Two years ago a small theatre company arrived in Berwick determined to impress and they certainly did .
Well now, following in the footsteps of acclaimed debut ‘Napoli’, Flying Cloud are back at The Maltings next Friday, June 13 and inviting audiences to open ‘The Book’.
A rather ambiguous title for a play, ‘The Book’ is about exactly that. But this isn’t a run of the mill novel. ‘The Book’ follows the life of its title character into the future and then back thousands of years and examines the impact it has on three different people.
One of the show’s stars is Leandra Ashton, who although an accomplished actress with years of experience will appear on stage for the first time with Flying Cloud.
But that’s not to say she’s a newcomer to the company. In fact as the founding member, she’s anything but.
One of the writers of ‘The Book’, Leandra said she feels the pressure more backstage than when she’s in the spotlight.
“As an actor of course you have the story to carry but what audiences don’t see is the blood, sweat and tears shed by everyone behind the scenes in the run up to curtain up.
“The pressure backstage is immense whereas acting is a real joyous thing for me.
“At the end of the day you’re being paid to play.
“‘The Book’ is a very different kettle of fish to productions I’ve been involved in before.
“I think because it’s a new piece of writing that I was involved in it means a lot more.
“That’s not to say as an actor you don’t care about other jobs you’re hired for. In any role you live and breathe your character but I feel I’ve invested a lot more in ‘The Book’.”
Like a lot of theatre companies, big and small, Flying Cloud face a constant struggle to stay afloat with arts grants hard to come by.
And they’ve found a rather interesting way of bringing some extra revenue in- taking their theatrics into workplaces up and down the country.
“Having worked for many years as actors we wanted to look at the impact creative skills can have on businesses with an aim to empower people to find their creativity.
“Very much like we do in the theatre, people create a certain character for themselves in the workplace.
“In many cases this will be a false image. We want people to be a true representation of themselves in all their colour and glory.
“And we are constantly amazed by how successful our workshops are from executives to PAs to doctors; people have had real lightbulb moments.”
Their creative workshops have proved to be financially lucrative for Flying Cloud but they also pride themselves on doing free work in the community as well to help boost people’s self confidence and sense of worth.
“We work with some really diverse groups,” Leandra continued.
“We want people to find some common ground so for instance in Richmond we worked with Gurkhas and a group of teenagers and in Yorkshire we ran workshops with Muslim women and school children.
“And like the sessions with businesses you could really see a difference by the end.
“We feed a lot of the themes into our plays.”
*The Book Is on at The Maltings on Friday, June 13 at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are available now priced £14 adults, £12.50 concessions.