Tag Archives: Rapture Theatre

INTERVIEW: Gina Isaac star of Rapture Theatre’s Streetcar Named Desire

Gina Isaac is currently starring in Rapture Theatre Company’s new production of A Streetcar Named Desire as Stella. I caught up with Gina just before the final week of the production at Edinburgh King’s Theatre.

A Streetcar Named Desire is an American classic, for those who are less familiar with it could you tell us a little bit about the play. 

It’s a story full of the heat and vibrancy of the city where it is set, in New Orleans. Blanche and her sister Stella, who is married to the brutish Stanley, find themselves thrown together and the story unfolds from there. You see the old world and the new clashing up against each other in the various characters in the play. There are too many spoilers in there to go into detail but it’s a wonderful story.

And your role…

Blanche is a fading Southern Belle who is desperately trying to hold onto a world that no longer exists. Like all of Tennessee Williams characters she is deeply flawed and yet striving with hope for something more.

How much preparation and rehearsal time did you get before the tour started? 

The rehearsal period was four weeks, with a week of sitting around a table discussing and then ‘getting it on it’s feet’. Streetcar is a very complex play with layers upon layers for the actors to discover. It was a very intense but satisfying process.

How has the play been received so far, has it been different in different locations? 

We’ve had a really terrific reception from all of our audiences, and every audience is different of course. The play is quite ‘light’ in the first act, and the story is very engaging, which seems to invite the audience in and they are really with us. Come the second act, things get dark pretty quickly but by then the audience seem to have really invested in the characters and you can hear a pin drop…with the occasional rustle of sweet packets.

What is life like backstage on tour? 

I wouldn’t know on this job as I never leave the stage or the wings. I’m pretty sure they’re having a good time though. It’s normally a strange mixture of high and lows on any tour – it can be quite an intense experience working in such a bubble for months at a time.

Touring can be demanding, how do you keep your performance fresh and look after yourself when you’re having to travel as well as perform on stage at night? 

Touring actually really helps to keep a performance/play feeling fresh. Every venue and auditorium is different with it’s own set of challenges, so you never really ‘settle’, which is great. You learn to listen to your body as an actor, as it will always let you know if you’re burning the candle too much. Some parts that you play will demand you look after yourself more than others…it’s a delicate balancing act but common sense really.

Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one? 

I used to watch a lot of the old MGM movies when I was a kid and I guess that’s what sparked things for me. I was lucky, in that I never wanted to do anything else so I was quite a clear about the path I wanted to take. I studied drama at school and attended a group at weekends. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to go to a drama school as opposed to university and I spent three years at the Central school of Speech and Drama and then entered the industry from there. The hardest part about being an actor is once you’ve graduated and become part of a very big, very competitive industry. You learn quite quickly if the life of an actor is for you.

Any advice for aspiring performers?

Gosh, that’s a tricky one. I guess one of the main things I have realised, is that every job you do informs and moulds you as an actor. You are constantly learning as an actor, always. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it for. You take something from every job, the good ones and the ‘not so good’ ones. Also, always brush your teeth and if you’re on an OK wage, get a round in now and then.

Finally, why should people come along to see the play? and where can we see it?

Because ‘Streetcar‘ is the most brilliant story…and everyone loves a good story. It’s totally engaging from the off and I think you really care about the characters and what happens to them. This is our final week at The Kings, Edinburgh, so do yourself a favour and come see it.

Gina will be appearing in Rapture Theatre’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the King’s, Edinburgh from 3 – 7 October 2017.


WHAT’S ON OCTOBER: Eastwood Park Theatre presents Pulitzer prize-winning play A Streetcar Named Desire

Eastwood Park Theatre is bringing an iconic masterpiece to the stage this autumn, with timeless American classic A Streetcar Named Desire on 2 October.

Audiences are invited to experience the excitement of live theatre with the vibrant production of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer-prize-winning play, which was immortalised in the Oscar-winning film starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh.

Scottish theatre company, Rapture, is showcasing the production at East Renfrewshire’s top arts destination in a must-see show for theatre fans, first time visitors and literature lovers alike.

Anthony McReavy, of East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure, said: “A Streetcar Named Desire is Tennessee Williams’ most famous work and features some of literature’s most iconic characters. It has gripped audiences around the world and Eastwood Park Theatre is delighted to bring the show to the local area. We are offering very competitively priced tickets, including a special price for students, to allow them to soak up a true taste of renowned live theatre.”

The plot sees a dazzling trip to the whirlwind world of New Orleans where fading southern belle Blanche DuBois seeks solace with her sister, Stella, after her world starts to crumble. But her downward spiral brings her face-to-face with Stella’s husband, the brutal, unforgiving Stanley Kowalski. As temperatures soar and passions rise, Blanche and Stanley battle for Stella’s soul.

The show, under Michael Emans’ direction, features a cast of ten top class performers.

Fresh from her role at the National Theatre’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Gina Isaac leads the cast as she takes on the role of Blanche while Joseph Black plays Stanley. Critically acclaimed Scottish actress and theatre maker Julia Taudevin takes on the pivotal role of Stella. Multi-award winning Scottish actor Billy Mack will appear as Steve.

Tickets are priced at just £15 standard, concession £12 and student special price of £9 and are available now. To see the full programme of autumn/winter events at Eastwood Park Theatre and to book tickets visit: http://www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/boxoffice

NEWS: Rapture Theatre’s Streetcar Named Desire starts it’s tour next week

This autumn, Rapture Theatre’s hot new production of the iconic American masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire will transport Scottish audiences to the sensual, sultry surroundings of New Orleans.

Southern Belle Blanche DuBois seeks solace with her sister, Stella, after her world starts to crumble. But her downward spiral brings her face-to-face with Stella’s husband – the sexy but brutal Stanley Kowalski. As temperatures soar and passions rise, Blanche and Stanley battle for Stella’s soul.

gina isaac

Gina Isaac (Blanche)

A Pulitzer-prize-winning play by Tennessee Williams, Streetcar was immortalised in film by Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. This new production, featuring a cast of ten top class performers and under Michael Emans’ direction, follows swiftly on his critical and popular success earlier this year with Rapture’s Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

joseph black as stanley kowalski

Joseph Black (Stanley)


Last seen as Judy, Christopher’s mother in the National Theatre’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Gina Isaac leads the cast as Blanche, with Joseph Black, whose most recent work includes Cheek by Jowl’s The Winter’s Tale, as Stanley. Kazeem Tosin Amore (Hamlet in Brixton) will play Mitch and Michelle Chantelle Hopewell (Sister Act), Eunice. Multi-award winning Scottish actor Billy Mack will appear as Steve and critically-acclaimed Scottish actress and theatre-maker Julia Taudevin takes on the pivotal role of Stella. Completing the cast will be Steven Scott-Fitzgerald, Paul Kozinski, Gary Nelson and Liz Drewett.

Director Michael Emans said, “I am thrilled to have assembled such an eclectic and highly-talented cast to join me on the dark and disturbing journey into the passionate, whirlwind world of Streetcar. I hope that, together, we will create a powerful new perspective on one of the greatest masterpieces of theatre.”

Emans says: “This year, the 70th anniversary of the play’s original production, we celebrate the timelessness of Streetcar.  It presents us with an unflinchingly bold examination of sexual politics and prejudice, morality and identity that resonates powerfully today. It highlights the highly prescient topic of mental illness and lays bare the cultural and social tensions between an ‘immigrant’ diaspora and those who consider themselves to be the ‘native’ population. Streetcar is unflinching in its questioning of reality, forcing all of us to confront our own self-protective, self-created fantasies and illusions.” Emans continues, “Despite such powerful themes, the play also remains a very human story, its impact achieved through its strong and convincing characterisation and powerful, poetic language.”


SEPTEMBER FRI 1 – SAT 2         PALACE THEATRE, Kilmarnock.  eastayrshireleisure.com 01563 554900

TUE 5 – SAT 9       THEATRE ROYAL, Glasgow.              atgtickets.com/Glasgow 08444 871 7647

WED 13                  MACROBERT ARTS CENTRE, Stirling.  macrobertartscentre.org 01786 466666

THU 14                  HOWDEN PARK CENTRE, Livingston . howdenparkcentre.co.uk 01506 777666

SAT 16                  THE GAIETY. Ayr. thegaiety.co.uk 01292 288235

MON 18               VILLAGE THEATRE, East Kilbride. sllcboxoffice.co.uk 01355 261000

WED 20                FALKIRK TOWN HALL, Falkirk. falkirkcommunitytrust.org 01324 506850

THU 21 – SAT 23   THE BYRE THEATRE, St Andrews. byretheatre.com 01334 475000

TUE 26                 BEACON ARTS CENTRE, Greenock. beaconartscentre.co.uk 01475 723723

THU 28                 ADAM SMITH THEATRE, Kirkcaldy. onfife.com 01592 583302

FRI 29                  MOTHERWELL THEATRE, Motherwell. culturenl.co.uk 01698 403120


MON 2                 EASTWOOD PARK CENTRE, Giffnock. eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk 0141 577 4956

TUE 3 – SAT 7       KING’S THEATRE, Edinburgh. edtheatres.com 0131 529 6000

WHAT’S ON MAY: Casting announced for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

You are cordially invited to a ‘Come Dine With Me’ from Hell!

A marathon night of drink, debauchery and duplicity develops after Martha and her husband George invite unsuspecting young couple, Nick and Honey, round for a nightcap. Drink flows, spiked with vicious humour, acerbic wit and tempestuous verbal sparring. However, as night turns to morning, searing secrets are exposed. Putting the ‘fun’ into dysfunctional, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? wryly exposes the dark attraction in relationships and the bitterest ties that bind us all.

Leading the cast, as the iconic Martha, will be Scottish actress Sara Stewart. Sara will be familiar to viewers from appearances in The Night Manager, Rebus, Batman Begins and Doctor Foster. Starring alongside Sara are Rose Reynolds, Robin Kingsland and Paul Albertson. Directed by Michael Emans.

Following acclaimed productions of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons and Michael Frayn’s Tony award-winning Democracy, Rapture returns to the Theatre Royal, with Edward Albee’s thrilling play. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the multi-Oscar winning film starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, this is a rare opportunity to experience an iconic American masterpiece.

Theatre Royal Glasgow 30 May – 3 June 2017

Access info

Captioned performance: Thu 7:30pm
BSL/AD and Touch Tours: Sat 2:30pm
Pre Show Event – Talk about the Author / Production: Wed 7:30pm
Post Show Discussion with Cast and/or Director: Fri 7:30pm

REVIEW: The Collection – Motherwell Theatre, Motherwell


This article was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/the-collection-motherwell-theatre-motherwell/

Writer: Mike Cullen

Director: Michael Emans

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★½☆

Mike Cullen’s The Collection is a tale of desperation, conscience, poverty, avarice, inevitable tragedy and depressing relevance and resonance, despite being written almost twenty years ago. After ten years, Bob Lawson (Jimmy Chisholm) is at the top of his “profession”, something to be proud of you would think, well it would be, were it not for the fact that his “profession” is debt collection. But Lawson’s life is shattered forever when one of his female clients commits suicide. Charting the sordid dealings and the financially, morally and spiritually bankrupt characters who pass through the collection agency’s doors, this is a grim tale for our grim times.

The smell of testosterone and desperation hangs heavy in the air and Cullen’s work wears its influences on its sleeve: the gritty dialogue, grim humour and male egos at their worst, particularly in the interactions between the wholly repellent hard man Joe played with chilling detachment by David Tarkenter and naive new boy Billy (Tam Dean Burn) can’t help but remind one of the work of David Mamet.

The dialogue is, as expected raw, the humour black and the drama intense, however, there is an overwhelming sense of inevitability and predictability about the whole affair. The storyline, whilst compelling never fully develops: it makes no comment on the causes of debt nor does it offer any solutions or judgements, and the portrayal of women as easy victims, willing to sell themselves for “a mutually beneficial business agreement” is quite frankly, offensive.

The small cast of actors more than makes up for its faults though, and Jimmy Chisholm’s central performance as Lawson is flawless. Tam Dean Burn too, turns in a convincing portrayal of the eager to impress new employee Billy who, despite initial reservations, throws the conscience he once had to the wind, in order to impress his boss.

Nearing the end of a national tour, this company is a well-oiled machine, both the scene changes and the interactions between the actors are seamless, slick and well-honed. Entertainment it is not, rather it is an often bleak but utterly compelling portrayal of an all too real and hellishly common problem enacted by a hugely talented cast.