Creating the film


Thursday 7th September

Richard, Rosie, Siobhan and Matt returned to Queensbridge to re-connect and re-engage with the students after the summer break, We had asked them to watch the film of our play 'Over the Top' on YouTube and they were full of ideas about what scenes, actions and moments we could enact as part of our planned filming project at Highbury Hall at the end of October. Kitty and her letters were very much on the young people's minds, and they also spoke about the scrubbing that Kitty undertakes first on the front steps of her employer's town house, and then amidst the bloody bandages on the crimson floor of the field hospital in Etaple


 
Siobhan Twomey as 'Kitty' in 'Over the Top' written by Chris Cooper.
 From these discussions Richard began to work on the storyboarding for the film. It was decided that there was no need for a narrative or lengthy spoken scenes, rather we would use the backdrop of the sumptuous design of Highbury's rooms and halls to frame specific moments that would have happened 100 years ago. 



Richard also designed the sets, as we acquired old fashioned beds, screens and props to match with the antique furniture we could use at Highbury. We hired old nurse's uniforms and men's nightgowns from the excellent costume department at Highbury Little Theatre in Sutton Coldfield, and also purchased reproductions of personal items from 1916, including watches, jewellery, cigarettes, stationery and small religious icons.

 

We had researched and studied the layouts of beds in hospitals at the time, and a film making trick would enable us to make three beds appear as six, filling the main hall of Highbury. Richard decided that we could enhance the film by making the scenes as if the hospital were celebrating Christmas, so we copied some handmade items from photographs of the time, including festive bunting, candles, some fir tree branches and paper patterns.




Matt Hinks