Rise Up: Circle of Spears

Circle of Spears is a name that came to its three creatives from a role-playing game they were all playing. Sam Burns, Mark Norman and Tracey Norman had all worked as freelance voice actors with backgrounds in acting and TV production before starting their own company in June 2015.

Between them they have a significant pool of skills which has enabled them to create their ideal company; one that creates audiobooks and live theatre.

In particular, we wanted to work with independent authors and small publishers to provide an alternative method of producing their work in audio.

The company have certainly proven successful since beginning nearly four years ago, as they have built up their audio catalogue, and so far have 23 titles to date, with two currently in production and more on the waiting list.

WITCH by Tracy Norman is based on a real witch trial from Dorset and features copies from the original witness evidences from 1687. The show looks both at the historical record and the compelling story to weave into one discussion piece. WITCH has been used already as Theatre in Education by both Exeter and Bristol Universities, as well as by an academy in Cornwall. The show is also about to enjoy its 66th performance since its premiere in July 2016.

Ghost Stories by Circle of Spears is also currently in its 3rd season at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall to support their late-night candlelit events, and Outside of the Bo written by Sam Burns had an excellent reception at Barnstaple’s Fringe Theatre-Fest.

With all of this under their belt, Circle of Spears are hoping to continue to build their audio catalogue as well as hoping to take one of their live theatre shows into schools as Theatre in Education, something they have already been successful in.

Through all of their work so far, some of their highlights include the first booking for WITCH with Exeter University, watching their following grow from humble beginnings to where they are now, and working in a job they truly enjoy with people they respect and admire.

Their achievements don’t stop there, however, as Circle of Spears have their sights set on booking more school shows for WITCH, and they are currently in the planning stage for something very different to what they have done before. They say:

We’re really looking forward to bringing this one to life as it’s based on a fantastic book and the author is a lovely guy who we really enjoy working with.

The new show is a piece of theatre that can be adapted to fit any space as they are very minimalist. They say:

our shows (plus cast) fit into one car.

Quick Fire Questions

  • In the theatre world, who inspires you? Tracey: “David Tennant…Maggie Smith, Fiona Shaw and Judi Dench”, Mark: “as the majority of my work is audio, my inspiration comes from narrators like Anton Lesser and Tim Curry”, Sam: “in theatre Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Anthony Head, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and my cousin Alister O’Loughlin. My favourite narrators are Toby Longworth, Stephen Fry, Cecil Baldwin and Nathaniel Parker”
  • What is your favourite show that you’ve seen? Tracey: “Woman in Black, The Rocky Horror Show and Spamalot, with Macbeth and Phantom not far behind”, Mark: “Woman in Black, The Rocky Horror Show and Return to the Forbidden Planet”, Sam: “One Man, Two Guv’nors, An Inspector Calls and Spamalot
  • What is your favourite genre of theatre? Tracey: “I love musical theatre and drama”, Mark: “Comedy and musical theatre”, Sam: “I’m a sucker for Shakespeare”
  • What do you think we need more of in theatre? Tracey: “more actors from minority backgrounds in leading roles and LGBTQ actors playing LGBTQ roles”, Mark: “more accessible”, Sam: “change in the attitude that theatre and the arts is general frivolous or not as important to the well-being as society as medicine or infrastructure is”

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