Rehearsals for Alice in Wonderland

Making theatre during the pandemic is tough and strange, and companies are tackling the various issues from multiple directions. Oxford-based Creation Theatre have been creating interactive shows on Zoom. For The Stage, I talked to Chief Executive Lucy Askew and Director Zoe Seaton about their new AI-based production of Alice in Wonderland.

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Robbie Jack

In all the interviews I read with Simon McBurney, he was painted as a very difficult figure to talk to. I found the opposite. He asked about me, the birds, how lockdown was going. His style of conversation is definitely unique – he pauses for five or ten seconds after every question, and his stories meander unexpectedly at length – but his answers always lead somewhere exciting.

I loved speaking to him, and I’m proud of this piece.

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“Charlotte has always said: ‘If Paines Plough ever comes up, we’re going to go for it and we’re going to get it.’ I think she just knew.” Because two artistic directors ran the company previously, it set an expectation that a job share could be possible. “There’s this old idea of artistic director as rockstar,” Bennett says. “But the idea of a singular vision is not something I buy into.” As a pair, Posner says: “You’re scrutinising things through two lenses. You’re challenging each other all the time in a really healthy way.”

For The Stage, I spoke to Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett about their aims and ambitions for Paines Plough.

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Joseph Lynn

For The Stage’s Big Interview, I chatted to Prema Mehta about her candlelit design for Swive [Elizabeth], in which lighting is a key storytelling tool. Mehta spoke beautifully about designing for the wood-panelled Wanamaker, the wonder and strangeness of working with candles, and the work that still needs to be done to make the backstage industry more diverse and inclusive.

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Ioana’s design for The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel

For The Stage, I spoke to designer Ioana Curelea, winner of the Naomi Wilkinson prize launched by Told By A Idiot. It was particularly interesting to hear about her views on theatre in Romania, and the support – or lack thereof – for young people in theatre.

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