Our 2019 SAVVY Year …

In Spring we launched our Sketchbook Season, seven months of workshops, and visits, and skills and theatre trips.


With Action Replay and Take 2, we explored puppetry, melodrama, movement, music and dance, showcasing their newly developed skills to a packed house in July.


Our Adult Company explored improvisation, storytelling, mask and commedia dell'arte with Russell Dean from Stangeface Theatre Company and learning how to stage fight scenes for the camera with Lewis Penfold.  On the back of this, a new weekly ‘Fight Club’ was established, learning basic skills with swords and knives in preparation for the upcoming Christmas production.

Our Young Company wanted to sink their teeth into something meaty and so we developed a 25 minute piece based on the themes of National Service and the impact of war on young soldiers.  The piece was performed at local secondary schools and the group also worked with members from Chichester Festival’s Youth Theatre on a shared practise visit. 


We also saw LOTS of theatre - Les Enfantes Terribles production of The Trench, Dead Dog in A Suitcase, Austentatious, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zara … the list goes on!


In February we donned hard hats and were given a backstage tour of what would be our new home, Fairfield Halls and by March we had posters of our members all over Croydon and surrounding boroughs to advertise our upcoming move.


We met royalty and icons – Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. 


We secured a new marketing team, an amazing board of trustees and a brand new Patron, Dr Cecily O’Neil - the godmother of applied theatre!


Our Associate Director, Alice headed off to the Brighton Fringe in May and was delighted by comedy, clowning and a secret underground bunker. 


In June, Alice and our Artistic Director, Sheree travelled to Cardiff in Wales to meet and share practice with the fantastic HIJINX Theatre. An amazing few days of learning, sharing and new friendships!


In August, our core team headed to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and had a blast - seeing different forms of theatre, old faces, meeting new people and drinking lots of beer!  While they were enjoying all that Scotland had to offer, our Head of Production, Michelle Buttress started building and creating costumes, set, props (and parrots), ready for our Christmas production of Treasure Island.


And on the 12th September, we FINALLY MOVED INTO OUR NEW HOME!  A company visit to Ikea for needed office furniture and a hit the ground running energy as the following week we welcomed our ongoing groups to the SAVVY Studio and started three NEW groups too (including the brand new Crisis Averted Company working in partnership with Crisis UK for people experiencing homelessness), and started rehearsing with pupils and teachers for our annual Wandle Valley pantomime.


Early Autumn we took part in numerous events to celebrate the re-opening of Fairfield Halls, made a merry mayhem as hedgehogs at the Croydon Arts Ball and hosted our own SAVVY Studio Gala Opening.


It was then full steam ahead for Treasure Island (with a large inclusive cast of over 60 performers) and a waiting list for tickets.  What an incredible weekend of performances it was too, and an incredible way to showcase our inclusive ethos and arts practise in our new home.


Oh, and all of our staff and members got new t-shirts too!


Phew – what a year!  See you all in 2020!


The Grandfathers

Using The Grandfathers, by Rory Mullarky as inspiration, the SAVVY Young Company re-developed and devised a piece that explored the themes of … “what the impact National Service might have on young people today, the training, the friendships and the consequences of going to war – and wonder what the difference is between conditioning someone to fight for their country and radicalisation?”
After an initial showing at the end of the Spring Term, this piece was taken to local secondary schools across the borough during the Summer term and was featured at our SAVVY Studio Launch Event in October.

Take-2 & Action Replay Showcase

A delightful afternoon with two amazing groups, showing a variety of skills from our Sketchbook Season.  The group's have worked with professional puppeteers, gone 'back-to-basics' with acting and character work, explored a variety of styles from film noir, to melodrama and had great fun revisiting some favourite past work.  We certainly learned a lot this year!
The SUMER Sketchbook Season
Puppetry, stage combat, theatre trips, movement and street dance workshops, showcases and specialist visits ... just a hint of the adventures we've had so far as part of our Sketchbook Season - not to mention meeting up with amazing companies, technical donations from the National Theatre, new partnerships and even a royal introduction!  
We might not be producing for a public audience this summer, but that doesn't mean we've slowed down - in fact, it was full steam ahead as we prepared for our move to Fairfield Halls in Croydon.



With special guests, surprise performances and speeches from members of our ongoing groups, we officially launched our brand new SAVVY Studio on the 16th October 2019 at Fairfield Halls.

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Say hello to our Fairy Godfathers from our student/teacher panto at Wandle Valley Academy, 'Cinderfella'!

You might be wondering - who is Cinderfella?! Cinderfella is a young man desperate to audition for the King's new show - the W Factor! Unfortunately, his Wicked Stepfather and Stepbrothers tore up his invitation and forced him to do more chores. This lovely Christmas pantomime was created and performed by the students of Wandle Valley Academy to an invited audience of friends and family.

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Young Jim Hawkins dreams of escaping his quiet country life; gazing out, day after day at the sea and imagining what lies beyond the horizon.

It’s not until a mysterious stranger arrives, pursued by a band of blood-thirsty pirates, all hunting for a map and a legendary treasure, that Jim is thrust into his long sought-after, sea-fairing adventure!

This brand-new interpretation, developed especially for SAVVY Theatre's diverse cast, incorporated puppeteering and object theatre with swordfights and storytelling; an ambitious production, with a large inclusive cast, brought this famous tale to life in true ‘SAVVY-Style’.

all photos are copyright of Andrew hYLdOn, 2019
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