Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Love Already (Workshop Prod. of India Song by Marguerite Duras) Review

Commissioned by the National Theatre in the 1970’s Marguerite Duras’ play India Song has never yet been performed in England. Love Already director Ben Webb proposes that the main reason is the “formal challenges of staging” the play. In this workshop performance at the Ovalhouse Theatre the actors, designers and directors are “exploring” these elements of production, to great effect.

Central to the premise of the play is the writer’s wish that there is no live sound on the stage, with the exception of two occasions when sobs cut through the night – the liveness puncturing the soundscape. Properly executed this has an extraordinary effect because it necessitates recorded sound. What results is the startling intimacy of a radio play that whispers in your brain at the same time as you see the unfolding action on stage.

Director Ben Webb is clearly passionate about this project. In the Q&A discussion after the performance he enthuses that the play “teaches you how to watch it, or to listen to it.” So much thought and production work has gone into this workshop production, it really shouldn’t be surprising how impressive it is.

Adam P McCready provides this essential sound design. What he delivers is an intricate and relentless collage of voices and sounds that builds a world around you. It is deceptively simple and incredibly effective layered soundscape. There is transient quality to the play, as if Duras might be trying to write memory and the sound design really works and plays with this. In the feedback session one audience member described the state she entered as a trance; dreamlike in how she became absorbed into the rhythms of the play.

The space was discussed in the Q&A in terms of the limitations on the directing and the cast, but what they lost in room, increased the intimacy. Although perhaps the edges of the space could not entirely blur into a liminal ‘other’ space, the fact that it was short and wide worked well compared to a long and thin space where the walls encroach on either side. It is also well lit so whilst the production team might be concerned about the exits most of the audience are appropriately captivated. Tom Cooper’s lighting is very evocative and dramatic with sharp shadows lighting the characters. A particularly lovely motif is the fan spinning in a yellow light that visually supported the soundscape and is instrumental in building dramatic tension and giving a sense of the unbearable heat before the rain. With considerable dramaturgical skill the lighting is woven into the layers of the work so it is integral to the performance. 

It is to all the actors’ credit that you don’t ever dissociate them from the voices. Emma Pallant as Anne-Marie Stretter is mesmerising. Watching her move, interact and silently ‘be’ in the space it was easy to imagine a woman such as Anne-Marie Stretter evolving into what is left onstage. A shell of sorts, but somehow as entrancing as ever.

Orbiting around her are three men. Her established lover Michael Richardson – played Chris Bone – seems content to love her as she is. He cradles her in the rain and shows tremendous tenderness even though he must know she cannot return what he seeks. Jonathan McGuinness as the Vice-Consul gives a tremendously understated performance, whether weeping over her bicycle or shouting her name through the streets of Calcutta he delivers his love and understanding with great precision. He is the only one who truly understands her but he is unable to act on that understanding. William Wheeler plays the Young Attaché who is in many ways our introduction to Anne-Marie Stretter because within one word – love already – his life is inexorably changed. He offered a tantalising introduction to the world as well as maintaining a delicate observational balance. He is the only one certain to be in Anne-Marie Stretter’s future, but his presence is conditional, and he knows this.

This workshop production is part of the Ovalhouse FiRST BiTE and involved a really great discussion afterwards. The program is really important as it provides a space for theatre makers to explore their work and craft in a supported environment. I don’t say this lightly, but seriously, Love Already was the most interesting, innovative and dynamic piece of theatre I have seen in a long time. Look out for a full scale production of it, it’s one to watch (and listen)!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Freedom, Books, Flowers, and the Moon Review

In the second play produced by Paradigm Theatre Company we again are treated to new writing. Freedom, Books, Flowers, and the Moon by Artistic Director and Playwright in Residence is an adaptation of two short stories by Oscar Wilde: The Nightingale and the Rose and The Happy Prince. Each story forms a stand alone play but they are connected in context and tone and complement each other well. Importantly they are also not just stagings of the stories but properly transformative adaptations.

Waterloo East Theatre is an interesting space, it’s long and thin but still manages to create a delightful intimacy. The rumble of trains overhead also provided ambient noise that at times really complemented the action. It lent a sinister overtone to both pieces. There was trouble brewing in this world and no one; however idealistic they were could escape that reality that was coming. As writer Sarah Pitard writes in the program these adaptations “ground the fairy-tales in reality...a much harsher reality” in the lead up to World War II the rise of the oppressive Nazi regime, rumblings from above work well in this context.

In the first play Besnik, a gypsy is in love with Helen, a Rich German and he has little hope of wooing her. She gives him an ultimatum to find her a rare red rose or she will not entertain even the thought. Florica, also a gypsy loves Besnik and determines to prove her own love to him by stealing the rose that he needs, at great sacrifice to herself.

In the short story we are left under no illusion of the sacrifice that the nightingale makes for her love. In this adaptation we do not return to Florica’s fate, I feel that perhaps we needed to see the ugliness of that unnecessary violence on stage to contrast of Besnik’s rather poetic broken heart. His ‘loss’ is made after all more poignant if we are reminded at what he has truly lost. It would have been an ideal opportunity to maybe return to space behind the beautiful gate and for us to witness Florica behind bars in dramatic contrast to his declaration of love.

I think it says much for the great set that it sparked further imagery (at least in me) beyond the play. Zanna Mercer’s design is very effective and evocative. The main set piece is a large iron gate – that doubles as a door in the second play. It gives a solid presence to both works and a visual focal point to the action without imposing an arbitrary symbol.

The second play involves the Richest Man in Germany – Mr. Prin giving away the last of his wealth to save those most in need. Isabella, a gypsy child is his means to deliver his wealth. But she is dying and they are both racing against their ailing health as well as the tide of Nazism and intolerance that is sweeping the country. In this play, the consequences are dramatically played out and we witness their actual pain as well as experience it through Isabella’s friend Kurt.

Cat Robey demonstrated an assured Direction of both works and an instinctive grasp of the special potential in the set in the second play. It gave a nice balance to the staging having the actors work at the front of the raised stage and was a neat way of transforming the space beyond the house and into the wider town where Isabella can venture but Mr. Prin can no longer go.

The entire cast of this production are excellent, both of the plays called for double casting and this is worked in well and is never distracting. I would make particular mention of Bethan Hanks (Isabella) and Theo Ancient (Kurt) who pull off very convincing characters much younger than themselves without ever becoming cloying or cute. Both of these children know that their love will not survive her illness or his country’s need for hatred but nevertheless their wide-eyed characters were delightful and ultimately very moving.

In an industry where new voices and new writing often struggle to find a platform it is good to see a new company taking chances with Rep theatre and producing new work. However in its own right Freedom, Books, Flowers, and the Moon is a very satisfying evening of theatre, and you can’t ask for more than that.

Freedom, Books, Flowers, and the Moon is currently playing at the Waterloo East Theatre and you can book tickets and find information here.



Friday, November 16, 2012

Dumb Ways to Die Metro Song Commentary

Metro an international company that just so happens to run the suburban trains in Melbourne - like any private transport operator it is fighting a constant battle against the fact that trains are delayed, the system is out of date, the services aren't all that reliable and the public get angry. Hardly the material for PR.

Anyway, they've just released this and it is going to be huge.

It absolutely ticks every box it could possibly tick in terms of online marketing.

Cute - check!
Slightly creepy (but also cheeky) animations- check!
Incredibly catchy song - check!
Ear-worm chorus repeated (and repeated and repeated)- check!
Leaked online to Fairfax Press before official release - check!
Slightly outrageous/potential for being controversial .... CHECK!

A Metro spokesperson was quoted in The Age being upfront that this was not about poking fun at those effected by accidents on their train system and that they were very serious about Rail Safety. There are going to be a few who think this is poor taste but they will be in the minority - this will rise above it. I think we can deal with it, Edward Gorey got there first and proved this sort of thing captivates our imaginations.

But you know what is perhaps best of all? They haven't tagged onto the Gangham Style or Call Me Maybe Parodies bandwagon - many of which are genuinely good - or have done something dumbed down and cliche. This is creativity plain and simple.

And if it gets kids to take out their headphones before darting across the closed crossing it will be worth having  the tune stuck in your head all week. And maybe just maybe, you yourself might think twice about doing stupid things around public transport.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In support of Union House Theatre.

To Whom It May Concern,

As an alumnus of the University of Melbourne and as a member of the international Theatre Industry I am distressed to read of the proposed changes to Union House (UHT).
This is a response to specific sections of the paper in relation to the proposed changes to UHT under the new management. It aims to address the misinformed assertions of the document against the existing model of Student Theatre at the University of Melbourne as well as the problems with the proposed restructuring. I would argue that the paper actively indicates not only a clear misunderstanding of the operations and management of UHT but also of the many Student Theatre Companies and the way they operate. This letter aims to address these assertions.

The University of Melbourne has unique student theatre structure in that it is formed of a central theatre company that has a core staff that operates and maintains the theatres, as well as mounting productions and continually liaising and working with many smaller student theatre companies. 
Below is an extract of my summary report to the University of Melbourne Theatre Board after attending the Festival of Australian Student Theatre organising conference (21st-22nd August 2009, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane).

The FAST Conference was essentially an initial consultation with the wider student theatre community to develop the idea into a realised proposal that will become the impetus for next years Festival. Universities represented at the conference included University of Melbourne, Latrobe University, Queensland University of Technology and Queensland University. There was also written submissions tabled from Sydney University, the Artistic Director of the National Student Theatre Festival in the UK and a phone conferencing session with Charles Sturt University
After initial introductions we spent time going through how student theatre was run at each represented University. The following is an excerpt of what I had prepared:

“At the University of Melbourne student theatre is essentially run through Union House Theatre – a theatre company in its own right (with paid staff) that produces shows but also offers discounts, venue hire, advice, services etc to affiliated student theatre companies. In this way student theatre is vibrant and varied – yet is coordinated and streamlined by UHT. Student groups that are non-affiliated are welcome as well to perform on/off campus but they do not receive the benefits or priority in UHT venues.”

I also talked about the state of Theatre Studies; the current situation at the VCA; MUDfest11 and a little bit about how the funding for UHT comes through University of Melbourne Theatre Board and UMSU. It became very clear that system in place at the University of Melbourne to support student theatre is an incredible resource for students – this was highlighted when contrasting models were presented to the group. Most Universities have one or two student theatre groups that may receive partial funding through the Union but essentially are struggling to survive.

What I further emphasised was the diversity of student theatre companies. No other University in the world can boast of such variety.

“Due to the variety of smaller affiliated groups – there tends to be a lot of different specialist theatre groups. Ie. Musical Theatre, Chinese Theatre, German Theatre, Classical Theatre, interpretive dance works, Farce, Shakespeare, experimental. Colleges tend to do one musical and one play per year.”

Any fool can see that the diversity in theatre companies allows not just a wide selection of theatrical presentations in the student theatre spaces but for diverse student engagement.

The University of Melbourne is also home to the largest student run bi-annual arts festival. At the 2009 FAST planning conference this is an extract of my presentation in relation to MUDFEST opportunities:

“Festivals on campus like MUDFEST11 offer unique opportunity for everyone to perform, however expansive an idea may be – we currently have several performance pieces that are staged across campus.”

At this stage, MUDFEST was coordinated by outside staff. In response to funding issues, internal politics etc MUDFEST has since become an example of the arts returning to student hands. In many ways the resulting success might look on the surface to support the recommendations of this report. Upon closer inspection the result actually reveals a parallel situation to how UHT currently (and successfully) works with student theatre companies.
In many ways, the MUDFEST 2011 production team worked in a similar way to an affiliated theatre company, receiving considerable mentoring and support from UHT in the running of the festival. I would highlight in particular Gus’ assistance with the production management of venues across campus. As a minor member of the MUDFEST Production Team I acknowledge that UHT staff were integral to the production process and operations of the festival.
This is an example of how Union House Theatre is an invaluable resource, whilst MUDFEST technically returned to student hands; these hands were duly supported when necessary by experienced professionals who worked closely to ensure a successful festival. In the same way as student theatre groups are not led by UHT staff, neither was MUDFEST 2011 but that doesn’t mean that they are not involved. It is precisely because team are not outsiders and yet are a fully operational theatre company that they are able to provide such support.

It is a fine line that UHT manages between facilitating theatre and creative output of student theatre companies and maintaining itself as a credible theatre company. It however achieves just this but continually working with students on both accounts and never separating out each role from the other.
I actually find it considerably offensive that the working document suggests that UHT moves to a model of “doing to enabling.” It is clear from both the mission statement of the company and the day-to-day running of the company that it prioritises working with and supporting students.
What the report seems to take issue with is that UHT doesn’t exist just to mentor and support student theatre companies and their independent productions but actively creates student theatre itself in mounting two productions a year. However, the main focus and point of the production of UHT’s own works is still the students. As a company UHT consistently produces excellent theatre – and every single production remains student focused.
There is no wall between the staff and students in these productions. Not since the production of White with Wire Wheels have has a UHT show sourced outside actors for a show[1] and this 2009 production of the Jack Hibberd classic did involve student crew, designers and members of the production team. Under the Artistic Direction of Tom Gutteridge UHT has moved even deeper into student involvement on every level of UHT productions. There has been considerable support for new original student writing and a tendency towards devised and workshopped performance pieces that have pushed boundaries and redefined what student theatre can be.
The collaboration with International Cabaret/Butoh performer Yumi Umiamare for Trans-Mute is an example of how an internationally renowned industry professional collaborated with UHT and students to create a truly dynamic work. This piece would not have been possible had it not been for UHT. UHT functioning as a host company also acts as bridge between student theatre and industry.
Apart from anything else UHT shows are fertile ground for collaboration between students from different groups. You will get performers from Musical Theatre groups working with those who love Shakespeare and with assistant direction from the head of the Chinese Theatre Group. There is truly an extensive student theatre community at the University of Melbourne but its heart beats in UHT – as demonstrated in the annual awards celebrations.
To separate the doing from the enabling is a ridiculous assertion that serves to highlight just how much this proposed document fails to understand the operations of UHT. 

An on campus fully functioning theatre company that actively produces student work is unique in Australia. La Boite in Brisbane (QUT) comes close, but it is a separate professional company that does not have a huge amount of interaction with the sole campus student theatre group Vena Cava. Just about every single working theatre space has a host theatre company, it is as much about running and maintaining a working theatre as anything else. With the Guild Theatre and Union Theatre (and to a lesser degree The Open Stage) the University is blessed with great theatre venues.
Under the proposed model, who is to support and manage the technical crew for the on campus theatres? Who is to provide the specialised training, inductions and supervision of the spaces? The suggestion that “facilities and infrastructure” personal from the Union could partially fulfil this role belies the fact that maintaining working theatres is a full time job – it isn’t some part time casual nod as part of another one.
The people in these jobs, know these theatres like the back of their hands, they have unparallel years of experience in maintaining the spaces – they can patch a light, work the flies, train casual theatre workers as well as providing technical support to student theatre companies and shows. In fact it would be a considerable risk to student safety to under-staff the theatre spaces. The phrase in the proposal: “shift in the focus of operations” is a complete joke. There simply will not be a fully operational theatre space if there isn’t the staff there. It wouldn’t be a safe environment.
“Increased student participation and engagement” does not start with money handouts to student theatre groups; it begins with investing in the theatres themselves and UHT is the best investment both the Union Theatre and Guild Theatre have.

The assertion in this proposal that the University of Melbourne moves towards more of “a student led model of student theatre” painfully demonstrates the lack of understanding of student theatre at the University of Melbourne. Individual theatre companies are almost entirely made up of students, but they are able to draw on the invaluable resources of UHT. In an attempt to support the restructuring other University models of student theatre. The report details:

“At the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales student theatre productions are staged through a single student club or society.  There are no staff in the relevant student organisations dedicated to the support for, or production of, student theatre performances.”

This Club and Society model at the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales models is completely impractical for Melbourne University. UMSU already supports a separate Clubs and Societies system and it would be disastrous to try and incorporate student theatre companies into that. The author’s of the proposed document have little understanding of how the underwriting system of Student Theatre Companies works at the University of Melbourne. I would suggest that future consultations begin with understanding the current system before making comparisons.

The other example raised in the report runs as follows:

“The Monash Student Association operates Monash University Student Theatre
(MUST) and engages an Artistic Director and a Technical Manager to support its
operations. ‘MUST encourages and mentors students to expand their knowledge and enhance their uni experience with the creation of art and performance.’”

Whilst nominally this example seems commendable, it doesn’t exactly explain why this model is preferable and different to the current UHT model at the University of Melbourne. On the surface the inclusion of this statement appears to be alluding to the fact that Monash student theatre is student focused and employs less staff – whilst potentially insinuating that this is not the case with UHT.
This completely disregards the fact that the Monash Student Theatre is essentially run and cultivated through its Performing Arts degrees. The groups are formed from the Performing Arts students, many of the performances in the space are actually assessed work and whilst there is a dynamic and thriving theatre community it does not have the variety of the University of Melbourne student groups – or the capacity to support the overall participation numbers.
Monash University Student Theatre also, whilst having a rather neat small black-box theatre and access to a larger space (also hired out externally and available for lectures etc) does not have two fully operational theatre spaces available to students for the full academic year.
After the closure of Creative Arts (and the subsequent graduation of the remaining Heritage Students) the University of Melbourne does not have any campus based performing arts students left. Even before this department closed the majority of participating students were not performing arts students. You would find companies of Law, Science, Maths, English, Engineering and Commerce students on the Union stage. This was and currently is actively “expanding” and “enhancing” the experience of many students across different courses. Members of student theatre companies are continually “creating art and performance” whilst being mentored by the staff at UHT.
In fact this extract of the mission statement from MUST is so closely aligned to the existing model of UHT its inclusion in this working document is almost irrelevant unless it is supporting the wider general aims of student theatre. Also it bears mentioning that the two staff members that do support the running of the MUST are that of Artistic Director and Technical Manager, two of the roles currently being proposed for termination.

Throughout my time as a student at the University of Melbourne the Student Union facility I used most (when I voluntarily paid my Union fees for four years, and then one year as an alumni Union member) was Union House Theatre. I was involved on stage, backstage and in the production teams of student theatre companies throughout this time however in terms of professional development support it is in my capacity as a playwright that UHT has supported (“enabled”) my professional development.
In 2009, it was UHT with Finished/Unfinished that produced my very first rehearsed reading, my short play Dora’s Tears. This play was since performed in 2010, at the Short+Sweet Melbourne Festival, Directed by Joseph Appleton at Chapel Off Chapel; and in 2011, in Short+Sweet Sydney, Directed by Sadashivam Rao, Newtown Theatre. It was also later reworked into I Am Not Your Art which directed by Ariel Navarro was performed as part of the Norwich and Norfolk Arts Festival in 2012.
The 2010 O-week program at UHT included a 24hrPlayProject. It was also the first time I had seen saw my work performed. In 2010, with UHT support I also attended the inaugural Festival of Australian Student Theatre as a writer and producer. In 2011, having completed my degree, I was supported in producing the staging of three original pieces for MUDFEST 2011. All of these works have built the professional development of my writing. Plays don’t exist in a vacuum – it needs people and if some of those people are professional and part of an established and working theatre company, all the better.
Artistic Director Tom Gutteridge also wrote Letters of Recommendation in support of my applications to various Masters Courses in Scriptwriting in the UK. He has also been a willing and excellent referee on other applications.
I doubt that I would have the capacity or the skills to have co-founded a play reading group without my dealings with UHT or had the confidence to independently produce my contribution to the Norwich and Norfolk Arts Festival. This year I completed my Masters in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, during which I dramaturged UHT’s devised work The Fury. This was rewarding and a welcome practical application of my growing dramaturgy skills. I am now living and writing in London.
In the time since I have left, UHT have facilitated writing programs with professional writers, commissioned students to write shows to produce and have continued to provide additional platforms for short student written works. I have maintained contact with the company would work with them again in a heartbeat.  

In conclusion, this working proposal document is short-sighted and clearly is from the perspective of people who have never worked closely with the student theatre community of the University of Melbourne. I would strongly urge a consultation with the actual community the Union is representing before any of the suggestions are taken to the next level. The University of Melbourne prides itself as being the best University in the country. It currently has the best of the best in UHT and is seriously risking the quality and quantity of student theatre. Let’s not forget that Melbourne Theatre Company grew out of student theatre at the University
But you know something, part of me wants to thank the consultancy firm that provided the impetus for these absurd proposals – it has prompted me to reflect back on my time at the University of Melbourne and how UHT was such an important part of that. They always were reliable, there and willing to listen and support. It heartens me that they exist and that I am not alone in my shock and dismay at the ill-informed proposals of this report. Out of these reactions perhaps a constructive dialogue can be entered into about how to best continue this tradition under the new UMSU management.

It is most important that we all remember that the UHT door is always open not just to students but for students. And you know something? That’s family.

Yours Sincerely,

Tilly Lunken

Writer – Dramaturg
London, England.

[1] In this particular case it was an anniversary production of a show that was initially performed at the University of Melbourne in 1967 and then UHT Artistic Director Susie Dee brought a unique retelling of the play into a contemporary student space.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Changing Paradigm of London Independent Theatre

London has long been a theatre town, but in an industry that by its very nature should involve change it has become entrenched in established theatre practice. Perhaps it could even be described as a little neglectful of the Fringe underbelly that can so often inject vitality into the mainstream. Increasingly it seems whatever independent theatre makers produce; the rhythms of the main stages roll on regardless, for whilst many theatres boast of new writing and developing the next generation, the reality of the current economic climate is that risk is not ideal.

Into this context comes an innovative and recently established group who are bringing a different approaching to staging independent theatre. Self described as the only Fringe Repertory Company in London, Paradigm Theatre Company is redefining both artistic practice and the way the audience interacts with their shows.

Originally from Chicago Playwright/Artistic Director Sarah Pitard has implemented what she describes as a ‘Chicago Rep’ model that involves a company of committed artistic associates that generate four full new productions a year. In her spin on the template, two original new works, one original adaptation and a classic are produced. These plays are then grouped together into a themed seasons so there is a thread of consistency for the audience across the year. The current theme ‘the many faces of love’ may seem broad but Pitard enthusiastically ties it to each production: “invisible love… giving because of love” it’s what it’s all about.

Although once a mainstay of the industry, Repertory theatre is no longer fashionable, however Pitard details the many benefits to those involved with such a company. Each Artistic Associate can be involved in up to three of the four productions. Whilst others are brought in on individual shows, members are consistently involved throughout the season. In the upcoming production there is a cast of nine actors, three of which are Artistic Associates within the company for the year. There clearly needs to be a balance between an in-house production and engaging with the wider industry but Pitard is confident they have achieved this so far. She emphasises that whilst members may be working on other projects concurrently Paradigm is essentially an “artistic home” for all those involved. It seems as much about building a supportive community as it is about developing careers.

With consistent and long term programming, Paradigm Theatre Company is challenging and changing the way London interacts with independent/Fringe theatre. This isn’t a pop up group that will bubble and burst in the short term, as Pitard says they are “very, very different” from anything that is currently on the scene. They will provide a reliable platform for independent and emerging artists as well as consistently good theatre for a returning audience. It is a bold approach to take and they are looking to build on the success of breaking even so far.

Currently in production is Pitard’s play Freedom, Books, Flowers and the Moon an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde short stories The Nightingale and the Rose and The Happy Prince. Working with the strengths of the short form, each story neatly fits into one act. They are linked through the context of the persecution of gypsies during World War II, with the characters all human but perhaps not treated as such. Here they are “transported to a whole new place” where as a writer she felt considerable creative freedom. In fact she used “very little of the actual text, most of it is just me… but certainly the tone is the same as the stories” and they are textured with symbolism and delicate imagery that reflects the original concept.

Asked why she chose these stories in particular Pitard talks at length about The Happy Prince: “my dad would get to the end of it and then cry… I didn’t quite understand it when I was six but somehow I knew it was amazing.” She then describes discovering English Literature at drama school and keeping a “notebook full of words” to educate herself, it was this that led her to writing and also to revisit Oscar Wilde. Reading The Happy Prince again she understood her dad’s tears – “the ending killed me” and she knew she wanted to adapt these “deep and meaningful and beautiful” works.

Being Artistic Director as well as the playwright on this production you can see Pitard relishes the extra “bit of artistic control” she maintains over the show, however she insists that she is able to relax “trust my team” and doesn’t attend rehearsals. It’s refreshing to engage with a writer who is involved beyond the page: “I want to produce and I want to write” she says and Paradigm gives her the opportunity to do that.  

Her determination reflects a wider trend of theatre makers taking initiative and taking creative control of their careers. Paradigm’s Resident director Cat Robey has directed four independent productions in the last two months and Pitard herself works full time as well as writing and producing. Pitard laughs, it’s “intense but it can be done, you just don’t sleep a lot!”

There is something gritty about independent theatre and Paradigm definitely doesn’t have the slick glossiness that so defines our established theatres. However, you definitely get the sense that as they develop they’ll shine in their own spotlight and might – just might –be more artistically fulfilled for it.

The show runs the 6th-25th @ The Waterloo East Theatre
Tuesday-Sat @ 7:30pm; Sun @ 4pm
You can book tickets at and find out more information about Paradigm here.