Young Directors take on Canada Water Culture Space

After last week’s mind blowing Young Directors Festival ‘Play.ground’, two plays were selected to be developed further and taken to CWCS (Canada Water Culture Space) in a couple of weeks as a double bill entitled ‘Play.ground 2’!

After all the excitement, we took some time to have a chat with the two young directors  selected, Hattie Coupe and Eleanor Chadwick, to see how they were feeling about this exciting transfer!

Stephanie: So how are you two feeling about your show going to CWCS?

Hattie: Excited, nervous and very, very grateful. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to give this beautiful short play a bigger audience and stage space to really let it breathe and come alive.

Eleanor: I am really excited about taking ‘The Man Who’ to CWCS. It is a fantastic chance to develop the piece further with a new space ( a larger venue) and audience in mind. It’ll be interesting to find something new in the piece in such a short space of time – a challenge which myself and the cast are looking forward to embracing.

'Luna Park' directed by Hattie Coupe at The Albany

‘Luna Park’ directed by Hattie Coupe at The Albany

Stephanie:  What was going though your mind when the plays that you directed were on stage last week at The Albany?

Hattie: My head was roaring with adrenaline throughout the whole show – and for about 12 hours afterwards! I felt proud of my actors who have taken direction so well and worked so hard with me to put this show together in just 5 days of rehearsal time. It was amazing to have a generous crowd come down to Deptford to support the Young Directors, so I was also very conscious of the audience and their response to my play. Being only 22 years old and having my “debut” put on stage, I felt very exposed and nervous at the time; the support and love for this play has since given me a sense of validity and confidence in my directing ambition, which is invaluable at such an early stage in my career.”

Eleanor: I was hooked by what the actors were doing and the spectator responses. Productions always take on new levels when they are put in front of an audience for the first time, and it was fascinating for me to watch our storytelling unfold and see what worked well, what was gained and what was lost. There were more laughs and audible reactions (even gasps and sighs of sympathy) than I wasn’t expecting, which was great! I hope that in the larger venue we can still create this feeling of intimate engagement with the characters.

Stephanie: Are there any aspects of the show you would like to change and/or develop for CWCS?

'The Man Who' directed by Eleanor Chadwick at The Albany

‘The Man Who’ directed by Eleanor Chadwick at The Albany

Eleanor: We will be welcoming a couple of new cast members for the transfer which will undoubtedly bring different nuances to the performance and the characters. I am excited to explore the piece with them and see what new facets arise. I am also keen to
experiment further with technical aspects such as lighting, as we will be given more freedom and a longer technical rehearsal than for the initial Scratch performance, which is a great opportunity. I would like to keep pushing the physical and stylistic elements of the piece, continuing to mature the characters in this way and seeing how we can translate and develop the physical elements for a different, larger space.

Hattie: I am keen to explore the social, political and economic framing of the play as I feel the Great Depression has many echoes within today’s society and families recovering after a devastating recession. I am going to be brave and use this valuable time to push the performance to its next level – you will have to come and see the show to see what that is! Overall, I aim to use the next  5 days of rehearsal time to give the play even more depth, fluidity and confidence as a performance.

Stephanie: Sounds like there will be some exciting changes to both of your pieces now that you have a much bigger space and more time for rehearsals. I can’t wait to see it!

For more information and/or to book tickets for ‘Play.ground 2’ at Canada Water Culture Space on the 20th and 21st March, click here

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Creating Theatre Beyond Borders

The room is peppered with marker pens and flip-chart paper; we have been brainstorming lots of ideas throughout the week.

There have been lots of questions and wonderful discussions about the future of StoneCrabs Theatre Company. It ‘s been over 10 years since StoneCrabs was created, and with many projects under our belt (over 30), planning ahead is just as scary as it is exciting.  One thing is certain: we are entering a new phase of our work and we are ready to take bigger risks!

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I am often asked if StoneCrabs is a Brazilian Theatre Company.  This question frequently crops up, which is understandable. I guess there will always be an overflow/ interest/ usage of Brazilian and Latin American themes in our work, as myself and Tereza Araujo, the founding members of StoneCrabs, are Brazilian. However, Brazil is such a hybrid place, so there will always be a spillage of other heritages into our work. For instance; Bahia, (the Brazilian estate were I am from), has a large community of people originally of Nigerian heritage, which has influenced lots of the cultural aspects of Brazil. This subconsciously influenced our production of The Burial by Nigerian playwright Bola Agbaje earlier this year. Additionally, going beyond the borders of our originating influences, the company is also led by Kwong Loke who brings East Asian influences, which has also filtered into our work as we have co-produced  4 projects with a company from Tokyo and are about to embark on our 5th.

StoneCrabs Theatre Company’s stage language, however, is unique. We are a hybrid, transnational company fusing aesthetics to create work that is visual, exciting and challenging.  We are interested in stories of the diaspora created by world artists. We are interested in using our unique way of working to create theatre beyond borders: Global theatre made local.

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I, for one, am very interested in the legacy that StoneCrabs will leave behind. With so much coming up; The Young Directors Training Programme now in its 8th year and the Brasiliance Heritage Project in mid-flow, that legacy is being built as we speak! I am so proud of what we have achieved in our first 10 years and cannot wait to reveal the projects that lay ahead!

So back to work, the flip chart paper and pen awaits! Watch this space!

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Franko Figueiredo
Joint Artistic Director