This is the sixth 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 Josie Griffiths. Josie has very recently graduated from University of Exeter, where she took part in Spotlights – a musical theatre show choir which performs in Exeter and Edinburgh three times a year. Spotlights has inspired them to utilise music as part of her collaborative theatre process.
With Jack Hart, Finlay Carroll and Bee Taylor, Josie 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), which they describe as a “radical performance project exploring and challenging the potential of theatre as a means of responding to the climate emergency”.
Jo Newman will also be joining Finlay, Bee and Josie on 24 and 25 September. Jo has previously worked on several productions as a theatre-maker, dramaturg, and director, as well as being Associate Director of Wiltshire Creative from 2016 to 2020. The team are casting additional actors to join them for There’s No Time (The World Is Dying).
- How are you feeling about putting on a performance in five days?
Excited and I must admit a little nervous. We’ve given ourselves a big job but I can’t wait to see the final product.
- What are the challenges?
For me, staying patient and adaptable. I have a tendency to hope we have the whole musical finished within a day (not realistic I know). I am often having to tell myself that creating theatre is a process full of ups and downs and I need to be open to whichever path it takes.
- What do you hope to get out of the experience?
I am excited to test my compositional, devising and performance skills to the limit by creating a musical in such a short time. I also might try my hand at a few new instruments this week. Lots of fun!
- What was your inspiration for the piece?
The piece was borne out of feelings of inaction and anxiety. Though new climate headlines are apparent every day, they are quickly moved on with little to no action despite growing uncertainty. We wanted to create a piece that sums up the difficulties of reacting to the climate crisis and also reacts in a fast-paced manner.
- What’s the best part for you about working in the theatre?
I love the people! I always meet such interesting people whenever I work in the theatre. Everyone is so passionate about what they do and they’re so enthusiastic! This makes the theatre such a liberating place to be.
- 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?
Hmmm. Well besides being a student for the last 3 years, I’ve worked in catering, behind a bar and in administration. My favourite job I have done is probably tennis coaching young children. It’s lots of fun.
- 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 recently rewatched Legally Blonde. It’s one of my favourites and a super fun (and important) watch. It’s a classic. Thoroughly recommend watching it if you haven’t.