42 posts categorized "Interviews" Feed

Theatre in 5 questions with director Sara Joyce - "We wanted to fight for her without making her inherently likeable"

Sara Joyce  Aimée Kelly  Gill Greer  Eliza Clark (c) Rebecca Need-Menear
L-R Sara Joyce with fellow Boy Parts creatives: Aimée Kelly (actor), Gill Greer (adaptation) and Eliza Clark (novel). Photo: Rebecca Need-Menear

Theatre director Sara Joyce's previous work includes Dust by Milly Thomas and Fringe First winning The Last Return. Here she talks about her new project, Boy Parts, what drew her to working in the theatre, her favourite theatre and how she'll be feeling on press night.

Boy Parts is described as a pitch-black psychological thriller adapted by Gillian Greer from Eliza Clark's novel and is at the Soho Theatre from 19 October. 

This is an edited version of the interview; scroll down to watch the full interview.

What made you want to work in theatre?

I wanted to work in something to do with entertainment or storytelling. I was acting, and I thought: well, I'm going to be an actor, and I don't think I saw anything outside of theatre as accessible.

Maybe it was just narrow-mindedness, or I didn't really think about it. And I think luckily so because I love it.

And then there's the question of why you keep working in theatre. I enjoy the event of it. I was thinking about it this week in rehearsal, and it feels a bit like you're planning a party that's going to be on every night.

There's something both vital and redundant about it at the same time.  

I love rehearsals. I love making things from scratch and figuring things out. And I love the shared experience with a team - people coming up with ideas you'd never think of.

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Interview: Theatre in 5 questions with award winning director Emily Aboud

Emily Aboud
Director and playwright Emily Aboud

Director and playwright Emily Aboud received the Evening Standard's Future Theatre award, and her latest directing project, Flip! is touring the UK in October and November. Written by Racheal Ofori and produced by Fuel Theatre, here she talks about the play, how she'll feel on opening night and why the best theatre is a gig.

Watch the video interview here.

How would you describe the play Flip!?

So Flip! is a two-hander about two best friends who want to become influencers.

And it's dystopian because it's taking where AI is now and making it worse - it's on the path already.

So it's sort of dystopian comedy about two best friends whose friendship completely gets destroyed. One of the character's relationship to herself, her sense of self is destroyed because it's all for the fans and nothing for herself.

How do you choose what projects to work on, and what drew you to Flip!?

Oh, I'm really good at rejecting offers, which is bad because it's not financially smart. But yeah, I'm really interested in plays that are playful or, inherently theatrical or political.

That sounds boring if I say it like that, but that's what clown is, that is what drag is. That's what a lot of my past work utilises, those very direct political theatrical forms.

So, I wouldn't particularly say I'm very interested in naturalism, but that's not true because I'm dying to do Chekhov. But I'm drawn to fearless and political shows, which is what Flip! is.

I think I was really lucky because I didn't interview for it. It was that Racheal [Ofori], the writer, had seen some of my work and wants me to be myself with her work, which is really great.

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Interview: Writer & director Rebecca Holbourn on her new play and what she loves about theatre

Later this week, writer, director and producer Rebecca Holbourn will be at Camden People's Theatre preparing for the opening night of her new play Violated.

I asked her about the play and her thoughts on theatre, and you can watch the interview, or there is a transcript below.

How would you describe your play Violated?

Violated is based on real-life experiences. It explores and discusses broken consent and violation in many different forms, not just sex.

Why did you want to tell this story?

This story is obviously very personal to me as it includes a lot of my past, and that gets explored, which is very tricky. But I think everyone has their own tricky memory that they don't necessarily want to face.

And everyone needs to consider if actually some of the things they're holding on to might be because they didn't say yes.

How will you be feeling on opening night?

Opening night sounds scary, but I honestly cannot wait for my actors to be in front of an audience because they're smashing it, and they deserve to be seen.

I should probably be proud of my words too, but I can't wait for people to see my actors.

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Interview: Theatre creativity during lockdown and its legacy - with Chloe Nelkin

Instagram Live chat with Chloe Nelkin

Chloe Nelkin has run theatre, arts and opera PR company, Chloe Nelkin Consulting, for 10 years, and we sat down to talk about how theatres responded during lockdown and what the legacy will be. I also asked her what we should look out for and what she's most looking forward to seeing.

You can watch the full chat with Chloe on IGTV (link below).

What was it like when lockdown was announced in March 2020?

Crikey, it was devastating. Everything that we know and loved in this industry was just torn apart. The live entertainment industry, the very nature of it is all about being out and about and suddenly we were all locked inside for our own safety.

So, it was a horrible time, especially as we didn't know how long it was going to go on for and if everybody would get through it.

At the beginning of March, we'd actually celebrated CNC 10th anniversary and brought together loads of our past clients and our current clients and friends, and it was then the most bizarre thing that a week later suddenly that was all ripped away from us.  So it was bittersweet as, of course, we just entered such a horrible 18 months.

What was the response from theatres like?

I think what was incredible was the resilience of so many theatres, particularly smaller theatres, who were suddenly working to get their programmes online, were working within the restrictions to try and film new work to still make things accessible.

Or were commissioning and coming up with new projects or fundraising initiatives.

Just thinking back to what we worked on, we worked on something called All The Web's A Stage for Shakespeare day last April. And loads of artists came together and just donated their time to raise money for those in the arts who were affected by the pandemic.

So they were amazing initiatives like that.  We also worked with High Tide, and they commissioned five new writers to create pieces in response to what was going on: Love in the time of Corona.

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NEWS: My first Instagram Live interview with Chloe Nelkin - and plans for the future

Very excited (and nervous) to be doing my first Instagram Live interview next week with theatre and opera PR and all-around lovely person Chloe Nelkin.

We're going to be chatting about theatre (naturally), including what was produced during the lockdown and how that will shape theatre in the future.

It's happening on Tuesday 7 September at 7 pm GMT on my Instagram channel.

If you've been a visitor to my theatre blog for a while, you may have seen my Q&A interviews with theatre creators.

These were always done via email, mainly for time and logistics reasons.

But it is never the same as chatting in person, which is something I've always wanted to do (I'm a professional question asker by day 🙂).

And I'm hugely curious about how theatre is made and the creative process - and all things theatre, really.

I toyed with starting a theatre podcast, but it's a big investment of time to produce and promote, and there are costs involved. I know this mainly because I'm launching a podcast for my business.

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Torch Oxford Q&A with Ben Whishaw and Katie Mitchell on process and performance in the pandemic age

Ben Whishaw and Katie Mitchell were interviewed live via Zoom by Wes Williams for Torch Oxford on approaches to acting and directing, creativity during the lockdown and how performance will evolve for the new Zoom-world.

Ben Whishaw  Katie Mitchell Torch Oxford

Here are the edited highlights and the link to the full hour-long interview is at the bottom.

How did you come to directing/acting?

Katie:  I didn't really feel any connection with any of the work that was happening in the UK as a young woman in the 1980s.

So most of my influences came from a very big trip, I made to Eastern Europe to Russia, Georgia and Lithuania and Poland, where I researched directors' training and saw amazing practitioners and learned a lot about Stanislavski. And also seeing work that was coming into the UK from abroad.

Anyway, I then did about 15 years of working on naturalism in mainstream text-based theatre. But I always wanted to go back to a more visual arts influence, making work that was to do with the crossover between theatre and other mediums.

And so I then have my breakthrough show going into live cinema, which then set off what I would consider my real career.

It changed my life in a way

Ben: I got taken to an audition for a Youth Theatre when I was 13 by my dad, and it was a Youth Theatre in a town just down the road from the village I grew up in.

I was quite a shy 13-year-old and I think my dad must have thought it would do me good and I liked acting I'd done acting in school but I had never explored it further than that.

So I went to this audition and I got into this youth theatre and it changed my life in a way. And we did extraordinary things there. We did Greek plays and we did adaptations of books and we did devised pieces.

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Interview: Brixton House's Owen Calvert-Lyons on the future of fringe theatre post lockdown

Head of theatre and artist development at Brixton House (formally Ovalhouse*) Owen Calvert-Lyons talks about life during the lockdown, the post-Covid future for fringe theatre and exciting streaming plans.

Owen Calvert-Lyons  Head of Theatre and Artist Development at Ovalhouse (credit Ludovic Des Cognets) 1
Owen Calvert-Lyons Head of Theatre and Artist Development at Ovalhouse/Brixton House. Photo: Ludovic Des Cognets.

How are you doing during lockdown?

Lockdown has been a very strange experience so far. Of course, it has lots of negatives, but I’ve been surprised by the number of positives too.

Working in theatre can be all-consuming and this has given me an opportunity to redress the work/life balance and spend more time doing things I love other than theatre.

What does the future look like for fringe theatres post-lockdown?

While things look pretty bleak right now, I think it’s important to remain positive. Theatre is not just about entertainment, it plays a really vital role in many people’s lives, so it will certainly survive this crisis.

I think the most important thing is not to feel that we have to return to the status quo.

There are many things which need to change about our industry and this hiatus should give us an opportunity to imagine what theatre could look like in the future.

One of the most pressing needs is to solve the inequalities in arts funding which leave so many freelance artists struggling to earn a living.

If we can use this moment to fix that, then theatre post-lockdown could be better than ever before.

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Interview: Big Telly Theatre's Zoe Seaton: "We want to draw you into our world but also let us step into yours a little"

Hot on the heels of Creation and Big Telly Theatres virtual, interactive production of The Tempest, Big Telly is bringing its game-theatre experience online with a new production: Operation Elsewhere.

Zoe Seaton
Big Telly Theatre Company's Zoe Seaton

Big Telly's artistic director Zoe Seaton talks about creativity, inventiveness and performance during the lockdown.

Operation Elsewhere is described as being 'a new and extraordinary online theatrical experience’ - how does it work?

Like The Tempest, the audience joins a zoom call… Technically, it is complicated, although each actor is running their own tech – most of them are using more than one device, a number of locations and a myriad of props/lighting/effects.

The real magic, however, is happening in Lurgan, where our brilliant stage manager, Sinead Owens is vision mixing the whole show, sharing screens, muting and spotlighting audience and actors – finding an actor amongst 60 thumbnail images and spotlighting them on cue is an art.

The biggest challenge is something we can’t control – i.e. the unpredictability of the internet. If your bandwidth becomes unstable, Zoom can kick you out the room mid-scene, which one actor described as ‘like being an astronaut cut off from the space station….’.

Luckily, we have unbelievably resourceful actors who can improvise and cover and recover…

And the audience is involved in the story. They can see each other and react and join together.

The piece marries ancient Irish myths with theatre produced using digital and virtual technology - what makes old and new forms work so well together?

Many of our productions borrow from old stories, myths and legends. We want to keep our work grounded culturally and share that in unusual ways.

So we’ve always played with traditional stories and ways to subvert them for an audience without losing their authenticity and integrity. So, I think for us, it’s natural to pair the ancient with the future and explore that.

The ancient stories, like Tir na N’Og, which Operation Elsewhere is based on have so much resonance with our lives now. They are timeless - they illustrate the human condition, frailties, beliefs, loyalties, that doesn’t change.

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Q&A: Creation Theatre's Lucy Askew on the challenges of creating interactive theatre during lockdown

This weekend Creation Theatre is inviting audiences to watch an interactive, virtual version of Shakespeare's The Tempest - from the safety of their sofa. Creation's chief executive Lucy Askew talks about the challenges of making theatre in isolation for people in isolation and how it will change theatre in the future

Lucy Askew 

Necessity breeds invention, how did the idea for an interactive, virtual production of The Tempest come about?

We felt really strongly that despite the restrictions we all currently face we had a responsibility to continue to entertain and that we needed to find ways it would still be live and responsive to an audience.

We didn't want isolation to mean we'd lose what is different and special about the live experience, chatting to Zoe Seaton at Big Telly [Theatre Company] it was clear they were thinking similar thoughts.

Last year we made the Tempest so adapting that and embracing the new opportunities online mediums offer felt like a good place to start.

How does it work and what can audiences expect?

The audience is invited to a Zoom call. They then see the story of The Tempest unfold, the show has been virtually designed by our costume designer Ryan Dawson Laight with virtual backgrounds and carefully curated costumes put together from what can be accessed by our cast in isolation.

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Interview: 14-year-old deaf dancer Chyna: "I want D/deaf and hearing people to be equal and I want everyone to be kind to each other"

Chyna is 14, a dancer and deaf.  In an eponymously titled multimedia dance production, she takes the audience on a journey through her daily life. 

Chyna Vault Festival 1

Created in collaboration with Oak Lodge, a specialist school for the D/deaf in Balham and Deaf Dance Artist Chisato Minamimura, this performance aims at bridging the D/deaf and hearing communities. Here she talks about how performance makes her feel and what it means to her and her hopes for the future.

Where did the idea come from and how did you create the piece?
Laurence [Dollander, the director] spoke to me about the project, she asked me a few questions, she wanted to incorporate being D/deaf and D/deaf empowerment to a live performance.
So I started to practise, I think we had that conversation back in September. I practised weekly during December and twice a week from January right through until now.
Soon it’ll be March when the performance is and I’ve been performing a lot, so it’s a long time and I’m very excited. I’ve progressed and practised a lot.

Continue reading "Interview: 14-year-old deaf dancer Chyna: "I want D/deaf and hearing people to be equal and I want everyone to be kind to each other"" »