This Must Be The Place is your latest production, tell us about it?
This Must Be The Place is a show which was developed through a close collaboration between Poleroid and writers Brad Birch and Kenneth Emson, inspired by the millennial experience. We share a similar taste and commitment to making theatre that pushes the boundaries of form and style which is really exciting. The play follows Adam, a young Londoner in the midst of crisis, trying desperately for a clean break from technology, love, connectivity and the pressures of city life in an attempt to find home. A million miles away, or perhaps not so far, two friends try to start again, fugitives from their problems. Co-director Justin Audibert has expertly interweaved This Must Be The Place’s two stories together whilst also leaving room for audiences to make their own connections between the plays and character’s stories – are they intertwined or aren’t they? It’s two short ballads about being alive and not… a story about migration, missed connections and life on the edge of respectability. It’s about where we are as young people now and whether we are really living? The show stars James Cooney, Feliks Mathur, Molly Roberts, Hamish Rush.
What did you learn from producing the show at Latitude Festival last year?
We developed the show for Latitude Festival 2016 where it was performed outside in a clearing of the theatre area, almost as a pop up theatre show. The setting was ideal for the play as the audience stumbled upon these characters and their stories and we attracted a lot of new audience members who perhaps didn’t know the show would be happening in that space. Latitude provides the perfect testing ground for new work, giving access to both arts audiences and audiences new to our work. We were encouraged with the positive response the piece got at Latitude and it inspired us to develop it further for a future life.
This isn’t your first time producing a show at The Vault Festival, why do you think it’s such a great place to show off your work?
It was important for us to find another venue which held a similar atmosphere to Latitude, of which Vault is ideal – both as a space so indicative of the piece itself, at the heart of the Southbank where our story begins, and as part of a fantastic festival that is truly representative in spirit of the new theatre work Poleroid champions.
You are Artistic Director of Poleroid Theatre – tell us a bit more about the company.
We are a new writing theatre company encouraging multi-disciplinary work and artist development. We believe that people learn through doing and set frameworks for artists to showcase and develop their skills in a supportive environment – whether through development periods, open mic nights or full productions. We strive to explore the dark undercurrents of life in the 21st century from the perspective of those on the margins whose stories we rarely get to hear. We put emphasis on giving a platform to exceptional fast-rising new writers, actors and directors from across the UK and through our collaborative method nurture bold urgent new work that is committed to engaging new, younger audiences with theatre.
Poleroid Theatre champions young and emerging talent, why do you think it’s important to do that?
Through conversations with a number of fast-rising writers over the last five years and emerging artists who have been involved in a variety of our platforms, it has become clear to us there is a gap in development opportunities for emerging writers – a gap between drafting an initial seed idea of a play and a rehearsal ready draft to approach theatres or producers with for a full production process. Poleroid strives to bridge the gap by giving writers the tools, time and encouragement to develop their script idea and own theatre tastes through practical workshopping and showcase opportunities. We try to work with both established artists trying out new ideas as well as young artists and graduates starting out in the industry. This Must Be The Place stars two brilliant Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama 2016 Acting graduates Feliks Mathur & Hamish Rush alongside James Cooney & Molly Roberts. We think it is vital that theatre covers themes and uses styles that the next generation can relate to and find accessible, combining theatre and live gig, breaking the traditional theatre concept and encouraging new theatre goers to access the arts and build its future.