After eight years playing leading roles with the company we are sad to announce that Chris Trenfield will be retiring from New Adventures at the end of the current UK tour. His final performance will be 22 July, 2.30pm at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
Our Audience Engagement Coordinator, Nick, spoke to Chris, who co-created te roles of Julian Craster and Boris Lermontov, for a special interview ahead of his final week of performances in The Red Shoes.
What has been a highlight of your time with New Adventures?
There are always going to be so many highlights when you have worked for many years in a company like New Adventures. The shows are all uniquely stunning and the tours are always a sell-out with the most amazingly appreciative audiences. As a performer, you really can’t ask for more! In particular, Summer 2012 was a personal highlight for me because of Play Without Words! It was only a brief tour, but it was a memorable one. Play Without Words is possibly the perfect New Adventures show. It’s cool, stylish, and tells a story in the distinct New Adventures way. It really captures the essence of the company, and for me was a truly inspiring piece to perform in.
Has there been a favourite place for you to perform and why?
I have been so fortunate to have performed all over the world with New Adventures and have experienced some incredible places: Melbourne, Tokyo x3, New York x2, Shanghai x2, Singapore x2 and many more. Whilst international touring is always a highlight (and never a holiday!!!) every UK venue we perform in also becomes special in its own way. Whether it’s how we have to adapt our performances to different stages and auditoriums, dressing room banter we had there, our favourite local greasy spoon, or memorable company nights out. For me, Birmingham Hippodrome holds so many happy memories. Being my local theatre, when I was growing up, I saw numerous shows there. It was also where I first performed professionally, playing Gavroche in Les Miserables in 1997, and where I was introduced to classical ballet – Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker!, circa 1998. Performing at the Hippodrome always feels like coming home. And so, 20 years on, it feels very apt that I shall be taking my final bow at the place where it all began.
CHRIS TRENFIELD CREATING THE ROLE OF JULIAN CRASTER (PHOTO: STEPHEN BERKELEY WHITE)
What has been your favourite role to play and why? It was a massive honour to have played The Swan/Stranger in Swan Lake. It is such a highly coveted and truly iconic role, and it will always be the highlight of my career. However, my favourite role to perform was probably Luca in The Car Man. The Swan is very exposing, you’re on your own a lot of the time and your energy has to be so focused from the start. It is very intense and there is a lot of pressure and expectation that comes with the role, as well as it being extremely demanding both physically and emotionally. With Luca there is a more relaxed pace. There are some great comical moments to play with, as well as violent, lustful, tragic, deceitful, and desperate moments. It’s Luca’s emotional journey throughout The Car Man, along with the music, the choreography and the epic duets, that really makes Luca the perfect role… in my opinion!
What has been your favourite costume and why? Some of the suits I have worn on stage have been incredible; the brown tweed suit in Play Without Words and Lermontov’s navy suit (The Red Shoes) are some of the coolest looking suits I have performed in, however as they are both woollen, they aren’t necessarily the 'coolest' to dance in! The costume that will always stay with me are the swan legs! They are unbelievably comfortable and lightweight, and they don't restrict your movement in any way. They are so iconic too, that every time you put them on it feels special.
CHRIS TRENFIELD WITH LIAM MOWER IN SWAN LAKE (PHOTO: HELEN MAYBANKS)
What will you miss most about working with the company?
The people. Both on and off stage I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most talented, creative, passionate, supportive and loving people. I will never forget the highs and lows we have shared together and supported each other through. I will miss the New Adventures family.
Is there one piece of music that will always make you think of New Adventures, and why? The final 'fly down' in Swan Lake has got to be the most overwhelmingly emotional piece of music I have ever experienced. The final scene is guaranteed to make hair stand up and tears roll down – simply unforgettable.
Are there any final words that you would like to say to leave as a legacy for future New Adventurers? Firstly, a bit of advice… book your tour digs early and remember the good ones, don’t get the space in the dressing room next to the shower, don’t be late for class, NEVER sit on the swan bed during rehearsals, and remember… JUST TAKE THE NOTE!!!
But seriously, enjoy every second you are with this fantastic company, challenge yourself and never stop learning. All of the dancers and teachers who you will work with has something different to offer that you can take inspiration from and grow as a performer. Every class, note and rehearsal is a chance to improve both yourself and the show. This is what makes New Adventures productions feel so alive and exciting, and it is something very special to be a part of.