Five months ago, me (Sam) and Encee were sat on Brighton Beach with a cold beverage in hand, a bit tipsy, chatting about our past experiences with organisations which provided care to elderly and vulnerable adults. We both had countless anecdotes to tell and then an epiphany was had - we would create a play. A young woman working in a small, newly constructed residential care home was our starting point and from it came pouring out ideas. Eventually, after months of workshopping ideas around different themes, we kept coming back to the same few questions. What does it mean to care for someone, and to care for yourself? And our play was born; The Art of Caring. Along with our theatre company, Little Bit of Theatre.
"It felt like there weren’t enough blue roll in the world to clean his sh*t up. Piles of blue roll. Mountains of blue roll. Bin bags full of blue roll. F*cking blue roll... I am blue roll."
Although our play’s core themes revolve around what may seemingly be quite serious topics, the backbone of our play is comedy, comedy and comedy. Our protagonist Gem is blunt and bold which, combined with her innate ability to find herself in sticky situations, allows hilarity to ensue. The work that Gem does in the care home is vital and is respected throughout the piece, but it is still a workplace and workplaces are rife with relatable humour,
from incompetent bosses to rude and ungrateful customers. The play is alive with comedy and at times is more of a stand up routine - with a story.
(Encee working with Sarah Davies, Movement Director)
At the end of June this year, we previewed the piece as a rough ten minute performance to a few trusted friends and the response we got was phenomenal. There was laughter and tears all round, and our piece left the room with those people as something to remembered. Our challenge then was to expand on this fantastic idea we had put into the ten minutes and make a full blown show, which is exactly what we’ve done.
The play follows a young carer at a residential care home as it comes under a crucial inspection. Tara, Gem's utterly incompetent boss and the busy idiot of the show, is evidently incapable of helping the care home pass the inspection and Gem is forced to intervene. The stress of her difficult clients, ridiculous boss and Gem's struggle for balance collide in her pursuit to discover the art of caring.
Moving forward, we intend to perform the show at the Brighton Fringe Festival, having already secured a spot at the well-known Warren site, just by St Peter’s Church. So with a great location, we’re looking to put on an amazing show. To do this we’re going to host an ‘industry showcase’ night, in which we’ll perform the show a few months before we open to a select group of audience members made up of all types of industry professionals, from dancers and actors, to producers, directors and artists. We’ll invite everyone and anyone who knows what they’re talking about.
If this goes well, and we’re certain it will, we will then look further afield to more venues across the South East, as well as for local nursing homes where we can perform the show charitably. All we need is a little boost to help us on our way and then, hopefully, we’ll be able to be a self-sustained production company.
Being the organised people we are, we do luckily have the luxury of time on our hands, for now. The play is deep into it's rehearsal process and we're already ahead of most other performers coming to Brighton Fringe, but it has allowed us time to properly review our finances and has meant that we've given ourselves enough time to drum up enough money to give the play the showing it deserves. Below, there is a pie chart of our estimated expenditures. Obviously you can never be 100% certain, but it is the budget we intend to stick by and fight for. We are also applying for funding with the Pebble Trust, which would cover the cost of our Registration Fees as well as some production costs. If we were to be successful in our application, the money that would have gone towards those things, will instead be redirected into our advertising & marketing costs.
Even by making your way this far down the page and reading all we have to offer is hugely appreciated. Whether you decide to invest in us or not, any and all support you can offer us means the world. If you'd like to support us further, feel free to give our Facebook Page a like and follow us on Twitter for updates on the show & what we're up to.
Facebook Page: Little Bit of Theatre
"Mary does not need to know how many times you’ve been stuck on the toilet, please don’t ruin this goodbye."
Sam & Encee x