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Rehearsal Diary

Insight, images and ideas from within ICT rehearsals.  Numerous authors, but generally maintained by our interns, assistant directors and young people.


An Interview with Alexandra Wood

Our Literary Associate Guy Jones interviews Alexandra Wood about the making of The Centre.

What is your earliest theatre memory?
My family always went to pantomimes.  I remember the fear that I'd be asked to go on stage, but the absolute thrill when my cousin actually did one year.  In terms of being involved, I played Jack Frost in my primary school Christmas show when I was six - I can still remember the opening lines, "Brr Brr it's cold outside, watch out, watch out, Jack Frost is about!"

Who are your drama heroes? 
They tend to be writers and I go through phases, but Caryl Churchill, Martin Crimp, Tennesse Williams, Arthur Miller, debbie tucker green, Marius von Mayenburg, Mike Bartlett always have interesting questions to ask and find a powerful way to ask them. Basically I respond to writers and theatre makers who don't give you all the answers and ask big enough questions that they probably couldn't, even if they wanted to.

How did this collaboration with ICT come about?
I did a project with ICT in 2011 called Fifteen.  After that Ned asked me to have a look at a play called The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt, with a view to writing a version to be performed by young people. In the end, we couldn't get the rights to the play, but we wanted to make a new play exploring some of the same themes - legacy, greed, poverty and self-delusion.

Can you tell us something about the process of writing The Centre. Was it different from your usual approach to writing?
I find that after the first couple of drafts of a play the process starts to become more collaborative. I'll usually write a draft and then discuss it in detail with the director, and go away and write another draft. At certain stages in its development, there might be a workshop with some actors, or the director might seek a fresh perspective from a few trusted people outside the process.  It was pretty much the same with The Centre.  After a draft we would take our ideas and sometimes some text to the young people and workshop them: ask for input, honest responses etc.
Over the 18 months we've been developing the play we've worked with a huge number of ICT members.  What was certainly different from any play I've worked on was the week-long workshop we got to do in France last summer, as the guests of Mike and Katie.  It was an incredible luxury, but more importantly living and working together for a week really gave me a chance to get to know the young people better.  

What, for you, is the difference between writing for adult actors and writing for a young cast like at ICT? 
Whether you're writing for professional adult actors or a young cast like at ICT you have the same aim: to tell a story.  The key thing is to choose the right story.  Or, to be more specific, the right way into the story. Because you could tell the story of The Centre in many different ways, from many different perspectives. 
We made the decision very early on that we didn't want young people pretending to be adults, so we knew that the characters would be young and went from there. It's actually liberating to have limits, you just find a way to tell the story within them.


20 April (2pm/7pm) PLATFORM (BOOK ONLINE)





Hey Guys,

Today was our very FIRST full technical run with Sarah on music and slideshows and Sam and his junior production assistants on lights. The stage was set up with added stilts and all props were in their designated places. With the lights and music, the excitement in the room was at an all-time high and although there is still work to be done, seeing a process of ideas built, created and put into achievement is really amazing.

We even got the use of the dressing rooms today so we can practice how the show will work from you guys arriving to the end. I had to come and hurry most of the girls up though as it was like a residential all over again, hair, make-up and clothes flying everywhere!

Thank you to Sarah who very kindly organised and name tagged all of everyone’s costumes that you brought to Platform on Sunday. This added an element of professionalism to the show, as if we were performing in a real West End Theatre, something many of you hope to do one day, so keep them rooms tidy!

Looking at the costume visually on stage, although there was a lack of colour, having the cast in clothes that represented them as individuals worked well and cut down workload on having to buy and distribute costume. Certain people have been asked to change colour, so please bear this in mind for tomorrow!

The performance was run as far into the play as possible, but some members of the cast were still not as line confident which slowed down the process. This should not be happening at this stage, but understandably the pressure is on and nerves can sometimes contribute to mistakes in lines and cues. Just keep working at it guys, I know you can do it!

We nearly got all the way through the show today, but due to music, lights and exits cue checks we ran out of time. We have planned an extra rehearsal for some scenes tomorrow that will really help us polish what is needed.

Well done to everyone involved for their patience and concentration today, we are all so dedicated to make this show the best it can possibly be. You guys are so lucky to have Ned and Emily directing the show, Sarah and Sam adding the creative tech and Mattia putting together some really beautiful films of you all. Also a big shout out to the young associates and mentors who support and encourage and be there for you all

I look forward to Wednesday with anticipation; you guys never fail to amaze me!

See you soon x



Hey Guys,

How close are we to performance week! Very exciting and also a tiny bit scary and nerve-racking but I know you lot are going to blow the audience away.

Today we did a run through and well done to everyone for (almost/nearly) knowing all their lines. Being line confident helps the scenes flow and finally gives Ned and Emily a chance to run scenes quickly to block exits and entrances.

We are planning an extra rehearsal for Sunday, so everyone needs to know their lines forwards and backwards so that the show can begin to be polished for performance week next week.

We have got technical and (all time round guru) Sarah on our music and film/presentation organisation and Sam our lighting man coming in for performance week, with added help from Platforms junior production assistant guys to help us boast the show to performance level.

Everyone discussed costume today and we have agreed that as the show is about you guys, the costume should therefore represent each of you as individuals. Costumes will be brought in on Sunday for confirmation, but we are aiming for a bright mixture of colours on stage to connect with the energy of each scene.

Our biggest achievement today was the rehearsal of the LAST remaining scenes which we have rarely ever got to before due to timing. I can reassure you all that this is usually always the case with most shows in the world of theatre as time is always up against us and sometimes the last scene gets a bit forgotten (AWWWWW). Now it’s done, we can have a little celebratory dance that a full run through has been completed!

As I am unavailable to attend on Sunday, I look forward to next Monday to see how much work you guys have been doing. Good Luck! x



Hey Guys,

Today rehearsal was really exciting as Sarah and I have been shopping for props! We went to Argos, Asda and Ikea (which is always fun) and now we have 16/25 of the required ‘secret things’.

Getting back to platform we had the joyous job of putting all the decking out and organising the props, but seeing the staging up gave everyone involved a feel of what the show is going to look like. This encourages everyone to be aware of available space and re-block any scenes that have been affected by set, speakers and microphones. We are also working with limited backstage access which means exits have to be strategically organised so the right amount of people go into the small backstage space at one time, meaning patience was required why this was organised.

As always, you guys were focused and professional meaning lots of amazing work got done. Also a big well done to James for knowing his lines! Knowing your lines makes a rehearsal flow easier and more realistic, so everyone needs to get learning because there is hardly any time left at all.

The script has now nearly been entirely blocked and once lines are learnt, running the script as many times as possible will take place to polish any scenes and dances. Costumes have been discussed and we have decided that as the show is based and created by you lot, you should be dressed in clothes that represent who you are!

I am really proud of all the hard work everyone is doing and am really excited for the show to be here. For the last 6 months, we have been experimenting with lots of different kinds of performance and adding it to research and personal stories to create something explosive, I just know you are all going to shine!

See you next week x



Hey Guys,

Well done to everyone for making it in today. Although everyone is still tired from our amazing IYT residential and half term is officially over, it is time to get working again!

Unfortunately Jo wasn’t with us today, and everyone got a little too happy that they wouldn’t have to be put through their paces, until Corey stepped up and got us jumping, sprinting and bouncing till we couldn’t bounce no more! Sure did wake us up.

We started off with Zip Zap Boing and the worst thing happened. Ned shouted CHANGE and everyone ran (meaning your out in a weird IYT kind of way) and the game was basically over before it had even started and Ned was grinning ear to ear. IYT is determined that this can never happen again.

Back to business and Ned and Emily firstly discussed their technical meeting with Sam (set designer) today to update everyone on the wonderful news, that what we wanted is tricky and is going to take a lot of work, but is definitely available and work is commencing on having it set up for technical rehearsals. For now we only have part of it so we must use our imagination, and although we only have 2/25 it looks so incredible, I cannot wait for 25/25! Anyone else reading this will just have to come and see the show, because what we’re creating is really special and unique, but I am sworn to secrecy and do not want to ruin the surprise.

I would also so like to add a big well done to everyone for their patience and support as we helped teach the members of the group who did not attend the IYT residential, the dance movement sequences Jo helped us create. It encouraged everyone to reflect, create new ideas and improve what we had.

Only four weeks to go until dress rehearsals and performance week! The nerves have not begun to kick in yet but we have all got to nail our lines, block all exits/entrances and remember movement sequences and there is not much time to do it. I am confident that you are all going to continue to work hard and you have all proved to me on numerous occasions how talented and created IYT is as a company.

Let’s come back with higher energy, stronger ideas and more passion to create the best show we can!

See you all next week x