We work with a range of tools to bring real stories to life.
Co creation involves sharing creative responsibility for the project with our contributors. We plan to move further into this territory with our future work.
The benefits include:
An authentic final product that blends influences from people with lived experience and theatre makers
A workshop process that empowers co-creators to shape their own narrative
A process that equips affected communities with theatre making skills & us with a challenge to our practice
A democratic process that forges meaningful communication within a mixed group
For La Lucha: The Fightback, we are working with nine Latin American women to tell the story of their fightback against exploitation in the cleaning industry. The women share creative agency for the project equally with us.
We used recorded delivery to perform the audio interviews at the heart of The Listening Room, The Colours and Echoes. A real person’s voice is played into an actor’s ear during the show. The actor repeats what they hear, whilst attempting to give as true a sense of the essence of that person as possible.
Recorded delivery opens up possibilities for:
· Liveness. We work intensively on each ‘character’ during rehearsal, but actors do not learn lines. They are listening whilst performing, creating an edge-of-your-seat live event.
· Accuracy. A major strength of the tool is that it helps actors connect with the nuance of a person’s energy and voice. The actor becomes a vessel, there to serve the character.
· Transparency. We’re keen to highlight the difference between verbatim theatre & documentary: our shows involve actors representing real people, rather than the people themselves. Actor & audience are in a similiar position: working together to understand the person's experience.
· Gender, disability & race blind casting. We use our shows as an opportunity to challenge preconceived notions of identity. A 60 year-old woman may be played by a 20 year-old man in our shows. We do this to challenge audiences and actors to connect to the truth of the person outside of their physical characteristics and in so doing, to interrogate the things that separate and unite us.
Here’s the technique at work during rehearsals for The Listening Room at Stratford East: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrB54KtFFds
Our shows actively depend on their audiences. Post-show discussions often follow our work on any given night & we aim to give audiences agency within the shows in rooted and meaningful ways.
· In Echoes, the audience worked closely with actors to bring stories to life. Actors handed cards to audience members during performance, performing the roles of characters in reported speech and creating collective responsibility for the show.
· In the middle of The Heart of Adrian Lovett, we blew the show wide open for audiences to voice their experiences with the NHS and debate a way forward.
· 2030 took the form of a party, and involved the audience in games and discussion throughout. It closed with a binary option for the audience: which character – human or computer – did they want to keep spending time with?
· Audiences have determined casting for a number of our shows (see below)
Our shows are often randomly cast at the start of each show by the audience. This creates a show that is different every night and depends on the audience for its execution.
· In 2030, before the show began, the audience was asked to vote on which actor would play the host of the party, and who would play the personal assistant.
· In Echoes and The Listening Room, envelopes were handed to actors by members of the audience, determining who they would play.
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