Friday, 24 December 2010

Introducing...Dan Wood

My first experience with Belt Up, the company as opposed to the four boys individually, came at the end of my first year at York. I auditioned, successfully as it happened, for The Tempest which was due to be performed in Stratford. I was intimidated, to say the least! Here was a clearly exceptional company with an existing ensemble of obviously fantastic actors and here was I, a slightly nervous nineteen year old who had managed to grab a decent part in what sounded like a pretty damned exciting production of The Tempest! Then, a couple of weeks later, I saw The Tartuffe’s Edinburgh preview in the Drama Barn. My intimidation turned in one swift second to sheer unadulterated excitement and glee at the prospect of performing with these people. Everything about that night made me think that I wanted to be a part of this group. Goodness knows that in my wildest dreams, I could not have conceived of what was to follow...

Now here I sit, eighteen months later reflecting on my time with company. Among the Belt Up ensemble as I saw it at the end of my first year, that group of mighty practitioners who so graciously and warmly accepted me into their friendship group, I now count some of my dearest friends. James, Dominic, Jethro, Alex who were so lovely but also so intimidating at that first audition have become people whom I hope to be able to call my friends for a very long time. In Serena, Joe and Marcus, I now have three of my closest companions and in Lucy, a beloved girlfriend (if you need to edit out that flagrant public display of affection for the wellbeing of the readers then I understand!) On top of these wonderful people, working with the company has allowed me to grow closer to a number of others who have themselves become more involved with Belt Up in the last year and a half. Paddy (my unabashed man-crush), Chris (with whom I have now been in roughly four hundred and three shows), Sarah (the best fairy wife in history), Veronica (perhaps my oldest friend of anyone mentioned here)...The list goes on. It really does. I can’t possibly name everyone here. But I will be texting them individually to let them know just how grateful I am to be able to call them friends. In particular, the twenty people who made up the Edinburgh 2010 ensemble will remain very dear to me for a long time indeed.

Apologies for coming over all sentimental but that is the truth of the matter. My time with Belt Up has given me some fantastic friends made in a variety of different shows, playing a variety of different characters. From The Tempest, I went on to be in Atlantis (at NSDF) followed by Lorca is Dead in the York Theatre Royal and then Lorca, Odyssey and Octavia in The House Above at the Edinburgh Fringe 2010. I shan’t dwell on the shows as I will just get sentimental again (!) but rest assured those memories are very special to me and will endure for a very long time. I am incredibly grateful to the boys for having trusted me with some fantastic parts. Harry (a nutter), Paul Eluard (a surrealist nutter), Mr. Heinzel (a fairytale nutter) and Ted Sterling. A poet. And a bit of a nutter. Special mention among these must go to Paul Eluard, a character who I would gladly play again and again.... My next role with the company is on the production side of things in March, where I will be co-writing the music for and musically directing The Beggar’s Opera; another opportunity for which I am more grateful than I can possibly say.

The upshot of this, then, is that working with Belt Up Theatre has given me so very much. I have had lovely parts in fantastic plays and great opportunities. I have made brilliant friends and we have done brilliant things together! I will forever be indebted to the boys and everyone that I have worked with through them for giving me some of the happiest times of my life. Whether in a professional capacity, as an audience member or as a friend, I hope stay involved with Belt Up as long as I possibly can. After all, it is thanks to Belt Up that I have been able to make theatre I truly believe in with people I love. Who could ask possibly ask for more than that?

Until the next mountain chaps...

No comments:

Post a Comment