My short poem, ‘Arm in Arm in 1888’ celebrating the achievements of the Matchgirls, is included in the book ‘Feathers and Pennies: Poems and Stories for the Matchgirls’. Published by Thamesis.Continue reading “Arm in Arm in 1888”
This last project Norfolk actor Marie Cooper was working on, just weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, was Duelo with Edward Heredia, Paige Fisher and Norwich University of the Arts. Filmed on the weekend of 6th March 2020. Duelo is a short film produced in Norwich, Norfolk.
Who does Marie Cooper play in the film Duelo?
I was playing Clemence, mother to both Tristan, played by James Crawley, and Stephen. The scene I was in was a funeral scene, filmed on location in a church in central Norwich.
Where can you watch the film, Duelo?
The short film is now doing the film festival rounds. It is being shown at the Prague International film festival and the Reading International Film Festival.
The team crowdfunded for the project raising money to fund the film, from set design, props costumes etc, right through to the payment of film festival entry fees. The project was professionally and impressively run, with catering on location and actors being paid for their work.
I met up with the director and fellow actors for an afternoon of rehearsals. I am far more accustomed to theatre than film and analysing the dialogue of stage scripts, rather than the descriptive visuality of a screenplay. So, it was immensely helpful to have the opportunity to meet up with the director and fellow actors to get to know each other and to run our scene beforehand.
Where was Duelo flmed?
Duelo was filmed on location in Norwich on the weekend beginning Friday 6th March 2020.
This was such a wonderful project to work on because, once more, I was working with student filmmakers Edward Heredia and Paige Fisher from our very own Norwich University of the Arts. This felt like an extra special project to be part of because I worked with Edward from the beginning to the end of his course. He is a deeply thoughtful, reflective and professional Director, who I am sure will be incredibly successful when all of his hard work pays off after university.
The Cast of Duelo
Cole Ben Wheatley
Tristan James Crawley
Clemence Marie Cooper
Amy Estelle Long
Funeral Director Andy Turner
The Crew of Duelo
Director/Producer/Writer Edward Heredia
1st Assistant Director Bram Kwantes
Producer Vaineta Keraityte
Cinematographer Ethan Cassidy
Production Designer Georgia Pett
Sound Designer Sally Gilbert
1st Camera Assistant Paige Fisher
2nd Camera Assistant Frances Pesquera
Make-up Artist /Hair Gemma Simmons
Production Assistant Cameron Cassidy
Production Assistant Finlay Cassidy
Set Dresser Assistant Emily Brown
Production Assistant Christos Chyrsanthou
Drone Operator Alex Woosey
Related Blog Posts
Walking Plays anthology available now
Check out the May/June 2021 Radical Hospitality edition of The Dramatist – Page 40 – 41 for a two-page feature written by Jo Brisbane about the Walking Plays. I am joyous to see our beautiful, small medieval city of Norwich get mentioned in a New York magazine.
During lockdown in three countries, twelve states, playwrights walked. Inspired by their wanderings, they wove stories and came together to share. Tales of social justice. Of magic and the tragic. The comical and the historical. Horror and fantasy. Where their minds wandered, their characters followed. Across time, across generations. Diverse and dispersed, they brought their plays together and walked the world. Well, some of it.
The International collection of Walking Plays, written by a talented bunch of twenty-eight playwrights from the US, Canada and the UK, curated by Claudia Inglis Haas. All of the plays were written for outside – so they can be performed over Zoom, as a podcast or radio play. If your theatre, podcast or radio station would like to perform our anthology our plays, visit the Walking Plays Facebook page for the performance rights.
Marie Cooper’s Walking Play, ‘Unlocked’
‘Unlocked’, inspired by my lockdown walks, by the riverside and Norwich Cathedral Quarter is part of the collection, and is also now up on the New Play Exchange.
Synopsis for Unlocked
Hannah discovered something about her partner, Ryan that unnerved her. She panicked and ran. Both Ryan and her friend Lauren are out looking for Hannah along the riverside.
Recommendation for Unlocked on the New Play Exchange
“…you start to feel breathless from the movement. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed audio play that tears your emotions a zillion ways before letting them go.” Lee R. Lawing
My Walking Play Route – Norwich Riverside
Although I live in the city, I am fortunate that there are many green spaces dotted around the urban centre. The river walk nearest to our Cathedral is the section of the riverside I tend to favour – from the train station to Whitefriars – because it is mostly set aside from housing and industrial units.
You can walk right up to the water’s edge for most of the way. Unlike further upriver, where walkers are sandwiched between housing and the steep fenced-off, bricked-edges, or further downstream where the riverside is somewhat marred by blocks of apartment buildings, restaurants and concrete.
On the section in between, running from the entrance through the patio of the Angler Pub, you can feel the spongy grass beneath your feet. Allow the weeping willow leaves to run between your fingertips. If you are there at just the right time of year, you might find some areas of grass turned white by poplar tree fluff.
Historic Norwich Cathedral Quarter
Although the brief of my play was to write in the modern time, the area I walked is steeped in history. I tend to walk the greener sections of old Norwich, from the Cathedral Quarter and Pulls Ferry to Whitefriars bridge. So, it was at this point that my short play also begins.
As the Play begins
Lauren leaves the Cathedral coffee shop and spots Hannah walking by the old red post box. Lauren is dressed for the office, not snow, so it takes some time for her to almost catch up with Hannah. She reaches the picturesque Pulls Ferry before being close enough to shout…
Pulls Ferry sits at the end of Ferry Lane where a canal used to run from the river up to the Cathedral, It was used to ferry the Caen limestone up to the site where the cathedral construction began in 1096. The two main characters, of my play, Lauran and Hannah, come together near this point and walk along that stretch of river.
Further along, the Red Lion pub nestles at the side of Bishop’s Bridge. This was where Robert Kett fought for the rights of the poor in 1549, when his army of rebels attacked Norwich, crossing the river Wensum and forcing through the city defences.
Beyond the pub is another stretch of trees and grass with the path meandering through it. A side path leads closer to the river’s edge. There are benches dotted along the walk to rest or just stop, to breathe in the wonders of nature. To watch the swans glide by or the gulls dipping under the surface for fish. There is a small area on the turn of the river where local children tend to come to play during the summer. It is known locally as ‘the beach’.
On the left of the path before the beach is the Skywatch seat, carved from redwood, a memorial to a local musician. The Japanese Cherry Blossom tree that partners the polished seat, stands adorned with colourful trinkets.
Overlooking the beach stands the flint-built Cow Tower. Once part of the city walls and defences for the city of Norwich, now it stands alone and gated. It didn’t use to be so exclusive. I remember going inside as a youngster. My friends and I loved going inside. I don’t recall why to be honest, as there wasn’t much more to find inside, other than the pigeons and pigeon poop. Yet I feel sad now to find myself lockout out of somewhere there was part of my wanderings growing up.
Behind the Tower, away from the river is a pond. When the river rises, the area becomes flooded and the wooden-planked river walkway becomes a bridge. The pond freezes over in the winter. When I was writing my walking play, the pond was solid and there was snow crunching underneath my footsteps and so that was the environment into which I placed my characters into their story.
Crossing a short wooden bridge, there is a small inlet from the river that leads to what remains of the 18th-century swan pit. The tidal water would lead into the grounds of the Great Hospital where the swans would be fattened up and then consumed by the local gentry,
A little further along, across a car park, sits the Adam & Eve pub, the oldest pub in Norwich, dating back to 1249. It was used by the construction workmen whilst the Cathedral was being built and according to the website of the pub, still has a Saxon well underneath the lower bar floor.
Spanning the river, leading away from the Adam and Eve toward Mousehold heath is the curving, modern Jarrold’s bridge. This was the point at which my story ended for my characters, as they go their separate ways.
Other Writing Projects
Monologues written by Marie Cooper. The first is ‘Six’. A dramatic monologue for a female character on the subject of bereavement, grief, guilt, motherhood, and police shooting.
Six is a monologue created by Marie Cooper, written during the inital 2020 pandemic lockdown. It is written for a female performer and reads at about four to four and a half minutes. The monologue can be read over on the New Play Exchange.
A grieving mother agonizes over how she is ever going to tell her little girl that her daddy will never be coming home.
Please do credit me if you use my monologue.
Recommended by Rachel Feeny-Williams on New Play Exchange
“ A beautifully sad piece where anyone would struggle not to shed a tear. Death can be a cliched subject to explore but I believe the phrasing here brings something new and gives the character a unique voice. It would be a powerful piece for an audition. ” – Rachel Feeny-Williams
I originally conceived the initial idea for ‘Six’ during an online playwriting workshop run by Rosa Torr on 8th July 2020 with South East Creatives.
The workshop was a fantastic twelve step process over the course of two hours that guided writers through exercises to stimulate ideas. From freewriting, prompts, questions and lists, progressing on to developing those ideas into monologues and dialogue and dropping random ideas into existing work.
It was a brilliant workshop and by the end I had pages of potential ideas, snippets of monologues and dialogue. One of the exercises had encouraged us to envision and create a location that could be set up and recorded from home in the new post-pandemic world of lockdowns and Zoom. This was particulary exciting for me as I was considering writing a monologue but had been stuck for ideas. During the exercise I created an entire list of setups. One of which was “Home in bed”.
At the time I had established a regular, daily writing routine thanks to London Writers’ Hour which I woke for, every morning, at 7am. I worked towards finishing my first play and exploring creating new work. During Writers’ Hour I took the dialogue I’d scribbled and rewrote it as a monolgoue. I then put the monologue aside as I worked on completing my full play.
I dipped back into the monologue every now and again to edit, add bits, remove bits. It was good to not look at it for a while and ocassionally revisit and read with fresh eyes.
I do keep meaning to learn it and record it, but still haven’t got round to it. But one of our lovely local actors, Helen Fullerton, very kindly read and made a recording of it so that I could hear my monologue with a voice other than my own or that inside my head.
Hearing Helen bring it alive and give good feedback on it, I felt more confident that the monologue worked well, so I posted it up on the New Play Exchange. I was surprised and happy to receive a recommendation from another NPX member (see recommendation above).
Other Writing Projects
28 plays were written by Norfolk playwright Marie Cooper in February 2021. The plays were created whilst taking part in the 28 Plays Later playwriting challenge, along with other writers from all over the world.
What is 28 Plays Later?
28 Plays Later is an annual playwriting challenge, run by the Literal Challenge. The aim is to write 28 plays in 28 days.
That sounds crazy! Why write 28 Plays in 28 Days?
The challenge stretches you as a writer. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and gets you writing about things you might not have otherwise done. You don’t have time to plan or procrastinate as there is a new brief and new deadline daily.
I decided to take part in 28 Plays Later after the success of the Scriptly Writing screenwriting challenge in the previous year. It was a fantastic productive month for me.
I wrote my reflections on writing 28 plays in 28 days over on my blog. Below is the full list of plays, the day on which I wrote each one, along with a short synopsis.
Where can these plays been read?
The short play from Day 15, I integrated into another longer piece. I carried across the name ‘Unlocked’ to the longer play. It is due to be aired on AirPlay radio in 2022, as part of The Walking Plays collection.
I have plans to continue working on a few of these pieces. I am currently editing and adapting the play I wrote on Day 9 into an audio play.
28 Short Plays by Marie Cooper
Sideways to Siberia – Day 1. Feb. 1st.
A message doesn’t make it in time to who, where and when it is supposed to be.
Dawn in Misty Cove – Day 2. Feb. 2nd.
A woman returns every day, to visit the same place that her daughter died.
Dover Sole – Day 3. Feb. 3rd.
A tea stop on the Dover coast.
The Facility – Day 4. Feb. 4th.
It’s simple enough to get into the facility. But is it possible to get out?
The Catalyst – Day 5. Feb. 5th.
A wealthy man chats to a salesperson about his funeral options brochure.
Old Shuck – Day 6. Feb. 6th.
Even the old black dog comes when he is called.
Two Lattes to go – Day 8. Feb. 8th.
Two people who care about each other, but who can’t tell each other.
No Man. No Queen. No England – Day 9. Feb. 9th.
Hatshepsut and Grace O’Malley bump into each other, on a hilltop in the midst of a tank battle. Yeah! This short play has been further researched, edited, revised, and renamed since the challenge.
Nusturi – Day 10. Feb. 10th.
Purposely not making any sense.
Blood on the Leaves – Day 11. Feb. 11th.
The day the hanging tree falls.
12th Floor Room 2 (Now renamed the Jade Palace)- Day 12. Feb. 12th.
A woman has outstayed her welcome in the hotel lobby.
The very first draft of this play was brought to life during its first reading at the 28 Plays Later reading over Zoom. My play begins at approximately 1 hr 47m 33s and runs for 10 mins, to 1 hr 57m 54s
This short play was edited and renamed, “The Jade Palace”. The Jade Palace is now up and available on the New Play Exchange.
The Leopard Sleeps – Day 13. Feb. 13th.
Petty Gods and the mortals unlucky enough to get in the way
Poppy Packer – Day 14. Feb. 14th.
A strange poetic monologue
Unlocked – Day 15. Feb. 15th
A woman finds her partner’s phone unlocked and doesn’t like what she finds.
This short was integrated into a larger piece that became one of the audio plays I was working on at the time. I liked the title of this too, so I also used this as the title of the audio play. the full audio play script for ‘Unlocked’ can be found over on the New Play Exchange and is part of the Walking Plays anthology. It is due to be performed on AirPlay radio in May 2022.
Best Day Ever – Day 16. Feb. 16th.
A woman notices a ‘Sold’ sign has gone up in her neighbour’s garden.
All characters and events in this play, even those based on real people– are entirely fiction. Even the anti-social neighbours who kept me awake for four years who do not make an appearance. Imagined resemblances to anyone alive, dead or (at 2 am and sleep-deprived) wished to be dead, is entirely coincidental. Celebrations, alcohol, whooping and a happy dance did most definitely happen though.
Mosaic – Day 17. Feb. 17th.
A man searching for answers finds riddles
Do-Over – Day 18. Feb. 18th.
A woman talks to herself
The Sloth Appropriation – Day 19. Feb. 19th.
A trip to the zoo.
Stallion – Day 20. Feb. 20th.
A man becomes a horse.
Unidentified – Day 21. Feb. 21st.
Kings and Consequences – Day 22. Feb. 22nd.
Financial Services – Day 23. Feb. 23rd.
Stealth – Day 24. Feb. 24th.
The Cremation Perturbation – Day 25. Feb 25th.
A little girl has disturbing aspirations
Cocaine Cockup – Day 26. Feb. 26th.
The party doesn’t go quite as expected
Black Rye – Day 27. Feb 27th.
In the church ruins, a stranger comes to the fire.
Cockwomble Caffeination – Day 28. Feb. 28th.
Other Writing Projects
Marie Cooper performing as Ann Wingate in Stewart Burke’s ‘Murder in Neighbour Watch’ at Great Hall Theatre at the Assembly House in Norwich, Oct – Nov 2019
Ann gave up her career as a travel courier to become the dutiful headmaster’s wife to her husband, Andrew. Ann felt stifled to have settled in the village of West Lynstead, near Worthing, with its coffee mornings full of gossips and people in and out of each others’ houses.
She returns from three months away on holiday in New Zealand visiting her parents, to find that village life has been turned upside down by a murder in local woodland.
Feedback following the performances was positive. There were some funny moments at the start of the play and the cast worked incredibly well to bring the characters to life.
Audiences seemed to enjoy it, discussing who they thought had committed the murder during the interval. I did not enjoy the play, in and of itself, but I did like pushing myself out of my comfort zone in terms of line-learning once again and the challenge of the emotions that Ann is put through when she returns home.
Marie Cooper performing in Murder Mysteries and Comedy evening with Dreamstone Productions.
Dance with Death by Paula Alexian
Thanks to a recommendation from a lovely director, who I worked with at Great Hall, I got an email from Dreamstone Productions, asking if I would like to work with them on a Murder Mystery event in Norfolk.
I was nervous, and at first and wasn’t sure whether to say yes. It’s been some time since I’ve performed anything so improvised, but I was emboldened by my director having confidence in my acting ability.
I am immensely happy that I went along. It was a fantastic evening. I worked alongside some great actors and gained new experience in working in immersive, improvised theatre. It’s been relatively busy workwise over the past few weeks and I am feeling incredibly grateful and fortunate to be surrounded by talented artists and doing work that I love.
Check out the Dreamstone website or Facebook page to get more information about their upcoming Murder Mystery evenings in and around East Anglia…
Whether you call the people helping to bring realism to movies and television background artists, supporting artists or extras, they are often vital for creating the authenticity of the scene. Many supporting artists are actors who do this work as part of their portfolio career in the creative industries when they are between other acting jobs.
We are incredibly fortunate to have some fantastic scenery and buildings for film locations in East Anglia so background artists are often in demand by local and national casting agencies. Before Covid hit the country and halted productions I was working with NBA Norfolk.
Are there Supporting Artist Agents in Norfolk?
I work with an agency called Norfolk Background Artistes who source local actors for work that is filmed within the region. This is brilliant because it not only provides much-needed work for local performers, it also cuts the carbon impact of production by reducing the need to drive people in from further afield.
Filming First Ladies with October Films
In 2019 I was invited by NBA Norfolk to work with October Films as a background artist on an episode of the US TV show ‘First Ladies’. A series about the wives of presidents in the US. It was aired in Oct 2020 on the US channel ‘CNN’.
Stills from First Ladies, Episode 4 on CNN
Filming Raw Terror with October Films
Stills from Raw Terror: Murder on the Tracks on Discovery ID
Sometimes I get a call asking for new photographs that are needed immediately. It’s great that it’s now possible to get quick, raw, authentic photographs out with some immediacy. Taking up-to-date photographs to send over for castings is so quick and easy to do nowadays via a mobile phone.
Casting Photographs – October 2020
Callout for background artists in Oct 2020. I get called at short notice to pop over photographs. Thankfully it doesn’t take too long to get my background up on my bedroom wall and camera on my tripod. I don’t have any fancy lighting. Which is both a blessing and a curse. What you see it what you get. It is my face. Unfortunately, I found with this blue background, my phone camera doesn’t pick up the colour of my eyes properly. They are blue but in these photos they look olive green.
Casting Photographs – April 2019
Key Casting were in Norwich in April looking for extras for filming of the Netflix film Jingle Jangle. I needed to send over some updated casting photographs. Nothing complicated or expensive. Just a few selfies to show that my face and hair haven’t metamorphosised since my last photos. Which is a fair enough request. My hair used to change more frequently than my underpants. I feel that I should emphasise that my hair used to change colour a lot. It’s not that my underpants were only changed a little.
In my failing to have the ‘strike a pose’ superpower, (where do people learn that?) it took me a mindbogglingly huge amount of time little time just to get a handful of photos that I was (even close to) happy with.
I thought I might as well pop the serious photographs up here on the website. Along with the not so serious ones. It saves me having to find out where in the folders of laptop hell, I have hidden them at some later date.
Marie Cooper performing Hilda, the maid with an interesting past, in ‘Someone Waiting’ at Great Hall Theatre. 22 January to 26th January 2019
I managed to tick quite a few things off of my acting bucket list during this production in a small, but challenging and fun role. One of which included slapping one of my fellow actors. It turned out to be surprisingly effective. The audience oooooh’d and gasped when Hilda struck Mr Nedlow across the face. I was very pleased with this as we had practised it a number of times. Hilda’s slap managed to shock the audience, despite my not making any contact with Mr Nedlow’s face at all.
I also had to perform drunk. What I mean is, I acted drunk whilst on stage, I didn’t actually get drunk to perform. I got some nice comments from fellow actors saying that Hilda was nicely drunk and that it wasn’t overly done, which I am very pleased about. Acting drunk is a tricky thing to do convincingly, whilst still trying to enunciate so that the audience can hear.
An in-depth review of the play was written by Rob Fradley-Wilde and published on Facebook and in the Great Hall Theatre Company newsletter.
“the maid Hilda was able to go to her death with style, in Marie Cooper’s vivacious and feisty example of the mid-twentieth-century servant class. “
Andrew Cliffe of Norwich Photo photographed the following images during the dress rehearsal of Someone Waiting.
Hilda Marie Cooper
Mrs Danecourt Glenda Gardiner
John Nedlow Chris Higgins
Vera Nedlow Samantha Elmhurst
Martin Steven Logsdon
Walter Fenn Kevin Ford
Miss Lennie Rachel Miller
The photos below were taken by members of the cast
Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich
Marie Cooper perfomed as the younger Margaret Thatcher, ‘Mags’, in Handbagged, performed at Sewell Barn Theatre in Norwich, 11 October to 20 October 2018
The fantastic photographs for Handbagged were taken during the dress rehearsal by Sean Owen of Reflective Arts
The bad thing (and good thing – I hate seeing and/or hearing myself) about theatre is that you never get to see the play. Especially for Handbagged, as our entire cast were on the stage for almost the entire duration of the play…and yes, this was a worry if nature called.
This was my absolute favourite role so far by miles, one of my proudest achievements and most challenging, as it was the first time I’d attempted to portray someone who actually existed. The play also the most lines I had had to learn at that time as well as the most time I had needed to be on stage for. Both Mrs Thatchers and the Queens are on the stage for all but a few minutes of the play. I have written further reflections about the show on my blog which also includes reviews of Handbagged.
The pressure was on as I didn’t have much time to prepare. The person who was originally cast dropped out just before rehearsals began, so I didn’t have anywhere near as much time to prepare as I would have done had I got the role just after auditions. It was a race against time to research and learn lines, whilst simultaneously rehearsing. Thankfully I had, that very morning, completed and handed in the last course work of my MA so I knew I would have the time to invest into the role.
Mrs Thatcher was most definitely not someone I shared the politics of. Yet it was a little disturbing (and helpful) during my research, to find that the ‘Milk Snatcher’ and I did, surprisingly, have some things in common, other than being female. We both studied for a degree in Chemistry and contained the resilience and perservance to stand up and fight for what we want and believe in, to not let anyone stand in our way of what we aim to acheive.
Directed by Clare Williamson
Alexandra Evans – Mrs T
Marie Cooper – Mags
Mandy Kiley – Liz
Gill Tichbourne – Q
Denis Thatcher, Peter Carrington, Gerry Adams, Ronald Reagan,
Michael Heseltine, Arthur Scargill, Rupert Murdoch, Geoffrey Howe
and Prince Phillip.
Palace Footman, Kenneth Kaunda, Nancy Reagan, Enoch Powell,
Michael Shea, Neil Kinnock, Kenneth Clarke, and a Protester.
Lily by Yuqian Tong – Filmed in Norwich, August 17th – 18th 2018
Marie Cooper performing in the short film Lily by Yuqian Tong, student filmmaker at the University of East Anglia – Filmed on location in Norwich, August 17th – 18th 2018
I found myself very quickly attempting to learn lines in August. An unanticipated opportunity popped up to take part in the short film, Lily by Yuqian Tong. The film was written, produced and directed by the student filmmaker who is currently studying here in Norwich at the University of East Anglia.
The photos below were taken by Tuqian Tong on set during filming.
Marie Cooper performing as the ‘The Spirit of the Place’ in promenade street theatre with the Jenny Lind Arts Project and Slow Theatre Company, 2018
Slow Theatre Company, Norwich
8 – 9 June 2018
From Workshop to Playwriting
It all escalated quite fast. One evening I turned up for a free scriptwriting workshop being run by the Jenny Lind Arts Project and Danny O’Hara with the Slow Theatre Company. I thought it would be a great help to learn some new creative writing techniques and generate some ideas to kickstart my creative coursework.
It turned out that writers could submit a piece of their work to be part of the project’s performance in June 2018. The next thing I knew, my “Abandoned Places” script, with Megan and Josh, was included as part of the theatrical promenade piece. I performed as the ‘Spirit of the Place’ too. It felt odd, but exhilarating, seeing the words that I had written being performed. I had put my toes tentatively onto the edge of the path to becoming a playwright.
It was an immensely ambitious and unique piece of community theatre, a promenade piece composed entirely of local writer’s work which was then beautifully sewn together with the words of playwright Danusia Iwaszko, who created the Spirit of the Place as a guide, leading the audience around the stage, following the walkways, green areas and stairwells that make up the community space. There were many people working incredibly hard to bring the show together, both performing and behind the scenes,. It would not have been the same if even just one person had not been there.
I grew up, an artistic child, in an area of Norwich that was in the top 10% of the most deprived areas of the country. For poor families, this meant that opportunities to get involved in the arts were next to zero outside of the school curriculum. So, the opening up of provision of the arts for everyone, no matter what their background or income, is something very close to my heart. The work that the Jenny Lind Project does, bringing the arts into local communities is invaluable.
And I Saw my World From my Home
The short film, ‘And I saw my world from my Home’, is a collaboration between the Jenny Lind Arts Project, BBC Voices and the Suffolk Square community. The footage is composed of clips that we filmed around the area. The poetry and readings are by the local community. The poem I am reading between 2:09 and 2:58 is by writer and poet, Salah El Nagar. Other contributors to the movie include Cate Oliver and me.
It was a privilege to be part of the project. I have some wonderful new people in my life. People who I might never have even met if I’d not gone along to a little community scriptwriting workshop a few months ago. My life has been enriched for taking part. I hope the community feels the positive effects of the project long into the future.Wall of Feedback for Spirit of the Place
Update 2020: ‘Hellthy’ has now been released and can be streamed immediately on Amazon. If you have Amazon Prime you can watch it for free
Project Update 2019: The film ‘Hellthy’ by IWFilms is now complete and will be doing the festival circuit. Check out the trailer below…
If you are interested in finding out more about the film and director/producer, you can find more details, including Director Biography, overview of the movie, specs, credits, production photos over at FilmFreeway.
Filming with IWFilms on the Norfolk Coast
12th February 2018
I spent an enjoyable afternoon on the film shoot for ‘Hellthy’ in a traditional pub on the Norfolk coast, with IWFilms, director Stephen Willis, Paul Goldsmith, Clive Stubbs, Steve Dunn and Tilly.
I have not had many (and when I say many, I mean any) performances before, where a pint glass containing real beer (well, when I say beer, I mean Shandy) has been put down in front of me as part of the set and I am allowed to drink it. Not that I am complaining mind.
I was having a chat with the landlady and she told me that the pub had also, many years ago, been used to film an episode of ‘The Chief’.
As well as meeting some lovely new people , I also met the extremely friendly and handsome ‘Blue’. Blue decided that he would rather have a cuddle on my lap than go for a walk. He was such a cutie, but he was highly jiggly when I was trying to take a selfie with him. I didn’t realise I had left my sunglasses on my head, until filming was over and I attempted the dog selfie.
Hellthy is produced by IW Films and directed by Stephen Willis.
Synopis: “A psychopath kidnaps addicts and forces them through torturous rehabilitation”
The filming for this scene was in Great Yarmouth on 12th February 2018.
The feature film was completed on 19 June 2019.
Duration: 1 hour 34 minutes 21 seconds
Behind the Scenes Photos on Film Set for Hellthy
Behind the scenes photos taken by the cast and crew during filming below. With permission from Paul Andrew Goldsmith
Selfie with Blue on the Film Set of ‘Hellthy’
Norwich Theatre: Great Hall Theatre Company, The Assembly House, Norwich
30 January – 3 February 2018
Marie Cooper played Anna-Mary Conklin, in ‘Come into the Garden, Maud’. One of two short plays by Noel Coward, performed together, by The Great Hall Theatre Company.
First time in The Round
Come into the Garden, Maud was performed ‘in the round’, with an audience on all four sides. I hadn’t performed in that configuration before. It was a challenging but fun, exploring the space and being open to the audience on all four sides.
I didn’t originally audition for the role of Anna-Mary. I was a little surprised, but very happy to be offered her. She is quite an unpleasant, dominating character, whose attitude to her friends could spin on a dime.
I had to learn more lines than I’ve ever needed to before. My character was American, so, I had to learn lines in an American accent for the first time. I also had to learn some badly pronounced French, in an American accent. I got some laughs at my attempts at French. Hopefully the audience thought I was acting and didn’t realise my French actually is that bad.
I wrote a little more about Anna-Mary, accidentally breaking the fourth wall and some of the feedback over on my blog
The Cast for Come into the Garden Maud
Rob Fradley – Wilde
All photographs for Come into the Garden, Maud were taken during the dress rehearsal by Andrew Cliffe of Norwich Photo Motorsport Photography
Come into the Garden, Maud Gallery
Marie Cooper performing in the short film ‘Syncopated’ with NUA production team at The Owl Sanctuary in Norwich.
On the rainy afternoon of 4th November 2017, I met with the Norwich University of the Arts production team at the Owl Sanctuary in Norwich to film some scenes from their short movie, ‘Syncopated’, directed by Edward Heredia.
I was playing a rather nasty piece of work. A boss of a strip club who dominated her girls, who was so tied into her own seedy existence that she had a seething jealousy, and bullied any of her girls looking to escape the business. She was prone to getting drunk and out of control if she felt she was losing control.
It was an exciting day of firsts. The first time I had performed in a film other than as an extra, the first time I had had somebody else do my make-up and the first time I have had to enact on-screen violence. It was challenging. I almost caught our other lovely actor on the first slap attempt.
The character was great fun to play and sometimes challenging to snap instantly from team giggles, because I’d almost just squashed one of the team behind a slammed door, and then trying to get back my composure (probably not the right word for anger) and focused with my character’s intent. I can not wait to see how it all came out. The photos below were taken by the production team, before and during filming.
Film and photographs courtesy of Edward Heredia, Director.
Directed by Edward Heredia
Produced by Georgia Diane Pett
Edited by Sam Papidas
Cinematography by Sam Bywater
Script by Jessica Hulusi
Sound Design by Mason Wilson
Production Design by Gracie Slatter
Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich
11 – 21 October 2017
In Lark Rise, performed at Sewell Barn Theatre in Norwich, Marie Cooper played Mrs Blaby and Mrs Beamish.
Mrs Blaby always seemed to be hanging about outside her cottage, gossiping with the other women-folk of Larkrise. She had a love of dressy fashion, despite mostly being a year out of it by today’s standards, as she relied on her daughter sending her clothes parcels from London.
Heavily pregnant Mrs Beamish was proudly getting her young daughter Martha all smart and ready to find her petty place in Larkrise so that she could earn her own living. With a new mouth to feed on the way, the family needed the income. A year in training and Martha might be ready to move on to proper gentleman’s service.
It was a huge production and the final show at Sewell Barn for the Director, Robert Little. It was great fun and a privilege to be part of the wonderfully large and diverse cast, with ages ranging from young teens, through to students from the University of East Anglia’s drama course, right up to the not-quite-so-young seventies. It was one big, happy theatrical family. I even got to share the stage with one of the actors from Harry Potter, the young Sirius Black, Rohan Gotobed, and it’s not every day I get to say that.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Evans
Written by Keith Dewhurst
Adapted from the novels by Flora Thompson
Directed by Robert Little with
Sewell Barn Theatre
Music Directed by Michelle Glover
Photography by Andrew Evans
Emma Timms Wendy Atkinson
Albert Timms Martin Dabbs
Laura Timms Connie Reid
Laura Timms Charlotte Woollsey
Edmund Timms Bradley Flint
Bishie Shem Jacobs
Boamer Chad Mason
Old David / Dick / Twister Terry Dabbs
Pumpkin Colin Barrett (Baz)
Old Price / Old Postie / Grandfather / Rector Dave Dixon
Bailiff / Doctor / Squire Bracewell Robert Little
Old Stut / Tramp Danny Burns
Fisher Liam Purshouse
Jerry Parish / Cheapjack Rohan Gotobed
Mrs Spicer / Garibaldi Jacket Ruth Howitt
Mrs Blaby / Mrs Beamish Marie Cooper
Mrs Peverill / Queenie Ros Mace
Old Sally Anne Giles
Mr Sharman / Landlord Peter Jackson
Mrs Miller / Mrs Andrews Diane Webb
Martha Beamish Connie Reed
Martha Beamish Charlotte Woollsey
John Price Sam Webber
Polly Ella Daymond
Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich
11 – 21 October 2017
In Candleford, performed at Sewell Barn Theatre in Norwich, Marie Cooper played the dour, prim and proper Mrs Macey. She lived with her young son, ‘Tommy’ and ‘Snowball’ her cat, as her husband was away, travelling abroad with his gentleman. Or so she told everyone in the post office. Dorcas, the Post Mistress General, was the only person Mrs Macey trusted with the truth.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Evans
In summer, Marie Cooper performed with Berlin’s TheatreFragile and their production ‘We Meet in Paradise’ at The Forum for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival – NNF17
17-18 May 2017
In the run up to the two evenings of performances, TheatreFragile ran acting workshops for the local participants, specifically focused on performing in masks. The voices in the audio were of real refugees who had been forced to flee their own countries because it had become too dangerous for them and their families to stay. As performers we acted out the experiences but their voices and stories were their own. We provided the stage for their stories.
It followed the refugees’ harrowing escape, across the sea at the hands of unscrupulous people traffickers, who took advantage of the travellers’ adversity, to the confusing, stressful and worrying time landing on the shores of a new land where they did not speak the language.
‘We meet in Paradise’ was a beautifully choreographed and moving piece of theatre, which engaged the audience and pulled them, literally, onto the stage to participate at the end of the performance and to end on a heartwarming, inclusive and welcoming celebration of mixed cultures.
You can read a review of the show by Eva Stebbing over on the website of the Eastern Evening News
Marie Cooper performing as a Halloween Rat in Norwich Halloween Spooky Parade
Something a little different from 2016. The Common Lot were asked to be ushers for Norwich’s Halloween Spooky Parade. It sounded fun so I went along to the initial ideas meet up, but I didn’t have the faintest idea of what I wanted to dress up as or perform on the night. In a serendipitous turn of events, Max had decided he wanted to play a creepy Pied Piper, but he didn’t have any rats so Harriet and I scurried to the rescue.
Masks, tails and a bag of stale bread later, speckled with food dye to make it look mouldy, and we were let loose on Norwich. It was great fun, running between the participants, guiding the way along the parade and trying to share our bready feast. Things didn’t always go to plan as I ended up being chased around the crowd by some of the braver children. Whilst others just peeked out from behind the legs of their parents, only daring to come out when daddy said it was ok.
Apparently I make a very good rat. Lots of people stopped me to take photos that evening. This image above is just one of many photographs, taken at Spooky Parade by Wireless Pix.
The plastic bag that you can see me carrying in the photograph, was full of bread that I had bought fresh, just the day before. I had speckled it with green food dye to make it look mouldy. I was very generously offering my yummy colourful bread out to people who had come to watch the parade. Neither the large or small humans were impressed by my ratty generosity.