Anne-Marie Piazza

Trained at The Bristol Old Theatre School


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2030

This summer I spent a day with writer/director/actor Mark Knightley and theatre company This Crowded Room.

2030 is a commission by Collusion to create an installation that explores technology and the year 2030. The installation will be presented alongside four other artists in Cambridge 2019.

Through collaboration with researchers, technology developers, and young people both local to Cambridge and from across the globe, we will create an immersive, interactive installation, set in 2030. This will explore the exciting possibilities and potential impacts of AI as this reaches a mass market.

​With the advent of AI, one of the greatest challenges that humanity faces is how to harness its power to benefit the whole of society. This project is an empathic response to the U.N.’s appeal to “leave no-one behind” enshrined in the Sustainability Development Goals 2015-2030.


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The Virgin and the Gypsy

January 2018 saw a flurry of rehearsal and development projects including this on with the Romany Theatre Company.  Founded in 2002 by director and writer Dan Allum their work is: rooted in the culture and experiences of Romany people and focuses strongly on their struggle for equality and challenges negative opinions of them and the lives that they lead.  Dan is writing an adaptation of DH Lawrence’s novella The Virgin and the Gypsy with music by Candida Caldicot.

January 2018 we rehearsed in Ipswich and performed excerpts at the New Wolsey and the St Andrews Church, Short St, London.


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Wicker Husband (Other Palace)

Rhys Jennings and Darren Clark won the MTI Mentorship Award from Stiles and Drew which meant a years mentoring culminating in a showcase at the end of the year directed by Charlie Westenra.  It has been on a long journey already and will now be going over to New York having been selected as 1 of just 8 shows by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s showcase this fall. Here’s what we did with it in 2017 at the Other Palace Showcase:

WestEndWilma gives a great synopsis:

The Wicker Husband is based on the short story by Ursula Wills-Jones. It tells the tale of a woman known as Ugly Girl. A local town fish seller who  is told she will never have a husband because she is too ugly. A chance encounter with an Old Basket Maker reveals the chance to have a husband made for her out of Wicker. But when the local women of the town meet the handsome new husband they are overcome with jealousy and hatch a plan to destroy Ugly Girls relationship and her happiness.

And also thoroughly enjoyed it:

It’s an interesting story and one that doesn’t drag. The climax of act one leaves the audience begging for more, wanting to find out what happens next and the songs are well written. With a cast of well established and award winning actors including Tyrone Huntley, Rebecca Trehearn and Clive Rowe, The Wicker Husband has a lot of support behind it to help the show take its next steps towards a full scale production.

A review from the MusicalTheatreReview.com

This showcase was a delightful sneak peek into the beginning of The Wicker Husband’s journey.  The show has been through a full year of developmental support including a writing retreat and two panel-led progress labs. The presentation, directed by Charlotte Westenra, demonstrated the progress of that work; and with only three days of rehearsal behind them, the cast members did an extraordinary job of bringing this tale to life.

It was hard to consider Anne-Maria Piazza as the Ugly Girl as she managed so flawlessly to pull out all the beauty and goodness of her character, not to mention she has a beautiful singing voice that seems to take on any style thrown her way.

Thank you BroadwayWorld for a full company list:

This one-off showing by Darren Clark and Rhys Jennings features a cast including Tyrone Huntley as the Wicker Husband and Olivier Award-winners Rebecca Trehearn (pictured, left; Tailor’s Wife) and Clive Rowe (Old Basket Maker).

The cast is completed by Anne-Marie Piazza (Ugly Girl), Sebastien Torkia (Tailor), Roger Evans (Cobbler), Elexi Walker (Cobbler’s Wife), Loren O’Dair (Innkeeper’s Wife) and Jamal Andréas (Innkeeper). The presentation will be directed by Charlotte Westenra with musical direction by Mark Aspinall.

 


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Fight exam

A quick update on my love of swords and fighting: the swashbuckling Jeremy Barlow has  taught another APC stage combat course, following on from his unarmed combat course last year. This time broadsword. Paired with the glorious Gloria Sanders and a scene from “Love for Love” by Congreve we both passed with distinctions! Woop. Hopefully it’ll mean more of this:

(Treasure Island, Iris Theatre 2016)


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Thisbe

Last winter (February-April) I toured with A Door Ajar and they’re gorgeous show Thisbe which imagined life for the lovers of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” after Puck’s intervention.  It beautifully incorporated BSL (British Sign Language) throughout the production and was a musical tour de force.

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Here’s what A Door Ajar said about it:

Fourteen years have passed since the fateful night Thisbe’s parents, Helena and Demetrius, were lost in the woods. The only thing they remember is waking up completely in love with one another. But as their love becomes obsession, where does this leave their neglected and confused daughter, Thisbe?

Cue the prankster Puck and his fairy flunkeys who love nothing more than to meddle with the mortal world. With the promise of solving all of her problems, they lure Thisbe into the woods where it isn’t long before she finds herself embroiled in their roguery. Intoxicated with magic and adventure, has Thisbe gone too far this time? Can she stop her family falling apart? And does she even want to? Featuring creatively integrated BSL (British Sign Language) and with an original score, this play is full of playful wit and boisterous theatricality.

Here’s the reviews opinions:

**** Music is utilised extremely well, with the actors all playing some kind of instrument, these instruments are used to not only produce music and song but also as sound effects, the bubbling cauldron and magic ball a particular highlight.

The characters are portrayed very much as a modern day dysfunctional family, with the task of healing wounds falling to the teenage Thisbe, who appears wise beyond her years.  The audience are treated to an in-depth view of her psyche with the help of the other cast members who represent her conflicting feelings…the entire cast commit wholly to their multiple roles, switching back and forth at sometimes rapid pace. (theatreweekly.com)

Fluidity is the buzzword for this production, everything cleverly designed to reflect the intricacy and vibrancy of human life. The multi-talented cast – Rosalind Burt, Joey Hickman, Anne-Marie Piazza, David Osmond, Samantha Sutherland and Jennifer Wilson – slid not only from song to speech but also from the comic to the operatic. Each actor demonstrated the impressive scope of their talents by playing both a medley of characters and an original score on an array of instruments. The inclusiveness of the play must also be applauded: British Sign Language, led by Jennifer, was elegantly melded into the performance. (Burnleyexpress.net)

*** The show was great fun and drew stellar performances from the cast, particularly Rosalind Burt in the title role, Joey Hickman as Puck and Anne-Marie Piazza as Helena.  It was also refreshing to see a BSL signer featured as a member of the cast. (Everything-Theatre.co.uk)

Six accomplished and beautifully directed (by Roberta Zuric) performers are variously the trouble stirring fairies in the wood and – very imaginatively – the multiple voices in Thisbe’s head pulling her in different directions and representing a range of conflicting viewpoints as she struggles to think things through. ….Everything is very visual and physical so that sometimes the BSL movements are echoed by other cast members. (SardinesMagazine.co.uk)

*** The company is made up largely of actor-musicians which allowed for regular interspersal of music and instrumentals to add humour or atmosphere accordingly…. nobody can doubt the talent and versatility of the cast… a well-acted and credible sequel to Shakespeare’s original work leading to an enjoyable evening. (Londontheatre1.com)

Roberta Zuric’s lively production makes sure there is always something to laugh at and, with designer Helen Coyston’s cut- out forest and David Hewson’s music emphasising the theatricality of the presentation, the emphasis is on entertainment.

It is an entertainment that is widely embracing, for the signing is beautifully integrated in the playing. However, with this very wide thrust stage and a full house, non-hearing punters should ask for a seat with especially good sight lines. (Britishtheatreguide.info)

At just 75 minutes, the show moves very fast, with cast members switching roles in the blink of an eye (and the change of a hat), playing a variety of instruments – not just on the catchy, toe-tapping musical numbers, but to create sound effects too – and constantly rearranging the set as the action changes location. This is a very physical show, which requires its cast to be on the move (and in the right place) throughout, and they all throw themselves energetically into the action without missing a beat. (theblogoftheatrethings.com)

The whole cast are spectacular,.. The cast switch roles effortlessly to personify Thisbe’s inner thoughts, which are embodied as different characters by each cast member. This physicalizes Thisbe’s turmoil and anxiety to show her frustrations and worries at being unseen and feeling unneeded by her parents.

Thisbe is a deliciously juicy performance, delivered in a multi-layered way using live instrumentation, voice, chant, BSL interpretation and chorus that pulls out the modernity of Shakespeare’s comedy into a fully accessible show. (disabilityarts.online)

 

 

UK Regional Tour 2017;
CAST COMPANY
Thisbe Rosalind Burt Director Roberta Zuric
Demetrius/Lysias David Osmond Musical Director David Hewson
Helena/Tryphena Anne-Marie Piazza Producer Euan Borland
Hermia/Aequitas/Hesper Samantha Sutherland Designer Helen Coyston
Lysander/Puck/Koros Joey Hickman Lighting Design William Ingham
Mnémé Jennifer Lisky Stage Manager Harrison Brodie
Writer Samantha Sutherland

Tour Venues:

Theatre Royal Stratford East
The Cast, Doncaster
Pound Arts, as part of Rural Arts Touring
York Theatre Royal
Norden Farm, Maidenhead
Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford
The Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth
Burnley Youth Theatre
The Seashell Trust


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Dirty Tap Funk

As part of the InMotion Festival at the Bunker Theatre last year I performed with a wonderful band (MD Nick Pike on keys and sax, Dan Smith on percussion and Alex Karski on bass). We accompanied and performed with fantastic dance company Old Kent Road

Here’s what the show said about itself:

Summer 2017 Theatre Bench presents

DIRTY.TAP.FUNK

as part of the InMotion Festival

What happens when you combine four of the most talented dancers in the U.K. with a heavy duty pop funk combo in the heat of a London summer’s night? We’re about to find out, as Dirty.Tap.Funk. takes over the late night slot at the Bunker for a three week residency. With sassy moves and sultry sounds, Dirty.Tap.Funk will have you on your feet dancing to the beat! With a Dirty Martini from our bar, it’s the perfect way to finish your night out.

We are proud to be collaborating with Theatre Bench to present the InMotion Festival this August. From tap to physical theatre, funk music to jazz bands, the Festival will have something for everyone and will get you up and moving this summer.

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And here’s the review feedback:

The lights dimmed at Bunker Theatre as the band (a sub-set of LATIMO, led by MD Nick Pike with vocalist Anne-Marie Piazza) entered the stage and the party atmosphere began. Launching straight into the well-known Funk Soundtrack which framed the performance, the audience instantly felt they had stepped back in time to a martini filled funk/tap club.

As a dancer, this performance was incredibly fun to watch and I can’t wait to see what else Old Kent Road brings to the stage! A must group, they will be on tour in early 2018 with their new production ‘Fall Out’, I’ll see you all there!

(Londontheatredirect.com)


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The Royal Shakespeare Company

Exciting news this spring! I have just started rehearsals for “Day of the Living” which will be part of the RSC’s Mischief Festival. Day of the living is about the cartels, the division and the disappeared of Mexico.

Ayotzinapa, Mexico, 2014. Forty-three students are forcefully disappeared. No one is brought to justice. An anarchic, musical tribute to life and the Mexican spirit with urgent, global issues at its heart.

#NosFaltan43 #HastaEncontrarlos #AyotzinapaSomosTodos

 

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Creative Team

Director: Amy Draper

Set and Costume Designer: Charlie Cridlan 

Writer: Juliet Gilkes Romero

Composer/Lyricist: Darren Clark

Sound Designer: Jon Lawrence

Lighting Designer: Matt Peel

Movement Director: Andrea Pelaez

Mask Director: Rachael Savage

Dramaturg: Nic Wass

Producer at the RSC: Claire Birch