This is the fourth in our series of interviews with visiting artists who are at the Brewhouse as part of the Distillery Takeover week between Mon 20 – Sat 25 September. They are receiving seed funding and organisational support to help develop their ideas, which will be presented as a ‘scratch’ performance to a live audience at the end of the week.
This is an incredibly exciting initiative to encourage and support artists and companies, made possible by funding from the Weston Culture Fund, specifically for a programme of activity to develop and support regional artists under Taunton Brewhouse’s Distillery strand.
We thought it would be great to get to know the artists a bit better, so we have asked them some questions – some serious – some less so.
Next up is Finlay Carroll. Finlay is working with Bee Taylor and Josie Griffiths and they have all very recently graduated from University of Exeter, where they took part in Spotlights – a musical theatre show choir which performs in Exeter and Edinburgh three times a year. The three of them say that being part of Spotlights has inspired them to utilise music as part of their collaborative theatre process.
They will be using Distillery Takeover as a week to explore and experiment with their theatre-making practice and devise a new piece called THERE’S NO TIME (THE WORLD IS DYING). They describe this as a “radical performance project exploring and challenging the potential of theatre as a means of responding to the climate emergency”.
They will be joined by Jo Newman on 24 and 25 September. Jo has previously worked as a theatre-maker, dramaturg and director, as well as being Associate Director of Wiltshire Creative from 2016 to 2020.
- How are you feeling about putting on a performance in five days?
Very excited! It has been a long time since any of us have been in a creative space so it is really exciting to be back. There is something about a five-day process which encourages bold decision-making, which is also exciting.
- What are the challenges?
It has been challenging to keep a sense of playfulness in our work, considering the urgency of the scratch night and wider issue behind our piece. Being open to new ideas is harder when you can feel the performance creeping closer. So keeping that element of creative risk, fundamental to exciting work, has been challenging at times.
- What do you hope to get out of the experience?
I want to learn about myself as an artist and musician, including how I collaborate with others. I want to understand better the role which music and performance can play in addressing the climate crisis. I want to meet other like-minded creatives working in the musical theatre form.
- What was your inspiration for the piece?
This piece was inspired by a frustration at theatre circles for failing to address the urgency of the climate crisis. More specifically, questions over musical theatre’s role in this era of emergency.
- What’s the best part for you about working in the theatre?
Sharing a space with creative people who have something to say about the world. Telling stories which need to be told, and using creativity and play to approach those stories. It’s a special place in which you can be yourself or someone else – and be active!
- Artists often have other jobs on the side or to keep them going between work. What sorts of things have you done? Highlights? Worse jobs?
I served up burritos at Las Iguanas for a year. That was crazy busy.
- And a last one because I’m nosey and love to know what people like– what’s the last book you read or film you watched?
I have recently been reading a book called “Art In An Emergency” by Olivia Laing. It explores artists who work on the edges or during crises. Really interesting.