Producer John Leyland gives us a peek behind the scenes at rehearsals for Transmissions

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I’m writing this from a buzzing and bustling rehearsal studio in Hulme. Our actors, Rosie Fox and Jilly Bond are really getting into their roles (sometimes through the medium of gabba) and the process is flowing nicely towards our performances on Thursday (23rd) and Friday (24th) at The Lowry Studio.

I’ve been on the other end of some interesting production requests recently, but sourcing pig and sheep’s brains has to be the strangest.

Transmissions is part of Manchester Science Festival, which is all about communicating science in different, engaging and entertaining ways. There’s a neuroscience element to what we’re exploring and so Tuheen, the director, wanted to show the cast the different parts of the brain which are involved in something as complex as addiction; the amygdala, the ventral tegmental area (yep!), and.. other ones. As you can see, I’m learning all about it too.

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We’re working with Richard of Albino Mosquito on the audio visual design for the show, to bring something really unique and transformative to the space in Studio 1.

He’s generously donated some incredible imagery of the inside of his own eyeballs for use in the show and we’ve become dab hands at constructing and deconstructing aluminium scaffolding in record time (although I’m more of a ladder stabiliser to be honest).

At one point I suggested we put the audience upside down on the ceiling so that everyone can experience the show and the world the way our eyes do. Needless to say we shelved that suggestion. The right way up. Whatever that is.

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So far the process of making the show has been fast and furious. Everyone in the room is working really hard to bring you a piece of theatre which lives up to the brilliant testimonies which we gathered before the start of the rehearsals; from people in Salford, clinicians, experts in the field of addiction and recovery and other healthcare professionals. Do come and see it!

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