The Magic Hour: Workshop 1

The Magic Hour: Workshop 1

Workshop sign

This Saturday Meerkat held our first ever workshop with some lovely actors for our upcoming production of The Magic Hour. Joining us were Jonny Bussell, Victoria Holtom, Scarlett Pink, David Robson, James Senior, James Senior’s guitar and some seriously good cakes (which begs the question – why was Meerkat Alli eating Haribo Tangfastics dipped in houmous? She insists it’s a new taste sensation!)


First up we met with Helen Ferguson – Juice Festival Coordinator, freelance director and all-round fabulous individual! We’re thrilled to announce that Helen is going to be directing The Magic Hour for Meerkat, and really excited to get started working with her on our first production.


After a read-through of our script-so-far, which led to us discussing the most annoying things about Christmas (namely the Boxing Day sofa sale adverts, compulsory Christmas hats in the workplace, and picking that last present in the Boots 3 for 2 offer) we got on to the most dreaded event of the Christmas calendar: the office party.


Ever wanted to know what a Crematorium’s Christmas party is like? Depressing. Yet oddly hopeful of the surge in business the season brings.
What about a Christmas party full of 5 year olds? Noisy, but with some fantastic dancing.
A Christmas party where everyone hates each other? Well, let’s just say we’re surprised that cake didn’t end up in someone’s face…


Of course, this may or may not be used in the final show, but it’s definitely given us loads of brilliant material to work with – and it’s amazing to see how five people, a table of cakes, and some Christmas music from a phone can transform into an office party so believably.

Next up, we asked our actors to each pick a character and a situation from a hat, and give us a Christmas-themed monologue.


We met a girl who just wanted that guy at work to notice her (when she’s standing outside his house at 3am on Christmas Eve). There was an accountant who gave himself his own Christmas bonus this year (perhaps not entirely legally but who’s going to find out?) We found out how the bankers are coping this Christmas and, unsurprisingly, they’re coping very well. We met a girl having a secret liaison with a guy at work, but is he as into her as she is into him? What should she get him for Christmas? More importantly, will he get her anything at all? Last of all we met a guy on Christmas Eve who’d just received the divorce papers from his wife. He faced Christmas alone, his family gone…

And so, to cheer us up, we had a sing song!


Meerkat Mhairi has written a lovely song which you’ll all be singing once you leave our show; and the talented James Senior has written some, frankly, beautiful music to accompany it. Add in the wonderful voices of Victoria Holtom and Scarlett Pink and it gets better and better. What a great way to end such a productive day!

Thanks to Jonny, Victoria, Scarlett, David and James for their incredible improv skill and their help with workshopping the show and song. And thanks to Helen for her advice and for agreeing to direct The Magic Hour. And, as always, thanks to ARC Stockton for hosting our rehearsal session.