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Rehearsal room

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The company I work for has just aquired an office/classroom space to use as a rehearsal room. The problem is the actors don't like it because looks and feels like too much like an office/classroom..............:tearshair:


What makes a room feel like a rehearsal room? Drapes? lighting? a crappy sofa in the corner?


Given a small budget, what could we do to make them feel more... you know.....creative?

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Drafty window, leaky roof, pile of abandoned rehearsal mockups from a show years ago that are of no use to anyone but no-one wants to skip, a rehearsal door that is of questionable structural integrity, a noticeboard full of out of date notices and digs lists, a floor littered with remnants of previous markouts?


More seriously, it might be an acoustics thing, if it is quite dead in there try introducing some more reflections, conversely if it has sports hall echo try dampening it a little. If the room is rather business like in décor, you could try introducing some colour.


It might be a case of buying a box of 'welcome to your new rehearsal room' chocolates, and waiting for them to settle in and make it theirs. Talk to them and seek out the issues, what has changed from your old rehearsal facilities to this that feels unnatural?

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Since most rehearsal spaces are indeed former class rooms or former function rooms above pubs the actors need beating with a large stick (hire prices available on request.)


You of all people should know that Chapter was a derelict school when it was first squatted and if you just blank out the windows with paper you will be doing a lot more than some legends of theatre have done in the past.

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...... what could we do to make them feel more... you know.....creative?


I think what Hippy and Kerry are saying is creativity is an attitude, not an environment.


However if the actors are lucky enough to have any kind of space for their exclusive use to work on a specific project, then I would start by getting rid of everything that doesn't relate to the project of the moment.

No old props knocking around unless they can relate to the current project.

No old posters - they belong in the green room or theatre bar.

Only enough chairs and tables for the actors and stage managers to use - if extra furniture is needed for big meetings, sharing of work to date or whatever, bring in the extra and move it out afterwards.

Keep vertical surfaces available for sticking up research / reference materials for the current project. NO CLUTTER. (except project-related clutter). Make some storage cupboards to keep stuff out of sight if you have to, even (perhaps) at the expense of a little floor space...

Keep it clean and tidy - encourage people to get rid of their own half-eaten sandwiches, coffee mugs, old copies of metro etc, and try and sweep and mop (or vacuum, depending on the floor surface) regularly. (I've always thought of this as a menial but essential SMgt housekeeping task - too many examples of contract cleaners chucking away essential props)


And remember, (but perhaps don't remind the turns too forcefully or they'll feel unloved) that many many shows (even glamorous west end shows)are rehearsed in spaces belonging to other people, hired by the company at great expense, and often shared with WI or Mothers' Union, kindergartens and playgroups, sundayschools, yoga classes, etc etc ad infinitum...

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For my money, walls of mirrors are best avoided unless you know you will regularly be having dance rehearsals in your space, and then make sure you can cover them with a curtain or something. In my experience, actors don't particularly like looking at themselves when they are working. I know, surprising, isn't it?


but maybe a full length cheval mirror (cheap enough from argos or similar) can be useful if you need actors to be trying on costumes in the space.

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