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Distillery Takeover Week at Taunton Brewhouse 20 – 25 September

Between Mon 20 – Sat 25 September all spaces at Taunton Brewhouse have been given over to a selection of artists and companies who are creating new performance projects. 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.

First up is Pearl Andrews-Horrigan. Pearl is a writer from Weston-super-Mare who began to write while at school in Taunton. She has had short plays produced at theatres including The Arcola, The Pleasance and Hope Mills. Pearl will be working on a musical adaptation of the fairy tale, TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES with director Hope Thain and composer and musician Oscar Killen.

  1. How are you feeling about putting on a performance in five days?

I’m excited to share what we’ve been working on! This week has been about us playing with the themes, concepts and story of the show and solving problems we brought into the room. We’ve made great progress already (written on Wednesday morning) and I’m looking forward to getting audience feedback.

  1. What are the challenges?

Staging the transition between the real (although magical) world of Silverlands School for Young Ladies and the enchanted reflection, accessed through a cracked mirror was a big focus this week. Shoutout to Karla the Choreographer and Lorna the wonderful Stage Manager who found us three mirrors and out wheels on them. We do also have a song nicknamed ‘Oscar’s nightmare’, but I’ll let him tell you about that one!

  1. What do you hope to get out of the experience?

The chance to spend a week working on the piece with Hope and Oscar in the lovely Studio Theatre has been great so far, especially as the other two had never met in person until our first day here! I hope that at the end of this week we have more of the show’s material, a clearer idea of how we’d stage key moments and a really strong pitch to take out into the world – this is only the beginning for this project!

  1. What was your inspiration for the piece?

I first started work on this piece as part of my MA in Drama Writing at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (where I met Hope), during a class on adaptations. I also always reference the Barbie film of this fairytale!

  1. What’s the best part for you about working in the theatre?

I love working in a room with other people, which it was lovely to get back to after so long in lockdowns. Mostly, I just like telling stories!

  1. 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 currently work in a mobile phone shop, which lets me meet lots of people. I also spent two summers working in a training scheme for Prison Officers.

  1. 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?

The last film I watched is ‘Frances Ha’, which I liked but didn’t love. The last book I read is ‘Feast.’