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Drama St Mary’s Alumni Launch Theatre Company

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Drama St Mary’s Alumni Launch Theatre Company

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Former students of St Mary's University, Twickenham have launched their very own theatre company, Bunny Chow Theatre. Named after a traditional African dish they enjoyed whilst on a University trip to South Africa, the company comprises five graduates from St Mary’s Applied and Physical Theatre programmes. The company is currently working on several workshops within school and community groups in the local area. Their début performance, The World's Greatest Circus: Send in the Clown, will take place at Portsmouth's historic dockyard as part of the Victorian Festival of Christmas on the 28th, 29th and 30th of November 2014. Ahead of the show we spoke with two of Bunny Chow Theatre’s founding members, Carl Dolamore and Jessica Bevan, to find out more about the company and their time whilst studying at St Mary’s. What did you study at St Mary’s? Carl: “Bunny Chow is formed of a mix of graduates who studied Drama and Applied Theatre, which is what Jess and I studied, and Physical Theatre so we are a bit of a mixed bunch.” What made you decide to study Drama and Applied Theatre at St Mary’s? Carl: “The University has a very high course satisfaction rate and was really welcoming on the audition and open days I attended." Jessica: “The Applied Theatre course teaches how to devise, write, dramaturge and to always remember the audience when performing, which was appealing as I believe the audience is one of the most important aspects of theatre, as without them there would be no show!” How would you sum up your experience at the University? Carl: “It has a real community atmosphere and all the lecturers know your name and the personal relationship with them is incredibly useful, as it means they can tailor their teaching to the style that’s most effective for you." Jessica: “Also as part of the course we had the chance to visit South Africa and work with the communities out there which was an incredible experience.” How beneficial was the trip? Carl: “Whilst there I realised the difference theatre can make, how people learn so much from it and how you can learn so much from them in return. It really inspired the five of us to use theatre as much as we can to make a positive change and we are doing similar projects with schools in the UK now as a result.” How did Bunny Chow Theatre Company come about? Carl: “Bunny Chow is actually a South African food we had when we were working out there. It is a hollowed out piece of bread filled with curry. We describe it as a little bit of everything, just like community based theatre and just like the people in our company. We all knew we wanted to keep doing theatre after we had graduated and came together in an effort to make that happen." Jessica: “Applied theatre takes into consideration the audience the show is for, the message it is trying to portray and the location it is in. "Physical theatre focuses on the story telling aspect, looking beyond the words and creating an image that speaks out to the audience. So, with the combination of these courses between the five of us, it’s our aim to create aesthetically pleasing, thought provoking and entertaining theatre.” How did the course at St Mary’s help you to get this Theatre Company started? Carl: “At St Mary’s we were taught how to devise from the beginning. We were also taught how to find something that we want to do a show on, research it, shape it to fit the environment and audience it is for, as well as being able to work on character development and story lines. We were taught how to market the productions, think about technical aspects like sound, lighting, set, costume and budgets. It has been a busy three years.” When will we get to see Bunny Chow in action? Jessica: “We are getting ready for our first Bunny Chow show at the Victorian Festival of Christmas in Portsmouth at the end of this month [28th, 29th and 30th of November], as well as running workshops in various schools, with children of all ages, about the social issues the children of today are facing.” What else do you have coming up in the future? Carl: “We are working on several workshops for different schools over December and January, as well as putting together a show on a submarine and are in talks with putting on a show at Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth. We’ll also be participating in a Shakespeare summer tour next year and have several very exciting projects in the pipeline for 2015 that we will be able to reveal more about soon!” What advice would you give to new Drama students at St Mary’s? Jessica: “Enjoy it, the course is fantastic! Work for yourselves and for the people watching your shows. Step outside of your comfort zone, as chances are you will find and develop new skills and passions.” Tickets for Bunny Chow’s debut performance, The World's Greatest Circus: Send in the Clown, are available for purchase here. For more information, please follow Bunny Chow on Facebook or Twitter. St Mary’s offers a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate Drama courses available to study in 2015. For more information, visit the website.  
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