b'THE ELLESMERIAN Lizzie Martin - Meynell-2019178 After leaving Ellesmere College Sixth Form in 2019, I was invited to work for Jenny Sterlin, Actress and Creative Director of DoubleDeckerProductions, in New York City. Living in America for the first time and mixing with a current artistic circle was an unforgettable experience. The purpose for my trip abroad was to help Turlough McConells production of Eugene ONeill: An Irish American Boyhood come to fruition for the Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival, held across the many islands of the state. The opportunities offered to me during my time in the States are ones I shall not forget quickly, and I hope to build upon relationships forged there after my degree at university. In early 2020, there had been publicity for a new, contemporary drama to be performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that summer. The play was to portray the ordeal of a young woman attempting to write a play with her estranged childhood friend. Her strait-laced, pragmatic creative approach clashed with that of her friend Seans holistic, psychedelic nature to the point of drastic action and conflict. This production was created for more mature audiences. Not only would this production take place in the worlds largest art festivalthe springboard for careers like that of Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson, and more recently Ella Hicksonbut this show would take place in-person for a live audience. The thought of such an opportunity after lockdowns creative drought was enough to encourage me to pursue it, regardless of the festivals daunting prominence. After a month-long process of auditions and call-backs, executive producer Lewis Forman called to inform me that I had been selected for the main role of Lemon, one in a cast of 5. Rehearsals in a time of a pandemic meant an entirely different process than previously experienced: sessions of spontaneous, synergetic physicality, in 2020, were replaced with more structured, director-led days of distanced run-throughs. Still the play was created, the characters formed from the pages of the script, fleshed out from countless hours of internal searching and company-led exercises. It could well be a mystery for those not involved, as to how those rehearsals mutated into the final, fully developed show, yet everyone included in the production team will be aware of the time put in by the producers, stage managers, tech assistants, costume manager and more, that made it possible.The result was not what we had anticipated. We knew we had a 50-minute play that included a rendition of that dance from Pulp Fiction, a hypothetical, half-written script with sections out of a gangster movie, and the increasingly complicated, plutonic relationship between a young man and woman, but we did not know that each night we would play to a full house, receive 5 star reviews, and for myself to be shortlisted for an award (Best Individual Performance) on my debut, which is something I will never forget. My performance of the role of Lemon lead me to be scouted for a principle role in Bedlam Theatres Rose of Eyam, adapted and directed by Benji Sumrie.'