Warts and All Theatre are about to premiere two new plays this week, made entirely by Northamptonshire artists. The Collective present Deep Freeze by Greg Dallas and No Child by Emma Matthews.
We spoke to Artistic Director Christopher Elmer-Gorry to find out more…
Why are you putting these plays on?
Warts and All Theatre are committed to supporting local artists at whatever stage of their career. So this project is being presented by The Collective – our theatre-making group for adults from across Northamptonshire. Specifically though -Deep Freeze and No Child were voted to be developed by the audience at our annual Scuff Night in July 2017. Essentially at the Scuff Night, local theatre-makers share their idea or concept for a new play… the audience vote (using casino chips) and place their bets on which plays they would like to see developed into full plays… Deep Freeze and No Child were the most popular choices -and now we are ready to share these new plays with an audience!
How has the process been?
It’s been really exciting. Supporting local artists to develop their ideas into a fully realised production means that we get to be really flexible and playful with regards to the process. We’ve done a lot of testing, rewriting, discussing and improvising. It’s a real challenge for the actors because you aren’t just rehearsing the script- you are constantly, developing the content, alongside the character.
What can the audience expect?
Fundamentally, a good night out! With these two plays, there is something for everyone. I don’t want to give too much away -but I’d say Deep Freeze has an element of theatrical drama and No Child, is a black comedy with a very big heart!
They aren’t taking place in a traditional theatre, why is that?
First and foremost- we want to take the work back to the community that voted for it to happen in the first place. We’ve created a pop-up theatre at St James Community Centre! Of course- it’s the first time we’ve done this… but we want to keep taking work to a variety of locations across Northamptonshire. I think sometimes that theatre can be a bit inaccessible. There’s a preconception that comes with a night out at the theatre. That we have to dress up, buy an expensive ice cream, that theatre is only for a certain type of person… People feel that theatre isn’t for them- for a number of reasons… I feel like that sometimes and I love theatre! So anything we can do to break down those barriers and make it more accessible the better. We have this conversation with the team at Warts and All regularly. -We are constantly trying to find ways of programming work and projects that embrace a number of different ways to engage our audience. I’ve seen some amazing work over the years and it’s not always been in a theatre with curtains!
What’s your favourite moment in the plays?
I don’t want to give too much away, as both plays have some great twists and turns. I love how Deep Freeze provokes us to consider science vs nature, and our own morals. With No Child It’s very timely, at the centre of the play is a strong female character and her struggle to get her life in order, against a system that fundamentally doesn’t make it easy for her. I think the evening also provides a good balance of tragedy and comedy, so I think it does have something for everyone… I mean, what’s not entertaining about a grown man, being treated like a baby?!
Why should people come and see the shows?
Because it’s great to support local talent, try something new and be part of a community. Also, a ticket only costs the same price as around 3 pints, or 2 if it’s in one of those trendy places! Give us a try, you might like it…
Deep Freeze and No Child (double-bill) take place at St James Community Centre (144 St James’ Rd, Northampton, NN5 5LQ) on Fri 23 and Sat 24 March 2018. Tickets are £11, which includes both plays, and are available from www.wartsandalltheatre.co.uk
PLEASE NOTE: Both shows contain strong language and scenes that may not be suitable for anyone under the age of 16.