Virtual Reality  
Passing the Spoon

based on Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

Directed by Angelika Michitsch

Wednesday 16th - Saturday 19th February, 2022

At the Tower Theatre, Stoke Newington

Part of the Tower's Spring Forward season, perfomed as a double-bill entitled Virtual Reality alongside Each Fallen Robin, by Emily Carmichael

Photography by Robert Piwko

Company

Nina Gilliani
Emily Carmichael
Mel Fessahaye
Alex Kavanagh
Rebecca Johnson
Clare Jones
Cassandra Wong
Clare Janew
Olivia MacDonald
Trinidad Prieto Asensio
Malwina Sadowska
Katie Smith
Stephanie Thomson
Elsa Annushka
Samantha Wright
Feiyang Yang

 

Production Team

Director : Angelika Michitsch
Movement Director: Trinidad Prieto Asensio
Set Design: Max
Lighting Design: Stephen Ley
Sound Design: Tamara Douglas-Morris

Stage Manager : Emily Haggard
Lighting Operator : Nigel Oram
Sound Operator : Anna Kidd



Nina Gillani
Formerly a nurse, then lawyer and now an aspiring actress, Nina Gillani discovered a passion for acting somewhat later in life than most actors but bring a wealth of life experience. She began formal acting training at ICAT but the pandemic that has taken the world by storm since March of last year brought all that to an abrupt halt, and the graduation showcase is currently on hold. Not one to sit around, Nina managed to complete a crash course in screen acting at Issa over the summer. With a passion for writing as well as acting, Nina is now throwing herself into as many creative projects as she can.
  Emily Carmichael
Emily Carmichael has been a Tower Theatre member for a decade and will have featured in over ten productions with the company by the end of this year. When acting wasn't an option following the first national lockdown, she started to write plays. The first to be staged live at the Tower was Air in last summer's Love & Survival festival, and the companion piece for tonight, Each Fallen Robin, was a winner in the British Theatre Challenge 2021. In April, she can be seen again onstage as Lady Caroline in Enchanted April. As a feminist and having trained in dance and physical theatre, Emily couldn't resist the opportunity to help bring Passing the Spoon to life and hopes you will enjoy the experience.
Mel Fessahaye
Mel Fessahaye first dipped her toe in acting many moons ago at the Oval theatre in South London. Mel currently works in primary education with a goal to making a career in acting and adding to the growing number of women of colour on TV and theatre. In 2018 she was part of a large choreographed piece called Secret Garden which was performed at the annual Waltham Forest Garden Party. Her passion reignited she wasted no time in auditioning at the Tower Theatre when the opportunity came and this is her first production with the company. The Passing the Spoon cast of 16 women is the largest cast she has ever had the pleasure of working with.
  Alex Kavanagh
This is Alex Kavanagh's first production with the Tower Theatre. She has previously performed with South London Theatre as Truffaldino in A Servant to Two Masters and Maeve in Blue Stockings. When studying as an undergraduate at the Workshop Theatre, University of Leeds, Alex performed in a number of productions including Office Suite and My Mother Said I Never Should; she also produced and directed productions including The House of Bernarda Alba and Wrens.
Roberta Johnson
Roberta Johnson is an actress and writer from London. She studied Performance art at London South Bank and graduated with a 2:1. While working at Wyndham’s Theatre, Roberta developed her writing skills as a way of creating work not just for herself but for others around her. She took her skills and applied them to the Cockpit Theatre In the Pound. She co-wrote and performed A Passage Through Time, which is currently online. She then ventured onto writing for actors she knows and wrote short monologues for them to film. During lockdown she has written a book filled with monologues which you can find here.
  Clare Jones
This is Clare Jones' third performance with the Tower Theatre having previously performed in a rehearsed reading of Barmitzvah Boy when the new Stoke Newington theatre first opened and then in a virtual play, Coffee Date, during lockdown. Clare has also collaborated on YouTube projects with Tower Theatre members outside of the theatre, and has performed in plays with other London theatre groups, including playing Mona in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and appearing in The Odd Couple with an all woman cast. Clare is delighted to have the chance to work with Angelika, and to have the opportunity to use movement in a performance.
Trinidad Prieto Asensio
Trinidad Prieto Asensio is a Spanish actress, dancer and physical theatre performer. She graduated from the Institut del Teatre de Barcelona and El Timbal Dance and Drama school with a training in Contemporary, Egyptian, African and Flamenco Dance. She has performed as a member of Timanfaya Dance Company, Gente de Teatro and Teatro la Riereta in Barcelona where she also ran a film company with her partner, producing short films and documentaries. She was a member of the Cirque du Soleil during their show Quidam in Barcelona and has done intensive training workshops with La Fura dels Baus, Song of the Goat, Siobhan Davies, Babel Theatre and Cheek by Jowl since moving to the UK. After training at the National Centre for Circus Arts she worked for eight years as a support teacher on Mimbre Acrobatic Theatre’s Youth Programme. Most recently she took part in the dance production Everything that Rises Must Dance (Complicité) and The Move Culture Mile Dance Project (Barbican).
  Cassandra Wong
Cassandra Wong trained as an actor at the New York film academy and Rose Bruford. Before coming to the UK, she trained with Phillippe Gaulier in Clowning and Bouffon. She completed her Masters in Theatre for Young Audiences at Bath Spa University and shortly after that worked in production for a film called Eating Our Way to Extinction for 4 years before the pandemic. In 2019 she also completed a short acting course with the Yellow Earth Theatre. This will be her first play back in acting after being off-stage for a hiatus.
Malwina Sadowska
Malwina Sadowska, who originally comes from Poland, completed her MA in Screen Acting at Drama Centre London in 2018. She since acted in many fringe theatre plays and student films; recently she played Claire in The Maids at the Hen and Chickens Theatre. She is also a Special Education Needs Teacher and dance enthusiast.
  Clare Janew
This is Clare Janew's first face to face production with the Tower Theatre after joining as an Acting Member in 2019, although she very much enjoyed participating in Virtual Tower productions, including the Zoom trilogy. In other North London groups, Clare has performed in numerous roles including Isobella in Measure for Measure, Orsino in Twelfth Night, Sideways/Collins in Our Country’s Good and Jan in Bedroom Farce.
Katie Smith
Since joining the Tower Theatre in 2013 Katie Smith has performed in a number of productions including Under The Blue Sky, An Enemy of the People, Clybourne Park, Sherlock Holmes and Sweat. She also occasionally treaded the 'virtual' boards for the Virtual Tower over the lockdowns. Most recently she was seen playing Penny in Penny from Heaven, a new piece of writing, as part of the Tower Festival Love [and Survival] in a Time of Covid. Katie has assistant directed on the Tower productions of Frankenstein and Antigone.
  Olivia MacDonald
This is Olivia MacDonald's first appearance at the Tower Theatre. She recently appeared as Lady Trelawny and Blind Pru in Treasure Island at the Rotherhithe Playhouse. She previously worked with director Phil Wilmott in a number of productions: The Lower Depths (Finborough Theatre), Children of Hercules, Treasure Island, Agamemnon and Androcles, all at the Scoop Theatre. Other theatre credits include Caligula (Donmar Warehouse), Melting the Ice (Cairo Theatre Festival), The Al Hamlet Summit (Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Cairo Theatre Festival), Oedipus Rex (Grange Court Theatre), Henry IV (Etcetera Theatre), Baal (Blue Elephant Theatre) and Antigone (Jermyn Street Theatre). TV/film credits include Waking the Dead, Death in Rome, The Day Britain Stopped, Coming to England and Do I Love You.
Stephanie Thomson
Stephanie Thomson is a new member of the Tower Theatre and Passing the Spoon will be her first production. She graduated as a dancer at Lewisham college and then went on to train at Scottish School of Contemporary Dance. Once she finished her training, she then went straight into teaching and choreographing for children aged 4 to 16 years old and has been doing so for the past 12 years. It's been three years since she achieved her level 4 diploma in personal training and has been running her own fitness business ever since
  Elsa Annushka
Elsa Annushka has embraced acting relatively late in life, and being able to speak both Italian and English she has brought her lived experience to a wide range of theatrical, voice over, independent film and mainstream TV roles. She is due to appear in ITV’s Autopsy in 2022, and in Sicario, where she worked with the Central Film School. She has recently played Gertrude in Hamlet, with the Actors Theatre Company (CityAcademy), Maggie in LoveSong at City Lit, and narrated the Tale Weavers Story at the Poplar Union.
Samantha Wright
Passing the Spoon is Samantha Wright's sixth production with the Tower Theatre. Samantha has trained with City Lit and Identity School of Acting. She is a member of Third Person Theatre, an improvisational theatre group. Recent roles have included Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Paulina in The Winters Tale, Roisin In New Labour and Emma in Contractions.
  Feiyang Yang
Feiyang Yang joined the Tower in October last year and literally just started her theatre experience then. She was Assistant Director for Port Authority as her first ever theatre endeavour and is keen to try out the acting shoes. She has taken part time acting classes at London School of Dramatic Arts and is currently also enjoying the technical training provided by the Tower Theatre.
Angelika Michitsch
Angelika Michitsch joined the Tower in 2018 after years of experiencing the joys of performing as an ensemble singer on stages large and small, including Brink Productions' Memorial at the Barbican. She's delighted that from then on she was given the opportunity to consolidate other skills in many areas of the theatre world : set building, design, prop making, stage management; neither shy of managing FoH or the theatre bar, nor of making a short film about it all. Now and then dipping her toes into acting, she recently performed in a re-enactment of 19th century Hackney Women for the Hackney Society. She is thrilled to be able to now bring to the live stage Passing the Spoon, a piece she initially co-devised, directed and performed online for the Virtual Tower. This piece is her debut as a director of live theatre.