Wednesday, 5 September 2012

She town interview

Thanks to the manic intensity of Glasgow's scenes, and my own obsessive enthusiasm for cataloging the more marginal forms of performance, other cities can find it hard to get a mention.
Fortunately, today I am talking to Rosalind Philips, assistant director of Dundee Rep's ambitious She-Town. Having been involved in the Citizen's successful presentations of My Name is Rachel Corrie and One Millions Tiny Plays, she is no stranger to impressive productions, but She-Town offers a special challenge: it has a cast of both professional and community performers.

Thank you for taking the time to chat, Rosalind: but what encouraged you to get involved with a project like this?

There were three great reasons for getting involved in She Town. Firstly, after my experience directing My Name is Rachel Corrie, adapting and directing One Million Tiny Plays and assisting with other shows at the Citz, I wanted some more experience working on main house shows: this time with a large cast. She Town ticks all the boxes, particularly as it has the theme of community that interests me.

Secondly, Dundee Rep is one of the few ensembles in the UK and I was keen to get involved and see under the bonnet of such a rare and special way of working with a much respected Theatre. Thirdly, support from FST made it possible in these cash strapped times!!! 

She-Town, which examines a past economic depression and emphasises the importance of women in holding together families and communities, fits rather well in a very Scottish tradition of theatre
that recovers lost histories and becomes, in itself, part of the ongoing discussion about how the past shapes the present. Do you see theatre as important in encouraging these discussions,

I certainly subscribe to the 'theatre as forum' view: in revealing a hidden history of financially independent women, She Town excites debate. I think theatre offers an environment for both our conscious and sub-conscious understanding (dream) and playfulness in debates which is often suffer with a domination of statistics, facts and anecdotes.

Does She-Town draw any parallels with out own current economic situation?
She Town is a story of women with economic independence feeling enabled to make personal and political choices for themselves and their families. It is also a story of that independence slipping through their fingers as the mills closed, with no alternative work to be found. Sharman also draws a parallel between global economic concerns and personal activism, so I see resonances with current campaigns such as The Occupy Movement. 

Sharman eloquently charts the connection between local union action and international solidarity, which I have enjoyed learning about especially as we have a tendency to think mass global awareness was born with the internet and social media. Sharman reminds us that the general public is always engaged with wider global concerns when they understand that those concerns affect them personally.

No comments :

Post a Comment