By Hayley Cole, Head of Drama
Photo by Beau Brentnall, 6.2
This year marks 25 years since the opening of the Bedales Olivier Theatre. To celebrate, we wanted to pay homage to some of the original work staged there. As the first piece performed at the Theatre was My Mother Said I Never Should by Charlotte Keatley, directed by a female student, we decided to invite a female Old Bedalian and professional in the field back to Bedales to direct a feminist play this term for the Sixth Form Show.
Evangeline Cullingworth has worked with the department as a practitioner over the last few years and assisted all year groups in academic and co-curricular performance projects. It is an honour to invite her back as our external director this term and we are excited to share this year’s Sixth Form Show, Image of an Unknown Woman by Elinor Cook, with you on 12 and 13 October (book tickets here).
6.2 student and Theatre Don Aryana Taheri Murphy recently interviewed Evangeline and cast member Beau Brentnall photographed the rehearsal session. Read Aryana’s interview below.
By Aryana Taheri Murphy, 6.2 and Theatre Don
Evangeline joined Bedales in 2011, where she studied A Levels in Drama, Music and English. She went on to study Theatre at NYU Tisch and completed an MA in residence at the Orange Tree Theatre. She has worked at the Hampstead Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith and Royal Opera House training under Katie Mitchell. She is especially interested in community engagement and increasing access to opera, after working on RhineGold with Birmingham Opera company.
Evangeline was attracted to Bedales for the quality of the work, both academic and artistic, as well as the vast number of opportunities and how respected the arts are within the school. She had always been interested in drama since a young child, however, after joining Bedales she became more dedicated and serious about a career in the industry. She explained that by working towards her A Levels and being involved with the Sixth Form Show, she was able to learn from the “high level of production quality” and the “incredible experience” of being a part of the Theatre. One memory she shared from her Sixth Form Show performance was smashing a watermelon (with a sponge soaked in stage blood) with a hammer and it splattering all over her clothes and face, to create the effect that she was smashing someone’s head in. She recalled the shock from the audience and her feeling of being completely out of her comfort zone but also her excitement of the experience.
This year Evangeline is directing Image of an Unknown Young Women. She explained how she attended a workshop several years ago when the play was first published and found that it stuck with her for its exploration of the impact of social media. She further explained how the play seemed more relevant now, as the only way we have been able to connect for the past two years is through phones. It made her look differently towards the piece, as 2020-2021 has been a time where “social media meets activism”.