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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.