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Suzie Ford is originally from South Africa, where it is rumoured she keeps three lions as pets, She’s now an international jetsetter and celebrity (well, to the one subscriber she has on her YouTube channel). Some of her most famous work includes 4-hour long performances of devised ballet dancing where most of the audience (family and friends) were coerced or forced into attending, numerous cameo appearances in Nativity Scenes and her most critically acclaimed work as ‘3rd woman’ in A Tale of Two Cities. In her free time, she enjoys correcting people’s grammar, discussing the uses of ‘who’ and ‘whom’ and loudly singing along to guilty pleasures in the car.

DIARY #4 | THE RIDER

SUZIE FORD

As a final year student studying performance at Sheffield Hallam, it has been a fantastic experience working with Doppelgangster on the new and upcoming show – Treefxxxers! The show looks at the issues pertaining to Sheffield’s trees being cut down unnecessarily.

Doppelgangster have long been involved in political theatre, specifically focusing on the problem of climate change. This was a new experience for me – I had never seen the theatre in such a ‘catalyst for change’ kind of way. What was really exciting for me was to see how we were able to not only think about the environment within the performance but also by changing our rehearsal process to make it more eco – friendly.

Any actor will understand the amount of paper a company can go through during the rehearsal process. Scripts, re writes and notes seem to dominate the studio floor. However, during rehearsals with Doppelgangster, that process was slightly different. Due to new technology we were able to project the script onto a large screen, eliminating the need for paper scripts. The script was soon recorded, meaning that the cast could listen to the production through their earphones and learn the lines in a similar way that you would sing along to your favourite song.

We also actively thought about other areas of the rehearsal process which not be as environmentally friendly. Rehearsing in late November, we often decided to do this without the central heating on – instead layering up in jumpers to keep out the cold.

Advertising can often be a very paper heavy activity. But with Treefxxxers most of our advertising was done through social media and online platforms. This eliminated the need for vast amounts of posters and flyers. The few flyers we did print were done on recycled paper and handed out within the university – to try and make sure that they didn’t just end up in the bin.

I was extremely enthused by the idea that this show wasn’t just about getting
environmental ideas out there to make a change, the show itself IS THE CHANGE! I think that many theatre companies have a lot to learn from acts like Doppelgangster, creating change from the inside out, rather than the outside in. Julie’s Bicycle is a non-profit organisation who help the arts sector be sustainable and environmentally aware. Their advice to artists is to create a green ‘rider’ (a list of demands that artists request – think Jennifer Lopez and a white room filled with Lillies) for the venues they visit whilst on tour.

Some of these may seem small, but if every venue implemented them I think we would see real change. And don’t worry – the only diva demands on our rider include dairy free milk and raw sweet potatoes with the skins left on!