.  The morning sun was streaming in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, making it the perfect place to relax and watch the world go by.  Even better, when you close the triple-glazed doors, the entire flat is silent.  I'm already jealous of the lucky people who get to live there...

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SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAYS

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 4 September, 2012

"Looks like we're gonna have another big crowd" Grandma would say. My grandma used to have a really big picnic every year in September. We have a crazy number of family members born in September and so we would all gather under the big tree for a wonderful feast. She made the most amazing variety of food and it was delicious. Fried chicken was always a favourite as well as the deviled eggs and ambrosia salad! Yes real American cooking all way! We played games under the tree to win prizes- and everyone loved the numbers game. You pick a number out of the hat and if it's …

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QUESTIONNING

by brackets digital

Monday, 3 September, 2012

I went to see a play tonight. I’d heard that it was amazing. Everyone had already been or wanted to go. Other than that I didn’t know much about it except it was about a community dealing with something; a sensitive subject. I was liking it, getting into it, but half way through the first act I start getting a niggling feeling. I started to question. Question whether I thought it was funny - should I laugh? Why were some of the audience laughing? Question if this was trivialising or undermining an actual occurrence and the real people involved with it? Was that rig…

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EDUCATION EDUCATION EDUCATION

by brackets digital

Friday, 31 August, 2012

This morning I was excited and provoked by Lyn Gardner's blog entry for the Guardian: Why major theatre institutions should be left to die.  The headline doesn't quite do justice to her argument, but it's a great read.  Her quote from Richard Dawkins about unrealised potential is particularly moving.  While the suggestion of the headline is one I'm still pondering, I am wholeheartedly behind Lyn's call to arms on education: …

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DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 30 August, 2012

Getting the infrastructure for the theatre right is so vital. We've heard horror stories of theatres built where someone burnt toast in the flat above and the whole fire alarm sounded in order to exacuate the audience, where the walls were so badly designed that Hamlet's "To be or not to be" was drowned out by the sound of the basketball court next door and even where the dressing rooms had been, um... forgotten. The beauty of this project is that we're checking everything at every stage of the way, both Dave and I are on the case. Every screw, every piec…

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TWITTER

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 29 August, 2012

When we first set up the @ParkTheatreLive Twitter account, we had a very informal style of keep people up to date with the building process and the work we were seeing.  The style has obviously had to evolve as the team has got bigger, and as the shape of the organisation emerges.  We've been talking a lot about the tone of the social media interaction, partly because we want it to be an accurate reflection of Park Theatre not only as a place, but also as a group of people.   We think of ourselves as a working family, replete with our very own mascot, leader…

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INTO THE HORIZON

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 28 August, 2012

My eyes want to close but I have to keep them open. Another eye knackering day at my desk has means I take little breaks looking into the horizon so my eyes get a rest. I try not to let my mind wander as I take these breaks. Keeping focused on nothing or emptiness is my aim so I have an eye and mind refresher for a few seconds. The mind and eye duo is strong in me though - and as my mind wanders it brings up some wonderful visualisations. Being creative is the most interesting part of what I do in life - I don't know if that's for everyone but it certainly is the most exciting th…

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WHO IS YOUR COMMUNITY?

by brackets digital

Monday, 27 August, 2012

Bank holiday weekends are lush. A time to meet up with friends in your favorite places, while away some hours, go festival-ling, carnival-ling, wandering and sitting. I spent the weekend seeing some of my favourite people in my favourite local places and talking, amongst other things how they just need to walk past Wells Terrace and get a look at Park. I loved seeing these people in my local pubs but was craving for Park’s café and bar to be open. A good friend of mine from Italy asked me what she should do in London on Saturday night; what places could I recommen…

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BACK TO SCHOOL

by brackets digital

Friday, 24 August, 2012

I admit it.  I was the kid whose heart leapt at the words BACK TO SCHOOL in the shop windows.  The heady smell of new stationery, the piles of freshly-pressed uniform re-emerging from the wardrobe, the dusting off of the satchel after the endless days of summer filled me with a fizz of anticipation. As an adult, BACK TO SCHOOL lost its meaning for a while, and one month followed another pretty ploddingly as I completely lost track of when kids were and were not at their desks. Now, with kids of my own, my years have reacquired the seasonal rhythms of autum…

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LIFE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 23 August, 2012

The coming and going The toing and froing The meeting and greeting The drinking and eating The emails, the letters, the doorbells, the phone Life's about people but leave me alone The asking, the telling The buying, the selling The ranting and raving The cost versus saving The inbox, the outbox, the sent and received  If it stopped for a moment I'd be so relieved  

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INVESTMENT

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 22 August, 2012

The funding application I'm working on at the moment is an interesting one, because the foundation I'm applying to sees every grant as an investment.  Although the principals are largely the same, it has encouraged me to see the project in business terms (no flip-board jokes please) and this has actually helped to clarify my thinking on the project as a whole.  Because we have no access to public money, Jez and Dave have had to be incredibly efficient in the the design and construction of the building.  It's a project that has called for a certain amount of ing…

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MEETINGS IN MY OFFICE THEN OFF TO THE BAR

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 21 August, 2012

Yes that will be easier when we are open. At the moment it doesn't have glass but it has some wood. It started out as nothing but air an empty space. But I so look forward to it's arrival. After a long hard day in my office - which is not where my eventual office will be- I'm now heading out for a little bar research. Any top tips for places or your favourite tipples? I'm eager to try it all - it's gotta be good and it's gotta be cool. Wish me luck -first stop cocktail time! …

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MAUREEN CONTINUED - OR NOT.....

by brackets digital

Monday, 20 August, 2012

  I haven’t managed to write a regular Monday blog for a while. This was partly because I’d been finishing a course and also because Maureen had to go to intensive care. (Check blog dated 25th June 2012 for reference and backstory). This was a sad and serious time, not least because it happened the night before a very busy week for me, her and Park. There were lots of tours to coordinate and confirm with people who had already been patiently waiting, and we had our ‘Take to the Streets’ campaign to organise for that weekend.   …

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GUM BALLS

by brackets digital

Friday, 17 August, 2012

Back in June, I wrote about the subconscious and what a hard worker it is, whirring away on its own and coming up with solutions and inspiration - under one condition: that you feed it by writing on a daily basis.  Doesn't matter whether it's for 10 minutes or eight hours; just write, I said.  Every day. Well, as I also wrote recently, there are exceptions to every rule.  I'm just back from two weeks in Andaluc…

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WHAT COLOUR SHOULD AUDITORIA BE?

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 16 August, 2012

Theatres need to be incredibly diverse spaces. From being the battlegrounds of Agincourt one month to the working kitchen of a restaurant the next a lot is demanded of our auditoria - and it's not all in the set design. The fabric of the building needs to handle each transformation - with requirements for comfort, fire safety, ventilation and other regulatory matters fighting alongside the technological and artistic ambitions of the design team.…

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WALLS

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 15 August, 2012

I've never really lived in my own time.  I was born in the eighties, but a part of me still expects to hear the Village People on Radio 1.  I knew almost none of the performers in the Closing Ceremony last week, although I'm told that even those who are 'down with the kids' felt like they'd stumbled on an understudy run.  When did a single letter become an acceptable surname?  Until recently, I thought that walls were still built with bricks and cement.  It's true that we did have a specialist workman on site about ten days ago …

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CHILD FRIENDLY

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 14 August, 2012

Our cafe will be open in the morning - bright and early for all those folks passing by who fancy a really good cup of coffee or cold drink on their way into work. Later on in the morning mums will enjoying hanging out at the cafe because of the atmosphere-  it's child friendly - it's bright, airy, and there'll be a baby change too. We have so much to look forward to - not only is the cafe child friendly but you might even think - I'd love for my child to participate in a drama workshop - and guess what - they can! Lots of fun times for our young ones ahead! 

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HAVE FAITH

by brackets digital

Friday, 10 August, 2012

‘Have faith’ my beloved Great Uncle Tony used to say to me. It was his favourite phrase and has since become mine. It was a useful phrase to remember as a performer when a contract came to an end and I’d be waiting for the next one. The times in between shows would feel like infinity... and keeping the faith was always a challenge, but I did somehow and my faith would be rewarded - the jobs did always come and they were always worth the wait. The Park Theatre journey is all about having faith and vision and the ability to make the things which begin life…

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OLYMPIC FEVER

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 9 August, 2012

As the final two days of the Olympics approach it's amazing to think just how much preparation has gone into ensuring the world experiences a marvellous two weeks of sport. At the beginning of last week we saw Danny Boyle's spectacular opening ceremony and the days since then seem to have run more smoothly than perhaps anyone expected. It's been an immense effort; four years in the making, millions of pounds and colossal effort from so m…

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CONTEXT

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 8 August, 2012

I'm in the middle of my Fringe adventure, loving the cobbled city in the sunshine and the buzz of good work around every corner.  One of the odd things about the Fringe is the different context that producers and directors have to work with.  At any other time of year, an hour seems like a short time slot, but in Edinburgh an hour can sometimes feel like three.  Today I'm seeing five shows before 6pm, and so each exists in its relationship to the ones that came before it.  In order to stand out, a Fringe show has to pack a punch, and the qualities that disting…

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LIFE WORLD TRAVEL

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 7 August, 2012

So once again I'm writing to you from the East Coast. It was a last minute trip and not one I was over joyed about taking. Not because I don't want to be here - but the reason behind it. I've lost someone that I have loved my entire life. It has been a total shock. It is hard to understand really. We are left behind with questions - only to provide ourselves with answers in order to cope. But as humans we are selfish. We don't want to be left behind.  I will admit in my selfishness it really upsets me that he will never get to visit the theatre. I was look…

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INGENIUM

by brackets digital

Friday, 3 August, 2012

Like most emerging directors, I do several other things to make ends meet and keep my toes in the water.  Today I was taking photographs at a great new venture called Ingenium, where talented young musicians from all over the world come together to learn from each other.  It was a fantastic reminder of the way young people can grow in confidence through creative exploration, but I also enjoyed talking to conductors about the discipline of leading an orchestra.  Interdisciplinary workshop, anyone?

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THE TENSION MOUNTS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 2 August, 2012

I'm so excited, the first few panels of our tension wire grid have arrived. They are standing on their side, three metres square, in the foyer - soon to be installed in Park 200. Sleek black steel that will soon bear the weight of people and equipment high above the audience's heads. I'm most excited because, as I have said to many people on our tours, the grid will be a wonderful benefit to us in terms of our ability to work with young people. Suddenly the health and safety issues - and countless risk assessments and other paperwork - disappear with this safe working platfor…

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FRINGE

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 1 August, 2012

Next week, along with every other tinker and tailor, I'll be heading up to the land of fried food and rain.  Did you know that Scotland is the only country where the supermarkets have an entire aisle dedicated to batter?  You can't even buy a cheap joke.  I've been scouring the Fringe programme, a bible of high expectations, leveraged on granny's car and silver spoon collection.  Producers, performers and directors have spent months bracing their fingers for the refreshing strain of scotsman.com/reviews.  This is boot camp for the liver…

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DOG FRIENDLY CAFE BAR

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 31 July, 2012

I talk about the theatre mostly, the build, the fundraising, the gala-but I haven't spoken too much about the cafe bar. It's been on my mind more as we have been looking at specifics with the bar space. I'd like to think the cafe bar is destined for being THE creative place to come for a drink and hang out in Finsbury Park. As a dog owner, lover, enthusiast, rescuer and foster carer I have found a serious lack of cool dog friendly places to go for the evening in London - outside of the pub world. Hey the local pub is great sure, but sometimes - and for me often times- I would…

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KEEPING UP THE PACE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 26 July, 2012

I’m working from home today and it makes a nice chance to travelling in to site. Whilst I constantly email, call, type, text and whatnot on the move, the journey still takes its toll. So, with summer finally (and, so they say, temporarily) here, the back doors are open, the dogs are lying on the deck (plural as Hazel has a friend visiting for a week) and Melli and I are sitting at the kitchen table beavering away. Although, come to think of it, the heat is quite draining “beavering” feels a little too quick to describe today’s pace. How do they cope in places like…

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NATURAL LIGHT

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 25 July, 2012

I've been abroad for a couple of weeks, during which time the site has changed radically.  As you probably know, both theatre spaces now have a roof, which makes it much easier to imagine what they will feel like after completion.  The roof won't keep the rain out for a few more weeks, but it does allow the sunshine in.  Both theatres have large skylights above them which will allow anybody working in the building to avoid the zombie look during tech week and daytime rehearsals.  It's also great for sustainability, as the sunlight on days like today will h…

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SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVIN' AIN'T EASY

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 24 July, 2012

It's lush. The heat and happy people equals a summers day. We had a successful walk about on Sunday and I'm so pleased to say thank you to people of Muswell Hill that are donating and signing up for Park membership. It's because of our selfless volunteers and their hard work that we are chipping away at raising the last £150,000. It isnt easy - it's dedication but like a summers day you can feel  it's worth it!

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WHY I'LL BE SAYING MACBETH IN MY THEATRE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 19 July, 2012

There is an age old superstition in the theatre concerning the utterance of the name 'Macbeth'. Those who adhere to the superstition uphold that the only time one is allowed to say 'Macbeth' in a theatre (and by this one means the actual auditorium and stage - the foyer, as far as I'm aware is permitted) is when, as an actor, you are speaking the character's name in the play itself. The play is therefore not referred to by its title but as "the Scottish…

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NORA

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 17 July, 2012

We (myself, Jez, Amy, Nouska and Sarah) went to see Park Theatre's very own Ambassador Hattie Morahan as Nora in A Doll's House at the Young Vic.  Hattie gave a beautiful performance as Nora and we all agreed that Nora is not only a wonderful character to play but she has such a satisfying story too.  I feel a little bit like Nora trying to save something I love and needing to ask for money. We have £150,000 left to raise in order to save our Education floor from becoming half of a floor. If we don't raise this money it w…

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BREATHE

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 10 July, 2012

It seems a silly thing to need to remind oneself of - to breathe. But it can be such an important thing to do in our lives where stress makes you tight mouthed, and dry throated. In the world of building a small thing as a new theatre it can be - well a little stressful at times. Today I spent the entire day breathing. No not in a yoga studio (though I do love my yoga, as you regular readers with know). No today it was in a recording studio for the entertainment of others. Yes all day long I did variations on breathing, long breaths, short breaths, gasping, desperate, panic breathes and …

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REHABILITATION

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 4 July, 2012

I'm on the second fund raising application of the week, and as always it's intriguing to analyse and tease apart the criteria for each trust.  This particular form asks for applicants to demonstrate a 'rehabilitative or therapeutic benefit' of the project, and has forced me to think more carefully about whether an education floor can be used not only to improve lives, but to turn a troubled life around.  I'd be fascinated to hear of anyone who has personal experience of this, or knows of any research on that subject.  Are there any limits to what we can…

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PROPOSE TO ME

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 3 July, 2012

It isn't something I often ask of people but I will start to say this very soon over the coming weeks. Give me a proposal. Not for marriage - not to last a lifetime- but for something exciting and thrilling that would last about 4 weeks and then you can move on. Make it interesting, make me laugh so much I might wet myself. Make me fall in love, make me cry so hard I can't stop. I would like to feel something deeply. If you think you can do that for me then talk to me - send me a proposal. It doesn't have to be in a Tiffany's box this time. No, I'd actually prefer it …

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VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 28 June, 2012

Whilst it's tough not directing a show for so long, working on a project like this is an immensely rewarding experience. The main thing is that every day is different. From meetings about architectural lighting design to conducting site tours, from emailing local artists to dealing with Gift Aid returns, there is no shortage of variety. To finish my day I ventured to Crouch End this very evening to attend a variety show. I love variety - it's the spice of life.

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CHANGING SPACES

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 27 June, 2012

Not long ago, Finsbury Park was one of London’s least inspiring green spaces, unloved during the day, and dangerous at night.  A recent grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has turned that around, and North London’s kite is really flying again.  It’s one of my favourite places in town, part orchard, part heath, depending which gate you enter through.  It has a boating pond, tennis courts, an outdoor gym and an athletics track.  You can play American Football, Baseball, or Softball (whatever that may be).  Did you know that you can run all the wa…

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MY ROUND UP

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 26 June, 2012

My week's round up big and small it covers all. After last Tuesday I had another bridesmaid dress fitting. Like the theatre it's starting to take shape and you can see how lovely it's going to be. Having something tailor made for you is such a wonderful experiece. It really gives you so much confidence because they design it to your particular look and shape. You don't have that horrible "if only I could squeeze into this, or if only I was a bit taller" moment. I've also had dance rehearsal and a dance show at the weekend. I was very pleased to get back on m…

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ASSOCIATE ARTISTS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 21 June, 2012

Amongst the discussions about air conditioning, the reviews of the steelwork and the sound of plumbers and electricians working on site, I'm always incredibly excited when I can sink my teeth into something more artsitic. Today is no exception as we are announcing our inaugural Associate Artist! So, with open arms, we welcome Mark Cameron to the Park Theatre family. It has always been such a pleasure having him as an ear, an eye and a sounding board. He has been a great support to me over the past few years and I am utterly thrilled that through his ro…

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FILING

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 20 June, 2012

We’ve recently had a series of meetings about different ways of storing, tagging and sharing files.  I know, I know, we really put the roll back into rock at Park Theatre, and why stop the fun before you get to data management.  Unsurprisingly we solved one of the great itches of modern technology, but just as Jez was placing the deposit on a tropical island with the projected profit from his solution, we discovered that a few other people had already invented the same wheel.  To whoever you are, and wherever your tropical island happens to be, we salute you. 

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THE SUN IS ALWAYS SHINING IN FINSBURY PARK

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 19 June, 2012

A beautiful day today with the sun shining and blue skies the site looked great all day in this weather. With all of our beautiful steel coming up you can not only really start to see the structure but you get the feel of reality setting in. I am very excited by not only steel but glass. I have a real fascination with glass and there are many reasons why. I have a very strong memory for my dreams - now this may seem like a non-sequitor but I assure you it isn't.  I have a collection of nearly a hundred dreams from childhood that I remember as strongly as real life mem…

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ALAN RICKMAN'S VISIT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 14 June, 2012

Every day on site now brings something new. The steelworkers constantly expand the giant mecano set that is the Park Theatre auditoria frame meanwhile, at the very top of the building, the electricians and plumbers race to finish off the flats. Intrigued by the goings on in N4 and lured in by the promise of a new theatre in this (cliche) "current economic climate", a number of high profile industry professionals continue to pop by…

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THIS IS ABOUT YOU

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 13 June, 2012

The Park Theatre Just Giving campaign begins now!  With an online hub and a text donation service it has never been easier to help us to transform the creative life of Finsbury Park. In fact, this marks the culmination of a spectacular few months, with grants coming in from trusts and funds, a thrilling charity auction and several ‘building site chic’ parties.  We continue to re…

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MEGA RED

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 12 June, 2012

I'm taking these little supplements called Mega Red. They are supposed to give you clarity of mind and maybe give you a bit of extra strength. I think that its working pretty well. I've got a good vision of what the building will look like. I've got a clear picture of who we are as a company. The main focus for me at the moment is on raising funds, awareness and curating the space. We are about to launch a just giving page - and we hope you'll spread the word and also donate a little something. It's very easy really. We are also working on our Autumn Gala -…

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UP NORTH

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 7 June, 2012

As our train pulled in to St Pancras station it was gone 1pm. The night at Sheffield's Novotel had been nothing more than fine; the slope to the mattress being countered only by a lie-in before the morning train. Andy, Melli and I had been on our first Park Theatre business trip - it wasn't hugely glamorous but neither was it intended to be. Proving successful on many fronts, not …

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CITIZENS

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 6 June, 2012

I had a great evening yesterday at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, one of the most beautiful spaces I know.  The theatre is comparable to Park in the relative deprivation of its surrounding area, and I was so happy to see a nearly full auditorium on a Tuesday night for two Beckett plays!

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BEHIND

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 31 May, 2012

So behind I've had to backdate this blog. Sorry to those avid followers who wondered what happened to Jez! It's been a hectic week and 'today' (the day this blog was supposed to be written) we had a fundraising dinner and auction - in aid of us and another charity 'Care for Casulaties'. The final figures aren't in yet but we reckon that we've made somwhere between £6,000 and £10,000 - not bad at all! Thanks to all those involved and to our wonderful Ambassador Tamzin Outhwaite for hosting the evening.

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UPDATE

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 30 May, 2012

I hope you won't notice any disruption, but over the next few days I'm going to be updating the backlog on this blog, moving the old posts from one server onto the other.  If there's a global technology meltdown this week, then I'm probably responsible.  On the plus side, it means that we will have every Park Theatre blog post in one place.

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NOT YET BUT SOON

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 29 May, 2012

We are getting there - not yet but soon. Steels, glass, materials all arriving into the building - that is opening, not yet but soon. We have proposals flying in - I'd love to meet with you all - not yet, but soon. A proper office to work out of - not yet but soon! Another tour for industry professionals - not yet, but soon. No one really likes to wait, but sometimes it is the waiting that makes the enjoyment just so delightfully good. The anticipation of waiting for it all - you almost break out into a sweat!  I said to Amy "I feel awful having to say to everyone yes I wan…

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PARTY TIME

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 24 May, 2012

It's not often that the majority of the team can convene in the same room at the same time - but this evening at The Groucho Club we had an almost 90% turnout of staff, trustees, ambassadors and other key Park players. It was a chance for many of the team to meet others for the first time - and an opportunity for us to reward the hard work done by the volunteers on board. As we sat in the dining room at Groucho new friendships were forged and exciting ideas discussed. Towards the end of the meal a cake was brought out and the room (including - on other tables - Ronnie Wood and R…

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DIRECTORS

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 23 May, 2012

I had a really enjoyable tour today with the directing students at Mountview, where this time last year I was worrying about what 2012 would hold.  It was great to meet the new directors, who are about to present a season of work at the Cockpit Theatre before finishing the MA and stepping out into the industry.  One of the things I love about my job is that no two tours are ever the same, and it's particularly exciting to show the site to a group whose careers will be beginning at the same time as our doors open.  I wonder what work we will see from the faces around th…

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NY & MY LOCAL NEIGHBOURHOOD

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 22 May, 2012

Having just come back from NY I'm faced with the most amazing London weather, which I seemed to have brought back with me from New York. I stayed in the Lower East Side at my lovely friends place and I loved it. The great thing about New York is the neighbourhood feeling. So many neighbourhoods really have a sense of pride in their area. I feel like this is exactly what we are getting in Finsbury Park and can't wait for our doors to open. Having people of the neighborhood pop in for a morning coffee, a last drink and a chat at the bar in the evening, seeing those familiar faces e…

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STRESS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 May, 2012

How does one manage stress? Breath deeply? Go to your 'happy place'? Remember to step back and put things into perspective? I have no trouble breathing, my happy place is the theatre and when I step back to put things into perspective I see a huge building, a £2.2 million budget and the possibility of mistakes that could be costly. Oh - and I'm a control freak. Does that make it better or worse, I wonder? Well of course it makes the stress worse - I care about everything so deeply it's all consuming; but the outcome better - that very care means atte…

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GAME CHANGER

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 16 May, 2012

Every now and again, a piece of theatre comes along that changes the scope of the work that follows it.  It's been an interesting week, as London is currently hosting the first revival of a major game changer: Einstein on the Beach.  The production has divided the critics and brought shame on the Jagger family, but it seems unlikely to have the same impact on practitioners as it did when it was first performed.  But it's not the only show in town that has sparked vigorous debate.  At the other end of London, the Lyric has excited the wrath of the Da…

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SMALL WONDER

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 15 May, 2012

Delaware is known as a place that is a tax free state. The Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, is from Delaware. Many companies have their official home in Delaware, yeah for tax reasons. It's a small state with beautiful beaches, a big shopping mall, lots of highways, some serious suburbs that really aren't so suburban anymore, and a yearly flower market at Mother's Day in Rockford Park - to name but a few little Delaware tidbits. The most special thing about Delaware however is that it is the current home to my darling nephew Henry James. He is the now newest ad…

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THE MAVERICKS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 10 May, 2012

"You're such a Maverick, Jez" said Sean Mathias on the phone this morning. I could sense the glint in his eye, the slight grin and hear the pride in his voice. Like all our Ambassadors, Sean, one of the most respected directors in the industry worldwide, is a close part of the Park Theatre family. It's important that the whole team support everything we do and his line was a response to my telling him of our decision to hire Andrew Fishwick. Like all of us, he believes that everybody deserves a second chance - and that great opportunities now lie ahead... A y…

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BALANCE

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 9 May, 2012

I have had several discussions with directors over the last few days about the role of obsession and dedication in any creative career.  Are the people who succeed invariably those who give every waking moment to their art, or is it the people who can stand back from their work and find balance in their lives who eventually triumph?  It’s a thorny issue, as there are always more people to meet, more shows to see and more forms to fill in.  Or perhaps the very idea of balance is laughable?

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HEAD GAME

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 8 May, 2012

Luckily I took a typing class when I was in high school. I also spent time working at a high profile bank when I was 17. I hated that - but let's not get into that now. Anyway,  I'm pretty fast at my typing which is very useful as I'm the secretary for our Board meetings. Furiously typing conversation so that I don't lose the thread when decisions are made, my only way of keeping up is to record the lot! I also used to read insanely fast. At university I spent one day reading 2 novels and wrote papers on them both Lady Audley's Secret and Sense and Sensibility. T…

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MY TASTE IN THEATRE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 3 May, 2012

Further to Charlie's comments yesterday, I must protest. I do not, as my cheeky assistant pointed out, favour shows that run without an interval. It depends entirley on the circumstance. So here are some thoughts on intervals: - If a production has a running time of more than 95 minutes, it should have an interval - If a production has a running time of less than 80 minutes, it should not have an interval - If a production is of a traditional three act play, it should generally be split into two halves and retain one, not two, intervals - T…

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INTERVALS

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 2 May, 2012

Jez and I were at the theatre last night, seeing a very good revival of Someone Who'll Watch Over Me.  It's an unusual play because it has a very long first half (about an hour and twenty minutes).  Jez likes short productions that run through without an interval, whereas I am blessed with the bladder of a five year old girl and the thirst of a sailor.  Imagine my horror when I heard that Einstein on the Beach, playing at the Barbican this week, lasts six hours with no interval.  It's the theatrical equivalent of a hosepipe ban, and I was worried that this…

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LITTLE AMERICANA

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 1 May, 2012

So this time next week I'll be packing for NYC. I've been focusing so much on my day to day work that I realised time is running out to plan for the big apple. Things work a bit differently in New York and I'm pleased (as an American British woman) to have brought over a little slice of North America that is currently available for all you Londoners. That slice of Americana is Transmission - which I have co-founded with actress Ursula Campbell - also North American (Canadian to be  more specific). Transmission is a workshop for professional London actors to drop in and j…

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GOOD MORALE

by Melli Bond

Thursday, 26 April, 2012

This weather's not helping with the wellbeing of all on site. Yesterday the contractors working on the external cladding had to stop work early - despite soldiering on through the rain, the bonding material they were applying to the walls became useless. Even deep inside the building workers are suffering from wet and damp conditions - as, not having a roof to the rear building, water seems to penetrate every level. Once it stops raining upstairs, it starts to drip downstairs. It will be a very different story once the roof goes on. One can sense the frustration of the project manage…

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PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 25 April, 2012

It seemed like an easy week when I opened the diary on Monday morning.  A few spare mornings to pursue forgotten links for Park Theatre, send a couple of emails and plough on with some research.  Two telephone conversations changed this quite suddenly.  The first informed me that a principal actor in the play I've directed has had a medical emergency and will be unable to perform.  The second was an urgent call for help from a big project that needed a director who could start immediately.  Suddenly my free time has been punched out of the diary, and there…

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DOGS IN THE PARK DO ALL SORTS OF STUFF

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 24 April, 2012

One burst of sunshine makes you forget the rain. Running faster makes the rain insignificant. Each day provides its own little challenge. A baby not allowed in a pub was today's challenge. Did you know that this isn't a legal thing - it is actually at the owner's discretion to allow or not allow a baby into the pub. This is the same thing for dogs. It is only illegal to have a dog in an area where food is being prepared - i.e. the kitchen. So when an owner of a pub says to you it is a legal thing, or a licensing thing, you will know that isn't the case with European law. …

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QUESTIONS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 19 April, 2012

Questions can tell us so much about a person. They can tell you whether someone is happy or whether they are sad, they can inform you as to whether the asker has been listening to what you have been saying or simply been waiting to voice their question, they can give you a great insight into people's dreams and desires. Questions are one of my favourite parts of a site tour - perhaps because I do 99% of the talking and by the end am thristy for someone else to speak. Some groups ask many questions, some ask few, some ask none at all. This job is always about people and communication …

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APPRAISALS

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 18 April, 2012

My last blog here was about feedback after a specific project, but a lot of this week has been dedicated to feedback on performance in general.  It's been a week of wild hilarity, researching various appraisal formats through which I can communicate to Jez what he already knows: that I am bad at drawing up appraisal documents.  Who said bureaucracy wasn't useful? I am about to be the guinea pig for our new system, which will be the first formal appraisal that Jez has conducted.  The document has asked me to assess my personal appearance, which can only b…

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THE ALL SEEING ALL DANCING LIVE MALE SHOW

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 17 April, 2012

Ok not really, but after reading lots of plays about women and finding some great stuff and not being uber keen on more male stuff, I am however a fan of a new play with an all male cast. It's an American play and it's hilarious! When I was reading it I was able to cast it very easily in my mind's eye using American guys that live right here in London - ones who I know are very good. I don't want to get their hopes up or anyone's hopes up so I won't say what it's called or who the writer is or the actors I like but I wanted to share the great feeling …

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FACE TO FACE WITH THE FAMILY

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 12 April, 2012

Since being away in Sweden we had not yet had an entire family meeting - as in all members of the team. Well, suffice to say that (with one exception) we were a full house at 10am this morning. A three hour meeting followed by lunch ensued. It was extremely useful to have everyone in the same room - that's probably a really obvious thing to say but as we don't yet have an office, and we're all working from home, cafes and the building site, it's a rare luxury that feels good! How important though - despite the amazing opportunities of the internet and telephone, for some …

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FEEDBACK

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 11 April, 2012

I did a workshop about a year ago with Jon from Unlimited, a company that was started from scratch by a group of graduate friends, and has since emerged as one of ACE's Portfolio jewels.  One of the many excellent pieces of advice that he offered us was to have a reflective session with the company a couple of weeks after the final performance of a production.  The aim of the meeting: to identify what went well, and what could have been done better. A production of mine had its final performance on Saturday; by fringe standards we had had a successful run, and ea…

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FORMALITIES

by brackets digital

Tuesday, 10 April, 2012

We are just putting the finishing touches to our Social Media Policy, which will determine how we use Twitter and Facebook, and indeed this blog, to share what we're up to and what we're excited about.  We're trying to strike a balance between the personal and the professional, giving a sense not just of what Park Theatre is, but who we are and what makes us tick.  You'll see a few changes over the next few weeks as the Twitter account comes to terms with multiple users, all of whom will be sharing bits and bobs under their own names.  As usual, we'd lo…

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NEW VOICES

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 5 April, 2012

I remember writing a blog more than a year or so ago about being so busy that I needed an assistant and too busy to have the time to interview one. That same catch 22 (is that the right phrase in this context... kind of) applied today. I had been too busy to organise a full Park Family meeting (and the whole team extremely busy that the coordination proved to be no easy feat) yet one was desperately needed in order to deal with the many items which had recently arisen. You'll start to see some big changes both on site and off now. On the website, for example, our blog will…

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COFFEE

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 4 April, 2012

Yesterday we began the first, and in my humble opinion the most important, discussion about the café / wine bar.  We wanted to know what brand of coffee you want to drink in Park Theatre.   If you're interested, there were multiple votes for Illy and Square Mile, a solitary vote for Starbucks and a small army of Monmouth fans fighting their corner.  This was music to my ears, as I first started petitioning to Jez and Melli on behalf of Monmouth on the day I joined the Park Theatre family.  Whichever brand emerges as the winner, you can be sure that a lot of…

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NOISES OFF

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 3 April, 2012

What a great evening. I have just returned from the West End press night of 'Noises Off'. Having transferred from the Old Vic, where it got great reviews, it is now playing (with nearly all of the same cast) at the Novello Theatre. I enjoyed it tremendously and, accompanied by the wonderfully ever upbeat and funny Mark Cameron (good qualities considering he's co-writing the annual Christmas panto with me) we headed to the Savoy for the after-party. Great drinks and nibbles, great company and great music. Lovely to chat to our first Ambassador Celia Imrie, fresh from her fabul…

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ENGAGEMENT

by brackets digital

Thursday, 29 March, 2012

As we hop nimbly from the architect's plan to the opening season, we are increasingly thinking about how we can engage with our audience.  As a theatre without a history, we have the pleasure of seeking out an entirely new audience, including, we hope, some people who will never have been to the theatre before.  Dave Hughes has designed a beautiful facade with  large panes of glass to attract people in from Clifton Terrace, but we are aware that it may take more than that to draw a diverse and curious crowd.  How can we overcome the stigma of theatre as a boring a…

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CONSTRUCTION

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 28 March, 2012

I had an unsettling experience earlier in the week, when a sizeable chunk of one of London's leading theatres was dislodged by the foot of an audience member in the gallery.  I say chunk because the piece was hard to describe: it was about two feet long and a foot wide, and was basically a metal sheet which had been coated in carpet.  It fell about ten feet and, to the horror of everyone in the auditorium, landed on the head of an audience member in the circle below.  There was enough blood for the whole thing to be quite frightening, but I believe the audience member …

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PLAYS ARE LIKE BABIES

by brackets digital

Tuesday, 27 March, 2012

My first play, What You Do To People, turned my life upside down.  The first draft was written half an hour at a time, every night as soon as my two toddlers were asleep.  No time to look over what I’d written the night before; some nights it all just spilled out, other nights I just had to force myself to write something, anything, continuously for those thirty minutes until, some months later, I eventually had a document.  Something with a beginning, a middle of sorts, and an end.  Lots of holes and not much sense, but i…

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SO MANY GOOD THINGS

by brackets digital

Thursday, 22 March, 2012

The last few weeks since I began as Melli’s assistant have been a huge and enjoyable learning curve and an abundance of new experiences. From meeting a lot of passionate and interesting people to working those fundraising parties for that all important money for the education floor.  And,  the trials and tribulations of occasionally being on a building site. Amongst many aspects, we all look very special in those hard hats and heavy boots - building-site chic is where it’s at! Another great thing is the opportunity to see so much new work as we r…

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TOWARDS A FEMALE FRIENDLY THEATRE

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 21 March, 2012

One of the exciting developments on site this week is the appearance of wall structures for the dressing rooms and toilets.  As anyone who has been on a tour will know, we have more ladies’ toilets than gents’, for which we expect a loud round of applause.  Unfortunately I lack the basic credentials for accessing ladies’ toilets, but I’ve walked apologetically past enough queues of women to know how important this is. When I shared this information with Twitter on Monday, I described Park Theatre as ‘female friendly’.  Not, I …

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THE RIBBON DANCE

by brackets digital

Tuesday, 20 March, 2012

  Now...Im not qualifying any of my praise for Pitchfork Disney but after my blog last night, I did begin to think about Matilda in greater detail...or rather...I thought about Miss Trunchbull’s ribbon dance. This was for me, the highlight of the show... and the subject of  much post- show-pub discussion, with the man himself. Bertie Carvel is a friend of Park Theatre, (he worked with Melli and our Ambassador, David Horovitch on a radio play a few years back) and his unbelievable performance in Matilda has been the stand-out, break through, tour de f…

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THE PARK LADIES

by Melli Bond

Thursday, 15 March, 2012

This blog is dedicated to the wonderful women of Park Theatre: We've had a brilliant fundraising season and we could not have done this without the blood sweat and dedication of the sisters of Park. Annabel Topham Director of Development, who has worked on our all our fundraising, has proudly brought us to the halfway mark of raising £200,000!  Amy Lumsden, my amazing assistant, has taken on the mammoth task of coordinating our industry tours and been a massive support to me. Nouska Hanly, Press and PR manager, has taken…

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APPLICATIONS GALORE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 14 March, 2012

Just finished writing another funding application. It's amazing the difference in what different trusts and foundations ask for. Some ask for a two page document, no longer or it will not be read. Others for reams of material. Others ask for a small amount at the first stage and then more and more as time goes on. I liked this one though - it was fairly detailed for a first stage, but in a way I preffered that. Sometimes you wonder how on earth you can fit everything into just two pages. Fingers crossed, off in the post tomorrow, and a few more to send in the next few days before our…

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AGENTS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 13 March, 2012

A great day today that started with a presentation to the literary and creatives agents at United. Melli and I chatted away in the plush board room at their offices on Lexington Street, showing them images of the building and discussing artistic and literary policies. It's great to share our plans with some of the biggest names in the agency world - and Rachel, StJohn's assistant, is now going to set up another presentation with the acting agents their (two very separate departments as we learnt). This evening Leah Schmidt, co-founder of The Agency, and soon to be boar…

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EVERYTHING MUST GO!

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 8 March, 2012

It was Chris McGill's party on site tonight with a lovely bunch of people - mainly local. We've enlisted plenty more people to sign the wall - the new campaign we launched a few days ago. We had more enquiries about toilets, and the possibility of a corporate sponsor for the bar. Meanwhile someone from the previous party has bought the staircase up the Education Floor. Just have to think how to design all this so there aren't plaques on every light switch and tap! 

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LORD ARCHER

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 7 March, 2012

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly our afternoon meeting with Lord Jeffrey Archer at his riverside penthouse - often remarked on as the best view in London (I would agree). Lord Archer has kindly agreed to be the auctioneer for a gala dinner and auction that we are organising. The date is soon to be confirmed - as is a high profile compere for the evening. Having Lord Archer is already a great start and as the grey skies cleared over the houses of parliament we left feeling excited and inspired about what we could achieve. Much more on this anon....

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OVERLOAD

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 6 March, 2012

Following a meeting with the structural engineer in the early afternoon, we were told that the loading requirements for an education space use were far more stringent than for residential apartments. As such, unless we want a restriction on numbers we may have to install more steel. Slightly odd of course as one can only physically fit less than a hundred on that floor - and two flats could easily host a party for fifty people on the same Saturday night. So what does this actually mean? At what stage does the integrity of the building get compromised - and it... well...fall down?

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BENEFACTORS, BUGHES AND BUDDIES

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 1 March, 2012

There are many people without whom this entire project would not be possible, but the most important is our major donor. It’s incredibly rare for a benefactor to be so gracious in their giving and devoid of any ulterior motives. The result, for us, is a dream come true – the opportunity to “get on with it”: to build a theatre that is led by the artist and not by committee. This continued confidence in us gives me strength every day – but, as the saying goes, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. The £2.2m project costs a…

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PARK FAMILY PARTY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 29 February, 2012

A lovely evening on site yesterday, the Park Family party was a chance for Melli, Annabel and I to invite people to the site as many of our trustees and ambassadors had done. We had the largest turn out to date - about thirty people - and it was good to see that we could deal with the numbers. Melli and I each led a tour staggered just a couple of minutes apart and this worked very well. We were pledged some great donations on the night and emails with pledges and promises of cheques are still coming in. Thanks to all our fabulous and supportive friends! I can't wait to throw more pa…

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FRIED!

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 28 February, 2012

Amazing. What a wonderful feeling! On Friday I wrote, in the blog, about how I had just hosted a tour and meeting with The Garfield Weston Foundation - and how they asked for more information. I didn't write a long blog that night as I had to work on all that over the weekend - I had, as I put it, "bigger fish to fry". Well at one minute to midnight on Sunday night I emailed through the amended business plan, additional figures and supporting statements to the grants officer and at a little after four thirty today I received a phone call to say that we have been awardd &pou…

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ABIGAIL'S PARTY

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 23 February, 2012

It was a remarkably warm afternoon as the Park team set up for another fundraising drinks party on site – a happy contrast to the previous party hosted in minus one degree weather. Today the host was our ambassador, David Horovitch – fresh from his recent trip to India; a much needed break after a nine month stint at the National Theatre. David’s guests included writer/director Mike Leigh along with actors David Warner, Phil Davis, Sharon Small and others. The party was a great success, Mike was enthused about the space and had many questions. He had lived extremely clo…

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THE CLOCK IS TICKING

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 22 February, 2012

  As each hour passes by we grow closer to D-day, the day of the biggest decision this year – to build or not to build (the education floor I mean). We’re getting more money on almost a daily basis. I go to sleep at night and just can’t picture us not doing it. That’s positive energy and that helps; but what helps most is actual hard cash… so on we soldier doing all we can to spread the word and reach more people who can help us.

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THE KINDNESS OF FRIENDS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 21 February, 2012

I remember many months ago writing a blog entitled The Kindness of Strangers. For those not familiar with A Streetcar Named Desire, I should tell you that therein lies the reference. Today's blog, however, takes a different stance - as it seems that many of the strangers of yester-month are the friends of today... Since occupying the building some two years ago our presence in the community has been increasing - both quickly and confidently. It has been a pleasure to begin relationships with so many people, relationships that have started out from a tiny …

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A 'POLITE NOTE'

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 16 February, 2012

For some reason, no matter how clear we think we are, we seem to be with inundated with people trying to “drop in” for either a tour a coffee or both. Now, to be clear:–  - We do not work from the site office most days; we usually work from home. - We do not currently live near the theatre. - No-one is permitted on the building site without an official appointment for reasons of health and safety. - We have arranged and are continuing to arrange various group tours for both the industry and local residents.…

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THE ARTISTRY OF GIVING

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 15 February, 2012

Very touched today by an incredibly generous donation. Not just a large amount but a wondefully clever amount too. Just over two thousand pounds - in fact twelve pounds more. £2,012. Get it! I challenge the next donor to come up with something equally as profound! Many thanks to you, dear Friend, and to all our wonderful supporters to date.  And hey, it's an early night. 11.15pm and I'm about to finish the blog and watch a few minutes of TV. Trumpet fanfare please.... ba ba ba baaaaaaaa! (actually when it's written that looks more like a sheep). 

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SHMALENTINE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 14 February, 2012

"Ah Valentine Shmalentine!" he says, the Scrooge of the Romance world. No time for flowers when you're building a theatre. Actually I did manage the flowers, but it's nearly midnight and once more the Bond workstation is busy through the night. I'm really excited to have the fantastic video we made with Sir Ian McKellen, Tamzin Outhwaite and Celia Imrie up on the website. Lots of positive feedback and some more donations starting to come in. For those enjoying their valentine's evening and wanting to reward their loved one with something mo…

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AND AGAIN...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 9 February, 2012

Sorry to delay but again no time for the clever blog. It's gone midnight and I've just finsihed a one hour phone meeting (great to know that someone else also works late hours). Up at 8am again to start another hectic day...

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THE LURE OF THE BED...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 8 February, 2012

So much to say today, an amazing day in fact. But too important to ruin it all by exhaustedly blogging now as the lure of bed is too strong. I've been feeling increasingly unwell and run down, my eyes are sore and my head is throbbing. These final few words then to bed and tomorrow another rather epic day... hopefully some more energy, at that point, to share the excitement of the last 24 hours with you all.... 

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STARTING WITH A BLANK SLATE

by brackets digital

Tuesday, 7 February, 2012

One of the delights of building a theatre is working from a blank slate.  Unlike most capital theatre projects, Park Theatre will not house a company with a previous history: there is no audience to keep and no style to accommodate.  Clearly the choice of site influences the size and shape of the auditoria, but at every turn there are small decisions that will affect the Park Theatre experience for actors and audience alike.  Many of the decisions are practical, but I've found the last few months creatively stimulating in various exciting ways.  When yo…

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LOTS TO COME

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 2 February, 2012

I’ve had a long day today. I’ve travelled from West to North to South to North to West but it’s all been worth it. Dave and I saw the new Bush building earlier – and Steve Tompkins has done a terrific job with the design. It’s not quite finished yet though - they have plans to refurbish and convert other currently back of house spaces into public areas. As for my own wonderful architect, my dream-maker, my Horatio – he’s come up with a potential change to the back of house that reminds me why I love him so. We simply never stop refining, tweaking…

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WHO YOU KNOW

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 1 February, 2012

There's a great deal of truth in the famous expression 'it's not what you know, it's who you know' . In the theatre industry we often thrive on this; people take cautious steps to appease the people positioned to give them a step up and would make little apology for getting the job through a friend or family member. Of course it's all very well when you're one of those who know people, but for those on the other side of the fence - those, for example, starting out or not in the 'it crowd' it's incredibly frustrating and, let's face it, downrigh…

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VISION

by brackets digital

Tuesday, 31 January, 2012

What's your vision? It's the big directing question, perhaps the big question for leaders of every stripe.  We want reassurance that the person we're following knows where the gold is, and has the map to find it.  'Look at this lovely map', the leader says.  'Here we see the pot of gold, and look - here is the rainbow that will lead us to it.'  In the context of theatre, I find the notion of 'vision' very problematic, but it's at the core of everything Jez and Melli are doing at the moment.  Because Jordan is a b…

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WE MADE IT TO 1,000

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 26 January, 2012

Congratulations to the team - and all our faithful followers. Thanks to loads of great tweets and retweets and Friday Follows we made it past 1,000 followers this morning. In fact on Friday we were ranked number 6 in the UK for Friday Follows! That's pretty good going. Plus another 90 or so poured in just in the last few hours thanks to some new tweeters on the case! 

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MUST FILM

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

So much to do and so little time (so many times have I said that). Desperately need to go to site with the video camera and make a record of the fast changes to the upper floors. The joists are in and in a couple of weeks the framing system that forms the walls goes on. We'll be watertight in the front building before we know it! 

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JUSTICE FOR A MOVING NIGHT

by Melli Bond

Tuesday, 24 January, 2012

The credits for evening's show gave us many reasons to attend - familiar director, producer, actor and venue; and whilst some might think we would be biased in terms of expectation and enjoyment I can assure you I am very open equally to take each show on its own merit. And so tonight we saw 'Execution of Justice' at the Southwark playhouse. A well done piece of theatre - Joss Bennathan directed this large cast and gave, essentially a court room drama a very punchy and well paced delivery. I'm pleased to say I wasn't put off by the accents - as often happen…

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MANIC THURSDAYS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 19 January, 2012

Meetings on site, meetings off site Meeting with a prospective new board member, meeting with some more local actors Meetings on the ground floor, meetings on the roof Just another manic Thursday.

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EVENING STANDARD

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 18 January, 2012

An exciting few weeks...! Following our first fundraising party hosted by Sean Mathias and attended by Sir Ian Mc Kellen, Rupert Everett, Matthew Kelly, Michael Pennington and David Parfitt, the Evening Standard has published an exclusive on Park Theatre, published in

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INTERVIEWS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 17 January, 2012

I was interviewed by The Evening Standard today, they are writing a story which will go into tomorrow's paper. I have also been approached by a magainze who want to do an article. Nouska Hanly, our Associate, has been really fantastic in getting the word out to the press following last week's fundraising party. Loads more to do today, watch this space...!

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LONG LUNCH

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 12 January, 2012

A lovely long lunch at the Soho Hotel today. The food was delicious and Simon and Brendan from the aptly named Feast - who treated us to this meal - were excellent company. I fondly remember the chocolate mousse with passion fruit coulis and honeycomb crumble, after which I could eat no more! That's not the whole day but a great portion of it - which is unusual, as time-wise lunch is a luxury we can't often afford.

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PARTY NUMBER ONE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 11 January, 2012

  Hosted by our fabulous Ambassador, Sean Mathias, a dozen industry professionals gathered on site for a glass of wine and a tour this evening. The afternoon had been spent preparing the top floor of the site, clearing, tidying, setting up tables and sofas, softening the lighting, applying some fragrances, candles and arty touches all of which combined turned building site reek into building site chic. And so at 6.30pm on the rooftop of a former Finsbury Park office block gathered some of the finest performers, directors and producers including Sir Ian McKellen…

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DIFFERENT WORLDS

by Melli Bond

Thursday, 5 January, 2012

After a morning working my day job I went to work... to my other day job. I'm an actress a well as creative director for PARK and today was a fun acting day! December saw me playing (amongst other things) a Latin American character speaking Spanish speaking (yes I am bilingual) and some very fun health and safety issues on location. Now I understand David Cameron's urge to rid the UK of extraneous health and safety! But today from the safety of the studio I was hurled up into the air, kissed a sexy guy, drank some crazy potions and got thrown out of an exclusive club onto my ass …

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BEING SCOTTISH

by brackets digital

Wednesday, 4 January, 2012

One of the recurring problems of being Scottish is that I've never learnt the rain dance.  In balance it's probably a good thing, as my dancing is easily mistaken for a crude and unpredictable form of primordial warfare.  A rain dance from me would most likely induce a climate catastrophe that would make even The Weather Girls blush.  Which is why I have decided to launch an appeal to all of our supporters to slip on their meteorological dancing shoes and help us shape the weather.  Next Tuesday is our first on-site fundraising party, and as Jordan has failed …

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DEVELOPMENT PACKS ARRIVE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 3 January, 2012

The development packs arrived in the post today and look great! It's taken a long time to get here, through tweaks, tweaks and more tweaks. But it's important to get everything just right - and we have. Time to start getting them out there now - through parties, through ambassadors, through trustees, through people in the local community. If any readers fancy picking up a few and distributing to their friends, colleagues and neighbours that would be wonderful. Please get in touch...

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REFER TO YESTERDAY!

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 29 December, 2011

I have been instructed to stay in bed and off the computer!

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BY ORDER OF THE MANAGEMENT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 28 December, 2011

I have been instructed to stay in bed and off the computer!

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OOPS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 27 December, 2011

Never go out when you are only just starting to get better, you'll only get ill again!

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CHRISTMAS IS COMING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 22 December, 2011

So much to do, so little time. Christmas is coming, email responses from people are slowing down and most people aren't picking up the phones. Dave and I are still battling on with loads to do. On site the substation walls are nearly complete. Soon we'll forget we ever had that space - which will be a good thing to get used to! Desperately cold outside now. The wind is picking up and with our roof off, the wet weather is most unwelcome. Tomorrow's the last day on site then then work will resume on the 3rd January. Here, however, in the warmth of my flat, work continues as eve…

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PUPPETS COME TO LIFE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 21 December, 2011

A day of meetings, some at home, some on site and some out in Soho. I showed Sam West the building and he was very excited by the project. I hope he may be able to give us some time and get involved - he lives locally so that's a plus. In the evening we went to the first show in a long time to which we bought a ticket (rather than being invited). It was War Horse. A truly magical experience for the life-like puppets of the horses (and a star appearance from a goose!) After a short time one ceased to see the puppeteers (who were superb not just at the movements but…

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GROWING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 20 December, 2011

Today our Chairman and I met three new board members, who will officially voted on at our January board meeting. It's very exciting as the diversity of skills and experience is now really fantastic. On site the floor joists for the fourth floor are halfway complete and the new floors are visible from the pavement. We're growing in the right direction. In the evening a fun play at the White Bear - where I seem to be becoming quite a regular!

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KEEPING THE FORCE STRONG

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 15 December, 2011

'm starting to feel the inevitable slow down of productivity from certain quarters as Christmas sets in. It's the usual combination of a rush of last minute requests and, in certain cases, a 'winding down for the holidays' mentality. However at ground control, despite illness, the force is still strong amongst the Park Jedi. Annabel was a real (storm)trooper earlier as, dosed up with drugs but coughing none the less, she braved a one hour Skype meeting. I'm not quite sure where this random Star Wars theme has come from - I'm not even a major fan of the …

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THE TEAM GROWS...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 14 December, 2011

We have two new board members - but I won't announce them until they are official. We have a great quote from Nick Kent (Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre) who came round site today: “Park Theatre is an incredibly exciting new theatre in an area of London not well-served by the Arts. The new building promises to be very popular with local people, and to be a landmark destination for all Londoners.” Nicolas Kent, Artistic Director, Tricycle Theatre We're starting our fundraising parties in the new year …

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GOOD DAY

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 13 December, 2011

Lots of meetings and lots of things bubbling away that are starting to come to the boil. Amazingly it was the first day that I felt 'wow, I'm not behind with emails etc' - yes, I know, always a bad sign; it usally means that a storm is brewing.

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SITE SPECIFIC

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 8 December, 2011

A site specific promenade show in Shoreditch Town Hall today, with my friend Hugh Ross playing a simply awful human being. He's lovely in real life, honest! We walked from room to room, with action happening continually around us and the atmosphere was dark and intriguing. As we were finally ejected onto the pavement at the back of the building nobody quite knew whether the show was really over or not. Tomorrow it's on to safer pastures - where one can sit in a theatre seat and watch a show from the comfort of the shadows!  

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CREATIVE ISLINGTON

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 7 December, 2011

We had a successful networking event this evening, hosted by our lovely neighbours John Jones. 25 or so people came on a site tour of the theatre (whilst a similar number attended a tour of John Jones - well worth the visit by the way) and then around 90 people convened in John Jones' gallery space for wine, talks and a short extract from the play that our writer in residence Sarah Rutherford has been working on. The evening was attended by some key figures from the council including the Major, Phil Kelly (a local ward councillor), Paul Convery, the Executive Member for Leisure and R…

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NAUGHTY

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 6 December, 2011

I didn't write a blog today. For the first time in.... over a year.... ever?..... oh dear... so much to do! 

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BIRTHS, DEATHS & MARRIAGES

by brackets digital

Thursday, 1 December, 2011

I enjoy a good switchboard as much as the next man: the automated selection system and synthesised Wagner are enough to brighten up any winter morning, and this is particularly the case with a local government hot line.  I sometimes detect a certain wariness when I get through to an operator, almost as if I might be calling the council because I want something from them.  I do, and so the game is to make me somebody else's problem.  Each call is like a little tour of their extension list.  'You'll want to speak to Gary', I'm told, but unfortunately…

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101 DALMEMAILS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 30 November, 2011

At 2pm this afternoon I counted the emails that had been pouring in since 8.30am. Over 70 - and, amazingly, I had just about been keeping on top of them. By 6pm it was over 100. It's always like that on days in between tours, the buzz seems to be superstrong and traffic starts to pile up on the information highway. It's hectic, but at the same time fun - knowing that we are sparking such interest. Melli said that over the course of the day she received proposals from theatre companies throughout the UK, Australia and... Utah! It's gone 10pm now and we've just f…

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NEW AMBASSADOR

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 29 November, 2011

A busy day on site today - with two industry tours and two local residents tours and meetings in between. The result of the lunchtime tour was a long chat, over 'breakfast', with director Sean Mathias - who, we're very excited to announce, joins Celia Imrie and Roger Lloyd Pack as an Ambassador for Park Theatre. Sean and I are meeting to chat about the way forward in the next week or so. So more on this anon.... Suffice to say there are some exciting opportunities for us all!

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MORE TOURS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 24 November, 2011

Whoah. I'm getting exhausted from these site tours - but, at the same time, it's great fun. Between the morning and afternoon sessions we showed round another 40 people today. Fun to point to the bay window which now proudly sits there in steel awaiting its floor and glazing. 

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YOUNG VIC DIRECTORS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 23 November, 2011

Today we did a workshop for a group of 25 Young Vic Directors in Short Street (opposite the Young Vic). Following our many site tours (more tomorrow) it was a refreshing change to present our plans in a different space and context. Here we delivered a workshop looking - in a similar way to the transmission workshop I ran a few weeks back - at the changing styles of theatre and auditoria forms over the years. We concluded that there is a need for an extremely intimate theatre now... enter Park Theatre (and our presentation).

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OFFICE PARTY

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 November, 2011

If you’re expecting a night out sitting in an auditorium watching a play on stage and you’re not able to adapt your expectations then Office Party at the Pleasance just isn’t for you. If, however, you fancy a non-traditional theatrical experience, a few drinks, some laughs and perhaps the opportunity to make some friends then this is just the ticket! I won’t give it away for those who haven’t seen it but suffice to say it’s enormous fun, full of surprises and I highly recommend it.

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OFFICE PARTY

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 November, 2011

 If you’re expecting a night out sitting in an auditorium watching a play on stage and you’re not able to adapt your expectations then Office Party at the Pleasance just isn’t for you. If, however, you fancy a non-traditional theatrical experience, a few drinks, some laughs and perhaps the opportunity to make some friends then this is just the ticket! I won’t give it away for those who haven’t seen it but suffice to say it’s enormous fun, full of surprises and I highly recommend it. Great to see two known faces in the ‘show’…

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BIT BY BIT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 16 November, 2011

Bit by bit today things have been getting closer to the finish line.On site I witnessed the fitting of some of the steel that had been delivered by the crane yesterday. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle it’s all starting to take shape. The hoarding at the front has received its first coat of red and a new ramp has been erected inside, to take the new steels up half a storey to the back of the building on the upper ground floor.

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BIT BY BIT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 16 November, 2011

Bit by bit today things have been getting closer to the finish line. On site I witnessed the fitting of some of the steel that had been delivered by the crane yesterday. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle it’s all starting to take shape. The hoarding at the front has received its first coat of red and a new ramp has been erected inside, to take the new steels up half a storey to the back of the building on the upper ground floor. We had a good meeting with Charles from Hall Stage and started to chat about how and when we would go about the install of his kit – t…

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THE CRANE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 November, 2011

The road was closed and the crane arrived…. Wow! Sadly I did not make it to site today, with so much happening ‘back at the base’. Such a shame as I would have liked to video some of the manoeuvres. At least Jordan kindly emailed through some pictures.

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THE CRANE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 November, 2011

The road was closed and the crane arrived…. Wow! Sadly I did not make it to site today, with so much happening ‘back at the base’. Such a shame as I would have liked to video some of the manoeuvres. At least Jordan kindly emailed through some pictures. The crane delivered the largest steels to the front of the building. It also delivered the steels for the cantilevered bay window which have been installed. It’s great to see some of these large elements take shape. I’m on site tomorrow in meetings for most of the day – and look fo…

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THE CRANE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 November, 2011

The road was closed and the crane arrived…. Wow! Sadly I did not make it to site today, with so much happening ‘back at the base’. Such a shame as I would have liked to video some of the manoeuvres. At least Jordan kindly emailed through some pictures. The crane delivered the largest steels to the front of the building. It also delivered the steels for the cantilevered bay window which have been installed. It’s great to see some of these large elements take shape. I’m on site tomorrow in meetings for most of the day – and look fo…

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SEASON KITCHEN

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 10 November, 2011

This evening four of us went to Season Kitchen for, shamefully, the first time. The restaurant opened earlier this year and, judging by reviews online and by the fact that it was full tonight (luckily we had booked), seems to be doing incredibly well. And so it should be – the food was delicious, the service was great, the atmosphere was just right and the bill was very reasonable (we could have well spent double in a lesser restaurant in the centre of town. A great little find – I shall certainly be spreading the word.

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SEASON KITCHEN

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 10 November, 2011

This evening four of us went to Season Kitchen for, shamefully, the first time. The restaurant opened earlier this year and, judging by reviews online and by the fact that it was full tonight (luckily we had booked), seems to be doing incredibly well. And so it should be – the food was delicious, the service was great, the atmosphere was just right and the bill was very reasonable (we could have well spent double in a lesser restaurant in the centre of town. A great little find – I shall certainly be spreading the word. If it wasn’t for all that delicious Pro…

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VAT DOESN\'T HAVE TO BE BORING!

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 9 November, 2011

What a great night! It was the annual fundraiser for the Charity Finance Directors’ Group and I was kindly invited by SOC VAT, our VAT consultants. Socrates, who runs the company, is that rare thing – a true expert and someone who can translate complex matters into layman’s terms. If ever anyone needs VAT advice – he specialises in Charities and has some great theatres on his books – then he is your man. Check them out: www.socvat.com Tom, his colleague, who runs a firm that provides business advice – and again has an impressive c…

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OTHELLO

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 8 November, 2011

Been working with Charlie for the most part today. Excited to have him on board. Now he has loads to do – and is making good headway! We saw a very good production of Othello tonight – very pleased we went. Great performance from Iago. Short blog as tired and still so much work to do (yes typical I know). More tomorrow…

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FLATS FOR SALE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 3 November, 2011

We’ve just put our flats on the market today – not through an estate agent but through personal emails to a number of people who expressed an interest in purchasing the properties, potentially ‘off plan’. Next week the steel for the third and fourth floors gets craned on and things will start to move quickly. As we currently stand the completion date for the four one bedroom flats and one two bedroom penthouse is likely to be April 2012. Anyone interested should send an email to our [email protected] address so that we can send you some more information……

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DEGREES OF FAMILIARITY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 2 November, 2011

On my way to Islington Arts Factory for our 33rd tour of a fellow venue. I haven’t been there for years and am keen to take a look inside. Later we’re returning to Teatro Technis where we saw a production just a month ago. In the middle it’s meetings on site and a review of the hoarding panels which have arrived. Hooray!

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PETER BROOK EMPTY SPACE AWARDS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 1 November, 2011

Today Melli and I were invited to the Annual Peter Brook Empty Space Awards. This is a ceremony that recognises innovation, creativity and excellence in smaller off West End, Fringe and Studio theatres across the UK. The event took place in the National Theatre Studio on The Cut and was attended by nearly 200 people made up in the most part by artistic directors, producers and critics. The ceremony was chaired, as it was organised, by the renowned theatre critic and real character, Blanche Marvin. It was our first trip to the awards and wonderful to be part of such an importan…

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TOP TABLES IN SOHO

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 27 October, 2011

A meeting with a young theatre company, Sheer Drop, in the Curzon bar followed by a rehearsed reading of a new play at the Leicester Square Theatre, followed by a fantastic lunch meeting over Dim Sum and eventually ending with a trip to see Top Girls at the Trafalgar Studios. Fantastic performances from the entire cast. A drink in the pub afterwards and lovely chat with the delightful Olivia Poulet. Off home to eat dinner. Concise but accurate account of the day. Note to self: small glass of wine, mini tube of Pringles and programme: £11. For some things in life there&rs…

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COLCHESTER

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 26 October, 2011

It’s late and we’ve just returned from Colchester seeing a very original, sometimes witty and very thought-provoking piece of theatre called ‘Wretch’. Earlier, despite much of the day being taken up with travelling (3.5 hours to get there –thankfully we allowed for 4 on a supposed 2 hour journey), we managed to send out our Autumn newsletter to our mailing list, through Feast’s mailer – which is a powerful tool and much easier than our old way. Since then we’ve been tackling a flood of emails from local residents wishi…

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ISLE OF DOGS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 25 October, 2011

We’ve just returned from the Isle of Dogs where we attended a fun performance of Kid Arthur – a very modern retelling of the classic King story – at The Space. The seven strong ensemble did a great job with an original script, and were directed to deliver a wonderful energy throughout. Refreshing also to see a Fringe show in-the-round – a configuration that will be available in both Park 90 and Park 200. With a lovely high vaulted ceiling and exposed timber beams the venue had far more atmosphere than the oddly ghost-like surroundings of Mudchute. A sha…

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HOW COULD I FORGET

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 20 October, 2011

Oh I didn’t really forget, I just had too much to do. Naughty naughty. I did end up watching Holy Flying Circus which was amusing and distracted me as the midnight hour flew by. Love those Pythons. A very rare backdated blog. It’s tomorrow now! Sorry.

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FIRST MISSED SHOW

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 19 October, 2011

In the last 30 days I’ve been to: 24 shows (2 of them rehearsed readings), 2 workshops and 2 rehearsals Tonight I was due to head to the Tristan Bates Theatre but after a long day, and early start, it proved impossible to get there on time and I sent an apologetic email to the director explaining that I couldn’t be there. Crucially I had seen the director’s work before so, much that I’d have liked to go, it’s some consolation. Lucky that I did remain though as I haven’t stopped typing on the laptop for a moment. It&rsqu…

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GLOBE TROTTING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 18 October, 2011

I visited Shakespeare’s Globe this afternoon and had a great meeting with Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, who was extremely friendly and supportive about Park Theatre. He lives very close to the area and on his return from the states at the end of November is going to come and take a look around the site and find out more about what we’re doing… Meanwhile back in the office, we’d come to realise that hand painted info on the hoarding is going to be very tough in order to achieve the right look. So Simon from Feast has come up with a good solution …

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MORE TO DO...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 13 October, 2011

Tired. Weepy eyes. Yawning. Longing for bed. Returning home from an altogether engaging show at Greenwich Playhouse tonight – which was an accomplishment given it was 1hr 45mins with no interval in not the most comfortable of theatres. A well handled production in the capable hands of director Joss Bennathan. Earlier today on site Danielle Tarento (of whom you will hear more in the coming weeks) gave us some great advice with regards the bar and cafe offering. More work needs to be done on this, particularly decisions regarding the design of the bar layouts. Although muc…

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DASHING OUT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 12 October, 2011

Off to the theatre (of course!) – to see a show at the Courtyard. It’s so gloomy and pitch black outside and it’s only just gone half past six. I feel like having a bath and a bowl of soup. No no, no rest – a quick shower at best and then it’s out the door. Today has been great, lots of work done, Melli and I have just finished the first draft of our ‘development pack’. Soon you, our avid readers, will be able to read a little brochure about how you can support us by buying a seat, becoming a member and other exciting things…..!

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BENTLEY\'S OYSTER BAR AND GRILL

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 11 October, 2011

Yummy. Nothing wrong with that three hour lunch – although my brain got very confused after about twenty five minutes as to why it wasn’t at work. Oh well… Another one of those pomegranate vodka cocktail things please, waiter! John and David at Forgewood are about to take over the management of the construction and Jordan, our project manager, will (certainly in the immediate future) be retained. Great result and a strong team… No I’m not back home having another vodka. I’m catching up on work!

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PANTS POWER

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 6 October, 2011

Its blackened crispy marshmallowy texture makes me want to bite into it. Not destroyed but altered. Changed and given a new name and a new life; maybe a hundred times larger than its former self. Once it was a simple toy, now it has grown up –  it has become art. This was one of the many pieces at the exhibition of designer and photographer duo ‘Two Shoes’ which launched tonight in Soho – the designer being Simon Williams of Feast Creative. Rewind to this morning….and I started my day as I often do, focusing on breathing in and ou…

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FORMS FORMS FORMS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 5 October, 2011

HMRC have recently changed the requirements regarding registering for Gift Aid. As such all the paperwork I sent off had been returned and we required three, not just one, ‘responsible people’ (one of whom will be the ‘authorised person’) to fill in and sign sections of the form. I am therefore dashing around London today to collect relevant signatures. Oh the joy! Meanwhile on site a letter from HMRC arrived about a different matter – the VAT group registration for which we had applied. This letter was a refusal on grounds that they had misunders…

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PRECISION

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 4 October, 2011

A clandestine meeting with a producer, a posh fish finger sandwich and an energy bar that can only be described as tasting like a combination of marzipan and dog food (the marzipan bit’s not a problem, but I could have done without the insight into the diet of man’s best friend). Around these key events (!) lots of conversations with the architects about the best way to move forward, given some emerging coordination issues on site. Our project manager, Jordan (of latest video fame), has been doing a sterling job but it’s becoming clear that he’s wearing…

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OCTOBER AIR CON

by Jez Bond

Friday, 30 September, 2011

In very unBritish fashion I have neglected commenting on the weather recently. So now I will. It has been thirty degrees for the past few days and today was no exception – a real scorcher. At 10pm we found ourselves at the Kings Head, for a late night show, where momentary bursts of air conditioning were much appreciated. After midnight now and heading home for a weekend full of theatre – two shows tomorrow and one on Sunday. Let’s hope that the others on the journey will provide a cool environment. It’s officially October 1st, who would have thought it!

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ROUND AFTER ROUND

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 29 September, 2011

Today was the last in the current rounds of tours – and it ended with a round… of applause. A response to the discussion of our Open Book policy*, the enthusiastic clapping from the twenty or so theatre companies, directors and producers sitting together in the site office was a  lovely finish to the last two weeks. We urged everyone to keep in touch and to spread the word. Spread across eight sessions we had met with around 120 people. I have a feeling that we’re going to be needing to see even more than 7 shows a week soon, so perhaps we’ll need to start s…

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15 SHOWS IN 14 DAYS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 28 September, 2011

I’ve been accustomed to going to the theatre regularly for most of my life. But following our recent site tours (2 more tomorrow) things have really picked up. In order to ensure that both theatres are curated with excellent work – that is to say for the weeks of the year when we aren’t producing in-house- we are committed to seeing as much work from both emerging and established companies, directors and producers as possible. Over the next 14 days I am seeing 15 shows and haven’t had a schedule more hectic than that since my last Edinburgh trip. Today marked the …

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MORE GREAT TOURS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011

Wow. Another fantastic day of tours with some more really exciting theatre companies, producers and directors. The feedback has been great from all quarters and everyone is helping to spread the word. I can’t wait to get back together with people in a few months and start booking in some dates!

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EPISODE THREE

by Jez Bond

Monday, 26 September, 2011

This weekend I completed the edit of ‘How To Build a Theatre: Episode Three‘. It’s a fairly succinct look at the current state of building works, with an introduction to our project manager, the man on site every day coordinating works, Jordan Russell. If you haven’t yet seen it, then do take a peek. As things are now changing regularly, we will probably end up releasing the next episode in a couple of months. The steel starts arriving today and there is much heavy work to happen over the next few weeks, including road closures for cranes, additional st…

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POSITIVE VIBES

by Jez Bond

Friday, 23 September, 2011

The business plan has been through a major rewrite in the last ten days – and I am just finishing it off. Sections have been moved, deleted, reworded, added… all in all it’s a lot more thorough and gives a very clear idea of our markets, targets and strategies. In summary it made me feel even more positive about the project. There are now additional reasons and further supporting evidence as to why this is truly going to be an amazing project. A nice way to enter the weekend, though of course I’m continuing my 6.5 day weeks so there’s still no re…

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WORKING, YOGA AND WALKING THE DOG

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 22 September, 2011

It’s very exciting and there’s lots going on. This morning, after some invigorating yoga, I dealt with the various emails that had recently arrived by more theatre companies, producers and directors wanting to book tours. I had been fitting everyone in to our four slots next week – most of which are getting very booked up. In the afternoon I continued to sort out emails and had a meeting with Jez about the priorities for the next few weeks. We left the house early meetings prior to seeing a show at Jermyn Street. Jez met producer/director/friend Joe Fredericks, who had …

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TOUR DE FORCE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 21 September, 2011

After showing around some very lovely people this week I am super buzzed. I am so pleased to have shown around brilliant theatre companies, directors, producers and actors. The weather has been lovely today and with sunshine on our now roofless building everyone got to take in the space at a truly unusual time. We had some lovely feedback, great questions and enthusiasm from our guests. We are keen to nurture and develop these relationships and are thrilled and thankful to all who came and tweeted or facebooked post tour. Thanks indeed because we must spread the word for the good of ever…

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SLOWLY BUT SURELY

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 20 September, 2011

The day began with an edit of the previous two day’s site footage. But before I could get it finished I hurried off to site for a meeting with Martin, our fundraiser. We are making headway with things but it’s a laborious process, and actually importantly so when you only really have one shot at the approach to funders. A contractors’ site meeting had then been cancelled so I continued to work from the site office – pausing just for ten minutes when I nipped over to the trusty bagel shop on Seven Sisters Road. The architects then paid us (the royal we, …

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POWER!

by Jez Bond

Monday, 19 September, 2011

After two industry tours with over thirty people between them I was quite exhausted. Not as exhausted of course as I would have been if I had shown all thirty people round separately – hence the new regime of group tours, which is nicer actually as it starts to cultivate an atmosphere of community. Hard hats, high vis and hard soled shoes to the ready we kitted everyone out in the site office and talked about the architecture before traversing the building in a constantly reshaping mass of PPE yellow. Ending up back at the site office for details of the artistic policy and plenty o…

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7...2...1...

by Jez Bond

Friday, 16 September, 2011

A great day which I had long awaited as it involved a crucial meeting with an experienced theatre producer, board member and executive director who had so kindly offered me his time. 7 hours of analyising the staffing structure, the budgets and the business plan. 2 bottles of fizz.  1 bedtime story (for his gorgeous little girl). A highly productive day. Such valuable advice and insight. Now lots of homework…!

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ROGER LLOYD PACK

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 15 September, 2011

The roof is off, completely off, the building naked, exposed to the late summer sun. Work continues in all fields and I am most excited today to announce a new Ambassador for the theatre. Roger Lloyd Pack, who lives nearby, joins Celia Imrie as a stalwart supporter of the Park. A few days ago I showed him round and we discussed his involvement. We’re very excited to have him join the team and looking forward to developing our relationship together. Roger writes: “I am genuinely thrilled about the prospect of an exciting new theatre in North London in an area that&r…

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IDLER ACADEMY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 14 September, 2011

I just spent a lovely evening at the Idler Academy, where Melli hosted a discussion between Sir Timothy Ackroyd and journalist / BBC foreign correspondent Frank Gardner. It was a fascinating event, with many stories of travel and politics. From German backpackers and trains from Cairo to the current situation in the middle east. Some distinguished guests. Very funny when I started telling Penelope Wilton about the theatre and she replied “is that the one in Finsbury Park?” Odd pizza afterwards – corn dough – tasted more like pastry. Heavy as anything bu…

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BREATH OF FRESH AIR

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 13 September, 2011

Something happened last week. Three things actually. And when they did they collided so perfectly that their union opened up a door and let in a breath of fresh air. It was almost as if I hadn’t realised the immense pressure I had been under for the past eighteen months until the audible sigh of relief with which I surprised myself. So whilst the way forward may be as complex and hard to tread as before I continue afresh, with a renewed energy. A realisation crossed my mind last week. It was the fact that I had been writing this blog for over a year – in fact neare…

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REMEMBER THE VIDEO

by Jez Bond

Monday, 12 September, 2011

The site is changing daily and today I took the camera to 11-13 Clifton Terrace in order to continue documenting the progress. All sorts going on behind the facade of scaffolding and hoarding. Roof coming off. Rubble piling up waiting for the skips. Padstones being created ready for the steels to arrive. Episode 3 of How To Build A Theatre coming soon to a screen near you…

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THE POWER OF THE BROKK

by Jez Bond

Friday, 9 September, 2011

On site today the Brokk remote controlled digger has been ripping through the concrete in order to form the trench for our substation. Meanwhile I have been riffling through a mountain of assorted tasks, working from home – which, due to 50% of the theatre currently being exposed to the elements, is a far more comfortable environment from which to conduct business. I usually work on Saturday and a half day Sunday but it looks like all work and no play’s just going to have make Jack a dull boy this weekend.

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FAMOUS LAST WORDS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 8 September, 2011

Okay so that note earlier in the week about having some time to read plays….. yeah right! Loads has happened in the last 48hours. There is enormous time pressure on the submission of funding applications for the education studio – and so much paperwork has to be prepared, redrafted, checked and double checked. That’s going to be the focus of the next few days. That and a million and one other things! As for today:  design team / contractor meeting followed by a tour and meeting with a fellow artistic director… and another… and then a catch…

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PROGRESSIONS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 7 September, 2011

This afternoon we had another meeting at Feast to develop the brand. We’re really excited at what we’ve arrived at and are now looking at the progressions of the sub-brands and the design of all stationery. Soon we’ll have the grand unveiling! I had hoped to add some text and graphics to the hoarding sooner but, whilst I’m always eager to do do do, there’s no need not rush things. On site things have changed. The concrete panels are coming off the front and the roof is being stripped off the back of the building. Let’s hope the rain stays aw…

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INDUSTRY TOURS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 6 September, 2011

Yesterday and today we sent out details of our industry tours, which we are hosting on various dates throughout September, and have had a great response back so far. If anybody is reading this blog and has not been notified directly, please let us know so that we can ensure you are on the specific industry mailing list. You can see the available dates and info on how to book here: http://www.parktheatre.co.uk/get-involved/tour-the-site/ To all our loyal local residents, please note that we will certainly be arranging more tours towards the end of the year. This indu…

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MORE MUSICALS, MORE SCRIPTS

by Jez Bond

Monday, 5 September, 2011

More CDs of musicals through the door (not more CD’s as EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE SAYING LATELY – sorry, little outburst from the grammar police!) More scripts too… so a heap of things to be read and heard. Earlier I had tea with Celia and she also passed me a script – she’s soon to be in a show at the Finborough,  I’m looking forward to that. And so to prioritise the various scripts I need to read. Generally I decide on the basis of which script comes in first. The only ones that break the rule are usually redrafts of scripts I am developi…

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DECISIONS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 2 September, 2011

Melli landed at Heathrow at 7am, came straight home, showered and then left with me to meet Feast Creative. It seems (he says cautiously) that we have reached a decision on the logo. Dum dum dum…….. A little too early for the unveiling but more on this to come… On site we looked at the programme of works and got our head round some key decisions that needed to be made over the course of the next few months. Back home now and suddenly it’s 6pm. Decisions now – food!

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THEATRE HOPPING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 1 September, 2011

Two evenings of great musicals. Last night I attended a marvellous and very funny production of Crazy For You in the open air at Regent’s Park. Tonight I returned (for the 7th show this year?) to the Southwark Playhouse where a terrific, powerful production of Parade is currently playing. Lovely to see the producers, Joe and Danielle, and to hook up, albeit briefly, with actor Philip Rham who I hadn’t seen for a few years. Earlier this afternoon, while Melli packed her bags to fly home from New York (where she has been for the past week) I stepped into the offices …

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UP AND RUNNING AGAIN

by Jez Bond

MONDAY, 31 AUGUST, 2011

Apologies to those of you who logged in and saw odd things, wrong images, missing links etc over the past 24 hours. In the end it took some time iron out all the kinks after the havoc caused by those weird terrorist hackers. It’s all sorted now! Last night was intense. I had a ten hour writing session on the Panto 2012 which ended in the early hours of the morning. Loads of great original ideas and a strong structure emerging. These discussions will continue soon and we hope to have a script by early next year. In fact the way we’re going we’ll probably have …

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DAN THE MAN

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 30 August, 2011

Yesterday we were hacked by some organisation that posted a very odd message with a flag of Kosovo. Not much use to those who wanted to find out the progress of the Park Theatre. When we tried to log in we were denied access as the hackers had actually changed all the passwords. However thanks to the marvellous Dan at Feast he salvaged everything and reconfigured the site on the Feast servers. It’s still temporary – as Dan will soon be building. Cheers Dan! Just got to figure out what’s happened to some of the photos that have disappeared…

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HACK HOLIDAY MONDAY

by Jez Bond

Monday, 29 August, 2011

Today we were hacked – hence not posting a blog. Read about it on tomorrow’s blog…

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WINDY ON SITE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 26 August, 2011

It’s freezing on site and it’s only the end of August. Standing on the ground, first or second floors you can look out to the world through an opening where the windows used to be. An odd feeling with the wind whistling straight past you. How quickly the end of this week came and after getting up at 6.30am to start meetings on site at 8am the rare ‘Friday feeling’ is welcome – for tomorrow I’m off to a friend’s country retreat. How civilised! Unfortunately it is without Melli as she is working all weekend. More of this anon…

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SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 24 August, 2011

A long day of script developments today. A few hours spent on Act 2 of the new musical I am developing – which is going really well – and then a discussion late into the night about the Christmas show I am co-writing. Buzzing with ideas, inspiration and creative energy! It’s 2am…. time for bed. Tomorrow we continue to build the theatre in which all these ideas will soon be realised. That’s the dream, that’s what we’re fighting for…

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SHORT ONE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 23 August, 2011

Rainy day, slow day, difficult morning, nice afternoon. Short blog.

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FIRST WEEK OF CONSTRUCTION ENDS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 19 August, 2011

Noise, dust, skips, timber, a hole in the floor and a discarded high vis jacket lying on the balustrade. The workers have gone home for the weekend and week one is complete. Next week promises to have even more in store – hoarding, more demo and a crazy director walking around with a video camera.

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BLOG 300

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 18 August, 2011

It’s a rainy grey day – one of those English afternoons where the rain just keeps pouring solidly well into the evening. One of those rain storms that are so severe they make you question the repairs to the roof that were done the previous year. But that’s at home. On site, it’s a different story – the roof does leak, quite admirably, and there are no plans to patch it up for it’s a moot point – soon they’ll be no roof at all. Whilst it’s not doing an entirely sterling job at the moment it is, today, luckily still in existence –…

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HARD HATS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 17 August, 2011

They’re not comfortable or attractive fashion accessories but much needed safety wear for a construction site. I’ve just ordered a load of hard hats, high-vis jackets and a selection of steel toe capped shoes for visitors to site. We’ll be conducting more tours over the coming months. I did take the liberty of choosing something a little different for myself.

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20/10 - 2012

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 16 August, 2011

A month or so after my operation and I have 20/10 vision. What a result. 20/20 would have been pretty good, so this is just fantastic! With my new hawk-like sight I’ll be keeping an eagle eye on proceedings at the Park. Next week we’re back at Feast to develop the brand further and hopefully begin building the website. Meanwhile on site today work is truly picking up in pace and more contractors are coming through the doors. 20/10 and ready for 2012!

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PPE

by Jez Bond

Monday, 15 August, 2011

Scaffolding has been erected to the inside of the building and also to the facade. The drainage for the toilets at lower ground floor level has almost been completed. The substation now has clear dates for installation and the steels are with the fabricators. We’re in PPE mode now (Personal Protection Equipment) – meaning that hard hats, steel toe capped boots and high vis jackets need to be worn at all times on site. Time to order a supply of appropriate footwear and additional hard hats for potential visitors – and to get the camera out again before too much more happ…

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EMOTIONS

by Jez Bond

Friday, 12 August, 2011

Like a child in the back of a car Are we there yet? Like a crew of a boat under fire Canons to the ready! Like waiting for exam results That one phone call That ultimate word Like standing in an empty building and imagining what will be…

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A WORD FROM CELIA IMRIE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 11 August, 2011

HOORAY, A spanking new Theatre in town, how refreshing. There is nowhere like it, or near it. Jez Bond, the artistic director, is full of integrity and energy and is beyond excited. I wholeheartedly back his enthusiasm, and innovation. As  a proud ambassador for this important, brand new theatre. I urge you all to jump on board and be part of this new theatrical dawn. Celia Imrie

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NUDGEMINDER

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 10 August, 2011

If people keep you waiting and you don’t know why, nine times out of ten it’s because they’ve forgotten or don’t realise the urgency required. Sometimes they may just need a nudgeminder. That’s my little word for the day. Thought I’d share…

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RUNNING RIOT

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 9 August, 2011

The past 72 hours have been shocking – what began as a peaceful demonstration in Tottenham has turned into rioting in multiple areas across London – from Clapham to Hackney, from Peckham to Notting Hill and also over in Birmingham. As we are preparing for the scaffolders to come to site we are keeping an eagle eye on the situation. If the troubles continue to spread then Finsbury Park could easily flare up next. Meanwhile Downing Street are currently meeting to discuss the situation. More doom and gloom in the news too as announcements of a double dip recession pour in.

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NEW LOOK

by Jez Bond

Monday, 8 August, 2011

By Friday the scaffolding will be up on the front of the building. On Monday the hoarding will be erected and painted. Next week the facade will look decidedly different. On Tuesday more demolition will take place inside and things will kick up a gear. We had a good meeting on site with one of our contractors and they should be providing us with a date for the steel arrival within the next 24 hours. Meanwhile we’re still looking at logos and chatting with Feast about ideas for the new brand. It would be a dream to get the new images on the hoarding, but then of course we mustn&rsqu…

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COMPLEX INTERLINKED

by Jez Bond

Friday, 5 August, 2011

Complex interlinked issues are the hardest to solve and the most crucial as they affect so many elements. After days of questions concerning fundraising structure, box offices software, bar software, epos hardware, customer relationship databases, VAT legislation, accounting practices; of speaking to HMRC, Companies House, the Charity Commission, a VAT expert, software developers and web developers; of hours on the phone, face-to-face meetings and numerous emails… suddenly at noon today we cracked it! We are incredibly excited with the decisions we have reach…

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WHERE ON THE HILL

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 4 August, 2011

For two years we’ve been working away, struggling against the odds to deliver a theatre of exceptional quality within an incredibly tight budget. We’ve had our highs and low and the only constant has been the need to work hard, long hours without respite. As the building work is gently picking up on site and things are starting to move up a gear, I ponder the words of those who say that things are now going to get easier. But I’m not sure that things will calm down, that we’re reaching the top of the metaphorical hill. So far each week of the…

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LATE AGAIN

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 3 August, 2011

Delicious home cooked meal to break up the evening’s work. Still at it (work that is – not the mint and chilli chicken) and just finished rebuilding the business plan with accurate figures for utility bills, waste collection and many other previously less known aspects of the operation. Nearly at a place where I can turn off and zone out for a few minutes before bed. Hazel, our theatre dog to be, is accustomed to our routine of watching a little TV or listening to a little music before we sleep. After such busy days no-one can really settle for the night until we’ve ach…

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LARGE COMPANY SYNDROME

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 2 August, 2011

Ooh… these people at utility companies… One would have thought that getting figures for standing charges and unit prices per kwh of electricity would be a relatively painless process. “Ooh no, Sir, no – we couldn’t possibly give you a quote now. Call us back when the meter is installed. We couldn’t possibly tell you now, Sir. There are no indicative prices, it really depends on so many things. Ooh no it’s no good you giving us the info now, Sir, our prices change in a daily basis. We couldn’t possibly say what the prices will b…

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BUSINESS PLANNING

by Jez Bond

Monday, 1 August, 2011

Hours and hours spent in Excel – not literally in excel, I’m not trapped inside the computer…. but it feels a little like it. On Excel…? With Excel…. Oh dear, so tired. When you look at figures for too long you start to question yourself. Why is that not adding up? Did I add National Insurance? Did I make that same mistake on everything I did for the last few hours….? No. You’re tired. Go to bed. And so…. Good Night!

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THE TROUBLE WITH REACHING HIGH

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 28 July, 2011

Building with big ambition can sometimes be a curse. Confidence and positivity can come across as stubbornness or, more dangerously, can instil a feeling of ‘money is no object’ amongst potential contractors. Somehow I think the ‘this is a privately funded project, we have very little money and no public subsidy’ line would work better if I spoke more quietly, looked down at the floor occasionally and skipped the morning shower. Some people get it and some don’t. Some come up with solutions and options, others can’t think outside the box. It’s a …

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MULTIFACETED

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 27 July, 2011

One of the many discussions in what has already been a multifaceted day has concerned the erection of temporary hoarding to the front of the property. This is the cladding, in plywood, of the outer face of the external scaffolding that enables contractors to safely undertake works to the outside of the building (for example creating our bay window). Without it there are health and safety issues as it would be very difficult to inhibit the release of dust or debris onto passers by. We were chatting about the size and shape of our hoarding and about the location of access doors within in. …

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ALBANY

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 26 July, 2011

I started the day with a trip to the Albany Theatre in Deptford, which at six minutes from London Bridge by train is surprisingly easy to get to. Gavin showed me round and we chatted about potential linkups. Like me, he’s not a ‘this is my castle’ type of guy – and we discussed the importance of theatres across London collaborating with each other. Later I headed to site for more IT and box office meetings. As an afternoon wave of tiredness came over me, I was left yawning with my head spinning and a show to see at the White Bear. Where’s that clo…

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FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 21 July, 2011

With the temporary three phase power now installed on site, the concrete slab being cut out at ground floor for the drainage and the scaffolding company waiting in the wings it’s getting to the stage where we need to finalise our air conditioning. It’s the final piece of the puzzle, in terms of the fact that all the other contractors have been chosen. The reason we’re behind on our selection for the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) is that the quotes have been phenomenally higher than our budget and the scheme needs some value engineering. The theatres a…

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THE MORNING AFTER

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 20 July, 2011

I woke up this morning with a great feeling. Yesterday we overcame what I hope will be the final hurdle in terms of council approval (planning/licensing). Over the past 24 hours messages of congratulations have been pouring in. Local residents are thrilled that they’ll have a facility that will open later in the evening, providing a bright street frontage and illuminating the passage from Wells Terrace exit of the station along Clifton Terrace. Earlier yesterday we had toured round the new Platform at the old Hornsey Road Baths. What a fantastic facility for young people…

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WE GOT IT!

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 19 July, 2011

At 6pm this evening Dave Hughes, Melli Bond and I walked into the council chambers for the licensing committee hearing….. We had over 80 letters in support and no objections from local residents. Only the police had raised a concern over the late hours – and were due to be represented by a key superintendent on the force. Despite much council support, including from the current mayor, the MP for North Islington and all the local ward councillors, we needed to present effectively and demonstrate clearly how this would be a safe and well run establishment – wh…

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NO PEEKING UNDER THE BED

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 14 July, 2011

Today we had a look around the Arcola’s new venue. I was familiar with it having seen a show in Studio 2 a few weeks ago (at which time I popped my head in to the Studio 1). We have done nearly thirty theatre visits now and it was great to get another ‘access all areas’ tour. I loved Studio 1; the height, the circle and stalls (though this will change for the next show), the thrust stage, the intimacy. No surprise really that those are the very attributes of our main house. On to the offices of Feast Creative next for our much anticipated branding meeting wit…

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LIBERTY AND GIRAFFE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 13 July, 2011

Working constantly, glued to the computer, read more scripts, sent more emails, prepared more budgets, I can’t ever finish when all is done as it’s endless…. Starting to get better at finding a natural break so that by 10pm I can power down for a couple of hours before bed (usually). What do Liberty, Urban Outfitters, Nandos and Giraffe have in common….? Tomorrow this will be discussed! Cryptic? Well, it’s good to be sometimes.

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MASSIVE DAY OUT

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

A great meeting with Marcus at the Roundhouse this morning – as well as a tour of the fantastic building it was great to get some insight from him on a number of levels. Following that Dave and I went to the offices of Feast Creative – useful as it will be beneficial for Dave (Hjf) and Simon (Feast) to start a relationship with a view to discussing how the brand is integrated with the feel of the building and vice versa (signage, colour palette etc). Then on site a meeting with the structural engineers followed. Both Dave and I picked up on things that h…

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TIRESIAS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 7 July, 2011

This is my first blog since my eyes have been lasered – a self treat, as you may have read a week ago, prior to opening the theatre. The last few days’ offerings have been penned by Melli or, at any rate, dictated to her through somewhat blurry eyes and (in the case of the first day) gritted teeth. Tomorrow she undergoes the same procedure and the roles will reverse as patient becomes carer and vice versa. Melli is always reading meaning into the everyday, translating symbols and analysing circumstances with precision. This skill is definitely something that has ru…

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FEAST

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 6 July, 2011

We are very excited today to announce that we will be working with Feast Creative to develop our brand and website. Feast have an excellent track record, their clients include The Royal Court, The Unicorn, and a host of other big names.  We are confident that together we will come up with something great. Work begins next week with an initial briefing discussion at their offices in Chalk Farm. We can’t wait to get stuck in!

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GETTING CLOSER TO THE ACTION

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 5 July, 2011

The now monthly N4 Stories is really taking shape in a very exciting way. With the talented bunch of actors and Writer in Residence, Sarah Rutherford, fresh from her adventures in Turkey, the action is bold, brave and moving to brilliant themes and composition. The most exciting element is that these scenes, characters and plot points are woven from the real life stories of our very own Finsbury Park residents. Yes you have already began to give to The Park Theatre, and we are getting close to the action of giving back. [Melli Bond, Associate Director]

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FOUR EYES

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 30 June, 2011

It’s my last day wearing glasses (or contact lenses) ever… if all goes well (until I’m much older and need reading glasses at any rate). Tomorrow I am having LASEK surgery – and Melli is having the same procedure next week. It’s a treat to ourselves pre-opening. We have been talking about it for years and finally decided to do it so that we’d have our ‘new eyes’ by the time we launched. As such tonight’s theatre trip was the last for a little while. We went to see the Ugly Sisters’ collection of new short plays at th…

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LUNCHEON

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 29 June, 2011

A very civilised lunch in Chelsea today with director Bill Alexander and his agent Lynda Ronan. Some exciting ideas about projects and contacts over cray fish cocktail and organic chicken with thyme sauce. I wish every meeting could be like this! Lots to follow up on now so better dash….

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INTERIORS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 28 June, 2011

After meeting a fundraiser this morning, we headed to the offices of our dream facilitators ‘Hughes Jones Farrell’. Dave and his team presented a fantastic 45 minutes on the interior design of the building. We looked at everything from floor and wall surfaces to furnishings, trying to determine an agreed ‘theme’ that we could adhere to moving forward. As Dave explained, one can easily continue and choose a light fitting in six months that looks great, a bar counter in a eight months that is beautiful and meanwhile the contractors have laid down a floor that we wow…

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TURKEY, DAY 4

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 23 June, 2011

Sarah Rutherford, our writer in residence, has been developing a play inspired by some of the stories of Finsbury Park residents. Under the project title ‘N4 Stories’, she has been working with a group of (predominantly) local actors, interviewing people from the N4 area over the past four months. The actors have then brought these real characters and stories to life inside the rehearsal room where they have been hot-seated by Sarah and put into groups in order to improvise scenes. For the past three days Sarah has blogged from Turkey, where she is on a research tr…

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TURKEY, DAY 2

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 21 June, 2011

Sarah Rutherford, our writer in residence, has been developing a play inspired by some of the stories of Finsbury Park residents. Under the project title ‘N4 Stories’, she has been working with a group of (predominantly) local actors, interviewing people from the N4 area over the past four months. The actors have then brought these real characters and stories to life inside the rehearsal room where they have been hot-seated by Sarah and put into groups in order to improvise scenes. Sarah now writes from Turkey, on her second day of a research trip… …

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SUMMER PANTO

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 16 June, 2011

“It’s behind you!” you cry… But it’s far too early for Panto, surely? Well, actually this Saturday we are performing in the Wray Crescent Park festival. We have four fantastic actors lined up to play the Prince, Princess, Fairy and Dame in a number of scenes performed roaming around the park. It’s The Park Theatre’s first public outing – and we’re keeping fingers crossed for the weather. We bought the sweeties for the sweetie throwing sequence, ingredients for a custard pie and sponges for the stocks. Oh yes we …

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ABTT TRADE SHOW 2011

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 15 June, 2011

Another year on and, following the Theatres Trust conference, familiar faces returned to the Royal Horticultural halls for the annual ABTT trade show. It was a much quicker visit than last year – although my planned one hour quickly turned into well over two. Dave and I zipped round chatting with Steeldeck, Maltbury staging, Orbital, Hall Stage and others. Given that most of us in the industry are kids at heart and remembering how we all started experimenting with puppets, sheets and desk lamps, this place is like a giant playground. My earliest memory of homemade theatr…

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THEATRES TRUST CONFERENCE 2011

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 14 June, 2011

“Hi. My name’s Jez and I’m a maniac” began my speech to the Pleasance auditorium filled with the illuminati of the theatre design world. I had stood up to the lectern following Dave’s initial presentation, which ended with our rendition of Mr Henslowe and Fennyman’s dialogue on theatre from Shakespeare In Love: - Mr Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. - So what do we do? - Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.

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M&S CUSTOMS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 9 June, 2011

We landed a few minutes ahead of schedule this morning and promptly proceeded to customs and immigration before collecting our bags. Melli always travels back on her British passport in order that we can both pass through quickly. The queues for non-EU passports were long, it seemed that most people on our flight were American. We headed to the EU section and were presented with an sign for biometric passports. Taking it we immediately came upon a self serve gate – we scanned our passport, looked into the camera and went through the gates that promptly opened. Very effic…

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FLYIN\' EAST

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 8 June, 2011

It’s 1pm here, 6pm in London, and this evening we are returning home from Philadelphia to Heathrow. It’s an overnight flight that arrives early in the morning. Never pleasant but as I need to head to site tomorrow to sort out some things it’s a necessary evil. The weather here is glorious. It has been super hot the whole time – though, sitting inside on the laptop, I have hardly got to enjoy it. We hear that since we left the temperatures in the UK have dropped. Let’s hope we bring the sun back with us. Finished my speech for the Theatres Trust Co…

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NEARLY CAST

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 7 June, 2011

Nearly cast (three out of four actors confirmed) for our first public outing – Panto in the Park… Melli has been working on some mini scripted scenes and next week we’ll costume our actors. Meanwhile we’re nearly all cast for the building works too – just stuck on the M&E contractors. Heading back to the UK tomorrow and loads to do, so just a short one today!

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SPEECH WRITING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 2 June, 2011

Most of today has been spent writing my speech for the upcoming Theatres Trust Conference on ‘Converting Spaces’. There are a number of sessions planned for the event and Dave and I are on the panel in one called ‘The Architect of the found space’ along with members of the design teams at the BAC and Arcola. My second draft was nearly ten minutes – I need to cut down to seven. Also it sounds very much like something to be read rather than spoken – a result of all these months blogging perhaps? Here goes draft number three…

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BROADWAY PART TWO

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 1 June, 2011

I don’t know exactly how hot it was today but we just came out of our evening show and it’s 86 degrees! Let’s rewind… After the show at the Public yesterday we returned to our hotel and met one of the actors and the staff director from the Donmar’s Lear, that is currently playing at BAM. Alec, who plays Edmund, is quite possibly our closest actor, about three streets away! He had always been excited about the theatre that was coming to Finsbury Park and, failing meeting up in London, we settled for Manhattan! This morning, on with the …

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BROADWAY PART ONE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 31 May, 2011

Our trip to the USA involves two days in New York – specifically to meet theatre companies, writers, literary managers, agents and, of course, see some shows. It was a hot day today – though a little cooler than the 94 degrees it had been yesterday and we drove into the city, parked the car and checked into our hotel on the next block. We had a meeting with Rafael, the literary manager of The Soho Rep – one of NY’s only dedicated new writing theatres. Rafael is a very interesting and knowledgeable guy who has lived and worked in London for seven years &…

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THIS COULD BE THE BEST YEAR...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 26 May, 2011

After a long day yesterday, Melli and I headed out for a meal (before returning to a couple of hours more work) for my birthday. At each major turning point – birthdays, 1st of January etc – we like to look to the year ahead and to predict what’s in store. The twelve months ahead of us now could easily be the best year yet. In May 2012 we’ll be in the building. I can’t think of anything more exciting! Today we submitted the licence application to the council (and other relevant authorities). The notice will also appear in tomorrow’s Islingto…

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THIS COULD BE THE BEST YEAR...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 26 May, 2011

After a long day yesterday, Melli and I headed out for a meal (before returning to a couple of hours more work) for my birthday. At each major turning point – birthdays, 1st of January etc – we like to look to the year ahead and to predict what’s in store. The twelve months ahead of us now could easily be the best year yet. In May 2012 we’ll be in the building. I can’t think of anything more exciting! Today we submitted the licence application to the council (and other relevant authorities). The notice will also appear in tomorrow’s Islingto…

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VAST

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 25 May, 2011

Just three days and we’ll be in the USA. Suddenly things are rushing ahead even more than before. Each day closer to that start on site date. It must sound to many like it’s never going to happen, like we’re always ‘about to start’ but in truth only really Jordan and I, who are working on this every single day, can really appreciate how every day brings us closer and closer. When I started this project I had no idea how vast it was. I remember writing an early blog about when we first started the project. It wouldn’t be stretching the truth to say that…

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UPDATED AND ADVANCING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 24 May, 2011

Website updated. That’s better. It’s been great to do as it has really made me focus on what’s important to us at The Park. I had researched the history of theatres in Finsbury Park many moons ago and it was fascinating to revisit that and to write up a short account. Very excited that we are bringing theatre back to Finsbury Park for the first time in over fifty years! Meanwhile on site Jordan has been knocking contractors down further on price, and we are getting ever closer to the budget. Slight pressure (not a bad thing) now of the window of summer &ndash…

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BRIAN OVERLOAD

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 19 May, 2011

Argh… I seriously don’t have enough hours in the day and my head is about to explode. I have been talking to Melli for the last half an hour – as we have been travelling back from the theatre (Southwark Playhouse tonight for a strong production from the New Actors Company) – but we still haven’t started talking about the massive things we need to talk about, there’s just so much happening. So this has been a very quick blog while Melli responds now to an email about one of our upcoming meetings in New York. Done. Right…. PS: Yes it&r…

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SILENCE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 18 May, 2011

It’s pouring down with rain – and not only does the usual hole in the lower roof sprout water but puddles are also appearing in the upper floor below where we recently removed the water tank. Either we inadvertently ripped or damaged the membrane in the process or, possibly, the roofing top layers may have been installed around a pre-existing tank and we may have simply exposed the untreated roof below. It’s odd, and somehow amusing, to have something like this happen and it not be a problem - the reason being that it’s all getting ripped out soon anyway. Besides …

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THEATRE FOR DINNER

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 17 May, 2011

I’m out to the theatre every night this week. Tonight I’m seeing the new sell-out ‘London Road’ by Alecky Blythe. Tomorrow we’re at Hampstead for Filter’s new show – which I have been eagerly awaiting since seeing Water at the Tricycle. Then on Thursday it’s over to Southwark Playhouse for some Priestley in the vaults followed by a trip down to Brighton for Hydrocracker’s critically acclaimed take on Pinter on Friday. Hungry now, as come straight away from meeting after meeting. Perhaps there’ll be time to grab a snac…

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THE CORE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 12 May, 2011

As we analyse and refine our mission and objectives and finesse the wording, we distill things to their upmost honest core. What stands out – as soon you will see – is a commitment to drawing in new audiences (not exclusively young, but much of our education programme will lie there) and to nurturing that community. Earlier today we met with a company to go through their tender return and to knock down some sums. Just like working on our mission statement, this process of refining the budget, cost engineering and fine tooth combing is not a quick procedure – …

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WEBSITE REVAMPED

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 11 May, 2011

Well it’s not completed yet but the ‘architecture’ is now in place and over the next days the content will be updated – our refined mision and vision are on the way! Bearing in mind it’s still a slightly temporary website (we’ll get something brilliant purpose built a little further down the line!) I think it’s getting there…

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WHY DO I FEEL SO AT HOME...

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 10 May, 2011

…IN A WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE? There’s nothing like being someone you’re not. It’s more than escapism, more than mimicry. When you inhabit a character, once the initial playing has subsided and the character has been sustained a true understanding of the portrayed individual starts to develop. It’s intense social commentary, it’s making decisions and judgements (whether right or wrong) and ultimately it’s accessing your brain to pull  from information that you never knew existed. It’s enlightening, it’s stimulating, it&…

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BAD ARCHITECTURE AND GOOD TICKETING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 5 May, 2011

This morning we were given a brutally honest and thorough tour of RichMix – the venue where s few weeks back I had enjoyed Custom Practice’s production of Macbeth. It was, as ever, extremely useful to see. Venues both good and bad in terms of their architecture can teach us a great deal as we move forward with our design. RichMix is a great venue for multiple purpose use and I am sure that the general user experience is positive, however it is evident that the staff – who have to operate the building – have a great number of concerns about the way everything has b…

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ALICE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 4 May, 2011

I’m late, I’m late for a very important date. It has been this way all day. Book meetings in one after the other and if one overruns then the whole day goes askew. Book them with oodles of time apart and you end up with awkward gaps which doesn’t prove to be the best use of time – even with the ability to check emails and work on the laptop in between. Some more helpful advice just in regarding the ‘S’ word (that of which we do not speak). I feel like I need to emerge from the rabbit hole at some stage, with a theatre to show for it. Maybe not, maybe t…

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BIG DAY FEVER

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 28 April, 2011

A good day on site today, beginning with meeting a new writer and ending on a meeting with Rose Fenton, the internationally respected theatre producer and arts advisor, who started the LIFT festival. In between these: lots of other business, including taking a celebratory card to Homes For Islington to thank them for their dealings in the fire escape matters that plagued us last year. Meanwhile Jordan has been on the phone chasing up some final tenders before the whole country closes for an extended royal wedding weekend. It’ll be the biggest day for the nation in a long time but I…

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TENDERS COMING BACK

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 27 April, 2011

Exciting day today as the tenders are starting to come back. The final big hitters will be in by the end of the week with the rest to follow the following week. The next stage will then be to sit down with the shortlisted companies for each package and to interview them to ensure they have allowed for everything in their pricing. Just off to a meeting now at IAMS to discuss our potential involvement with an upcoming festival in the park. More on this later…

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BACK WITH YOU

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 26 April, 2011

As the heatwave soared across the UK so it did across central and eastern Europe. In Budapest temperatures rose by more than ten degrees overnight and just a couple of hours of morning sun was enough to turn the car into a mobile oven. As we drove back to the UK through a desert of wifi hotspots (for which we were grateful) we passed through five countries, and enjoyed a two night stay in Munich to break up the journey. Back in the UK now, batteries are fully recharged and we’re ready for the many tasks ahead. Stay tuned, normal service resumes with daily blog…

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GONE FISHING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 12 April, 2011

Dear trusty followers, Accustomed though you have been to my daily reportage, I hope you will forgive me a brief repose for this will be my last blog for around two weeks. After eighteen months of planning, paperwork, design and demolition I am finally off on holiday. Armed with various portable communicative devices I shall no doubt be in touch with the mother ship on a daily basis – and rest assured that work continues with Jordan and Martin at the helm – but I have firmly decided that blogging should be left until after Easter. F…

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CINDERELLA

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 7 April, 2011

A ballet at the Royal Opera House – what a lovely way to end the day. The transformation from glamorous Cinders to Cinders-in-rags when the clock struck midnight was deftly done, seriously taking us to surprise. Regarding yesterday’s issues, we have begun to move forward in ‘investigation mode’. Fairly conscious that we need to make decisions before the clock’s bell tolls. But until such time as we smell the sweet smell of pumpkin stew, we’ll keep fighting on…

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ONE QUESTION CLOSES ANOTHER ONE OPENS...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 6 April, 2011

Despite having discussed substations for a matter of weeks over countless emails and phone calls with numerous companies and, in person with EDF Energy / UKPN, today when we met with a potential installer on site, some different options emerged. Sadly not options for eliminating the need for the High Voltage supply with associated transformer and switch gear – but different options for how and where some of these elements can be housed. I’m not talking different as in “you could go for the mauve or do that in lime green, Sir”. No, I’m talking diff…

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THE KINDNESS OF TECHNICAL STRANGERS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 5 April, 2011

We don’t really have a budget for video and sound system design… The video is a bit of a last minute realisation. That is to say that we always knew we wanted it but not to this extent. However following conversations we had with digital signage companies last week, who were unable to meet our requirements, we have delved deep into the world of screens, projectors and graphics cards and know that the age old adage applies: if you’re going to do something then do it properly. We had always allowed for sound but the design cost was factored in to th…

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CAT5 OR NOT CAT5

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 31 March, 2011

Cat5, Cat5a or Cat6e? That is the question. Which cable format do we install? It’s a question of cost versus futureproofability (bugger off Apple spellcheck, the Germans wouldn’t have any problem with that word!) As well as striving for quality and forward thinking approaches to all we do I am very conscious of not over spec’ing our building. We have to consider whether we are likely to ever require to do more than the lowest grade option can achieve. If the answer is yes we then have to ask ourselves whether by the time we do so the current infrastructure wo…

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ALMEIDA VISIT AND OTHER WONDROUS THINGS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 30 March, 2011

Meetings all day from 9am on site. Digital signage companies all seem to be saying different things, which is a real headache. Then Theo a freelance sound designer, who is very kindly designing our audio infrastructure with Orbital, had a look round and started chatting through the spec. Finally in the afternoon we visited some more venues. Our first stop was the new Caponata/Forge in Camden, a private scheme that combines a restaurant with a small performance venue, predominantly for live music. We then headed to Islington for the much anticipated tour of the Almei…

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N4 STORIES TEASER

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 29 March, 2011

This morning, following an interesting meeting with a couple of producers on site, I proceeded to Pooles Park Primary School, who for the past few months have very kindly been home to our N4 Stories workshops. Sarah, our writer in residence, had furiously worked for just two hours with a group of (now somewhat regular) actors to cobble together a mini ‘Best of N4 Stories’. I had seen a few hot seating sessions before and some improvised scenes and was eager to get a flavour of what promised to be a mixed platter. I was truly blown away by the work that had obviousl…

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DIGITAL MEDIA AND MORE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 24 March, 2011

This afternoon I met with David, the head of digital media at the Royal Opera House. He had very kindly spec’d all our digital media requirements, sent out a tender to ten companies and liaised with them regarding their quotes. As ever with the build, there is quite a range; from £28k to £62k. We have shortlisted three and will invite the companies to undertake a site survey and demo their products next week. I also got back in touch with Tom from Orbital this morning. I have asked them to draw a schematic for the sound (show relay, paging, cans system etc) i…

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KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 23 March, 2011

After a huge gap that followed our last meeting, we met with the trustees on site this evening for a board meeting. As we are currently going out to tender and the start on site date is looming (pencilled in as May 1st) we suddenly have loads to arrange. Refining the mission statement and the USP are high on the list as is the creation and implementation of fundraising initiatives. Previously, this morning, Jordan and I finished checking the room data sheets. We now have a number of questions to ask the various consultants (mainly HJF, but also our fire and acoustic consultant…

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RETURN OF THE RDS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 22 March, 2011

Months on and those room data sheets are calling once more! Our project manager, Jordan, came over to the house at 6pm and has just left now at 2.30am. We have been through the sheets comparing them with the architects’ plans, the structural schematic, the mechanical and electrical schematic and the specialist lighting schematic. As tiny things have changed over the past few weeks, we need to ensure that every little thing is picked up on and that all the drawings match. We are getting there – just the lower ground floor to do. We are all set to continue in the mor…

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THE DANE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 March, 2011

This evening Melli and I headed to Brixton to see a lovely couple who had adopted one of the gorgeous Great Danes we fostered. It was fantastic to see the big guy so happy in his new forever home – and to chat the night away with Claire and Darren, who kindly cooked us a delicious meal. We’ve fostered a number now and they asked if we would ever adopt. It’s an interesting question as we have recently been discussing this. We have a dog of our own, a mastiff cross who is used to the comings and goings of visors to the house, and once the theatre is open the plan is to ad…

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THE IMPORTANT AND THE TIME CONSUMING

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 16 March, 2011

A good meeting this afternoon with project manager Jordan Russell. We went through the program of works and the schedule for the next two weeks. All the tenders should be back three weeks from now and we will very soon have an official ‘start on site’ date! Very exciting. In the meantime we are continuing to struggle with the utility companies – what is it with these people!? As is the EDF fiasco with the substation wasn’t enough! (Still ongoing by the way). I finally managed to get British Gas Business to remove the (approximately) £20…

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THE WRONG KIND OF HEROIN

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 March, 2011

I tackled the licensing application today and nearly finished the first draft. The hardest part is succinctly putting in to words how we are addressing various issues ranging from crime prevention to the protection of children. Whilst one would hope that some things would be obvious from the nature of the type of building we will be – a theatre not a nightclub – I did have a conversation with a design officer from the police last year who seemed to think we needed to implement measures to stop the public from jacking up in the auditorium; making sure that the design of the se…

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FREAKY GIRL IN FINSBURY PARK

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 10 March, 2011

How many people can fit in a double decker bus? We see the number written in there every time we travel but we can never remember it if someone asks us. Well, believe it or not, this is the reason I seemed like the new freak of Finsbury Park today! Doing research on the buses that pass outside of the Park Theatre and the number of people that travel within them, I had to figure out the number of people that fit in a double decker bus. But this information doesn’t seem to exist on the internet! So the easiest way was to go to the bus station at Finsbury Park and see… And that…

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THE HISTORY OF BUILDINGS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 9 March, 2011

I find history fascinating. People who follow this blog have will have read more than once about the feeling of an energy in a space and how I believe that the things we do in this world fly out and attach themselves to people, buildings, air… As such the history of a building, what took place inside its walls, is so interesting. Earlier today I was kindly given an extremely insightful pdf by Mark Foley of Burrell Foley Fischer, who have been the architects of the Almeida since its inception as a theatre space. Within the context of their latest (and beautiful) redevelo…

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THE RED SHOES

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 8 March, 2011

We have just returned from the BAC where we saw The Red Shoes. This was the fifth (possibly sixth) production we have seen by Kneehigh and they continue to be innovative and engaging in their telling of tales. Whilst this play worked very well on the aesthetic level – with its distinct style – it was less powerful than previous works of theirs on the actual narrative. However it did work on a thematic and metaphorical level and certainly wasn’t a triumph of style over content. This is all starting to sound too much like a pretentious late night review show…. over…

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MAINTAINING THAT ELEVEN

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 3 March, 2011

I always used to wonder why an A in some exams was only 84% and why you could often get 50% and still pass. The truth is that attaining 100% is very difficult, and, as I have discovered, maintaining it is even harder still. I am acutely aware that my energy level – which is the radiator of my passion, my enthusiasm and my confidence – must never falter. Positivity is the key to success and the energy one puts out into the world is absorbed by those around. As such I endeavour to personify the dial on the Spinal Tap guitar player’s amp – “this one …

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THE DUNCAN TRILOGY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 2 March, 2011

A good couple of meetings on site today. We met first with Jill Barton, who is a governor of IAMS (Islington Arts and Media School not the cat food). They already have very good links with the Almeida (where Jill is on the board) but are very keen to explore partnership potentials with us, their most local theatre. Melli and I chatted about our plans and we discussed various ideas together. I hope to give a presentation to IAMS’ governors sometime over the summer. Afterwards we met Sheila Duncan, a playwright friend of ours. She was telling us about what we jokingly call…

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THE EXCEPTION THAT PROVES THE RULE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 1 March, 2011

It’s tomorrow. Yesterday, for the first time, I didn’t write my blog. So here it is – backdated. I’m still here. A sign of something? Tiredness, stress, busyness? Perhaps a little of all of the above and more. A few hours until the next blog. Mustn’t slip up again!

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ANOTHER 2AM

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 24 February, 2011

Very tired. Haven’t been out for three days now. Need to get some fresh air. All work and no play makes Jez a dull boy. Not entirely true, having plenty of laughs – though mostly through delirium.

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I\'M NOT A GYMNAST

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011

All this week I am rewiring my friend’s house – removing the old consumer unit, adding some outdoor lighting circuits, some additional sockets to the ring main, some three way switching etc. Getting into the main attic space would be tricky for even a ten year old gymnast and it is taking it’s toll. When you are working with wiring and in confined spaces it’s surprising how long it takes to just to determine what was done (often badly) the previous time round. It’s vital to do so because if you want to re-use any of the circuit (which we have in s…

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OH AND THERE\'S THAT LICENSE APPLICATION!

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011

Our associate director, Melli, and one of our trustees, Frances, attended an advice session on Fundraising this evening – followed by a Creative Islington networking event. They came away buzzing with ideas and inspiration so I look forward to a full debrief. Frances chatted to the licensing officer who we had met with some time ago and reminded me that the licensing application should be done soon – we should strike while the iron is hot. Sadly despite it being high on my rather large ‘to do’ list, the recent onslaught of issues has taken precedent &nd…

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THE GAS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 February, 2011

My bus driver’s driving like he can’t find the accelerator pedal or, as they say in the states, ‘the gas’. I keep thinking he’s about to pull over and we’ll see smoke pouring from under the ‘hood’ but no, he maintains this snail pace continually. I am resigned to conclude that I am trapped in another sequel to Speed. That instead of the bus blowing up if the speed drops below 70mph, the bus will blow up if the driver exceeds 9mph. Any minute now Keanu’s going to crash in through the window, mind you if he waits an hour he could just g…

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CONTRAST

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011

Following on from yesterday’s blog, some very exciting opportunities have arisen with Celia on board and she is kindly assisting with contacting other influential industry professionals – both local and national, both ‘names’ and non ‘names’. Lots of work ahead, with some heavies on board many doors open. In open response to somebody’s tweet to me – no I didn’t get any cucumber sandwiches (perhaps they are strictly afternoon only!) but I enjoyed some lovely homemade cup cakes! Today, by contrast, was dull and stressful. Mel…

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FIRST AMBASSADOR

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 February, 2011

It’s half past eight, my food is ready and getting cold (as usual). So a real quick one today. Very excited that Celia Imrie, our first ambassador, is on board and totally committed to the project. So much so that she even called Stephen Fry to tell him about it while I was round for tea. Lots of other contacts and potential other ambassadors also….. watch this space (I’ll write more tomorrow…. need to eat!!!!!!)

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A GREAT DAY

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 10 February, 2011

A tour of yet another theatre this morning – we are being spoilt! Jacksons Lane Arts Centre had an unusual mix of old decor, beautiful history (it’s a converted church) and modern touches. Perhaps the most noticeable thing about it, apart from the stained glass windows, was the sense of community. The cafe was buzzing with mums and their kids, there was a class for toddlers going on in one of the rehearsal rooms and signs on the noticeboard informed patrons of the next yoga class. It was great to see such vital daytime hubbub in a theatre building. Back on site I h…

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PRESS NIGHT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011

It’s always such an exciting day. The cast and director have rehearsed for weeks, the director and producer have worked for months with the entire creative team and through the previews the show has been refined again and again. The constant striving for perfection won’t end here but tonight is the night when the show is officially ready for judgement, when critics put pen to paper… Never has a show changed so much than this production of Company. The difference from the dress rehearsal to the last preview is immense. Certain sections are unrecognisable and …

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THE TIERS OF THE CAKE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011

We started the day with a site meeting. Unfortunately a certain structural engineer had forgotten all about it (oops Paul!) – but when he finally arrived all was well. Martin walked through the building with him, chatting over the plans, while – for the most part – I gave an impromptu tour to a group led by our writer in residence, Sarah Rutherford. Paul seemed confident that the final tweaks to the scheme would take but a few days. These included rectifying various coordination issues, re-examining the structural support to the cantilevered bay window and el…

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WAITING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 3 February, 2011

An ever increasing number of people contacting us some on Twitter, some on facebook many having seen the banner hanging high on the building Just when we thought there were no more to be removed more internal walls have come down and the sandblasted brick stands proudly now the dust has settled Signs for health and safety adorn the site with instructions, warnings and advice while the portable radiator chugs out warmth into the site office and we wait on some final drawings for tender The building sits impat…

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TUBES, ELECTRICS, SHOWS AND SNACKS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 2 February, 2011

It’s the Dress Rehearsal for ‘Company’ this afternoon. I have hectically been trying to finalise some substation solutions before heading out the door and now tfl have very kindly made me late. When I boarded the tube the destination was Victoria but on looking up I found myself in Bayswater. It is actually only the first time that I have been penalised for not concentrating on public transport. The tube, it seemed, had been diverted to Paddington. So I promptly got off and assessed the situation, having lost a good fifteen minutes in the process. Well I can’t bla…

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THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF CARE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011

Already six months ago Hughes Jones Farrell would have far exceeded the total hours spent by many other architects on this near pro-bono project. Our many sessions – from design team meetings on site (or at various consultants’ offices across London) to a great many tours of theatres, attendances at conferences and events and even trips to see shows – have racked up a vast number of hours. Yet on Friday we spent an hour discussing the intricacies of a drinks shelf in the circulation area of the upper ground floor. Such is the level of detail that we engage in…

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WHY I COULD NEVER BE AN ACTOR

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 27 January, 2011

A question that has been asked of me many times is have I or would I like to act on the stage. The answer has always been a confident ‘no’. There are a number of reasons to this. Firstly the very reason I am a director is that I have always been fascinated in a mercurial coordination of people and things into a live performance. My role has been the facilitator, the conductor, the puppet master, the overseer, the all seeing eye. To take away my ability to stand back and examine a performance or production from the outside would make me uncomfortable and not at my b…

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THEATRE MOTTO

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 26 January, 2011

I have been thinking for some time about a theatre motto. Richmond Theatre has Alexander Pope’s beautiful and very apt “to wake the soul by tender strokes of art” inscribed above the proscenium. The original Globe had “totus mundus agit histrionem” engraved above the door. This latin phrase, literally meaning “all the world’s a playhouse”, was rephrased by Shakespeare as the now more well known “all the world’s a stage” in his play ‘As You Like It’. There is something powerful about a motto – certainly ab…

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STOP DOING EVERYTHING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 25 January, 2011

As soon as I wrote this title, I realised it may give the wrong impression. I don’t mean “stop the press” or “everybody stop working, it’s all over”. I mean it as a ‘note to self’: I must stop trying to do everything. The latest drawings from the structural engineer arrived a few minutes ago and I started to open up all the pdfs before suddenly saying to myself “hold on a minute!”, closing them all down and returning to my ever increasing ‘to do’ list which doesn’t involve negotiating my way through detailed be…

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WAY TO TRAVEL

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 20 January, 2011

It was 6pm when I left Waterloo tube station after this afternoon’s rehearsal for ‘Company’. The sea of people pouring into the station reminded me why I rarely travel during rush hour times. Standing in the crowded tube I could see why many people prefer to drive – even if it takes a long time to get there you are at least in the comfort of your own mechanical organism. It’s not as if in a crowded tube you have enough room to work on your phone or laptop anyway. If we fall into the ‘keep work and home separate camp’ and remain ‘west side&r…

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BIG TIME

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 19 January, 2011

Hooray folks, it’s the big time now! We have our cool banner on the front of the building and with the current widening of the pavement it all looks very hip and happening on Clifton Terrace… Jez and I enjoyed meeting Neil Darlison, Director of Theatre for London for the Arts Council today. We had a great chat – telling him all about our plans; and we are very pleased to begin a relationship with them.  Although many people look at the current climate and the Arts Council funding cuts and see doom and gloom, Neil had a very positive outlook on things &n…

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FREESTYLIN\'

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 18 January, 2011

Ooh the world of social media. I used to be a  sociotechnophobe when it came to Twitter and Facebook (I know what that means, do you?) but over the past few months I have embraced it lovingly like a Hungarian eating a fine slice of Dobos Torta (ooh that’s making me hungry). Too many brackets here, on top of my usual favourite – the hyphen. Have I developed a style over the last few months of writing? Hmm… Possibly my style is like my artistic policy – broad and multifaceted…. Or possibly my style is like the thoughts in my head - multitasking all over…

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CAROLINA ON MY MIND

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 13 January, 2011

As Associate Director my role is packed full of responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is as Literary Manager. During my trip to the States in September (anyone who read my blog then will remember this) I received a number of plays from New York literary agents. I have been slowly making my way through these. I had hoped to have finished reading them all before the end of 2010 but with so many things going on I haven’t been able to meet my own deadline. I am still reading but have kicked it up a notch as I am determined to finish this winter! I have just read a play that I…

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THE HYPER-SPEED OF TIME

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 12 January, 2011

It’s all kva and volts and stuff that I don’t really understand but Jez and Jordan and co. are clearly on top of things. I have witnessed everyone working hard to resolve our current EDF power issue. Although it sounds complicated in technical gobbledygook I am beginning to get a good grip of what is going on. Then suddenly, while in that head space, I am asked to go to the front door on site to let someone in and show them round. Much to my relief it’s an artistic person and we can speak the same language. Giving my tour I am surprised to see how smiley I am and realis…

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APOLLO 13

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 11 January, 2011

On Friday we discovered that EDF energy – or UK Power Networks as they are now called – were unable to provide us our requested power supply. We had applied for a higher supply to accommodate our increased demand – lighting rigs, air conditioning, lift etc. They had originally told us that in order to meet these needs they would have to install a substation (basically a room full of some electrical kit) in our building as there was no more capacity in the street. We quickly explained that we could neither afford the cost nor the space required by t…

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THE COLISEUM

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 6 January, 2011

After a successful morning rehearsing ‘Company’, followed by a brief catch up with the Hughes Jones Farrell team, we headed to the London Coliseum for a 3pm tour with the technical manager, Dewi Evans. The number of private tours we have been on is fast approaching twenty and we have always been treated well. Dewi’s tour, however, has to be one of the top few. On arrival he presented us each with some fascinating plans of the building which he then proceeded to talk us through before he showed us around. We began in the foyer where Dewi’s pas…

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MORE COMPANY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 5 January, 2011

Day 3 for ‘Company’ rehearsals and all is going well. I had spoken to Joe on Monday about a few important adjustments to the set design and band location (which are, in part, linked) and we have come up with a some good changes which were all but 100% confirmed today. We worked on characters this afternoon, focussing on Bobby’s relationships with the three girlfriends that he is seen with during the course of the play. We also looked at two of the married couple who are his friends and began to examine their relationship to each other as well as to Bobby. We were rehear…

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BACK INTO THINGS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 4 January, 2011

A mixed bag today – unblocking the drains, editing some video, chasing up our street numbering application (we are applying to get rid of the numbers 11-13 to simply be ‘The Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace…’) and the usual emails… 10pm and I have just returned home. Time for a bath (yep, can still smell those drains) and some much needed food! Tomorrow it’s more rehearsals for ‘Company’ and an all important meeting with Melli about the way forward over the next few weeks. Nouska and Christina are starting back up and we need to p…

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CLOSING DOWN...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 22 December, 2010

I’d usually be grumbling about how people close for Christmas – okay not actually the Christmas day part (I’m not Scrooge) but for such an extended period of time during the holiday season – however due to my aching head and tight chest I am content to take my antibiotics and deal with fewer incoming emails. Most companies start back on the 4th Jan. We will resume warp speed at that point. A December update: Lots of exciting meetings arranged for Jan/Feb Banner to be displayed on site mid Jan Party wall awards beng issued and …

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IT\'S GOING TO BE A GREAT YEAR...

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 21 December, 2010

2011. This is going to be a great year. Already got some exciting meetings planned – some arranged and to be firmed up. Two with funders. One with our first local celebrity. One with the arts council. One with the artistic director of the RSC. Things are going to happen. North London watch this space! The banner has now been designed. With Christmas looming it’s likely to be early January before it gets printed. On site soon! Short blog today. Been working from bed mostly. Damn chest infection. Here’s to health, happiness and success in 2011!

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AND SO IT ENDS...

by Jez Bond

Sunday, 19 December, 2010

07.53 Bed

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THE DAY THAT DUBS LEFT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 16 December, 2010

A hectic day today starting at 8am with a clear up of the house and a walk of the dogs before the engineer from TalkTalk came to tell us that there was a fault on the line and they would need to refer the problem to BT (our frustrating intermittent internet connection problem still exists after four weeks of trying to get it resolved). Then T-Dubs’ owner came to pick him up. Apparently he’s called Chet. Ummm… Our name’s better! Bye bye Dubs, we’ve had quite an adventure and you’ll be missed! That was all pre 11am! A meeting to ge…

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EDUCATING RITA (WELL, DAVE HUGHES)...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 16 December, 2010

I’ve written before that prior to starting work on The Park I was not a regular theatre goer, so as part of my continuing education and broadening of my horizons I am going to as wide a variety of theatre ‘types’ as possible – both for venue tours and to see productions. It’s been great that so many people, both friends and acquaintances of Jez’s and friends of friends, have taken some time out to show us around various theatres and spaces and answer our questions. Over the last year we have visited and been shown around: The National (parti…

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T-DUB

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 15 December, 2010

Following from yesterday’s adventures we returned home with our beautiful lost boy – a large black staffie cross. An actor from Transmission Workshop decided he should be called T-DUB, as in TW, and thus his journey began… We immediately followed the customary process we engage in with all four legged visitors to the house (having fostered Great Danes it’s all second nature now). Beginning outdoors with an introduction to the pack – a walk-by and then sniff of our very own mastiff cross, Hazel – we then proceeded indoors for a wash down; ge…

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MUM\'S THE WORD!

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 14 December, 2010

It’s so ridiculously exciting that I can hardly believe it. The most part of me wants to shout it out to the world, proclaim it from the rooftops and send it to the press. A small part of me however is desperately trying to keep that other part quiet. With most good ideas there are always other people out there who have the same plan. However I think that in this case that may not be true (I am truly original dahling!) and I can’t risk letting the cat out of the bag. Why? Creativity is about sharing ideas, surely!? Well, I suppose it’s my business side at work. It&rsquo…

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CHRISTMAS APPROACHES

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 9 December, 2010

As Nouska, Christina, Melli and I all met at London Bridge this chilly morning we remarked on how it was the first time that all four of us had been together. As Christina and Nouska work for us two days a week, the days had never previously collided. It was great to spend the day as one organism! We headed straight to a meeting with the Independent Theatre Council this morning. This was a useful hour, we shared our plans with them and they explained the benefits of membership to the ITC – which includes legal advice, business/accounting support and a host of reduced rat…

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BIG BAD DOM (BAD AS IN \'COOL\')

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 8 December, 2010

The first port of call today was Hoare Lea. Situated in the impressive location of Tottenham Court Road, Hoare Lea are one of the top lighting designers in the country. In the field of theatre, they have worked on some major venues producing stunning results. Their work on the Victoria Apollo theatre can be seen on the image I have posted here.   As mentioned previously, Dom, one of the partners, is helping us out massively. I just adore him. He has the most passionate high-energy fast talking way about him. Every time you meet him you feel like you need a para…

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MORE DATA

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 7 December, 2010

A meeting with Maurice and Ellis (owners of the London Fashion Centre) this morning proved fruitful. They are extremely helpful and very supportive of the project. We discussed the programme of work, the party wall awards (they are our neighbour at the back) and, due to their fantastic energy and enthusiasm, some other interesting ideas they had. I then met on site with Dave’s colleague Martin who will begin work on the detailed internal design of the building in January and had a wonderful vision for how the atrium space, with surrounding corridors and stairwells, will …

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EMPTY BUILDINGS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 2 December, 2010

What is it about empty buildings? We’ve all walked past countless facades, windows bricked or boarded up, sold signs hanging loose and we’ve returned month upon month year after year to see no change at all. I’ve even known one that we were outbid on by an incredibly eager buyer that has sat empty ever since the auction day some two years ago and counting. What happens in these cases? It’s such a mystery to me. Does the money dry up? Do people intentionally sit on them for years just to sell them on in a different market? Did they apply for planning and not get co…

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NOW IS THE WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 2 December, 2010

Another snowy day and London grinds to a halt. The transport system slows down and everybody is late or, worse, unable to reach their destination. Christina’s flight to France from Stanstead is cancelled. Even our supermarket delivery is unable to be delivered. Didn’t exactly the same thing happen last year with all the same results? Won’t exact the same happen next? C’mon England! I don’t think we built an empire based on this lack of care and organisation. Anyhow, warm within our home, we had a productive day with Christina, achieving a multitud…

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A SNOWY TRIP TO STRATFORD

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 1 December, 2010

We’re in Dave’s trusty Volkswagen, driving through the snow on our way home from Stratford upon Avon. It was great to see Flip Tanner from the RSC again and talk about the possibility of getting some bits and bobs from the old theatre for the Park. Many congratulations to Flip who, after a long stint at the RSC, is now off to head up the UK division of theatre consultants Fischer Dachs (or Basement Jacks as Dave likes to call them). It was really nice to tour round again, having been a few months ago when it was still a building site, and to see it all finished with people mi…

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GREEK THEATRE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 25 November, 2010

Working as an assistant for the artistic director of Park theatre is a new and very exciting experience for me. It is so interesting to see the whole process of how you can transform a building to a contemporary theatre venue and how you can bring such a big dream to a realisation. I couldn’t imagine how many things you need to organise to do before you open a theatre. Working by Jez’s side i meet the design team as well as people that work for promotional companies, i do the archive for some important documents for the theatre and i help generally in the organization of Jez&…

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 24 November, 2010

This morning I met with Sacha Corcoran, the lady who developed creative apprenticeships. This is a scheme adopted by educational institutions where, over the course of a twelve to eighteen month period, a student is placed within an arts organisation for four days a week and attends college one day a week. We discussed the scheme in detail and looked at how we might work together in the future – either next year, to engage a student in the pre-launch process, or for the following year when we take full possession of the building. Dave “I’m now a theatre exper…

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GREAT TITLE

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 23 November, 2010

I had a really good title for this blog earlier but so much has happened today my head is spinning and I have forgotten what it was! Jordan and I looked at contracts this morning and agreed that a JCT Construction Management process is the best way for our project. It does rely on a client / client representative that has a firm understanding of building. Jordan is confident that’s me – plus “you’re no mug” he said! In the late afternoon I met with Vinod the owner of number 10 Clifton Terrace (our direct neighbour) and – it transpired &ndash…

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STATS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 18 November, 2010

Programmes from A – Abigail’s Party – through to D – Dying Of The Light (The) – have been catalogued into the system. Over 400. One storage box filled. Looking at the remaining piles, my estimate for the total is around 1,500. In terms of the number of programmes for different productions of the same play, first equal is currently held by Cherry Orchard (The), Comedy of Errors (The), Death Of A Salesman and Doll’s House (A) with four each. It’s disappointing to see that there are a lot of shows for which we are missing progr…

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COMPANY

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 17 November, 2010

It’s that time of the year when my immune system is attacked by fatigue, stress and the change in weather – although I wouldn’t admit to the first two. I’m well accustomed to this now, after years – my throat glands are always my Achilles’ heel. A few lemsips and ibuprofen can help to soothe but nothing cures apart from time. So on we go with much to do, neither the company nor the building will create themselves! Joules has firmed up the basis for the lighting rigs in both theatres, so Dave and Paul can now coordinate this within their arch…

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FAMILY FEELING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 16 November, 2010

I’m pleased to report another great induction day for a new group of excellent actors. We have really got a talented lot. Lots of laughs were shared on our way towards more research for N4 Stories. I’ve been very lucky to find keen and talented actors able to accept this challenge. We are building a great team- what I hope will be a kind of family of actors. Melli Bond, Associate Director

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TALKTALK

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 11 November, 2010

It’s not really talktalk though; more like silentsilent. It’s been 48 hours now without internet access and the lovely Lisa upstairs has just saved the day by giving me the code for her wireless router! Why do these companies have such bad customer service? Well one thing is for sure – we will have two different broadband lines at the theatre with two different companies. It’s a good lesson to learn. Our business – including all the ticket sales – will rely on an internet connection and I sure as hell don’t want to be phoning up a call centre in …

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SKYDECK IS THE WAY...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 10 November, 2010

I have recently been trying to maximise my time by not arranging single meetings on a day; either booking in multiple meetings or working from home exclusively – it’s far more economical in terms of both time (due to travel) and finance. Today was a successful day full of meetings. Abi, who had assisted me previously had to stand down and the delightful Christina has taken over. Today was her first day as my assistant and I did warn her that it would be a bit of a baptism by fire! In the morning I showed her around the site at the same time as Katy, the …

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S.A.D.

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 9 November, 2010

Just two weeks ago I was preparing to write a blog on workaholism. I had calculated that over the past few months I have been averaging 75 hour weeks. Suddenly since the first of the month it seems that all the leaves have fallen from the trees, a chill has hit the air and darkness has descended. I now find myself in a very different place. It’s far easier to lie in for an extra hour than it is to jump right into the shower in the morning. It’s far easier to watch a film at 9pm than it is to carry on working. Positivity doesn’t come naturally in th…

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THE THREE ACT STRUCTURE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 4 November, 2010

Leon and I have just completed a successful 15 hour writing session. Act 1 and 2 complete. Act 3 is halfway there. Though Leon’s Act 2 is my Act 2 (part 2) and Act 3. And my Act 1 is Leon’s Act 1 (part 1). It’s all very simple really, depending on the use of the two act or the three act structure. Of course almost every single play and film follow the three act structure (or the five – don’t get me started) but modern custom in theatre is to perform a full length play with one interval, thereby giving the illusion of two where indeed three exist… or f…

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WORKING ON A NEW MUSICAL

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 3 November, 2010

It’s the end of day one of a three day workshop of a new musical comedy. Award winning composer and lyricist Leon Parris – whose recent ‘Wolfboy’ played at the Trafalgar Studios – has come over from his home in Spain to work on the script. It’s always exciting for me to work with new writing, something I have done a lot over the years. Combining this with my love of music makes for a truly exciting process. After Leon’s hour long pitch of the new draft to Melli and me we sat down for a meal and discussed some notes over a glass of wine…

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DRAMA GAMES

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 28 October, 2010

This afternoon I headed to the town hall for Creative Islington’s conference on the Islington Young People’s Festival. Whilst by no means its only aim, the festival (2011) seeks to promote and celebrate the conversion of Hornsey Road Baths into ‘Platform’; an exciting new arts centre run predominantly by and for young people. As such, a number of events are hoped to be scheduled in the new space, which is due to be completed in March of next year. Following an ‘information giving’ section in which a number of people both from inside and outs…

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GO GO GO...!

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 27 October, 2010

A busy day today (how many times do i say that). Correction. A quiet day today, nothing to do. No, that’s not right either! Let’s start again: With Abi ill (she turned up at RADA yesterday to check out the tension wire grid looking rather peaky – lucky she wasn’t scared of heights!) the pressure is on. It feels like, to start the main build by January (still planning to do some preparation and early work in Nov/Dec), we have to shift up a gear. Particularly as I know that in a few weeks the customary Christmas spirit will kick in – and i don&rsquo…

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THREE DAYS OF RAIN

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 26 October, 2010

Please let this be the last negative ‘discovery’. Okay in the grand scheme of things we’ve probably not had many (the perched water table and lack of electrical supply jump out) but boy when they come they come hard and fast, like an unexpected blow to the back of the neck (the scar marked ‘substation’ on the top of my spine is healing quite nicely). Today’s revelation was that the existing sewer pipe to the road was not large enough to take the new loads (increased toilets to existing portion of the property plus the added residential eleme…

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MY FIRST BLOG FOR THE PARK THEATRE [WRITES ABI]...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 21 October, 2010

My introduction to working as part of The Park Theatre team was a three hour meeting with the architect and various other members of the design team…and I have to confess, most of it went over my head! However, it was fascinating to hear everyone’s opinion on each and every detail of the build, as they all brought expertise from different areas to the table. It provided a real insight into the the complexity of every decision as cost, philosophy, aesthetic and artistic vision were weighed up against each other in order to reach a compromise. We left the…

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WHAT A DAY!

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 20 October, 2010

So much to blog about. Head buzzing. A three hour meeting in the morning at the (new!) offices of Hughes Jones Farrell proved to be one of the most important to date. Decisions have been made – and more to dwell on. The roof to the back of the property will be lightweight timber (or metal frame) with plasterboard and sound block acoustic insulation rather than concrete as previously considered. This keeps the weight of the structure down and significantly reduces the steelwork needed to support it and – a major knock-on benefit – negates the need for (expensi…

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LET THERE BE LIGHT!

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 20 October, 2010

On this so called day of doom and gloom for the Arts, with the announcement of massive funding cuts, we are moving onwards and upwards. Theatre is not built out of necessity or through finance or legislation – it is borne and run through passion. Nothing is going to quash our vision. We met on site this morning with one of the UK’s top building lighting designers. An expert on the science of light and daylight, on colour, on perception… a fountain of knowledge… Dominic is one of the most inspiring and enthusiastic people we’ve met. What an absol…

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COMMENTS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 19 October, 2010

A quick blog before my main blog of the day to say thanks to those who have contributed comments in the past. Oddly on this version of WordPress one doesn’t seem to be able to display comments on the main page – only to approve them so that they can be expanded if one clicks on the tiny ‘view comment’ sign. As such I have decided to publish yesterday’s comment from board Member David Barry: “Far be it for me to make remarks about anyone’s sanity; I was one of the board members of FinFuture who heard your presentation. Yes we…

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GIVE ME SOME LIGHT...

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 14 October, 2010

It was 3am last night when I checked my emails, sent my tweets, posted yesterday’s blog and finally went to bed! The journey up in the car to Sheffield yesterday had taken nearly four and a half hours due to road works on the M1. Melli and I were so hectic with emails and phone calls – me driving, Melli with both our phones in her hands – that we laughed about how, quite seriously, we were too busy to call our assistants to let them know they had got the position. Four hours went by and with every three emails that we responded to another three just as urgent arrived. I…

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LONDON THEATRE PONCES

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 13 October, 2010

[A blog from our architect Dave Hughes] I’ve never designed a theatre before The Park and I wasn’t a big theatre goer either, so as part of my continuing education and broadening of my horizons I, along with Jez and various other people I know, am going to as wide a variety of theatre ‘types’ as possible – we were at the Bush a couple of weeks ago, then ‘Passion’ at The Donmar (fantastic), ENB next month and last night a West End Musical. ‘Sister Act’. It’s the Harvester Restaurant of the theatrical experie…

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INTERVIEWS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 12 October, 2010

A great day today interviewing some fantastic candidates for the new intern position of assistant to the directors. Melli and I desperately need administrative and creative support across the many tasks and projects we are working on. I was extremely impressed with the candidates we saw. All were more than capable, all had very interesting experience and all seemed genuinely enthusiastic and highly personable. Much like a great day’s auditioning, it will be both desperately difficult to reach a decision and extremely disappointing to turn away so many good people. If onl…

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Y TOURING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 7 October, 2010

Ten years ago I left Finsbury Park driving a large van full of actors, set and props bound for a number of cities and towns across the UK. It was to be the last of my tours with this company who had taken me on young and fresh faced. Save a few treasured weekends I wouldn’t return home for ten weeks. Little did I know then that my fate lay so close by to the old Lennox road headquarters. Today Y Touring celebrated their 21year anniversary at the Jerwood Space. As I caught up with many familiar faces it was a pleasure to share in the memories and wish the compa…

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WAITING AT THE ALTER

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 6 October, 2010

It’s an odd feeling; you’ve heard from a number of sources both inside and outside of the council that for all intents and purposes you’ve been granted planning permission, the piece of paper is evidently sitting on a desk at the council offices waiting to be stamped and yet still the bride has not appeared. The guests all clock their watches, the priest paces calmly – he’s seen it all before – and the groom anxiously starts to tap his feet and twiddle his fingers…. Then suddenly the music swells, a hush descends and one by one the gu…

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TIME FLIES

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 5 October, 2010

I met with Councillor Phil Kelly at Euphorium on Upper Street to update him on the progress of our plans and to show him the latest designs and pictures. I can’t believe that it had been almost exactly a year since we first met, during our pre-application process with the council. It’s amazing how time has flown by – and how much longer things take than at first one thinks! I then met a couple of directors on site. Given that we have six months until we need to start programming our first season and (assuming things go roughly to plan) less than 18 months unt…

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THE BAR

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 30 September, 2010

Great news today as local MP Jeremy Corbyn wrote a letter in strong support of the theatre to Islington Council. Our consent is due tomorrow and we will soon be submitting our licensing application. Mr Corbyn’s letter addresses some key points most notably the importance of our cafe bar to the viability of the business. Just heading home now from the Factory Theatre’s production ‘Boiling Frogs’ at the Southwark Playhouse. A very engaging and innovative piece of theatre and a company well worth keeping an eye on: www.factorytheatre.co.uk …

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THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 29 September, 2010

I’ve just finished rehearsing with my band The Wang Dang Doodles. It took two and half hours to get to the rehearsal studio from the edit suite but I finally made it. Having agreed to learn three new songs for our gig on Friday I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t the time to prepare them all. We got two down, so for our ardent fans there’ll be a couple of new tunes throughout the night: www.charlottestblues.co.uk Earlier in the day I spoke with Rory, our acoustic consultant. We are keen to look at the possibility of a timber roof …

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PASSION

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 28 September, 2010

A break in the day from all things theatrical as I headed down to my studio to begin a few days of editing. A few days here and there helps to keep me fed and clothed while I work on my passion for the rest of the week! In the evening I went to the Donmar Warehouse with Dave to see Sondheim’s musical about love and desire. A great production and always good to see a musical in an intimate space. Surprised to say that Lloyd Webber has more catchy tunes in ‘Love Never Dies’ than Sondheim does in ‘Passion’! I’m not one for Mamma Mia …

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LOVE NEVER DIES

by Jez Bond

Monday, 27 September, 2010

After dropping the keys round to Hardman Engineers (so that they could gain access to the site in order to investigate the recent expositions) I headed to Islington via Nincomsoup at Old Street Station. It brought back memories of rehearsing a show round the corner about ten years ago. A couple of the actors and I used to pick up a soup on the way in every morning. We loved that place and memories came flooding back. Every production is special for different reasons and that one taught me a lot about working on a new play. Next stop Islington, for a numbe…

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HAYFEVER

by Jez Bond

Friday, 24 September, 2010

After preparing a refined design brief for our logo, I attended to a much neglected task – that of budgeting and admin for N4 Stories. I completed the major part of this before we left for the theatre this evening. I now have a list of actors who speak Somali and Turkish, which may be useful for approaching some of the local migrant communities. I have also produced a first draft of a budget, with appropriate fees for script development and workshops. We will soon be in a position to seek funding for the project. Melli and I then ventured down to Ki…

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BRANDING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 23 September, 2010

I looked at more logos today. Over the past few months we have arrived at a clear vision of what we want – something simple and not over-designed, something most likely text based and something versatile (i.e. that works just as well in black and white as in colour, and both in large and small formats). Of utmost importance is that the chosen design reflects our artistic vision. I am working on creating a new brief to ensure that the next set of designs incorporate these ideas and move us closer to our final logo.

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N4 ACTION

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 22 September, 2010

Melli Bond writes: A buzzing morning with writer in residence Sarah Rutherford and artistic director Jez Bond. As associate director I am excited to be engaging with N4 Stories as the project develops. So, all you actors who are interested in getting involved watch this space, I will soon be contacting you. Following such a successful New York trip I am enjoying getting stuck into the many new plays I have been passed and continued the process in the afternoon. After a full day of writing and reading I was delighted to see Jez’s model box of our stu…

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A MODEL STUDIO

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 21 September, 2010

The studio is now complete – although it’s only 1/33rd actual size. I added the finishing touches this evening with the addition of a ladder to access the technical gallery. With 90 seats, a generous rake, air conditioning, comfortable fixed seating and an array of technical delights including a show relay system it’s a model studio. Tomorrow I will begin to create an equally miniature set in order to place it in our studio to get a true idea of the sight lines, entrance and exit positions and stage size. I will re-create a set for a show I directed a few yea…

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A DAY IN THE THEATRE

by Jez Bond

Monday, 20 September, 2010

Starting on site this this morning, my first meeting was with Sharon Schaffer who formed and used to run successful theatre company Kaos. She was very interested in The Park Theatre and potential involvement and it was a pleasure to show her round. Dave Hughes had provided me with some great colour printouts so I was happy not to have to lug my laptop in on the tube. Returning home I resumed work on the model box of the studio (I had mentioned in Friday’s blog that our debate about seating was ongoing – this exercise has evolved from our discussions). La…

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MOVING ON UP

by Jez Bond

Friday, 17 September, 2010

This morning I had a very successful meeting with local MP Jeremy Corbyn. I proudly showed him the plans and 3D model shots before we toured the site. I was impressed that he wanted the meeting to take place at Clifton Terrace and not at his office. It indicated to me a real interest in what we are doing – rather than the superficial fulfillment of a duty. Indeed he was extremely positive about the project and very enthused. Like many others he shares the view that Finsbury Park is crying out for a new cultural centre and it’s a pleasure to have him in support of o…

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 16 September, 2010

On my way to The Bush to see ‘Aliens’ with Dave Hughes: as in Dave is accompanying me, rather than appearing on stage. Having said that, our lead architect is becoming increasingly keen on the spotlight. “The criticism of architects” he told me last week “is that they have never been on stage themselves.” As such Dave is planning to tread the boards and walk into our Park Theatre spotlight to address the audience on our gala night. I would say that I’d be there in the wings ready to push him on, but something tells me he won’t ne…

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SCRIBD

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 15 September, 2010

It’s a strange name but a very useful website that allows you to upload documents for others to view and download. Due to our newsletters containing many photos, the resulting PDFs are rather large. As such, this method of communication is a happy alternative to clogging up people’s emails. Thanks Scribd! Check it out to view – and, if you so wish, download – our July newsletter, our ‘hot off the press’ September newsletter and much more to come… I have applied the link to the blog and the website and it’s right here …

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GLAMPING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 14 September, 2010

I thought long and hard about whether or not to write my blog over the last few days – whether to blog from deepest darkest Wales or whether to stick strictly to blogging about the theatre and report on the goings on back in London. However it was whilst stoking the wood burning stove in our geodesic dome that I made the decision to sit back and enjoy the holiday – my one break this year. As such there will be a small gap in the diary calendar – and whilst in one way frustrating for my order obsessed mind, it is a true representation of a mini break in my jou…

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ALWAYS ON MY MIND

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 9 September, 2010

Eat, drink, sleep theatre. Sleep however being the most neglected at the moment. Sleep…

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TO FLIP OR NOT TO FLIP - THAT IS THE QUESTION...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 8 September, 2010

It’s all about the seating. Following from our trip to Trafalgar Studios yesterday we continued our discussions on seating for the studio… We had always considered flexibility as important, but now it seems we may be changing our minds. The fact is – and this is a view shared among architects and theatre consultants alike – flexibility costs money. It costs in terms of initial capital expenditure (fixed tiers are far cheaper than reconfigurable steel/aluminium deck) and in terms of ongoing expenditure (considerable man power is required to reconfigure …

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12 HOURS IN THE CITY

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 7 September, 2010

Leaving the house shortly after 9.30am this morning it took in excess of two hours to travel the usual 50 minutes to the borough of Islington. As the tube workers were on strike the buses, cars and taxis on the road were crammed with people and the traffic terrible… My meetings today were first at Chapel Market then at Finsbury Park then at Exmouth Market then at Trafalgar Studios then back to Islington. With the late summer sun beating down it was not the ideal day for it but, armed with my laptop and the plans in my rucksack and my wallet, keys, phone and pen in Hazel…

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A DAY OUT IN ISLINGTON

by Jez Bond

Monday, 6 September, 2010

It’s pouring with rain as I write this but earlier today as I trod the streets of Islington the sun was shining down on me. I first met with one of the local ward councillors. As he had visited the site before we met in the more comfortable council offices. My intention over the next two weeks is to speak the relevant members of the council – and by relevant I mean those that sit on the planning committee, the licensing committee or are an executive member. It is important for me to speak to councillors face to face in order to bring them up to date with the latest…

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LEAVING NEW YORK

by Jez Bond

Friday, 3 September, 2010

Day 4 - Today, from the comfort of my Delaware home, we discuss family and culture and so it happens I chat with Lynn Thompson, Artistic Director of America-in-Play about America’s historical cultural legacy. Having missed her in the city, we chat on the phone. We really connect and I feel very inspired with the work she’s doing with her dynamic dramaturgy group of New Yorkers. There is so much to be learned from our past and a question I’ve always been asked abroad is “What IS the American culture?” Just a few more days here then it&rs…

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NEW YORK PART 4

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 2 September, 2010

Day 3 - Chocolate S’more cookies… I’m awake at 6am. Could I really have so much work ahead of me? Yes I actually do. After solid head in the computer time I think I should open the blinds. My gorgeous friend Ellie and I decide what better way to spend a morning than having breakfast at Tiffany’s. So we bundle beautiful Lukas and take a cab to Wall Street. It’s closer for us than the 5th Avenue store. Since all my rushing around we’ve barely had time to have fun! Post retail heaven what better than to stroll …

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NEW YORK PART 3

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 1 September, 2010

The Chelsea Market is a cool welcome change from the steam outside. As I pondered the many choices a strange feeling crept over me – oh no that was an increasing level of volume on the buskers slightly eerie version of Eleanor Rigby. I can’t put a finger on why I got chills down my spine. Hmm. Where do they all come from? I was advised to eat my lunch here so I finally move away from the creeping-me-out-music and choose sushi. One of my favorite lunch treats, this Lobster company’s tempura prawn roll was nothing short of happiness in a bite. Ah. Still and calm but wait …

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SOME FEEDBACK

by Jez Bond

MONDAY, 31 AUGUST, 2010

We are near the end of the consultation period for our planning application and I believe there have been almost twenty letters and/or emails of support from members of the public – plus a very positive letter from The Theatres’ Trust (who are nearly always consulted concerning either alterations or new builds of theatres throughout the UK). I am not sure at this point whether there have been any letters of disapproval or any concerns raised, but it seems not. Of course the area where this might be expected is from residents in the neighbouring dwellings, however w…

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FIRST BLOG FROM NEW YORK

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 31 August, 2010

“Buy me a meal, buy me a meal”, it was more of a statement than a question repeated by a man standing outside a Mc Donald’s. Quite different to “spare some change?’ that we have here in London. I’ve arrived here in New York to a loud city with huge streets and even bigger buildings – and this statement has already made me realise just how different this city is. I’m impressed, though, to be in this vibrant, exuberant town where there is also a natural calm. I noticed this in in the kiddie park with my good friend’s little b…

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NEW YORK PART 2

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 31 August, 2010

Day One continued - Heading over to the Gersh agency I do feel quite proud of myself on the navigation skills. Thanks to years of learning my way around twisty London, the New York grid is a bit of a breeze – well not really, it’s still boiling! I’m able to take in some of the really lovely fountains and places where people sit and blog, eat, chat and generally take the load off Sally. So after my own moment of laptop zen I head into Gersh. This sparkling group was well worth the meet and again I feel a warm welcome. I round out the day …

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28 MONTHS LATER

by Jez Bond

Monday, 30 August, 2010

An early start today as associate director, Melli Bond, travelled to Heathrow airport bound for New York to meet with theatre companies and literary agents. Following her departure on the tube, Hazel (our Mastiff cross) and I went for a long walk. The streets of London were decidedly eerie. Traffic at 8am was almost non-existent and pedestrians were few and far between. It seemed more like a scene from ’28 Days Later’ than a typical bank holiday. Indeed, I rather felt it would the perfect setting for the sequel to the sequel (’28 Weeks Later’) and began…

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COMMENTS PLEASE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 27 August, 2010

The consultation period will soon be over and the council are keen to receive any feedback on our application. For those who haven’t already done so please consider taking two minutes to view and comment on the plans. You can do this online by clicking http://mytinyurl.net/9ea143 and entering application number P101570 to view. Then click ‘comment on this application’ to add your words of support. Alternatively you can send an email for the attention of Sarah Ricketts (the planning department case officer) quoting application number P101570 to: [email protected]

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A LONG DAY\'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 26 August, 2010

A little sad today – rather like the feeling you get when I production ends. However, no time to dwell. Tired. Just got in. Early start, late finish. Melli off to New York on Monday. Lots of meetings with theatres and literary agents planned. Very exciting. Emails, phone calls, texts to deal with – have to catch up with everything in the next couple of days…. About to sit down, eat and watch a friend’s film which just came through the door from Amazon.co.uk

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NEW BEGINNINGS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 25 August, 2010

Having digested last night’s post court meeting with Hardman Engineers, a relatively young company who seem to share our working ethos, I confirmed their appointment as our new structural engineers this lunchtime. I very much look forward to working with Paul Hardman and his colleagues and hope that the solutions they have suggested are ones that may, in the long run, save us considerable money. It’s always a hurdle to change horses in midstream but I feel we have made the right decision. On the 5th floor of the Old Bailey my fellow jurors – now &l…

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FOREMAN

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 24 August, 2010

At 11.30am today we, the jury, were led into the deliberation room and asked to hand over our mobile phones. The door was locked behind us and we are left with our notes, the jury folders, the evidence (including two guns and a silencer) and a jug of water. We were not to leave the room until we had reached a verdict – and, appointed by my peers, I was asked to assume the role of foreman and chair our party to its conclusions. The judge had indicated to us that at this time, and until such time as he would say otherwise, a unanimous decision must be reached on this case.…

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THE FINAL SUMMING UP

by Jez Bond

Monday, 23 August, 2010

As those who have been following this blog will be aware, over the past few days I have been attending jury service and my comments have been somewhat split between the Old Bailey and The Park Theatre. Today’s blog is no exception… Following the incessant rain throughout last night, it was observed by our project manager, Jordan, that the water levels in our trial holes have risen substantially. I’ve often marveled at the beauty of rain on stage – but that’s always been the controlled variety, pumped around through pipe work. Eventuall…

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INNOCENT OR GUILTY?

by Jez Bond

Friday, 20 August, 2010

The past few days at the Old Bailey have been a fantastic experience. Sitting in a jury of my peers, I have listened to the defence and the prosecution argue their case, I have heard witnesses give evidence and watched defendants examined and cross examined in the witness box. Throughout the entire process, one thing has been obvious – that the tradition, the pomp and ceremony, the setting and the vernacular are each important contributions to the theatre of the court. Much like an audience in the circle of a playhouse, a congregation sit in the vie…

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DECISIONS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 19 August, 2010

Crunch time. Whilst a provisional structural scheme has been drawn it seems that the structural engineer himself is the only member of the design team not committed to our approach. Amongst other qualities, communication is vital and without it there can be no worthwhile working relationship. So some decisions to be made…

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THE JURY\'S OUT

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 18 August, 2010

We have now received the structural steel scheme from our engineers. I am waiting for confirmation from Dave and Jordan that the documents are all in order – i.e. that there is sufficient and understandable information for us to get the structural steel element of the project accurately priced: note that structural engineers’ scribbles can be a little like doctors’ scrawl! What a fascinating day at court today. Pure theatre in the round. More on this anon but it’s been an extremely long day and I am heading out for a walk to clear my head.

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STEEL

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 17 August, 2010

If patience is a virtue then I am feeling pretty damn virtuous at the moment. For three weeks we have been promised the new structural steel designs and we’re still waiting! “Mr Penfold to the stage please, Mr Penfold to the stage.”

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IN COURT

by Jez Bond

Monday, 16 August, 2010

Over the next two weeks I am sitting on a jury at the Old Bailey and therefore the time I have available to spend on the theatre is limited. It’s a great shame that I can’t blog about my daily experiences in court but we are all obliged not to disclose any details of the case to anybody outside of the courtroom until after the event. So that particular drama will just have to wait. At lunchtime I heard from Dave Hughes that the council meeting with our planning officer and design officer concerning the facade went very well and that everybody is feeling positive ab…

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FIRST VIDEO COMPLETE

by Jez Bond

Friday, 13 August, 2010

A big meeting this morning at DSA, discussing the way forward for electrics, plumbing and drainage, central heating, air conditioning and ventilation. Jordan, our project manager, is coordinating a drain survey and a water pressure test the results of which will influence us as to the best course of action to take. Furthermore, in addition to the room data sheets, DSA would like us to produce a set of drawings with sockets etc drawn on so that they can work out circuit diagrams. Two weeks for us to do all we need, about two weeks for them to draw up all their schematic diagrams and then …

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AFTER THE DANCE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 12 August, 2010

I went to the National to see ‘After The Dance’ last night. Being a fan of Rattigan I enjoyed it tremendously, particularly the suicide! Oh that sounds terrible morbid, but I mean ‘dramatically’. The show was the hottest ticket in town, having sold out its entire run and having had huge return queues for the past two weeks. Yesterday was the last night and – thanks to Mr Julian McCready and his pals – I sneaked in to watch it from the lighting box. Hmm. I think that’s my first blog concerning a prior day. As I write every weekday it ne…

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CONSTRUCTION V. CREATION

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 11 August, 2010

“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists” G K Chesterton [Say no more.]

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TETELESTAI...

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 10 August, 2010

Finally at 4pm today my hands lifted off the keyboard as the final touches to Draft 1 of the Room Data Sheets were completed. There are 47 columns and (across three sheets) 100 rows. So that’s 4,700 variables. Let’s just say that again – four thousand and seven hundred variables. That doesn’t include, of course, the structural works such as floor, wall, roof and ceiling build ups. As we progress things will change and the list will be adapted. But as a starting point it’s a mammoth achievement. Tetelestai…! Associate Director Mel…

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CAT5

by Jez Bond

Monday, 9 August, 2010

A technical learning curve today on the subject of CAT5 telephone, internet and network infrastructure. I wouldn’t say that I am a master by any means but, after having spoken to a number of extremely helpful companies, I am however aware of the basic workings of the systems and the options available to us. One particularly good discovery – which I suspected existed – was the use of telephone systems that handle multiple extensions without multiple lines. What I mean is this: where we are looking at having, say, one telephone number for admin related calls, w…

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AND MORE...

by Jez Bond

MONDAY, 6 AUGUST, 2010

The following to be read in a dramatic ‘movie voice’: “4 white recessed double wall sockets 3 single telephone points with master plus auxiliaries on separate lines 2 double glazed clear partially opening roof lights with trickle vents 1 FD30 fire door with single vision panel, electro magnetic release, push release to exterior and fire breakout button In a world of construction comes a tale of one man… who went to work a theatre. He was a guy with a dream. But the dream was bigger than he ever imagined. When…

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CAN OF WORMS

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 5 August, 2010

8 hours solid spent on the Room Data Sheets today. Not yet finished – hopefully by the end of the weekend. Now feeling like the more detail I go into, the more potential categories I uncover. Bit of a can of worms… but I’m bloody finishing this!

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ONE FOR THE PLANNERS

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 4 August, 2010

It strikes me that with my various blogs alluding to the mountain of paperwork required to get through planning, the frustrations of having to conform to legislation and the difficulty of co-ordinating documents, I have almost entirely dismissed the planners. Deep within 222 Upper Street they sit, the patient few, leafing through our contribution to deforestation – a waste they neither desire nor like. We feel the weight of bureaucracy through them, but it is truly far further along the chain where the legislature which demands such excess of paperwork is created.

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STOP THE PRESS

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 3 August, 2010

The planning application is in and the three extra documents requested are ready to send in order that the application can be validated. But just when we thought it was all over…! Of course it’s entirely our fault or let’s say our lack of experience that has led to a last minute change regarding opening times. Having only recently spoken to a number of other theatres across London specifically about this issue, we have been strongly advised to ensure that we are not conditioned, in planning terms, to close at 11pm. The fact is that there may well be a number…

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PYRENEES

by Jez Bond

Monday, 2 August, 2010

This morning brought an email confirming our charity status. I am delighted to announce that we are now a registered charity, number 1137223. It’s another step closer to the realisation of our dreams… I have been furiously emailing and calling councillors for most of the day, attempting to arrange face to face meetings with them ahead of our planning committee meeting. Whilst those councillors who sit on the planning committee must remain impartial, I am keen to share my ideas and passion for the project in person. The room data sheets need to be finish…

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CATALOGUING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 29 July, 2010

A mixed day today, beginning with a review of some recent quotes – one for a tension wire grid, which I shall write much more about should we progress down this route. I then changed the blog template and photo – hence the new image (courtesy of Ben Jones, HJF) which graces the page. Melli and I have acquired a veritable library of plays yet, due to space restrictions, these will remain boxed up waiting to furnish the shelves in our office at The Park. So, amidst the usual emails and phone calls I aided Melli in her process of cataloguing everything. Like any direc…

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A DAY IN THE LIFE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 28 July, 2010

In N4 all day, beginning with a meeting at Islington Community Theatre. Currently based in an office at The Pleasance, this young company, enthusiastically run by artistic director Ned Glasier, has quickly grown in scale over the past eighteen months. We shared plans with each other and discussed possible ways to link up over the coming years. On site I met with an established actor who had heard about our project through the cyber grapevine. After a short tour of the building we sat and discussed the theatre, our passions, our disappointments and hopes – all over a burg…

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A DAY IN SE1

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 27 July, 2010

After having spent an entire day yesterday in the company of Hughes and Jones (Farrell will have to wait) we repeated the formula today. As if a car journey to Stratford and back complete with gags about shingles, Mossad agents and Richard Griffiths wasn’t enough! At Hughes Jones Farrell’s offices in Southwark, Dave Hughes, aka D-Ave, (you really had to be in the car for that one) gave me a short induction to Vector Works and I completed the addition of door and window references to the floorplans, successfully managing not to destroy any walls, or indeed wipe out …

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THE NEVER ENDING STORY

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 22 July, 2010

We are currently compiling a giant database which contains every build detail of every room. Beginning with a room reference number (such as LG.03) which relates to the floor plans we then enter the description of the room (such as Dressing Room 1) followed by a vast amount of information entered into various categories such as floor coverings, wall and ceiling finishes, lighting, power, sanitary-ware, windows, doors, door security and fixtures to name a few. It’s a very precise exercise and one that focusses us on putting everything exactly on paper. This throws up cons…

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A THEATRE POWERED BY HYDROGEN...

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 21 July, 2010

This afternoon our architect, Ben Jones, travelled to Dalston to meet me for a tour of another theatre. I must confess it had been a long time since my last trip to the converted warehouse known as the Arcola – and since then I had developed an greater appreciation and understanding of their environmental policies. Sadly, due to the landlord reclaiming the piece of land where they stored their hydrogen cylinders, the fuel cell in the bar was for display purposes only. However David Salter, the technician, did say that they had just supplied the energy for the latitude festival and …

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A LANDMARK DAY

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 20 July, 2010

All rather quiet and no popping open bottles of champagne, but amidst chasing up our structural engineer, seeing more theatres and looking over quotes for seats and staging, the planning application has today been submitted to the council. A small landmark on a long journey, tainted in one sense by the knowledge that there are imminent tweaks and modifications – a result of both the London Fire Brigade input (which affects our licensing) and of some cost engineering solutions – but an achievement nonetheless. The best thing of all is the fact the date for the committee decisi…

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A WORLDWIDE SHORTAGE OF LITTLE PEOPLE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 15 July, 2010

For the past couple of weeks, someone somewhere in London has been beavering away with bits of card and glue to create our 1:100 scale model of the building. The version being made is what we would call in the theatre a white card model – that is to say that it is without some of the more advanced features such as colour and texture. A fully featured ‘all bells and whistles’ model would take a considerably longer to make and  would result in considerable unnecessary expense – as the advantage of this version is that we will be able to play with the…

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THE FINAL COUNT DOWN

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 14 July, 2010

Still at work, not much more to tell. The hours of the clock have moved on so much so that they are the same now as they were when I wrote the last blog – yet the ‘to do’ list on my laptop has remained full to the brim. Once Friday has passed I shall be able to tackle some of the other tasks on the list. For now, onwards we go – towards Friday (sign off on all the reports from our planning consultants, Planning Perspectives) and Monday (their submission of the full application to Islington Council). After the acquisition of the building, this is second …

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THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 13 July, 2010

Tuesday and just three days until submission. There have been more emails flying around between the planning consultants and architects today than ever before. The rush to make the deadline is on – all the documents need to proofed and changed and proofed again, every policy needs to addressed with an appropriate response and aside from removing the typos and sorting out stray formatting the many documents need to be consistent in their wording and references. With all this running in the background, the marketing document from property agents Dron & Wright went miss…

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THE HEAT

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 8 July, 2010

Stuck indoors on this glorious day, hidden behind the blinds of our window – keeping cool Spanish style – I have been proofing planning reports. We’ve had some interesting discussions about air conditioning over the past few weeks but the conclusion seems to be that green air conditioning is somewhat of an oxymoron. Whilst there are some interesting advances the technology is either not yet tried and tested, far too expensive or not appropriate for the (smaller) scale of our site. It’s on days like this that I am reminded of our debates &ndas…

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FINSBURY ART

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 7 July, 2010

A fantastic meeting with Kate Jones of John Jones today. We met at her site and I embarked on a fascinating tour of the building. The immense amount of detailed work and craftsmanship that goes into the creation of a frame is quite magical. From the warehouse where the raw wood comes in to the room where it is cut and then sanded, from the custom made metal teeth that sit in their machines to carve out intricate edgings to the paint room where sprays and finishes are applied, it truly is a wonderland of creativity. It was in the gilding area where I found myself most intrigued and as I e…

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DON\'T CONFUSE YOUR F&B WITH YOUR M&E

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 6 July, 2010

It was in conversation with my father earlier today that the title of today’s blog was coined – after he asked me “what’s F and B?” It simply serves to highlight the sheer amount of bizarre information currently sloshing around in my head – I think sloshing is a fairly good word; it implies that there is enough room in there to move around and that therefore there is the ability to absorb more. At least this is what I hope as, having said this, I do sometimes feel a little like Johnny Mnemonic – or some other such science fiction creat…

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THE WEEKEND

by Jez Bond

Saturday, 3 July, 2010

Contrary to my previous post on the strange phenomenon of the Monday to Friday week, today and tomorrow are proving to be the exception to the rule. At long last a weekend! Dare I say the words “without any work on the theatre”? No, for come midnight tomorrow that will certainly prove to be a lie and this artistic director does not wish to turn into a pumpkin!

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ONE TESCO AINT GONNA CHANGE THE WORLD!

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 1 July, 2010

Kate Jones, of John Jones the framers, and I discussed meeting up next week to explain to each other our plans. It feels like we’ve hit gold in terms of the timing of the project. John Jones are developing their space with a new extended gallery and student housing which will be home to a host of young people attending the University of the Arts London – a huge organisation which includes colleges such as Central Saint Martins, who turn out great set designers every year. There must be some exciting ways in which we can work together! On top of this, the so-called ‘Twin…

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WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 30 June, 2010

An exciting day today as we have appointed our first ever writer-in-residence…. Sarah Rutherford is an actor and writer. With a degree in English from Oxford University, she pursued a career as an arts journalist alongside a PhD on black farce in Jacobean and 1960s theatre, before training as an actor. Her professional acting credits include popular drama series such as Murphy’s Law, Casualty and The Royal as well as theatre work in the West End and beyond. Her first play, What You Do To People, was recently showcased at the Hampstead Theatre. Sarah is …

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SOUND ENGINEERING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 29 June, 2010

An exciting meeting on site today with our sound engineers, Orbital. We spent considerable time talking through the various sound requirements of the building – a task far more complex than it might first appear… For those among you thinking ‘what happened to a couple of speakers and a bit of cable’ (or perhaps a tin can and a piece of string) read on. For a start there are two theatres that need seperate communication within each space (a mixture of wired and wireless headsets) with three dressing rooms that need to recieve show relays (an …

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NEWSLETTER

by Jez Bond

Saturday, 26 June, 2010

Despite the soaring temperatures outside and the roaring and whistling of the World Cup in the air, we have been drafting our newsletter today. It should be ready and available early next week – and will be distributed to local residents and businesses. If you would like a copy then please send us an email and we will send you one…

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PAPERLESS FILING

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 24 June, 2010

A day of catchup. Tens of business cards from the last few weeks, piles of papers from the past conference days, an assortment of unfiled documents on the desktop. Today everything was catalogued and tidied. I can’t stand clutter but very ocassionally things appear faster than you can deal with them. Why did one contractor send me a quote in the post – costing him a stamp, an envelope, the paper and the printing plus a trip to the post box? Infuriating as all I wanted was an e-copy for my computer files and I explicitly asked for this! Aside from the waste to him, …

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EVENTFUL

by Jez Bond

Wednesday, 23 June, 2010

After removing myself from the turmoil at Victoria station this morning, I headed to Finsbury Park by bus. A far more pleasant, though considerably longer, way to to travel. On site we met with a number of contractors, stepping ever closer to our goal of starting the build. This afternoon a fruitful meeting at the architects’ studio concluded with an agreement on the way forward over the next few weeks. Some value engineering will invariably need to be done but the good decision was made to continue to planning submission irrespective of any tweaks that may follow. It&rs…

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STRUCTURAL henGINEERING

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 22 June, 2010

This morning began with our associate director and I taking a trip to nearby Poole’s Park Primary School. The headmaster of the school, Greg Crawford, and Mark Tinkler, the artistic director of Music Platform (whose offices are based within the school), showed us around their impressive drama facilities. Like Mark, who creates exciting projects with his opera company, Greg is passionate about theatre. He is also a green enthusiast and, as we walked over their roof, talked about their vast installation of solar panels. After a walk through the garden and a look at the vegetables tha…

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THE WEEKEND

by Jez Bond

Saturday, 19 June, 2010

Inevitaby, whether speaking with friends or business associates, the question of what one is doing for the weekend will arise. As anyone who works for themself will know, the weekend is a curious phenomenon. For most it means a two day break from the 9 to 5, a time to sip a beer and watch the game, to enjoy a long Sunday roast and, yes, sometimes catch up on those household chores which have been piling up from 5 days at the office. For those self-employed or running their own company however, the weekend is as much a misnomer as the 9 to 5 day. Furthermore the atmosphere in the creative…

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ABTT TRADE SHOW

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 June, 2010

The ABTT trade show’s here, come try a seat, come sip a a beer there’s flip seats, a retracting tier, your questions answered, have no fear The multitude of gadgetry, displayed for all the hoards to see The exhibition filled with glee, with hardly any boundary The fuel cell powered by hydrogen, the rig that takes the weight of men The lead time’s long – you want it when? Here take a biscuit, have a pen. The point hoist sliding on its beam, the curtains; black or red – or cream They …

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THE WORLD WIDE HEADACHE

by Jez Bond

Thursday, 17 June, 2010

It’s so convenient when things are running smoothly in one’s online technological world but god how frustrating when the system collapses! I continually teach myself computer skills at the eleventh hour – see our new RSS feed today. Given a dedicated amount of time and google at your fingertips there’s not much you can’t decipher. When our server went down this morning I began to piece together a recovery strategy. But WordPress, RSS, Twitter and website templates are one thing – synching multiple imap email accounts with computers and iphones and a cr…

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ITEAC 3

by Jez Bond

Tuesday, 15 June, 2010

Day 3 and another few hours of listening, learning and – in the case of ‘Horizontal motion on stage’ – gasping in amazement! The front door, attended one of our architects, Ben Jones, gave an insight into the requirements and desires for front of house areas tackling issues from acoustics of foyers through to spaces for concession stands (for merchandise). In ‘The total cost of ownership’ a number of principles and strategies were put forward regarding asset management. It was clear that taking the time and care to design a buildi…

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ITEAC 1

by Jez Bond

Sunday, 13 June, 2010

Day 1 of the ITEAC or ‘International Theatre Engineering & Architecture Conference’ ended with a superb boat ride down the Thames from Westminster pier past the O2 and along to the Thames barrier – and, thankfully, back again! There must surely be a joke about how many theatre consultants you can fit onto a boat but, as the time fast approaches midnight, I can’t think of one. My head is spinning from an array of the day’s sessions and with an 8.30am start in the morning I am destined for the comfort of dreamland. However, having promised to write a littl…

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