Our class of 2021 really are something to shout about. They’ve overcome challenges, helped others, grasped opportunities and developed their skills, showing their Essex Spirit in so many ways. And they’ve done it all during a pandemic when student life has been changed beyond recognition. We couldn’t be prouder of them so we’re telling their stories.
Wed 14 Jul 21
Lottie Grogan and Reanne Black met on East 15 Acting School’s Certificate of HE Theatre Arts. Inspired by their joint love of physical theatre and comedy, they created a show together and now they’ve just returned from showcasing their talents at PhysicalFest in Liverpool.
“I can’t actually remember a time where I didn’t want to work in theatre,” said Lottie, who is graduating in BA Acting and Physical Theatre. “My parents were super cool and took me to the theatre a lot. I even went to a mime festival in France every year.”
Reanne, who is graduating in BA Physical Theatre, has been inspired since childhood too. She turned to acting after giving up dreams of being a ballerina and hasn’t looked back.
“I loved that I got to have a class in imagination, I got to make my own shows, be my favourite characters, imagining the space around me, and play pretend. Nothing makes me happier,” Reanne said of her East 15 Acting School experience.
They’ve been friends since they met on the East 15 Acting School Certificate of HE Theatre Arts and have been working together ever since.
“We actually have an incredibly similar way of creating work which makes it easy. Also, she makes me laugh an insane amount,” said Lottie.
"I can't actually remember a time where I didn't want to work in theatre."
It was this shared sense of humour that sparked the inspiration for Secret of Cerise, their film noir-inspired show which they performed at PhysicalFest in June.
“We'd ordered a Chinese takeaway as a celebration for finishing the run of the show we were in. Lottie popped a chop stick into her mouth and pretended it was a cigarette, she uttered the fateful words ‘it’s 1947, and I just shot my husband’,” explained Reanne.
Lottie and Reanne play all the parts in their show, which tells the story of Focaccia and Cherry, two women on the run after killing Focaccia’s husband, with police officers Rigby and Digby in hot pursuit.
“It’s full to the brim with big laughs and outlandish characters,” said Reanne.
They first penned the piece for the Self-Devised module of their degrees hoping to make people laugh.
"I loved that I got to have a class in imagination, I got to make my own shows, be my favourite characters, imaging the space around me, and play pretend."
“The most challenging thing was trying to work out what would make other people laugh, and what was just funny to us. We had such a laugh in rehearsal and we really just wanted to share that with the audience,” said Lottie.
They describe getting the show accepted at PhysicalFest as “incredible.”
The pair are both inspired by Mischief Theatre, who they hope to work with one day. Whatever the future holds, they know they’ll continue working together in physical theatre and have formed their own company, Tipsy Cow Productions.
“Laughter is something that really connects people, so using that to address important topics often really works. Using your body in such a physically silly way is such a great outlet of expression,” said Lottie.
“I like that things can be funny without the need for speech. Laughter is a language of unity. In any language or culture, someone falling over a banana peel is always going to be funny,” added Reanne.