Spotlight on Island Song’s Grace McKenzie

Tell me about your background and performance history?

Grace McKenzie.jpgI was born in Dublin and brought up in Ireland before moving to Glasgow at the age of 10. I have been performing since a very young age, first as a dancer and then musical theatre. Moving to Glasgow, I continued her work as a dancer, becoming one of the soloists for Performer’s Dance Academy in productions such as An American in Paris and Dance Macabre. I performed with Douglas Academy’s Senior and Chamber Choir. In 2011 – 2013, I became part of Douglas Academy’s Drama Society leading to two very successful productions of Cinderella and an original piece Cluedo. Becoming head of the society I then produced and directed my personally penned production “A Laddie” which was a Scottish panto/adaptation of Aladdin performed in aid of Yorkhill Hospital and Great Ormand Street.

In 2013 I moved to London to study BA Theatre and Drama at Royal Holloway University. Whilst studying I performed in several variety shows and summer cabarets. During this time I launched my two radio shows, “Coco Throwbacks” and my own segment “Geeble’s Genres”.

For the past two years, I’ve been working in London as a journalist, actress and musician.

How did you come together as a company?

I met Poppy Brooks through work. Brooks mentioned her intentions to produce Carner and Gregor’s Island Song and after attending West End Live together, she offered me the part of Caroline and the position of MD. After initial discussions about the upcoming production, we decided to form Polyphony Performances and run the preparations together.

Island Song is a rewritten show by Sam Carner and Derek Gregor, what made you choose this unfamiliar production over something everyone knew?

Poppy has had the opportunity to work with the composer and lyricist In the past and when I listened to their music I loved the humour and musicality of the songs. The story of Island Song is about five young people trying to make it in the world and as a 21-year-old (almost 22) trying to make it in London, it spoke to me.

This is one-night show is produced by Polyphony Productions (Poppy Brooks and Grace McKenzie). Any plans for longer running production in the future?

Yes, we would absolutely love the chance to put this on as a full-scale production. First, we want to show people what kind of Concert we can put on with no financial help and then gain some backers knowing we can do well.

What have been the challenges with putting on the production around other commitments?

The main challenge for me was finding times to suit everyone to rehearse. Poppy and I are regularly in communication and we catch up regularly regarding the plans so that side of it has been smooth. It has been casting and rehearsal schedules which posed a challenge.

You are performing at Chelsea Theatre? As a new company, did you struggle to find affordable spaces?

Yes, a lot of places expect money up front or for you to pay extra for tech etc. The Chelsea Theatre is a community run space which has provided a lot for us under one flat fee and any other extras are charged for. Other places wanted to charge for every individual thing, racking up a hefty initial bill.

Do you think the theatre community is doing enough to help new production companies or are you left to fend for yourself?

I find that there are a lot of new productions happening and new companies so It doesn’t always lead to a lot during your initial project. Once you’ve put on 2 or 3 things, people seem to be more supportive because you’ve essentially proven you’re serious. With things like Brighton and Edinburgh fringe, I think we have been brave to jump straight to a London audience but it’s where we are and where the end goal is, so why not take a leap?

What character do you play and are you quite similar or different from them?

I play Caroline and I do feel we are quite similar. I have experienced similar events in the past to her in the show and I believe we are both just hopeless romantics at the end of the day.

https://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/7652-4532-1218
https://www.facebook.com/gracemcmusic/
https://www.youtube.com/c/GracieTime101
https://www.instagram.com/gracemcmusic/

Island Song is on at Chelsea Theatre on 30 September Tickets can be purchased here  http://www.chelseatheatre.org.uk/whats-on/island-song-concert/

https://www.instagram.com/polyphonyperformances/ 

Spotlight on Island Song’s Poppy Brooks

Poppy Brooks.JPGTell me about your background and performance history?

Well I did quite a lot of unpaid theatre work whilst at University and then went on to study a Professional Development course at Associated Studios in Musical Theatre. Since then I have been fortunate enough to perform in several concerts and shows including a charity tour in India with Toccata Musical Productions.

How did you come together as a company?

Once I asked Grace to come on board with the project as MD we started discussing more and more of the artistic and technical side of things until we realised we were collaborating on pretty much everything and it was working really well.

Island Song is a rewritten work by Sam Carner and Derek Gregor, what made you choose this unfamiliar production over something everyone knew?

I had had the opportunity to work with Sam and Derek on some of their music earlier in the year and fell in love with the comedy writing and melodies straight away. Once I discovered Island Song I was hooked! I knew it would be a fantastic opportunity to show more people what Carner & Gregor were writing and lucky for me they let me!

This is one-night show is produced by Polyphony Productions (Poppy Brooks and Grace McCabe). Any plans for longer running production in the future?

In the future we would love to have a longer running show definitely.

What have been the challenges with putting on the production around other commitments?

Definitely fitting rehearsals in around everyone’s schedules. 5 performers and 3 band members all who have other commitments equals a lot of calendar data collection!

You are performing at Chelsea Theatre? As a new company, did you struggle to find affordable spaces?

We had quite a tight budget so it was a combination of finding affordable performing spaces and them not already being booked when our performers were available!

Do you think the theatre community is doing enough to help new production companies or are you left to fend for yourself?

I do think it’s a case of if you know where to look and do lots of research it is a little easier, but I think it’s the same for all companies when you start out whether theatre or not. It’s a little of groping the wall in the dark until you find the light switch.

What character do you play and are you quite similar or different from them?

I play Jordan, a career driven bright young woman and in that way think we are quite similar (though I may flatter myself). I like to think I’m a little less black and white in my views of what fits in my life plan.

Island Song is on at Chelsea Theatre on 30 September Tickets can be purchased here  http://www.chelseatheatre.org.uk/whats-on/island-song-concert/

Spotlight on We Apologise for the Inconvenience’s Pete Gibson

 

Pete Gibson is an actor based in the North West. He will be playing Douglas Adams in Mark Griffiths new play We Apologise for the Inconvenience

21850254_524158144592458_2029483309_nDid you know much about Douglas Adams when you took on the part?

I LOVED the TV version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when I was a kid. Being about ten at the time, I probably didn’t appreciate the cleverness of the writing but remember Marvin the Paranoid Android and Zaphod Beeblebrox (the guy with two heads!) particularly. The whole scene with the super computer Deep Thought – who after billions of years works out that the answer to the ultimate question, the meaning of life, the universe and everything is “42” – also sticks in the mind.

Approaching biographical pieces, do you treat it as any other script or do you research the character?

I am a massive fan of Michael Sheen who has played everyone from Brian Clough to Tony Blair and he advised actors to never do a Mike Yarwood! It is not an impression, it is a character, and so I do the usual script analysis, concentrating on what the writer, the cast and the character himself says. Mind you, I have just played Alan Bennett in a wonderful play called “Television Centre: Room 5064” and the rhythm of his language is such, that you can’t help doing the reedy singsong Leeds voice. It also had me thinking about cakes quite a lot…

This blog tends to focus on South East and London but what is it like being an actor based in the North West, a region known for its great theatres but competing with London?

The presence of Media City in Salford has been a massive boost to actors in the North West when it comes to screen work. Manchester has a superb fringe scene too, but I am really pleased we are doing We Apologise for the Inconvenience in Liverpool, first. Our brilliant director Emma Bird is from Liverpool and the scene there seems to be fresh, new and exciting. Having worked in Sheffield, Newcastle and Leeds, there is some superb talent there too – writers, producers and actors – and Oldham has an amazing reputation from producing young actors mostly for television. I love to watch a show that has come up from London but would like to see more productions travel to the capital from the North. Talent doesn’t stop at the Watford Gap!

You run your own PR, marketing and events company Pete Gibson Media. Has your acting career been a help or hindrance in this role?

Running your own business helps free up your time to devote to acting and supports you financially (I am from a VERY working class background!). I never need to seek permission for a couple of hours off from the boss, which is nice. The worlds of PR and acting cross over quite seamlessly. A lot of my work is in producing corporate films and I love giving talented actors some employment. My business largely supports charities and the arts and people within acting have been so giving – often fronting campaigns and events. It helps when you have to promote your forthcoming show to have been doing radio and TV interviews for 30 years now (showing my age!). But acting is the first love.

Whilst London isn’t the centre of the universe, would you like to bring the show there after its run in Liverpool and Manchester?

I am sure Douglas Adams has a line about where the centre of the universe really is – I will have to research it! Room 5064 and a couple of other productions I have been in, have been to London and I would love We Apologise for the Inconvenience to visit, too. Getting on my soap box now, my personal ambition is to take theatre to areas where drama is poorly served. Provincial theatres are being threatened with closure at an alarming rate and yet I have worked on TIE projects and sessions with everyone from pensioners to prisoners, and they love drama – it can be truly life-changing.

 

We Apologise for the Inconvenience is being performed in Liverpool and Manchester this November, for details and tickets go here;

https://www.fatsoma.com/room-5064-productions/p8pbapvm/we-apologise-for-the-inconvenience-an-infinitely-improbable-play-about-douglas-adams 

 

Spotlight on We Apologise for the Inconvenience’s playwright Mark Griffiths

Mark Griffiths is writer of comedy, drama and children’s books. His new play We Apologise for the Inconvenience looks at Douglas Adams attempt to write a fourth book in the Hitchhikers Gudie to the Galaxy trilogy.

unnamedYou are mostly known for children’s books, what has drawn you to the world of theatre?

I began my writing career as a scriptwriter – writing jokes and sketches for comedy shows on radio and TV – so I’ve always had one foot in writing for performance. You really can’t beat hearing an audience laugh at something you’ve written. After I first visited the Edinburgh Fringe about ten years ago, I really fancied the idea of writing a monologue for my friend Laura Harper to perform. This became a one-act play called The Lullaby Witch, which we first staged as part of the 24:7 Theatre Festival in Manchester and eventually took to the Fringe in 2010. It was a lot of fun to do and I’ve written several more plays since, including one for Radio 4. These plays allow me to delve into deeper and darker subject matter than I would normally explore in my children’s books and I love the teamwork aspect of putting on a show. Writing books is a very solitary activity by comparison.

You are based in the North West, which has some great theatres like Liverpool’s Everyman and Manchester’s HOME and Royal Exchange to name a few. Is it easier to put on a play here or is becoming just as competitive as London?

The type of plays I’ve written have been one-act, easy to stage studio pieces with small casts. The sort of thing you can put on in a room above a pub. There are numerous small venues in the North West that are looking for such shows and many towns have their own fringe theatre festivals, so it’s not too hard to put on a play somewhere should you want to. I’m sure there are numerous similar opportunities in London. The trick is to persuade the people who programme the larger venues to come to your show in the hope they’ll want to take it.

Whilst Adam’s extensive work in his short life is well known his personality seems a bit more of a mystery. How did you research Adams the man or is this very much your character with Adams as a base?

Well, his character isn’t that much of a mystery. There are four biographies of him out there and numerous written and video interviews available online, so it’s fairly easy to get an idea of his personality. And we have his work, of course, which gives us an insight into how that astounding brain of his worked. But yes, of course, ultimately this is a work of fiction rather than biography. It’s my version of Douglas Adams, although hopefully one formed by a very close attention to the man and his writing.

Are you a fan of Adams? Do you even need to be a fan of your subject as a playwright?

A huge fan! Seeing the TV version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when I was 10 completely blew my mind. Here was a show that was funny, surprisingly dark (people often forget that nowadays!) and scientifically literate. His voice – that combination of Wodehousian chattiness and scientific language – was hugely appealing and made a tremendous impact on me. I wouldn’t say you need to be a fan of someone to base a play on them. You just need an interesting slant or story to tell. I came across the incident the play is based on (Adams being locked in his hotel room to get him to finish a book) in Nick Webb’s biography of Adams Wish You Were Here. Webb even suggests that it might make a two-hander play! When I read that I thought, I write plays, I’m very interested in Douglas Adams. If anyone has to write this play, it’s me!

Have you worked on biographical plays before? Do you love it or embrace the challenge?

This is the first play I’ve written to feature a real person. I felt a great responsibility to get it right. Not necessarily in terms of accuracy to the actual events (which Adams would probably appreciate!) but to capture the flavour of the man – his wit, his intelligence, his ambitions, frustrations, and obsessions.

We Apologise for the Inconvenience is on for a short run in Manchester and Liverpool? Any plans for other cities?

No firm plans yet but we remain open to offers!

 

We Apologise for the Inconvenience is being performed in Liverpool and Manchester this November, for details and tickets go here;

https://www.fatsoma.com/room-5064-productions/p8pbapvm/we-apologise-for-the-inconvenience-an-infinitely-improbable-play-about-douglas-adams 

 

 

Interview with Ovalhouse Theatre’s Owen Calvert-Lyons

What are the key themes in Ovalhouse’s Autumn Season?

The Autumn Season at Ovalhouse explores the ‘unseen’ people in our communities: children in care, whistle-blowers, sex-workers, transgender people and asylum seekers.  Often these groups remain unseen because their stories are difficult to hear.  This season, we give voice to those who are unheard.  Louise Wallwein presents her bold and unflinching production about growing up in care, Glue; Angela Clerkin returns to Ovalhouse with The Secret Keeper, a dark and unsettling adult fairy tale about whistle blowers and with hunts and The Sex Workers Opera takes us on an honest and joyous journey into the world of the sex trade.

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I’ve found the Ovalhouse to be one of the most diverse and experimental places in London. As you came to Ovalhouse from Hampshire theatres, did you relish the diversity on offer or was it a challenge initially?

I’ve always supported, nurtured and developed the most diverse group of artists possible, wherever I’ve worked.  In Hampshire, there was certainly less ethnic diversity, and this led us to support more disabled artists and to focus on some of the less visible aspects of diversity such as class.  Prior to my time in Hampshire, I set-up the Creative Learning department of Arcola Theatre, so I’m no stranger to the extraordinary diversity of London.  Now that I’m back in the most diverse city in the UK, I’m really excited by our plans at Ovalhouse.  We are supporting artists who have something important to say.

Ovalhouse is moving from its current location in Oval to Brixton in 2018. How do you plan to combine the positivity of regeneration with the hostility towards gentrification for locals who may not be theatre attendees?

Ovalhouse has a 50-year history of making theatre with, by and for its community and that won’t change.  Our new venue will, first and foremost, be for the people of Brixton.  We have always sought to work with those living on our doorstep.  The new building will be located directly opposite the Moorlands Estate and immediately behind our venue Lambeth are planning to build 300 new homes, the majority of which will be social housing.  These residents will be our future audiences, staff, volunteers, and participants.  It’s really important to us that we will be right at the heart of our new community and be playing a positive role in its future.

Brixton is also quite a trendy area with a big music heritage. Is this something the new Ovalhouse will embrace or will it stick with its programme full of new and emerging artists?

We are really looking forward to being a part of one of the most vibrant creative and cultural communities in London.  We want to complement the activity which is already happening, so our programme will be sticking to our specialism of theatre.  So you can expect us to continue our long history of nurturing the very best new theatre artists, but we will have a 21st Century building, to ensure that these artists are given the resources to tell powerful and important stories.

One of the shows I am looking forward to in your Autumn season is The Sex Workers Opera. Are you expecting any controversy with this production? Do you think opera can ever be mainstream and lose its posh reputation?

This production isn’t trying to court controversy.  It’s about celebrating voices which are too often ignored, and the show does feel like a celebration.  It has some dark and heartfelt scenes, but it’s also an explosion of energy, music, and entertainment.  It’s operatic in the sense that it has an epic scale to it and the story is mostly told through song, but if that conjures images of stuffy Sopranos in tuxedos and powdered wigs, then forget it.   This is an empowering celebration of sex work with the sort of political punch you would expect from an Ovalhouse production.  As one of its characters says – “There are no bad whores, just bad laws”.

 

Ovalhouse’s Autumn Season kicks off on 3rd October and runs until 23rd December.

 

Spotlight on The English Heart’s Matthew Campling

From our brief chats you’ve had quite a varied career history, what finally brought you to the world
of theatre and directing?

I grew up in a media family – my mother was a dancer and singer and my father a journalist and radio broadcaster. At University I did an English and Speech and Drama degree and then acted professionally in Johannesburg, South Africa (I’m British, my parents took us to SA when I was 8. Big mistake!) I discovered I preferred my own words to interpreting the words of others, so I started writing plays. I had five produced in SA. When I came to England I needed to make money so I went into the health service. I have a Diploma and BA Hons in Counselling and a Masters in Psychotherapy. I worked as a therapist for 20 years, during which I was also a magazine agony uncle for 10 years, a regular guest expert on ITV’s ‘Trisha’ show, and a regular commentator on radio, in print and on TV on men’s health issues, and my specialist subject, eating disorder recovery.
When I approached my 60th birthday I wanted something more fun and light so I returned to writing plays. The English Heart is my ninth produced play (I have done 3 since returning to the UK) and my 10th, The Secondary Victim, is at the Park Theatre in November 2017.

How much of a response to Brexit is The English Heart or was it an idea you had for a while?
For 17 years I owned a beautiful farmhouse outside Boston, Lincolnshire. I read in an article that Boston was the area in the UK with the highest votes for Brexit. So I started to think about a response which brought the two together. So The English Heart came specifically out of reading that article, although I’ve for some time been wanting to write about an unusual type of relationship between three people.

264000_description_the_english_heart_A5_frontThere seems to be a lot of nudity based on the rehearsal pictures. Is this a feature of your productions or something integral to the play?

He he! Nice question. Actually there’s no more actual nudity in the play than you would find on Brighton beach. I follow the classic guidelines of farces and comedies from the 1960s and 1970s. My cast are all young and lovely and semi-nudity is part of the fun of the play. I often work with actors who have done full-frontal nudity and I say that doesn’t usually happen in my plays. It’s about fun and suggestion – and I’ve seen some plays where there was full-frontal nudity that in my opinion added nothing.

What do you hope audiences will get out of The English Heart?
Politics is uppermost in our minds. I partly wrote The English Heart as my angry response to events of the past year. But I didn’t want to write a sober, serious debate where actors made one telling point and the audience has already thought everything that’s been said. I wanted to depict a group of 3 where they are thoroughly sick of Brexit, and have got to the stage of making outrageous jokes
which still have a serious purpose – expressing how people feel. So I hope audiences will see The English Heart as something of an antidote to toxic politics. Also, the relationship that emerges has a political dimension, as revealed in the last couple of scenes. I go with the idea that primarily people come to the theatre to be entertained. They have hard-working lives, they want fun and jokes and attractive people getting up to all sorts of antics. Well, in The English Heart anyway, my next play is MUCH more serious!

The English Heart is on Etcetera Theatre, Camden from 13 June – 2 July. Tickets can be purchased here https://www.ticketea.co.uk/tickets-theatre-english-heart/

Matthew’s play The Secondary Victim is on at Park Theatre 14 November – 9 December. Tickets are available now https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/the-secondary-victim

 

Sublime, Tristan Bates Theatre

Sublime is a confident and self-assured debut from Sarah Thomas about a brother and sister whose life has been dominated by abandonment and crime. After being away for two years Sophie hasn’t come to make amends for abandoning Sam but needs a couple of heists to make up for the £800k she lost in a job gone wrong.

To complicate matters Sam has a girlfriend, Clara, which seems to put Sophie out of sorts. She lies and lures her with gifts to get her on side but is she a protective sister or is there something more.

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Adele Oni is one to watch in this fantastic performance as Sophie, sexy and intelligent you can believe that she has used her charms to stay ahead in her life of crime with Michael Fatogun as her charming brother, who with his upper-middle-class girlfriend and his day job seems to have gone straight but like his sister he also has secrets and likes to take risks. There is fantastic chemistry between the two leads and their history, their relationship and crucially their relationship with others feels convincing.

It isn’t completely faultless; the casting of Declan Cooke as two almost identical characters in approach and mannerisms doesn’t help the story or do Cooke many favours and Suzy Gill’s Clara is merely a pawn in the game, a contrast to vivacious Sophie.  The second half feels weaker as the true extent of Sam and Sophie’s relationship comes to head and their past comes back to haunt them but this feels like a weakness in the production rather than the script, with Thomas never forgetting that these are characters who like to take risks.

Kudos to the casting, with two back leads this is not a BME tale and all characters could be played by actors of any race and kudos to Thomas’ who doesn’t make this some faux gangster tale but a heartfelt look at taboos and the feeling of needing to belong in a world that has never made you feel welcome.

Thomas is developing the story into a screenplay and I can see where that would have its advantages, it feels almost too structured for theatre and the production struggled to convincingly show what their role was in the heist. A film would give the opportunity to explore their past a bit more. Ultimately this is still one of the finest new works to hit the London stage this year and despite its short run, I hope it is seen by many.

CREATIVE TEAM

Writer Sarah Thomas
Director Ben SantaMaria
Sound & Lighting Designer Keri Danielle Chesser
Stage Manager Cornelius Dwyer

CAST

Adele Oni
Declan Cooke
Suzy Gill
MIchael Fatogun

 

Sublime is on until 8 April at Tristan Bates Theatre. Tickets from £14 https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/sublime

 

Q & A with Proxima Centauri Productions’ Michelle and KT

For limited run in May Ugly Duck, a company known primarily for the use of abandoned and disused spaces host ProxC Productions Disconnect, A play asking the audience to vote on the fate of 10 convicted criminals scheduled for jettison from ProxC – a spaceship carrying the remnants of humanity towards a new earth & a new start. I spoke to Michelle Shortland and KT Jemmett from ProxC Productions

Ugly Duck’s focus is on abandoned and disused buildings? Why did you choose this approach to presenting Performance and Exhibitions over having a regular home?

Michelle: Our show ‘Disconnect’ is about challenging the status quo, questioning the power that lies in the people and specifically the power of voting. As a result, it is wonderful that we are able to put this incarnation in such an unusual space, we really want the audience to feel as though they are part of the action on stage and a space like this lends itself to that feeling. Whereas a more traditional theatre has a very obvious distinction between the audience and the company.

KT: Ugly Duck renovate abandoned and disused buildings – they don’t feel unloved anymore once Ugly Duck has finished with them. The Loft where Disconnect will be staged is such a dynamic and interesting place, allowing us to use more dimensions than a regular theatre and also allowing us to bring the audience right into where the action is. Disconnect has been developed with a view to being adaptable to multiple venues – we want to make it accessible to everyone so Ugly Duck were the perfect choice.

Is the future of theatre moving away from traditional spaces or is it an issue very specific to London?

Michelle: Premiums on space in London is certainly a problem – as Michelle said we’re really lucky to have been selected for the Ugly Duck season – collaborating with them has meant that we’ve had use of their amazing spaces when the cost of rehearsal and performance spaces would otherwise have been prohibitive. However I think that even had that not been a consideration we would have aimed to produce Disconnect in a non-traditional space – all the transfer venues we’re approaching have performance spaces which are not laid out in the traditional stage/audience manner – the inclusion of the audience is really important for us, they’re as much a part of the story as the cast. In terms of the future of theatre in general I think there needs to be love for both forms – theatre should embrace spaces of all types!

I believe the future of theatre lies in any venue that will house it. Although I firmly believe that theatres are important community venues, they are not accessible to everyone and neither are they the right setting for every theatre piece. It’s wonderful to see theatre spring up all over London.

Theatre allows a quick response to news events, did Disconnect, your upcoming production, come purely because of Brexit or was it an idea you had been planning for a while?

Excellent question – and one we’ve been thinking a lot about. I’d been wanting to write something set in space for a while – it can be great for high concept low budget which is one of my key areas of interest. It started out as a life boat in space with a faulty distress beacon so people who were thrown together facing the rest of their lives living on this small ship – then that developed up into something closer to Disconnect with the idea that the audience were from the bigger ship (ProxC) and they had to vote on the fate of the convicts on the smaller ship. Then Brexit happened. That was the point that the vague ideas really coalesced into a structured story focusing on stay vs go – and the importance of the audience vote became clear. We applied to Ugly Duck just post-Brexit, so although the idea actually preceded it, Brexit suddenly made it more relevant than we could ever have expected. With Trump just a little bit later we couldn’t have been luckier with our timing – the one silver lining of the scary world we now live in. We’re really excited to be creating a story with something important to say about society, while still (hopefully) being funny, touching and entertaining.

Law and Order is quite an emotive subject; do you expect the audience to make up to typical liberal theatre audience or do you think it will attract those whose views may be more hardline?

We hope to attract a genuine cross section, because that would make the outcomes all the more interesting. We have been very careful not to lead the audience in one direction or another and this is not about us passing judgement on people it’s more that we want to reiterate how important it is to be heard.

While our hope is that we’ll attract a diverse audience we’ve tried really hard to keep the story as balanced as possible and avoid presenting the audience with a ‘morally correct’ option. Even if it is an audience made entirely of liberals I think it will still be a tough decision.  
It’ll be really interesting to see what happens, and we’re hoping further down the line to gather basic data from our audiences (age bracket, gender, sexuality, religion, political leaning) and see if there’s any correlation in how certain demographics vote.

Disconnect, with its vote, sounds like quite an interactive show. Have you worked out how many possible endings there are?

What a question! Well formally there are only two endings; stay or go. However because of the way we are going to work it the ending will be improvised each night so really it could be different each and every time!

 I’m really excited about this aspect – it’s been an amazing experience to create a script from improvisation sessions and the final scenes have always been the most emotive so I think it’ll be great to watch the actors channel the energy of that night into the ending the audience see. I also think it raises an important point about voting – we’re literally forcing the audience to watch the consequences of their vote which we can often be more removed from in the real world. Every vote we cast in our lifetime will have real world consequences for real people and I think it’s too easy to distance ourselves from that.

What’s next for Ugly Duck and ProxCProd ?

We believe that Disconnect has real potential, we would like to put it on for a longer run in a venue that welcomes slightly alternative theatre. We are also considering taking it to the fringe.

I hope ProxC Prod will be something that just keeps giving. The story is set on ProxC – a spaceship carrying humanity to a new earth. Disconnect is one story in this world but there are many more which I hope we’ll get to tell. Sci-fi is such an amazing tool to explore real world issues and I think there’ll be plenty of those in the coming 

 

Disconnect is on between 12-14 May at The Loft, Tanner Street London. Tickets from £10 http://uglyduck.org.uk/3789-2/