Friday, 21 December 2012

Catch up with the cast

We caught up with Carly and Unai to see how the show Hansel and Gretel is going down in Bristol...

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

4 star review for Hansel and Gretel!

Another week, another review - this time from Venue magazine in Bristol on the show:

"NIE serves up a feast of fun, theatre, music and laughter for the whole family" Full review here
Bristol audiences continue to be very responsive and brilliant to play in front of - so we will continue to enjoy ourselves there!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Twitter - Week 1 responses

Here is a selection of some of the great feedback we have from Twitter so far for Hansel and Gretel at The Tobacco Factory

Show opens and press in!

We opened last Wednesday to great audiences (some even queuing from 6.30pm to get the right seats!)and have played to really responsive audiences this week, both young and old. On Friday we had our press and VIP night, and some of the reviews are in already:
"a witty and immensely enjoyable production from a company who deserve all their plaudits"
Bristol Culture
"New International Encounter has devised a witty, wintry take on one of the Grimm Brothers’ bleakest tales… with a show that is so entertaining and inventive and provides such pleasure"
WhatsOn Stage
"a captivating version… with bright as a button humour, clever use of puppets to double the title characters and European folk music played by the talented multinational cast"
The Stage
"Hansel and Gretel weaves a dark tale, suitably lightened by an incredibly fast and witty script.The direction embraces the opportunities that theatre in the round creates, and the snowy auditorium with lighted trees creates a beautiful atmosphere. Innovative use of puppetry…absolutely beautiful"
Chopsey Baby
"This a show full of heart and warmth that will touch the soul of all who watch, a perfect antidote for any winters chills or blues, I would recommend it to anyone… beautiful, magical storytelling for all"
Remote Goat
"It’s funny, with a gentle but slightly subversive humour, it’s clever and it’s fun"
A Younger Theatre
"The amazingly talented cast of five combine physical clowning, skilful puppetry, drama filled storytelling, witty word play, and accomplished musicianship with all the modern references and hilarity of a panto but with none of the attendant tack… I really recommend that you take all of your friends and relations to see this luminous Christmas show and feel the warm Hansel and Gretel glow"
Guide to Bristol
"There is a lot of theatrical ingenuity at work here … Hansel and Gretel is full of wonderful ideas and a cast who are truly inside the idea"
Public Review
"with a mixture of skilful mime, use of a wide range of musical instruments and excellent creation of characters, the five strong cast have you sitting at times on the edge of your seats"
Bristol Post

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A day until opening!

Its only a day until Hansel and Gretel opens to audiences in Bristol! With final techs being done in the space, Mia takes us backstage:

H and G Blog Mia from Alex Byrne on Vimeo.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Open Rehearsal for Hansel and Gretel

Today we enter our final week of rehearsals before the curtain goes up on Hansel and Gretel's run at the Tobacco Factory. Today Elke arrived, the Company Stage Manager. Today the skeleton of the set has been moved into the theatre space where we are working for the first time. Today it seem things are coming together and we're feeling a little tingly with anticipation. And today, is an 'open rehearsal' ...hang on, what does that even mean?
Well, apparently, it's when the Tobacco Factory open their door's wide to welcome 30 or so unsuspecting individuals into the rehearsal room. Just an ordinary day in rehearsal amidst Carly's cussing, Unai's bad smells, and Mia's harassing jujitsu moves. For us, one of the biggest challenges has been to transfer Hansel and Gretel from its original end-on blocking to create new perspectives for an audience in the round. Its important to keep the action moving to hit as many sight-lines as possible but when you're carrying a double bass and singing, or manipulating small movements on a puppet, this suddenly seems a lot harder! So today we can play to people instead of empty chairs and that's when the real fun begins...

Posted by Fiona, assistant director on Hansel and Gretel at Tobacco Factory
Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Hansel and Gretel - starting rehearsals in Bristol

On Monday we began rehearsals in Bristol for Hansel and Gretel which is playing at the Tobacco Factory Theatre from 5 December (click here for Tobacco Factory Theatre's website).

We had a full rehearsal room with  the wonderful Carly Davis, Mia Hawk, Rew Lowe, Unai Lopez de Armentia and Steffi Muelller performing in the show (Steffi is also Set Designer and Carly is Musical Director), Chris Swain as Production Manager, Anna Barrett as Lighting Designer, Alex directing, Fiona Mikel as Assistant Director  and Rich Rusk as Associate Director. Elke is arriving a couple of weeks later as she is currently touring with Tales from a Sea Journey.

Chris even labelled up the mugs  so everyone has their own one for the run.

After marking up the rehearsal room at Sound Works, Alex got stuck into the start of the show and planning how everyone could enter the theatre, play music and start the story off.

Cat Moore (Producer)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

more music from Peterborough

This is a song we made about the kinds of jobs you might do...

listen to ‘PAYE’ on Audioboo

I taught Kieran how to play the ukulele and we wrote songs about jobs, the future and what we want to be when we grow up. Alex got infuriated by our visions of the future which involved 15ft robots, Richard Branson's head in a jar, the human race living in space and chickens on an egg ship. He was annoyed that Elvis isn't dead and also by my wanting to invent a money tree.
(Carly Davis)

I taught Carly how to teach someone how to play the ukulele. We been laying our heads in Peterborough for the last few days, discussing what we wanted to be when we grew up. We were then asked to talk about what the future had in store (see above) and failed to convince Alex about our visions. I feel as if I've gone so far into the future in my mind that I'm now back in the past...figure that out Stephen Hawkins!!!!! (Kieran Edwards)

Maybe it was the wrong question? I found out that both Kieran and Carly have very odd apocalyptic visions of the future that make almost no sense. But then if that's how you feel..... I found out that most propels are not optimistic about the future of humanity but quite optimistic about their own future. And a played the ukulele. (Alex Byrne)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Saint Peters Road,Peterborough,United Kingdom

And some answers from Carly

I will be EVERYTHING questions

We have been trying to work out what kind of questions we want to ask of the young people that we will work with.

here are some of our answers:


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Some silly songs

We have been working a bit on some simple songs for I will be EVERYTHING:


We are working today at Chauffeur's Cottage, the new venue run by Metal in Peterborough.

We are right at the start of the project so I am not quite sure what to day about it yet except that we are looking at dreams about the future. We have been talking about our childhood thoughts about what we would be when we grew up.

Kieran said: Police man (the same as Ivan Cutting from Eastern Angles)

Carly said: Bin Man because you got to ride on the back of the truck.

Alex said: Navy Officer (he grew up Portsmouth)

And about the best and worst jobs that we have had.

Kieran: Working in a Garden Centre

Carly: telesales

Alex: Cake factory in Midhurst.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Saint Peters Road,Peterborough,United Kingdom

Monday, 5 November 2012

'I Will Be EVERYTHING' kicks off in Peterborough

So this November 5th sees Alex, Kieran and Carly embarking on the first day of R&D for a brand new piece over in Peterborough...'I Will Be EVERYTHING'.

We are very excited to be back in Peterborough and working with Vivacity and the Key Theatre, as we had a wonderful time there in 2010 creating and performing 'Tales from the Middle of Town', which saw a large disused shopping unit in the town centre transformed into a magical theatre installation.

This new show, 'I Will Be EVERYTHING' is very much in its infancy, but will challenge children to imagine their (and our) future.  What will you be?  What will it be like? What do you want to do? We'll be workshopping in community venues and schools next year, but for now it's up to Alex, Kieran and Carly to get started on some ideas...check out this link to twitter to see a picture of Carly and Kieran starting their day in Peterborough!


Friday, 19 October 2012

Some Great North North North Pictures from Martin!

We went to the Andree Museum in Sweden where they have a full size replica of the balloon basket

Then headed back to Asker in Norway to work on the narrative and some scene ideas - we had a great time working at our new rehearsals space in Dikkemark.

This is Lis sending Martin off in the Balloon!

And Margit

and this is Martin swimming in the very cold lake during our lunch break....

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Museum of Memories on tour

Museum of Memories opened in April this year and went on its first tour last week. In NIE we want to take all our work on tour. Museum of Memories is a special case. The set is made out of more than two tons of rusty steel, and the venue is an inflatable tent that we bring with us. First time we mounted the installation it took us eight hours with twelve people.

We started off with rehearsals inside in our venue in Dikemark. The new technical crew Marketa and Honza needed to get to know the set without to much wind and rain.

The cast has arrived. Iva and Guri recap text.

The tent is actually two tents joined together. They weigh about 300 kg`s each and are easy to put up with three people. This Sunday morning someone managed to run out of petrol, so I was left alone with the seagulls and the tent. Initially I was supposed to be there to look after that everything went smooth and nice before the evening performance  After some swearing I did get it up alone, and a young fan that was on a early Sunday walk kept my spirits up telling me how she liked NIE`s work.

Dagfinn talk to the audience before the performance.

Helder backstage. Its cold in Norway at this time of year
Backstage before the outer wall is mounted
 Helder tuning inside.
After three nice performances in Fredrikstad we
--> continued the tour. At the end of the tour the riggigng time had gone from 4 hours to 40 minutes. That is thou without the tent - that takes a couple of hours.

Kjell Moberg - Co - Artistic Director NIE 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Past Half Remembered in the UK

We had a great time touring in the UK with Past Half Remembered playing at Sevenoaks, Canterbury, Oxford and Cambridge this week. We had two shows at The Junction, Cambridge - where we have our UK office,  and had a useful post show discussion with GCSE students.

We finished at North Wall Arts Centre with (almost) sell-out shows and now the set has been packed up and shipped back to Norway. The show will tour to Cameroon this November and then back to the UK for more touring dates in March 2013!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Vodka and tea in Sevenoaks for Past Half Remembered

Saturday was a day of travel into the UK as Iva and Marie flew in from Norway, Nikola from the Czech Republic, Elke from Belgium and Aude from France.

On Sunday, Anna and Rew got a train from Bristol and Anna Healey, Bob, Alex and Kieran travelled from London to meet up with everyone in Sevenoaks for a day of re-rehearsals.

After unpacking the set fresh from festival touring in Japan, Sunday was spent going back through the show and rehearsing the music ready for 2 shows on Monday at the Space, Sevenoaks to packed audiences!

We also got some critical supply of tea ingredients for the samovar and vodka for our waiting audiences this week.

(written by Cat Moore)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Past Half Remembered is on its way to the UK

After their adventure to Japan it's lovely to know that all the company made it back safely (despite the best efforts of a typhoon!). Over in the UK we are now gearing up to tour 'Past Half Remembered' in just a couple of weeks time and it really is all go therefore. We've had a new design done for the show which we're very pleased with which came out of one of our photo shoots in Mseno. Kieran will doubtless be pleased to know that his being drenched repeatedly with ice cold water was not all in vain...

We're taking the show to 4 fantastic venues this year: The Space (Sevenoaks), The Junction (Cambridge), The Gulbenkian (Canterbury), and North Wall Arts Centre (Oxford), from 17 - 21 September. You can find out more details on our website (just look for the Tour Dates in the What We Are Up To Tab), and on our facebook page there are video interviews with some of the cast, and Alex the director. Or here is a sneaky peek at our lovely flyer:

Past Half Remembered is a madcap journey through the epic sweep of twentieth century Russian history. The Reds and the Whites do battle, the Germans invade, tea is served from a samovar and there is a very big wedding. Actors change roles and get confused about which side they are on and someone gets an umbrella shoved up their nose!
We also plan to tour the show next March so if you miss out this time, then never fear, the Russians with their tea and biscuits will be back!


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Superwoman and Japanese premiere!

One should never think that things would be easy!

When we arrived in Okinawa the set came by cargo from Norway, and Iva that produces the tour had arranged that it should arrive in the same time as us. With her experience of producing our tours in 34 countries over the last eleven years she lives by the rule “You can never be sure enough that things are going to happen the way they are planned”. After we had got the confirmation that the set had arrived to Japan some nice people with badges told us that we should rather go to the hotel after 20 hours of travel than to wait another hour to get our boxes thru customs. It was said that it would be picked up and brought to the venue. So we went to our hotel. But the boxes did not follow….

When we came to the venue the day after to set up, the boxes had vanished, and no one seemed to know where they had gone. Maybe it was the Americans, or the Russians, or maybe even the Chinese. Who knows? But the set was gone.  After some hectic work on the phone it was found in the air base 70 kilometres away at one o`clock in the morning. Our Japanese stage manager Issawa said he would go and get it, and Iva with: “You can never be sure enough that things are going to happen the way they are planned” in mind, decided to go with him at seven o`clock in the morning  – with her half year old baby!! (Again with: “You can never be sure enough that things are going to happen the way they are planned” she brought the baby to be sure that it would have enough milk during the morning…)

Oops not so easy to get in here....

I will try to bribe them with a smile.

In the end a man with a nice uniform, helmet and a mask gave us our set.

They arrived back just in time for rehearsals in a blue van very similar to one of our touring vans. When the rest of us stood there to pick up the set pretty jet-lagged, with a coffee in our hand, one of the actors asked ” Did she really go back to Norway get the company van to bring the set here ...”

Getting in was easy after the bits and pieces arrived. Elke had already focused the lights, and we were ready to go in a very short time.

The opening and the reprise of My Long Journey Home went very well, and we had more people than we had seats and floor. For those that did not get a ticket and had to stand outside we can only say that we are very sorry, and we hope that we might present the work here again. Or you are more than welcome to follow us in another country.


Monday, 30 July 2012

On tour in Korea and Japan

Festival opening in Japan.

Iva, Elke, Kieran, Rew and I have now arrived in Okinawa to attend the opening of the Kijimuna festival on the 28th of July. While Bob and Anna are still teaching workshops in Busan and Seoul in Korea, we and our instruments were brought to Okinawa, Japan with great care by All Nippon Airways.

An example to follow for European airways? It’s just to put the flight case in a flight case!

The Kijimuna festival is one of the biggest events in the field of theatre for young audiences in 2012, and it hosts 81 performances from all over the world. Beside the performances there is also a wide range of workshops and a seminarprogram. This years festival also host the international Assitej meeting with delegates from 56 countries.

We are playing our first performance on the 30th and will be back with more info after the Japanese premiere of My Long Journey Home. 

Kjell Moberg – Co -Artistic Director NIE

Monday, 23 July 2012

NIE in a little town called Mseno...

On 1st July a large proportion of the NIE team met from across the world and congregated in a sports hall in a little town called Mseno in the Czech Republic, which is an hour north of Prague . The plan was to re-rehearse the trilogy of shows ('My Long Journey Home', 'Past Half Remembered', and 'The End of Everything Ever') before a tour to Japan and then the UK. With two new members to rehearse in it promised to be a grueling two weeks, but the company did wonderfully, and by the time the rest of us turned up for the Company Meeting on 12th July it was to find the group practicing new tunes on the accordion, running through last minute script edits, and honing their vollyball skills.

[photo Jiri N Jelinek]
*Before you start to wonder, there are no vollyball scenes in any of the shows... it's just a good way to relax at the end (or beginning or middle) of a rehearsal day! (Or any day really - you get the idea!)*

Bringing together a company such as NIE to one small Czech town is no mean feat, but the result was fantastic - we had in total 6 nationalities all together in one room for the Thursday meeting, and some people had travelled through the night to be there (thanks Jirka!). Business was conducted in an orderly fashion and swiftly resolved, leaving us plenty of time to watch a run through of 'The End of Everything Ever', which starts in true NIE fashion with a shot of Sliovitze (plum brandy) for each audience member (or 4 shots in the case of Anna who kept getting bombarded by Kjell). Despite interruptions by the local members of the gym and the odd off kilter note the performance was a success, and the whole company were then free to enjoy a slap up BBQ round the fire.

Although this all sounds like a lot of fun (which of course it was), it has been an incredibly useful experience for the company as we so rarely manage to all be in the same country at the same time, let alone the same room. It's allowed us to consolidate our thoughts on our regular practice and how the company functions on a daily basis, and also allowed us to discuss future projects in more depth. Those involved in the Trilogy have now flown off to Japan, and over in the UK office we're looking forward to having 'Past Half Remembered' visit us in September (17th - 21st: for more information visit our website So, with new shows in development ('Pim and Theo' and 'North, North, North'), and old ones to rediscover ('Berlin 1961' and 'Hansel and Gretel') it promises to be a very exciting 6 months in the NIE offices! Keep checking back for more updates...

[photo Jiri N Jelinek]


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Farewell Unicorn!

Tales from the River Thames has finally set sail away from The Unicorn, and we're all very sad to have left. We'll miss our lovely damp tunnel, and all the wonderful people at The Unicorn, but unfortunately we've come to the end of our run and the pirates have to return to the high seas, and the mermaids to the depths. Thank-you to all of you who came along to share in our little adventure - we hope you enjoyed yourself! And thanks to all those involved for all your hard work. Here are some final shots of the amazing space, transformed into a watery wonderland by Bicat&Rigby: Photos by Claire Haigh [SC]

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Tales from the River Thames feedback

With only three shows left to go and most of the run sold out NIE have had a great time in the tunnels with Unicorn Theatre. We have been thrilled with the response and are looking forward to playing our final schools shows tomorrow!

Written by Cat Moore

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Tales from the River Thames sets sail...

After months of preparation Tales from the River Thames finally kicked off last week. We were quick to discover that creating a show in a railway tunnel does have its problems, as when it began to rain in earnest outside it also started to rain inside! But not to be put off the cast and crew cracked on and last Monday’s opening shows went swimmingly (almost literally…).

We’ve been very lucky to have such lively audience members who have really got stuck in to all the stories. Our pirates have had a lot of fun keeping up with the kids as they take them from one story to the next (that should read 'the pirates taking the kids' but there were occasions where it could have been the other way round!). It was especially fun to have two of the schools who had contributed to the show with their stories come and see the show last week – Hill Mead and Bessemer Grange both spent time with the company last year working on material for the piece, and there was one story from each school in the final piece.

Despite the slightly damp conditions we’ve been having a fantastic time telling tales of mermaids, pirates, sharks and all manner of things that happen in South London – or as the lockkeepers Bill and Albert call it, "Saaf London Taaan!"

So, we only have a few more performances left, as we have to leave our damp train tunnel and the lovely people at the Unicorn on the 23rd June, but hopefully before then we can have a few more pirate adventures and dive for a few more gigantic pearls. For now I’ll leave you with some lovely words from the children of John Donne school…

“It was brilliant, there were so many ideas and it was just one big story added together and the people were so amazing, especially Jason’s face, it was so gobsmacking.”

“I couldn’t believe it myself that they put it together to make one big story moving on from show to show.”

“It’s just gobsmacking, see what the imagination can do, it can just change the world. Every class that joined, every school, it’s just one big imagination.”

“This show has been great, there has been so much imagination put into this and so much thought.”


Monday, 11 June 2012

Bill and Albert, the Lock Keepers in Tales from the River Thames, having a final dress rehearsal before we open tomorrow in London!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Wall of Monsters

Today we created a wall of monster pictures created by all of the Primary School pupils we have been working with...
...and the fresh turf arrived for our Lock-keepers cottage garden!