For 2 months between 12th May and 10th June 2012, we took up residence in Wood Street Market where we transformed unit 41 into Theatre41 for a festival of new performance writing. We spent some time putting together a programme for Wood Street that reflects some of the different ways that writers can, do and might make work for performance. We also wanted to reflect the location of the shop itself and we commissioned a number of pieces specifically about Walthamstow. Finally we wanted to have some fun – and we hope other people did too.

How did the theatre work

We were a theatre in a shop so we opened the same hours as Wood Street Market. We had something happening in the shop every day of our residency. Some times that was performances, some times workshops or rehearsals and other times we just collected stories.

Below is an Archive of just some of what we got up to…

Thursday 12th April (5.30pm – 8.00pm) Launch Night

The opening of Theatre41. With live music, performance and the launch of our Wood Street installations.

6.30pm & 7.30pm Joseph Mills Presents…Reasons For Listing: 16 Facts and One Story About Things That Make Me Happy. (25 minutes)

Joseph’s here to tell you a story. It’s a story about the internet, and living on your own for the first time, and taking photos, and Mums, and a friend named Penny who is an internet-friend and not a friend-friend, and having a favourite seat in the library, and Arsenal mugs, and Albert Einstein, and lists. A lot of lists.

Joseph’s also here to ask: ‘what makes you happy?’

With help from users of Flickr we present Corinne Furness’s story of growing up, being different and the things that make us happy.

7.00pm Live music with The Marauders

The Marauders have been fearlessly reinterpreting any and all genres as acoustic ukelele three-part harmony numbers since 2007. And they’re still doing it.

Saturday 14th April (10.30am – 5.30pm): Launch Day

11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm: Joseph Mills Presents…Reasons For Listing: 16 Facts and One Story About Things That Make Me Happy (25 minutes)

Monday 16th April (11.00 – 5.00pm)

Cold Writing: The Forest Workshop (2 hours)

Continuing Write By Numbers’s Cold Writing strand, we invited five writers into Theatre41 for a workshop on a mystery subject. More info on that can be found here.

Tuesday 17th April (11.00am – 5.00pm)

If Wood Street Could Change the World… (or how to make a piece of five minute theatre)

Inspired by ideas of space and protest we spent the day creating a play for the National Theatre of Scotland’s Five Minute Theatre strand.

Wednesday 18th April (11.00am – 5.00pm)

Once Upon a Walthamstow…

Thursday 19th April (11.00am – 8.00pm)

Cold Writing: The Forest Rehearsals

Four plays, five hours rehearsal time. It was squeaky bum time.

6.00pm – 8.00pm Cold Writing: The Forest

We premiered five new short plays.

Saturday 21st April (10.30am – 5.30pm)

Cold Writing: The Forest (performances throughout the day)

Wednesday 25th April (11.00am – 5.30pm)

Once Upon A Walthamstow… Intergenerational Day

A day of sharing of stories of how Walthamstow is (and what it might be) for those taking part in our Once Upon A Walthamstow… project.

Thursday 26th April (11.00am – 8.00pm)

7.00pm – 8.00pm Spoken

An evening of spoken word curated by Miriam Nash.

Saturday 28th April (10.30am – 5.30pm)

Dandelion Clock Shop in association with Write By Numbers presents..
‘The Treehouse’

Step inside and enjoy a wonderful combination of storytelling, live music, puppetry, animation and creative workshops for children and those young at heart.

Stone Soup
A farmer’s wife learns the secret to a good soup and good company.

Three Little Piggies

When the wolf arrives in a pretty little village, he wonders who lives down Pork Pie Lane.

The Hungry Lion
Lion sets about discovering where all the zebra’s have gone

Thursday 3rd May (5.30pm – 8.00pm)

6.00pm & 7.00pm A Night at the Dogs (45 minutes)

Inspired by Walthamstow Dogs, A Night at the Dogs was an interactive adventure from the minds of Emily Harwood and Nick Cassen. Recreating a fictional night at the dogs it’s full of madcap characters, heart-warming tales, live music, puppetry and tasty dog treats.

Friday 4th May (11.00am – 5.30pm)

A Night at the Dogs

Saturday 5th May (10.30am – 5.30pm)

A Night at the Dogs

Monday 7th May (11.00am – 5.30pm)

The Great Theatre41 May Day Fete

For May Day we’re transforming Theatre41 into our own village fete – only with a difference. We’ll be combining two of our favourite things (words and cake) to create a whole new range of games for you to play in, around and on our shop.

Tuesday 8th May (11.00am – 5.30pm)

Once Upon A Walthamstow… Rehearsals

Thursday 10th May (11.00am – 8.00pm)

6.30pm – 8.00pm Once Upon A Walthamstow…

We all have our stories and we want to tell some of yours. Over our four weeks in Theatre41 we’ll be working with local schools, older people’s groups and anyone who wants to pop into our shop to share stories, memories and thoughts on Walthamstow. We’ll then work with five of the most exciting emerging writers in London to create short plays inspired by the stories you’ve told us. Come along tonight to see the premiere of these plays created to reflect what it’s like to live in Walthamstow now.

Friday 11th May (11.00am – 5.30pm)

Once Upon A Walthamstow… (Timing TBC)

Your second chance to see the plays we’ve created specially for Wood Street Market.

Saturday 12th May (10.30am – 5.30pm)

Once Upon A Walthamstow… (performances throughout the day)

The final day of Theatre41 and we’ll be celebrating the end of our residency in style with performances of Once Upon A Walthamstow…, exhibits from our previous shows and (most likely) some cake.

But, wait, there’s more…

Happening throughout the residency:

Reasons for Listing: The List of Everything That Makes Wood Street Happy

If you were to write a list of the things that make you happy what would be on it? As part of Reasons For Listing we’re asking you to add your contribution to Joseph’s list – either by writing on the walls of the shop, drawing us a picture, sending us a tweet or uploading a photo to Flickr. We’ll watch the list grow over the course of Theatre41 and our favourites will appear in the future as part of Joseph’s story.

Once Upon A Walthamstow…

Come and tell us how things are in Walthamstow – and how you’d like them to be. We’ll be documenting your stories with photos, recordings, pictures, writing and anything else you might care to share with us. As well as displaying all of this in Theatre41 we’ll share it with the writers who are going to create plays for us based on the stories we collect.

Wood Street Market Walks

Over the course of the residency Theatre41 curator Corinne will be creating a series of Soundwalks inspired by the Market for you to download and listen to on your phone or MP3 player while exploring Wood Street and the surrounding area.