Metta Blog

A Short Guide to moving from small to mid scale work, as an artist-led company

October 6, 2016

After 7 years of trying we have finally made some headway in our attempts to move from making small to midscale work, or from being a small to mid-scale company. It has been hard work for us – perhaps for … Continue reading


Keeping It in the Family

August 5, 2016

  Heading back into rehearsals for our new and improved street-dance and circus Jungle Book I’m feeling very proud of having created a theatre company that can accommodate the particular caring responsibilities not only of it’s two Artistic Directors (we have two little boys … Continue reading


From the Mundane to the Magical

June 17, 2016

Over the course of my first few weeks here in London, I have had the privilege to see what happens behind the scenes at a theatre company in ways that I never imagined. A few months ago, when I got … Continue reading


A-Z of the urban artforms in Jungle Book

April 28, 2016

A-Z of the urban artforms in Jungle Book Struggling to identify your krump from your breakdancing, your gangster rap from your grime. Well here is an A-Z of  the diverse urban [and occasionally classical] art-forms used within our street dance … Continue reading


changing the world through imagination

November 23, 2015

Anniversaries. Time to look back and time to look forward. Nice to reflect and so as well as thinking about how we continue to evolve and adapt for the future, given the ever tightening resources from funders and venues, it’s … Continue reading


Mouthful Research

November 3, 2015

Here is a collection of some of the sources we used to research MOUTHFUL: Food Security Presentation WG3 Overseas Food Chain Report Conservation Magazine – Letting Biodiversity Get Under Our Skin Global Food Security Website UK Statistics Authority Agriculture in … Continue reading


The company that eats together…

September 2, 2015

The company that eats together… For every single Metta show we’ve ever made we have at some point hosted a company meal – generally dinner – and almost always in our home. In the same way that eating on stage … Continue reading


Food on stage

August 26, 2015

Food on stage When we commissioned our six playwrights for MOUTHFUL I gave them a writer’s brief that stipulated each piece must physically involve a foodstuff or drink on stage. I love seeing actors eating on stage (even more than … Continue reading


The wonderful world of scene changes…

August 21, 2015

The wonderful world of scene changes… This week we began discovering the language with which we create the scene changes. Like most directors I love a good scene change – it’s often an opportunity to explore a more heightened and … Continue reading


Fluidity and collaboration

July 5, 2015

For someone who’s spent the last few months cramming for their GCSEs, being involved with Metta Theatre’s energetic and exciting rehearsal process for The King of Tiny Things was a refreshing use of my week. The production has taken shape … Continue reading


Circus transformations

June 22, 2015

As we roll into our third week with The King of Tiny Things, I am still continually boggled by the talents of our cast, but my eyes are starting to open up to the symbolic possibilities of our show. Not … Continue reading


Our circus journey

June 15, 2015

Our circus journey Just a few weeks to go now before we open our latest show The King of Tiny Things– show 3 in our 10 shows for Metta10 – 10 shows to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Metta Theatre. It’s … Continue reading


Stilts, songs and sobbing

June 10, 2015

  Stilts Songs and Sobbing Very excited to be writing my very first Metta theatre blog post, as the assistant director for their next show – circus and puppetry extravaganza – The King of Tiny Things. The first week has … Continue reading


revivals

October 4, 2014

It’s a joy to revisit a piece – and something that we don’t often do as a company. Sadly the vagaries of the current funding system make it easier to develop and create new work rather than bringing back shows … Continue reading


October 2, 2014

What an energetic start to the day! Pushing a box (by box I mean a flight case with a PA on top) through Fullham with baby Finn strapped to Poppy’s chest was a huge achievement. Not flattening any members of the public … Continue reading


Alice Rehearsals

September 26, 2014

Alice Rehearsals It all began when the team (including 7 week old Finn!) re-convened in the rehearsal room to get started on creating the magical world of wonderland. Not before a cup of tea of course! “We’re all mad mad … Continue reading


My time with Metta…

May 17, 2014

I am already a professional stage manager but I felt I needed to gain more experience in my field within particular parts of the industry. So I got in touch with Metta Theatre company to shadow their Stage Manager. I … Continue reading


Opening night

September 28, 2013

It’s finally here. After months of research and development and four intense weeks of rehearsal we put the show in front of an (impressively large) paying audience at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. I didn’t know what to expect. … Continue reading


Pots pots pots

September 25, 2013

We knew we were interested in using water carriers of some type in the choreography to explore and highlight that the very act of carrying water is a significant burden – as Stuart says in one of the scientific voice … Continue reading


Our partner charity

September 15, 2013

Back in April through the wonder of social media we were introduced to the work of a brilliant charity called Impact UK who work with several developing countries on a range of issues, one of which is safe water and … Continue reading


End of the First week

September 6, 2013

We’ve just finished our first week of full rehearsals for well. It’s been intense but amazing. Because we are lucky enough to have the same performers who were with us in the research and development period earlier this year it … Continue reading


The last story-teller

May 14, 2013

We walk around the small village quite early – too early perhaps – the one cafe isn’t open yet and the few villagers we encounter are shy. If we are to hear the stories of the Berbers (the indigenous people of Morocco and … Continue reading


10 hours of driving

May 13, 2013

We leave early. Just as well as it takes us 6 hours to reach our destination – Beni Mellal. On the way we see a tiny donkey by the road – it could have stepped straight out of the tale … Continue reading


The story-teller of Fez

May 12, 2013

Another early morning drive, another journey several hours longer than we’d thought it would be, and we arrive in Fez, hopeful that we might find a story-teller. Before we find the story-tellers though we have to find somewhere to park … Continue reading


The National Theatre

May 11, 2013

After some amazing croissants (we could be in Paris – Rabat is much more European than the Morroco we’ve seen further south) we wander round the old town – the Medina and the blue and white-washed Kasbah. After lunch we meet up … Continue reading


3 keepers

May 10, 2013

We leave Dar Al Kalipha – with Tahir pronouncing Noah the happiest baby he’s ever met, and drive through Casa to have lunch with Lahcen’s parents. Now that he’s back Lahcen has taken over the driving again – just as … Continue reading


Two short tales

May 9, 2013

Lahcen missed his flight last night (‘If we don’t arrive today, we’ll arrive tomorrow’ is ringing in my ears) though he managed to get an early flight this morning. But frustratingly to Marrkech, so we will have to stay another … Continue reading


The Caliph’s House

May 8, 2013

The book that inspired both this trip and the show that we are developing is the wonderful ‘In Arabian Nights’ by Tahir Shah, which was quoted in one of our ARAB NIGHTS plays last year. Essentially it is a story-telling … Continue reading


a day off

May 7, 2013

Exhausted by the intensity of Marrakech we allow ourselves a day off from the story-telling odyssey and while Lahcen is in London we drive north to the seaside town of El Jadida – breaking our journey on to Casablanca tomorrow. … Continue reading


Finding a teapot

May 6, 2013

We know that mint tea will form a part of the eventual show HALQA, whatever the show itself becomes, and we know that it will even form a part of the 10 minute scratch performance of it that we’re giving … Continue reading


Three aunties and Harun Al Rashid

May 4, 2013

After breakfast of a kind of porridge-y soup which Will loathes, and luckily Noah loves, we go to a larger village nearby to shop for lunch. We choose a live chicken and return ten minutes later to take it back … Continue reading


The desert

May 3, 2013

Today we spent 8 hours (8 hours!!!) driving into the desert to stay with Lahcen’s extended family and talk to them about his late grandfather who had been a story-teller in their village. Lahcen says the drive will take 3 … Continue reading


The storytellers

May 2, 2013

We meet the storytellers in the Jemaa, only a few hours later than we’d scheduled. Over mint tea (of course) they talk about having lost a way of life, and a way of living with the decline of story-telling. Lahcen … Continue reading


Waiting

May 1, 2013

Today we return to the Jamaa – it is a very different place in the day time. We meet a man who works with monkeys, a cousin of Lahcen’s who says he can set us up with some story-tellers. We … Continue reading


Jamaa El Fna

April 30, 2013

After a remarkably stress free journey – heeding the advice of other mums I breastfed Noah through take off and landing and he slept for pretty much the entire three hour flight – we arrive in Marrakech in the early … Continue reading


Debrief Dinner

April 26, 2013

Last night our costume Designer Kate Lane cooked us an amazing vegan feast and we had a debrief of the R&D showing and process so far. Kate also has a (not so) little one and we had Noah with us … Continue reading


Showing

April 9, 2013

So after an all too brief six days of play on the floor and in the air we showed around 30 minutes of material to a very friendly audience of venues, programmers and some of our scientific collaborators today. I … Continue reading


Research & Development Week

April 2, 2013

Today we started our process of R&D for the show and I’m really excited already about what we’re generating. I say we – I mostly just sit there in awe of the three performers who manage to perform the most … Continue reading


Workshop Audition

March 16, 2013

Just got home from a very exciting morning at English Touring Theatre – who in their loveliness as our mentors provide us with free rehearsal and audition space when they can. So we’ve just been auditioning around a dozen of … Continue reading


Our First Interview

February 15, 2013

Today we started the interview process for WELL. We’re talking to a whole range of scientists, development economists and specialists in arsenic and the contamination of groundwater. Our main scientific collaborator and partner on the project is the eminent and … Continue reading


Flicker – Research

January 30, 2013

Here are links to some of the research that helped us develop the opera. Locked-in syndrome: a review of 139 cases Pressure Volume Curves of the Respiratory System Scientists seek to help Locked In man speak Life can be worth … Continue reading


opening night

January 25, 2013

By Poppy Last night we opened Flicker to an almost sold-out house in the Lilian Baylis Studio of Sadler’s Wells. Despite a madly busy day – whose idea was it to have only a day in the space with a … Continue reading


Rehearsals

January 23, 2013

By Jon We’ve been rehearsing ‘Flicker’ for a couple of days with the full orchestra, the singers, conductor Andrew Gourlay. The RHN have allowed us to rehearse at the hospital, in their wonderful Assembly Room; the patients and staff have … Continue reading


Finishing/not finishing

December 17, 2012

By Jon I’ve finished! Or at least that’s what I’ve been going round telling everyone; in fact I’ve just finished setting the vocal lines and the harmonies, having in the process pushed Poppy’s near saint-like patience almost to the limit … Continue reading


Baghdad – Late 1970s

November 26, 2012

Baghdad. Late 1970s. I would come back from my primary school, eat lunch and have a siesta before waking up to watch cartoons. This was my daily routine as a six year old. I still remember that upon waking up I had … Continue reading


Arab Nights – Chirine’s Letter

November 14, 2012

Just one week now until Arab Nights opens at the Soho in London – and this week it’s the turn of Egyptian storyteller Chirine El Ansary to share her thoughts… This is an open letter to the respectable Egyptian citizen, … Continue reading


Arab Nights – Ghalia’s Thoughts

November 8, 2012

Just two weeks now until Arab Nights opens at the Soho in London – and so this week I’m sharing Syrian author and Journalist Ghalia Kabbani’s moving thoughts and musings on her contribution to the production… Ghalia Kabbani | Friday November 9th 2012 How can … Continue reading


Arab Nights – rehearsals

November 6, 2012

The rehearsals for Metta Theatre’s upcoming show Arab Nights started last Monday at English Touring Theatre in Waterloo. This was the stage of my work with Metta Theatre that I was most looking forward to, as I love being in rehearsal … Continue reading


Arab Nights – Mary’s thoughts

October 26, 2012

In September I was absolutely thrilled to be offered an opportunity to work in the professional theatre world. I am interning on Metta Theatre’s latest production Arab Nights, which will be at the Soho Theatre from November 21st. My first task was not … Continue reading


research and development

October 26, 2012

By Poppy   Today we spent an amazing day at the rehearsal rooms of English Touring Theatre trying out some of the music with the singers. It was especially thrilling for me as I hadn’t heard any of the music … Continue reading


Dots

October 23, 2012

By Jon It’s 5.30 in the morning and I’m in a rather insalubrious B&B in Bath, where I’m composing for some shows at the Theatre Royal whilst doing some work on ‘Flicker’ in the early part of the day before … Continue reading


Arab Nights – Tania’s musings

October 17, 2012

Only five weeks now until Arab Nights opens at the Soho in London – and so this week I’m delighted to share Lebanese Live Artist Tania El Khoury‘s thoughts and musings on her contribution to the production. And for those of you especially … Continue reading


Some hard decisions

October 13, 2012

By Jon I’ve just had the first draft of the libretto through from Poppy. It’s fantastic, striking a careful balance between the human story of Iris (our central Locked-In character) and Bridget (the nurse who cares for her and guides … Continue reading


writing the libretto

October 12, 2012

By Poppy It’s a curious experience writing a libretto for an opera – made even curiouser when one is working from the transcripts of real life interviews. I did a similar thing on our production Waiting in 2010 working from … Continue reading


Metta likes connection…

October 8, 2012

The more observant among you may have noticed that we haven’t blogged for a while…or in fact at all this year! Ooops. We shall use the at least partially valid excuse that we’ve been quite busy having a baby. But … Continue reading


Arab Nights – Raja’s week

October 5, 2012

So we open our latest production – Arab Nights – six weeks today at the Soho Theatre in London (crikey – that’s soon!) – and to celebrate the six diverse and wonderful voices that make up the play they are each … Continue reading


Patient interviews

October 4, 2012

By Poppy This week we have been interviewing patients for the opera. It’s been an incredible process and a real eye-opener for us both. When we started this project I think we both had a fairly narrow view of Locked … Continue reading


Psychology

August 2, 2012

by Poppy Today I met with Sal Connelly head of Psychology at the RHN to talk about her work with the patients of LIS, and their families. I was flying solo as Jon wasn’t around so the interview had a … Continue reading


Moving Forwards

August 2, 2012

By JN. Very excited with how far we’ve now come with the project; it only seems like yesterday that Poppy and I were sitting in a cafe on the Portobello Road batting the original idea to and fro and wondering … Continue reading


Compass

July 27, 2012

by Jon Great visit today with Poppy, Will (and Noah!) to the hospital’s COMPASS centre, where the tireless staff constantly develop and refine the amazing hi (and often lo)-tech technological solutions enabling patients to communicate and interact. We were welcomed … Continue reading


Music Therapy

July 25, 2012

by Jon Today I had a terrific interview with Julian O’Kelly, head of music therapy at the RHN. After bonding over the fact that we’d both owned the same make of cassette multi-track recorder in our youths, we talked about … Continue reading


Lilian Baylis

July 25, 2012

by Poppy Today Will and I had a meeting with the technical team at Sadlers Wells to talk about the tech requirements for the concert performances in January, particularly all the video projection which always requires a huge amount of … Continue reading