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| Niamh Hicks

The BPT Team’s Experience of Born and Bread

Born and Bread was ambitious. Especially for our tiny team of 3 part-time staff. It was an epic experience that for all of us culminated in one of the most uplifting and joyful moments of our professional lives.

Here is the show in numbers:

  • 18 months from initial concept to final show
  • 100 conversations with people around Brighton
  • 36 hours of script development in workshops
  • 99 hours of rehearsal with the whole cast
  • 24 hours of 1:1 rehearsals
  • 14 hours of set building with volunteers at Plunge Creations
  • 57 people attended the initial casting
  • 40 people offered a role in the show
  • 15 people dropped out of the show due to work/life commitments
  • 25 people performed in the show
  • 700 people watched the show
  • 700 portions of soup and bread were served by our cast
  • 11 creatives worked on the show
  • 12 production support/technical team worked on the show
  • 3 recent graduates worked on the show
  • £30,730 spent on the production (not including BPT staff time & core costs)
  • £4185 taken in Pay What You Decide ticket sales at ACCA

Some key takeaways from our learning

The casting process was huge. We ran four open auditions, involving existing members in welcoming people into the space. We needed to allow more time for casting and schedule more time between the last audition and the first readthrough.

Our gamble with having two casts worked really well. Although it was more demanding for the whole cast for them to learn 2 tracks through the show, it safeguarded the show against illness. It also created a peer support structure between cast members who shared a role. This support became vital. It enabled people to process their feelings during the rehearsal process and support each other in the run up to the show.

That we need to create roles with much more clarity about the level of rehearsal commitment needed during the writing process. We can then schedule rehearsals with different-sized parts for people to commit to depending on what time they have available in their lives.

And finally, a few words of thanks

First to ACCA, which truly is a BPT home away from home. We are hugely grateful for the support of everyone there, Laura, Marc, Beth and the whole technical team. This project could not have happened without their generous support. At every stage of the process, our cast was made to feel at home and this was such an empowering experience.

To Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Unity Theatre Trust who are brilliant funders of BPT and continue to support the company to do transformative work.

To Chichester University who paid for 2 students to work with us during the transition from finishing their dissertation to graduating. It was fantastic to provide a paid placement as they made their way into the world of work.

To Plunge creations, who make the seemingly impossible possible and have endless enthusiasm, problem-solving, know-how and joy in playing with problems to find magical solutions.

To the Real Junk Food Project and the Real Patisserie, who provided the absolutely delicious soup and bread at every show. One of our favourite moments of each performance was listening to the hubbub of conversations as people ate and chatted with each other, taking photos under the tree at the end of each show.

To our partners The Trust for Developing Communities, the Brighton Table Tennis Club, the Jollof Cafe and the Council’s Community Engagement Team who came along with groups of residents who otherwise might not have made it to the theatre.

To our amazing freelance team of creatives and production professionals. We are super grateful for all your hours of work. Your ideas, playfulness and professionalism have meant that we have continued to learn and grow as an organisation through this production.

We’ll leave the last words of thanks to the cast.