Bournemouth Echo, Thursday 10th September 2009

Doorways by Nick Churchill

BOURNEMOUTH’S first experiment with pub theatre has proved such a success that it’s being brought back by popular demand.

Doorways, a black comedy written by Steven Murphy about a week in the life of two bouncers, sold out both nights at The Winchester pub last month.

The play is now set to return to The Winchester on September 20 and 23 and is set to tour.

“This is great news for the company, the pub and fringe theatre in Bournemouth,” says director Christina Artemis. “With two stunning performances from Steven Murphy and Johnny Ciardini, all the hard work and dedication from the team has paid off.”

Christina is working in partnership with Mark Berry to develop professional fringe theatre in town. Their policy is to provide a platform for new writers and professional artists to display their skills in cutting edge contemporary plays.

Meanwhile, the Artemis Actors’ Company is preparing its next production – The Severed Head, a new play by Horatio Pippin based on the true story of a murder by dismemberment in London in 1726 – which will open on November 8.

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Van Gogh 2008 - Royal Manor Theatre Portland. Private Review from Julie Cox

"Half expecting a sort of amateurish, end of pier piece of theatre as we were on holiday in nearby Weymouth, I and my parents were astonished and hugely impressed by the script, the interpretation and the acting in this unique play about Vincent Van Gogh's dreadful struggle with the weevil inside his mind.……we all recognized the weevil whose voice comes to sabotage us one way or another.  We had never actually seen this dramatized and it has been a revelation!  Dealing with such dark and powerful themes, the play could easily have been too painful to watch, but there was always a delicate line between dark humor and despair.

With elements that could have come from Shakespeare and Greek tragedy, the play was extremely powerful and entertaining.

The acting was all extremely powerful, but we must congratulate in particular the weevil himself, a sort of evil Puck character - Darren Matthews, and Jo Egan as Gaugin - a spirited performance, reversing the Shakespearian trend of female parts taken by men. I congratulate all on their courage in taking on such a subject and dealing with it so masterfully.  I would like to hear of this being taken to the West End."

Dorset Echo Newspaper – June 17th 2008

….. the direction of the play is towards comic farce as VG speaks through the oddball characters who crowd his memory…… fellow painter Gauguin, with alcohol-fuelled passion, remorselessly taunts him and his father chastises him for his sexual liaisons with women of the streets.…. our hero degenerates into strait-jacketed incarceration in a play that throws a fascinating light on the failing mind of a genius….A particularly fine performance by Peter Beebee as Van Gogh conquers any temptation to regard this play as a black comedy. His portrayal presents instead a picture of a tragic soul grappling with the suppressed anxieties of his past as his cruel illness overtakes him.   The Royal Manor Theatre is to be congratulated for bringing such a stimulating piece of fringe theatre to its stage.

The Mayoress and I thoroughly enjoyed your Company’s recent performance of Mary Shelley goes to Hollywood. Clearly this was a most professional production and we wish you every success in the future
— Mayor of Bournemouth, 2006
I just wanted to say thank you very much for hosting this mind blowing show and to all the staff who catered for it. I certainly enjoyed it! I thank you for boosting my vocal confidence and teamwork efforts. It would be so great if we could all just do it all over again. We miss River Wide so much, that’s how much you both, Isaac and Christina have inspired people.
— Jamie Barton, 2008
Aphrodite has been truly a different adventure!! Working with new Actors, some of them gaining their first knowledge of real performance. It has been a real pleasure to watch them develop under Christina Artemis’s direction and motivational skills
— Kevin West, Professional Actor & Assistant Director, 2005
Aphrodite has given me the courage to realise …not only am I a mother and healer, but now a talented actress and costume designer.
— Julie Ann Horrox- 2005
His consultant psychiatrist and I were delighted to enjoy watching him on stage which made us extremely proud and was a testament to his astonishing recovery and improvement which would not have been possible with medication alone
— Sally Walter -Community Occupational therapist - mental health team for E. Bournemouth, said of a young man with long term psychosis
Artemis changed my life! From the beginning I felt like part of an incredible community and family, gave me the confidence to perform again and I have just got accepted to do my Masters Degree at East 15 theatre school.
— Natalya Hammond-Betts – Professional Actress and writer – 2007
Christina Artemis cast me and directed me in a production of The Vagina Monologues in 2016.

What first struck me about Christina was the care she took in balancing the casting of four actresses - very different - each with something unique to bring to two monologues apiece, and the narrative between.

Christina was a nurturing director. Firstly, she was incredibly supportive to all involved, including technical members of the cast. The material was at least thought provoking and, at its most extreme, had the potential to bring about traumatic and difficult memories and experiences for all of the company, and especially the cast. Christina was aware of this at all times and instinctively knew when to take ‘time out’ so we could air our feelings and memories in a supportive environment.

We were a varied cast in terms of age and experience. Christina always took in to account where each of us were coming from. She stretched us in terms of what we could bring as well as realising what might be too much of a stretch.

Christina also took on board creative input from myself and the rest of the cast, and was open to this throughout the rehearsal process.

For my part, I felt that I was supported and directed in giving powerful performances, for which I am grateful and for which I received very positive feedback.

I was also impressed with Christina’s apparent experience of choreography. It was not an easy task for her to keep the ‘stage picture’ looking fresh and engaging, but through movement, and innovative delivery of dialogue, I believe this was achieved.

To achieve laughter as well as tears from an audience in the midst of such material is the work of a truly experienced and intuitive director. The show attracted really good numbers in terms of audiences and positive feedback from men and women alike. I just wish we had had the opportunity to perform The Vagina Monologues more often and still hope we can do it again.
— Elaine Harry, Actress.
I have known Christina Artemis since 2003 and would recommend her as a Director for any Theatre Production or Performance development
I have observed her at rehearsals for a number of different plays that she has Directed in the Bournemouth Area - and also with two Site Specific events in Twickenham and in Wales.

I believe Christina is able to develop the ability of the actors to fully understand the complexity of the character of the person they are portraying.
She understands that the Actor can only demonstrate the character of the role s/he is taking in the play by actually bringing their own inner self - awareness to the part. An Actor is not becoming someone else - but has to reach deep inside to pull out the feelings, emotions, behaviour, of the person they are portraying - and this is the skill of Christina Artemis. She has worked as a therapist - and has also been an Actor and Singer herself.

An example of this was a role where a lead part was a ‘Psychopath’. Christina worked at length with the actor to get him to really bring out his own inner psychopath - and once she had done this amazing piece of development with the Actor concerned he was totally different in rehearsal the next day and was awesome.

Christina trusts her actors. She creates close relationships with their needs and ambitions. She truly understands the depth and meaning in her plays and works with commitment to portray what the writer has intended. She also has huge creativity in seeing different ways a scene can be portrayed.
— Glynis Judge, Organisational Development Consultant, Performance Coach and Playwright.