7 Loreto students following a highly competitive audition were selected to perform in the professional production of ‘The Suppliant Women’ at the Royal Exchange Hannah Collins, Joanne Kenney, Grace Gough, Anna Puller, Holly Hatchard, Lauren Hampson and Julie Polaskova. They received high acclaim from critics and audiences alike. We asked them to reflect on their experience:

Throughout the process I have learnt a lot about working as an ensemble, and having a connection to the rest of the cast which was developed during the rehearsal process as we all got to know each other. At the same time as doing this we also made a strong connection with the professional actors and creatives as well, who have massively supported, challenged and taught us throughout the process making it an amazing experience. In terms of physical skills, I learnt a lot about fluidity and accuracy of movement, to make the play feel organic and like our natural response, creating tension through both quick and drawn-out changes. A big part of the play is being able to stay engaged in our faces and grounded in our bodies at all times, to maintain the correct atmosphere for the entirety of the play. We have also been told a lot about the intent behind what we say, and how to use pitch and projection to convey the at times defiant or painful or reflective undertones of the words of the chorus throughout the play. The performances have been very challenging and overwhelming but at the same time rewarding experiences and we have grown and improved every single night.

When I started the rehearsal processes of The Suppliant Women I found it very tiring as a day was 9:00 – 18:00, I’d never done anything so exhausting. However, once I got into the whole process of getting know everyone, the cast and creative team, I felt right at home. Working with the full creative team and the three professional actors was a real eye opener for me. I thoroughly enjoyed learning the fantastic and creative choreography, the stories of Greek theatre and working with the exceptional music score. There were some weekends I would jump out of bed, ecstatic to arrive at the Royal Exchange, ready to get on with a day of rehearsals. It was lovely to get to know all the cast, at first it was just us girls growing so close as if we really were sisters. The fact we all got so close made the story easy to learn and then perform. It was also such a treat to perform this story: it was written 2,500 years ago, yet so prevalent today, with the refugee crisis and problems with forced marriage. This play not only taught me a lot about the industry but also the fact that the troubles we are facing now are not just happening now, they have been happening for years, but it’s the families and friends we have around us and the support we give to others that will move things on. The thing I learnt most about this experience is that working in this industry is incredibly tiring and requires hours upon hours of work to create such a magical piece of art. I don’t think I will ever watch professional theatre in the same way again.

‘The Suppliant Women’ was an opportunity like no other, what an amazing experience to be performing with professional actors along with women from all circles of life at the Royal Exchange Theatre! The rehearsal process has definitely been intense, rigorous and tiring, but it has absolutely been worth every minute, especially after the spectacular reviews and comments we’ve been receiving!! Thank you for by far some of the best moments of my life!

Being a part of The Suppliant Woman has been an amazing experience! Working along side the chorus and together with professional actors has been inspirational and bought more of an insight of what professional theatre is like. The main thing we all learned in rehearsals was to ‘let it wash over you’ if your not picking it up too fast, or struggling with a certain aspect of the piece just ‘let it wash Over you’ and have trust in yourself that you will pick it up in no time.  Having people stop you in the streets to tell you how much they loved the show has bought us all so much pride, I wouldn’t change the experience for anything!

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