Assistant Producer Joe Kerry takes us inside the rehearsal room, as the cast complete their first week on The Magician's Elephant.

The next exciting process has begun for The Magician's Elephant – we’ve completed our first week of rehearsals!

What does a rehearsal room look like at the RSC?

This particular show is rehearsing alongside another production in the same building – The Mirror and the Light – which is coming to the Gielgud Theatre from 23 September to 28 November.  If you haven’t got your ticket yet, what are you waiting for?

We’ve essentially split the building in two, with The Mirror and the Light and The Magician's Elephant operating on different floors. By separating the two teams we can ensure everyone’s safety in the building.

The Magician's Elephant room is full to the brim with incredible things – it’s a HUGE musical after all! Props and puppets, costumes and cast members, and a lot more which you’ll have to come to see the show to find out about...

Sitting socially distanced in the rehearsal room.
The cast have their socially distanced briefing.
Photo by Joe Kerry © RSC Browse and license our images

Tell us about the first day.

We’re going to be in the room with a whole load of incredible creatives. What a wonderful feeling, especially after such a challenging year for our industry. Everyone is buzzing to hit the ground running and to bring this awesome show to life.

The Stage Management team has arrived early to make sure everything is ready for the big day. They’re really smart people, and have actually prepared the room in advance – so we just have to sort out the finishing touches before…

Humans start to arrive. It’s happening!

There’s a huge hello as we go around the room to introduce ourselves – our names and what our roles are within this show. Everyone’s so friendly and it’s great to see so many talented individuals in one room.

Next up, the Company Manager Pip informs everyone about how we’re going to keep them safe during their time at the RSC. We’re also joined by another Pip (Pip Gerrish) from our HR Team to let the cast know about the additional wellbeing support and resources available to them. It’s important for everyone to know how they’re being supported.

And then it's onto the really exciting stuff… let's get immersed into the world of the show.

The show's director Sarah Tipple and Assistant Designer Sebastian Noel show the team how the production will look on the stage – including the set, props and costumes. They demonstrated all of this using the show's model box, which is a miniature version (1:25 scale) of the actual stage. If you want to know more about how the RSC turns the miniature version into full scale I’d recommend visiting our How We Make Theatre pages.

It's really important to do this on the first day of rehearsals as it gives everyone a clear understanding of the aesthetic and style of the piece we’re creating.

The cast then cracked on with their first music call with the Musical Director Tom Brady, and the sounds that were coming out of that rehearsal room were glorious.

The cast watch a presentation in the rehearsal room.
The cast and creatives get their bearings on the first day.
Photo by Joe Kerry © RSC Browse and license our images

Tell us about the rest of the week.

We started from the top of the show. Mostly, the cast focused on the musical numbers. From there, they can begin to add movement and staging to the music. This musical is a real ensemble experience, and music plays a crucial role. Outside of this, the wardrobe team are hard at work – measuring the actors so they can do the final touches to the costumes within the show. The costume designs are INCREDIBLE. I can't wait for you to see them!

We were also joined by a very special guest, who I alluded to in my previous blog. Starts with an El and ends with an ant… any guesses?

The cast are beginning to put names to things in the rehearsal room, including the you-know-what. I’ll let you know when they’ve named it!

See you soon!

The Magician's Elephant runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 14 October 2021 - 1 January 2022. Grab a ticket by visiting rsc.org.uk/the-magicians-elephant, or call our Box Office on 01789 331111.

Joe Kerry smiling with his dog 

Joe Kerry

Joe is an Assistant Producer at the RSC and a Weston Jerwood Fellow. As a producer Joe is passionate about championing new writing and building platforms for creatives to develop their work and skills. He’s also a HUGE basketball fan! Find him on Twitter @joelikepoe or visit flengwin.com.

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