“Terrific, most enjoyable, great use of space. Thank you so much for all your help and the tickets. Will the company be taking Amphibians elsewhere? It would be great at the Victoria Baths in Manchester… many thanks I do hope our paths cross again.” – Simon Inglis, ‘Played in Britain’ Series Editor, British Heritage.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the performance which was entertaining, thought provoking and challenging.” Craig Hunter, Swimming Chef de Mission, Delhi Commonwealth Games.
“Just wanted to say how fantastic I thought the performance was – I LOVED it. Especially the movement element – that was genius – the quasi swimming and the atmosphere that was created was amazing. The story rand so true and it was very touching – and I really liked the mythical dimension. Bridewell pool must have been wonderful, I never thought I’d see that back – think you made a great choice there… it was an absolute pleasure.” Liz Hughes, London Pools Campaign
“We though the show was just wonderful. Beautifully acted and directed. You must be so pleased with the production. And it’s fantastic for you all that it’s a sell out and critical success… It’s always so great for the Foundation to see our support going to such a great piece of theatre.” David Collier, Vice Chairman, The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation.
“I’ve always loved the theatre so the idea of this project combining sport and art immediately made me want to be a part of it. I am training so hard to swim for London 2012 it really means a lot to me to have inspired others, especially when the subject of what happens to former athletes is so important.” Cassie Patten, Bronze medallist, GB Beijing team 2008.
“Amphibians, an artistic experiment exploring life as an elite swimmer, has taught me new things about the sport that I’ve been involved in all my life. Working with Cressida and the team has provided a novel perspective. I talked to them about my connection with the water – the feel of it, its interaction with my body, its control of me, and my control of it; about the link between my sporting body and sporting mind, and how I needed those two separate entities to work together; and about the rollercoaster ride of life dedicated to a sport as demanding as swimming. A project that not only explores these ideas, but translates them to a broad audience, is truly innovative. Sport and art are so often divided, and this venture is an amazing way to bring the two together. I have always thought that the only people able to understand life in swimming and the Olympics are those who have done it themselves. Cressida’s work and Steve’s script have helped convince me otherwise. I’m extremely proud to have been involved in such an interesting piece of work, and I hope that you enjoy this fascinating interpretation – and join the ranks of those that understand.” Georgina Lee, former Olympic swimmer and employee of LOCOG.
“Amphibians I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the production. My brother saw the review of your play in the Daily Telegraph and suggested I might be interested because I train with a swimming club. As I live in Derby I arranged to come to London specifically to see the play. It was a completely realistic impression of swimming. From the start when Elsa held Max underwater I could feel the sensation of wanting to come up dor air (not that I’ve ever been held underwater by anyone), The chorus acting out the swimming was brilliant it summed up completely the joy I feel about training – the easing into the warm up, the relentlessness of the session, the tiredness as the session progresses, the exhilaration at the end. I also loved the parts where the coach was talking t the swimmers and the way they reacted, especially the bored looking ones – it’s just like some of our swimmers. I came away from the play feeling as though I had done a workout myself. It was a great feeling. Once again many thanks for a brilliant night out. It’s one that I will remember.” Marian Belsten, Derby elite swimming coach.
“The National Theatre through the NT Studio was delighted to support the research and development phase of this innovative and imagineation site-specific work because of our belief in the talent of director Cressida Brown and writer Steve Waters. This has both huge theatrical appeal and afascinating connection with a great public event.” Sebastian Born, Literary Manager for the National Theatre.
“When I was approached by a theatre director to do an interview about a project regarding Olympic swimmers I thought ‘Cool – how quaint’. As a former Olympic swimmer with an interest in theatre I fitted the subject matter aptly and so Cressida Brown came to my house with a camera and a man attached to it and we conducted the interview. ‘Theatre-people’ I mused ‘aren’t they just the nicest.’ That patronising notion, however, was soon to be smashed and I would never look at myself, my sport, or those theatre people in the same way again. Steve Waters became involved as the play’s writer and he and Cressida between them put together something remarkable – Amphibians. Sitting in on the earliest rehearsals I soon found myself gazing in shocked self-reflection at the moments being played out before me. It is not always easy when someone holds ip a mirror to you a large part of your life, especially if what are revealed are persistent bouts of inhuman, masochistic sacrifice, bruising selfishness and unbridled ambition. Working with the movement specialists under Kate Sagovsky’s direction, their capacity to isolate and distil the distinctive and logical actions of a competitive swimmer – the stokes, the stretches, the grace and the force – and then magnify them to reveal both the beauty and the insanity hiding within them was another profound moment of new self-reflection for someone who has spent over twenty years in swimming. After a week of watching the company rehearse various moments that deeply resonated with me and my experiences of both swimming as a youth and as a senior international, I found answers about myself, my team-mates and my sport to questions that I had never actually even wanted to ask! ‘Theatre-people’ I now ponder ‘aren’t they just the cruellest’. This cruelty is not a side-effect of a sporting ‘pursuit of excellence’ but more the consequence of an artistic and theatrical ‘pursuit of truth’. So as I sit in the darkness and watch that mirror-held-up-onstage and I squirm in my seat in self-reflection, it is because I am wrestling with some painful truths. Yet pushing through to the other side of this learning experience (that I never knew I actually wanted) I feel more cognizant of my own past and my own choices, and also of my own sport and its wonders – whether personal and immediate, or cultural and Olympic. When all is said and done – I’ll still meet you at the pool.” Adrian Turner, former Olympic Swimmer.