The Cagebirds: A Reflection On The Process

When I first read The Cagebirds by David Campton, I knew instantly that one day I was going to put this on stage ...

I loved the metaphor comparing women to caged birds; trapped, unable to seek their freedom and reach their full potential. Campton has written the script isolating the women in this shared existence in an absurdist way.

"I was really taken with it!"

I first read it over three years ago when my career was in its early stages, and I didn't have the confidence to take on such a work. Now, in 2019, the time felt right to take on the play and put a Black Sheep Collective twist on things.

The creative journey of the piece started off towards the end of last year where I auditioned some very talented actors and performers for the roles within the play. Each brought something very different to the parts, and I probably could have cast the production twice over.

After some switches, changes and deliberation I was thrilled with our final cast, and we met for the first time in November. We came together for our first exploration workshop; an opportunity to allow the cast to get to know one another, the play and the direction the project was going to move in. As if by magic, the cast gelled and became comfortable straight away when discussing ideas and bringing thoughts to the table.

I established early on that I wanted the cast to be part of the project as a collaborator, to aid the creative process; I have never been a fan of a dictatorship in the work/play/rehearsal room.

"After the first workshop, we all went away buzzing with ideas and a brimming excitement for the new year and the project to begin!"

Over Christmas, the cast was instructed to take time to become familiar with their parts and Campton's text. In this time I met with Susan Lee Burton (Burton's Originals) to discuss costume design. Susan's designs were vivid, bright and almost flew off the page.

Each woman was represented by a different household bird, each with her own style and characteristics. Susan has really brought a unique and striking stamp on the production adding to the sheer drama of the show.

In January 2019 the cast began rehearsing. I planned a short and intense rehearsal schedule spanning over five weeks for the cast to rehearse the play as well as putting together a piece of original work inspired by the themes and images mentioned in Campton's work.

We uncovered some intriguing thoughts and social constructs linking to the play which allowed the cast to delve into the negative portal of women throughout the years of society. We established some strong political opinions on a range of subject matter.

Over the last five weeks, each member of the cast and crew have taken to the challenge of devising and putting together what could be perceived as a 'nonsense play' which has made the whole process a total pleasure for all concerned.

If you feel inspired to find out more then do call us on 01908 316856 or leave a comment below and we'll be in touch as soon as we can.