March 3rd, 2022
On 11th-13th February our Tell Arts team debuted their first ever production at Micklegate Social in York. With rehearsals starting November 2021, and planning starting months before that, this show had been a long time coming for us here at Tell. As the actors took their final bow on the Sunday evening, the Tell Arts team let out that breath they’d been holding in since November. Now, after a couple weeks of rest and rejuvenation, I spoke to our director and producer to see how they felt the play went.
Our artistic director and the mastermind behind Tell’s adaption of Lemons, Jess Ault, felt an overwhelming sense of pride following the end of the run. This show was Jess’ professional debut post university as well as her first production as the lead of Tell Arts.
'I was thrilled with how Lemons went. The amount of support we had from our friends, colleagues, former lecturers and even people we'd never met before was overwhelming. [...] It was tiring and it was hard work, but more than anything it made me excited for our next project.’
As a company, Tell values accessibility very highly and this is no different for Tell Arts. One of our main aims was to make quality theatre accessible, both geographically and financially. Ideally we wanted to negate the existing perceptions a lot of people may have of theatre as pretentious. Jess made a point of chatting to patrons after the show and she found that many of the audience members she spoke to had in fact never attended any theatrical performances before.
‘They still understood and enjoyed the show, which is all you can ask for.’
It seems that Tell Arts successfully created a less-intimidating theatre experience that brought arts experiences to the masses. It could be that the use of an unconventional performance space and a friendly, person-centred approach to marketing the show had made our patrons feel welcome and comfortable which was the most important thing for us.
Kat, our Lemon’s producer, also felt the show was overall a success and commended our cast and crew for their commitment and professionalism throughout the process.
‘The performance was great, it was definitely a learning curve but that makes it all the more exciting for the future projects!’
As it was Tell Arts’ first performance for public consumption, every one involved learnt a lot throughout the process and developed skills to bring forward into future projects. However, some of the most important feedback we can listen to and apply to our practice is that of our audience members. We reached out to our patrons following the show and received a whole range of responses to the show.