Young Curious Monkey – Laura Cowen

Day 1 with Curious Monkey

Hi there! I’m Laura and I’ve been lucky enough to get a work experience placement with Curious Monkey Theatre Company. I’m a Newcastle University student and I’ve always had an interest in theatre, but more recently marketing and social media. So I figured, why not combine the three and help out in the company’s office and rehearsal space?

My day began with a team meeting with Jilly, the company administrator, Jen, the company manager and Toni, the company coordinator. The meeting revealed that the team and their jobs are equally as busy as they are exciting. I was really interested in how the team are going to market Leaving and look forward to helping out with this.

After lunch I was whisked off to the Northern Stage rehearsal space to observe rehearsals for Leaving. I’d seen the show last year and was really excited to hear that it was going to be touring this year. Leaving is a verbatim (or recorded delivery) production, which involves the actors hearing then delivering dialogue of real life stories from children and adults within the care system from a headset. This originally involved the audience using headphones to hear certain sounds and moments of speech too. However, a few changes had been made to the production after some feedback from last year. The biggest change was that the audience were no longer being given headphones, which meant the soundtrack and choreography had to be changed. This was a really fun process to watch as the choreographer, Maria, had to work really closely with Roma, the sound technician, Rachael the stage manager, and Amy, the artistic director, to create movement to match and react to the sound effects in the soundtrack.

I was really impressed by the way all members of the company worked together to create a visual performance to match a very specific audio piece. The choreographer and artistic director created movements to tell the story of the young people paying bills and building furniture for the first time themselves. This was all matched with a very detailed and layered audio track which included voice overs to create a complete performance.


I really enjoyed getting to watch the actors work through the new choreography and learn how to tell an emotive story through movement. One scene involved one of the characters receiving his files of notes from his time in care, only to be met with a huge stack of boxes. The actors had to pick up the boxes up in a specific order and use them in their choreography. This may sound like a reasonably simple task, but the boxes all needed to be placed on certain points on the stage to be used in the next scene. I really don’t know how all the actors remembered which of the identical white boxes to pick up and which specific spots to leave them on, but they made it look super easy in the end, while I was exhausted just watching them.

Throughout rehearsals, I was asked to take some pictures for the blog and social media accounts which you can find here on Instagram . You can also keep updated with everything Curious Monkey and Leaving on the Twitter account too!

I’m really looking forward to Day 2 with Curious Monkey. Keep an eye on the blog for more of what I get up to throughout the production of Leaving.

Laura x

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