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Interview with WINK director, Jamie Jackson

February 19th, 2015

Jamie Jackson is a theatre director, some recent credits include: Skint (Vaults Festival), Alice through the Looking Glass (Iris Theatre), as well as shorts Care (Arcola Theatre) and CoalEaters (Theatre503) both by Phoebe Eclair-Powell. In March, he directs WINK, Phoebe’s debut full length play – we chat to him about his vision for the production.

What has been the process behind developing WINK?

Phoebe and I started talking about our first full length show in 2013, having worked together on a short play BANGIN’ WOLVES previously. I was offered time with Old Vic New Voices to develop a play, and invited Phoebe to join me. We later participated in 503Futures, a programme providing writers with a weeks’ development and showcase. Tara Finney subsequently came on board as producer, and 503 as co-producer and venue. Phoebe and I have spent the last six months developing the play with dramaturg Graeme Thompson, researching the play’s subject matter alongside redrafts of the script.

We knew we wanted to create a show that dealt with the impact of the internet/social media on young people and wanted to be an exciting, visceral and properly theatrical experience for the audience.

What challenges does the script contain in staging?

WINK is unique in that it contains no stage directions – a daunting but equally very exciting challenge for a director! The only stage direction in the script is “This play should be performed with movement and sound.” I consider myself very privileged that Phoebe has placed such trust in me as a director and given me such space to put my own stamp on the play.

How will you tackle the play?

I started by asking myself three questions. What should it look like? What should it sound like? What should it feel like? I knew that I wanted to find a language that could convey the interior world of the characters as much as it could the exterior, as the majority of the play is told in internal monologues. Phoebe and I both knew that we wanted to tell a story about computers and phones without using computers and phones, to use a less conventional but still accessible way of telling the story. We want to make the ordinary seem extraordinary, and ensure that it feels immediate and relevant to the people whom the play is actually about, yet still worked as a heightened dramatic experience. We want it to feel contemporary not just in subject matter, but the way we present it on stage.

WINK moodboard

I’ve since watched a lot of research material that shares thematic concerns with WINK, or approaches telling contemporary stories in bold and interesting ways. From this, I created two moodboards; one a collage of images and a film version including music.

Please click here to watch the film version.

“This play should be performed with movement and sound. How are those two elements going to feature in your production?

I have worked closely on the physical language of WINK with the Movement Director, Isla Jackson-Ritchie, and we have focused on using movement to articulate what goes unsaid by the characters. What they are thinking but not necessarily saying out loud. I also want to use it to differentiate between the online and offline world; that the impact of their adventures in the internet has a real and physical impact on the characters.

Working with Sound Designer Max Pappenheim, we want the music in the production to articulate how the characters are feeling. For example, when Mark goes for an incredibly fast and thrilling run, we want to use music that creates that sensation in the audience – to mirror Mark’s adrenaline rush. The music we are working with isn’t necessarily recognisable but feels contemporary and relevant to the world of the play.

Isla, Max and I will work closely together throughout the rehearsal process to tie the elements together. 

Can you share with us your plans for the set?

Our designer, Bethany Wells, has created a playing space that has qualities of an arena, which adds to the competitive, tactical side of the narrative. We wanted to make a space that felt purposefully cinematic, to allow us to draw the audiences’ eye toward particular images that inform them of the focus of each scene.

Lighting will play a large part in informing the audience which location we are in throughout the show. Working with the lighting designer, Aaron J. Dootson, we decided that whilst we won’t have computers on stage, the design will feature the familiar glare of a computer/phone screen and isolate them on stage from each other, reminding us of their continuing disconnect from the world around them.

Sounds exciting!

Thanks. We’re really excited about creating something that challenges what’s possible in fringe theatre, and creating something unexpected.

 

WINK runs from 10 March to 4 April at Theatre503

For more information on the show & to book tickets click here

Off West End Award Nomination for ‘The Separation’

February 3rd, 2015

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We’re are overjoyed to announce that this week The Separation has been nominated for Best New Play in the Off West End awards! This darkly comic Irish drama, brought to us by company Pixilated Plays, is even the first play to be named in its category. It’s an invigorating start to the shows second week of its run at Theatre503!

Set in the build-up to Ireland’s historic divorce referendum of 1995, The Separation is an unsettling – and uproarious – journey into the dark heart of a disintegrating Dublin family.

 

Come explore he play’s hard-hitting subject matter further in some exciting post-show talks hosted by the company:

Directors Night

3rd February

Post show Q+A with Simon Evans

Marriage, Divorce & Catholic Ireland

10th February

Post show panel discussion

Irish Theatre Makers Night

17th February 

Post show panel discussion

Fusion Achieved!

January 20th, 2015

503Fusions has come and gone but its beautiful tones are still reverberating around the 503 stage. We were thrilled to play host to such talented artists from such disparate disciplines. Our Frankenstein-esque experiment, fusing theatre, music and spoken word has been a monstrous success, our wonderful practitioners brought the space to life with exceptional vigour.

We’d like to thank all the performers involved including, Tommy Sissons with Normanton Street, Gemma Rogers with Nick Rogers and Dominic Kennedy, Deanna Rodger and Tuesday Born, Karis Halsall and Sam Organ.

Below are some of the critical responses:

“503Fusions is witty, funny, clever and inspiring, shake off the dust and get yourself to Battersea!”

★★★★★

LondonTheatre1

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“You’d be pushed to find a place working harder to create an environment for all of this to be realised, than Theatre503”

(TheatreFullStop)

“Theatre 503 continues its proud tradition of presenting new work with this engaging and challenging showcase”

(Stage Seen)

“lyrical abilities like a brush on canvas, painting a vibrant picture of the dark streets, nightclubs and troubled neighbourhoods.”

(Middle Peg Reviews)

Thank you to all the 503Fusions writers and musicians!

Artistic Director of PSYCHEdelight muses about waxing and ‘the deep stuff’ before the opening of her play The Empty Frame this week…

January 19th, 2015

People can often be put off by the themes of my plays at first. I have to admit that you can probably find a more fun starting point than “prison” or “fertility issues” for a piece of writing… and I guess that’s the problem when the artistic director of a theatre company is a psychologist… You can be sure that she will be attracted by “deep, serious stuff”… Fair enough. Mea culpa. It’s true. BUT, I love challenges and I hate cliches. “deep serious stuff” can also be “beautiful, fun and sexy” and that’s exactly what PSYCHEdelight is about.

We should never forget that a person is much more complex than just the situation in which they finds themslves at some point in life. Otherwise it’s called a stereotype. Yes, you can be in prison but you’re not only a prisoner. You’re still a mum, a girlfriend, a woman who needs to wax every bloody month… Yes, you can be in a fertility clinic waiting room at a crucial point in your life, but still make really crap jokes about nurses’ underwear because sarcasm is your best protection against the tough reality of life.

Yes, I am fascinated by people and life journeys and I love to discover some myself when I go and see plays, but I try to make sure, as a writer and director, that I paint the contrasts and the nuances of the picture, even the ones that are hardly visible. Especially those ones. Our lives and emotions are so full of contradictions… And of course you need to be very careful when choosing your material and who is going to help you paint your picture, otherwise it can be completely ruined. And that’s where I feel so blessed to have such a talented creative team who brought their various skills into the play, starting with my co-director Clemence Viel of course.

 

The Empty Frame is playing at Theatre503 this week from Tue-Sat 7.45pm. Tickets available here or by ringing 020 7978 7040.

Playwriting Award 2014 – Press Round Up

December 1st, 2014

Have a quick read of the wonderful coverage from Friday’s award ceremony!

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‘One of London’s smallest but most ambitious venues today announced two winners of its new playwriting competition.’

Evening Standard

‘New writing is the lifeblood of theatre and few venues have done more to encourage its flow in recent years than Battersea’s small Theatre 503.’

http://www.thepublicreviews.com/news-two-winners-for-inaugural-theatre-503-playwriting-award/

‘Dennis Kelly said both plays were equally worthy for two very different sets of reasons and so with the support of the Richard Carne Trust and an anonymous donor Theatre593 were able to doubly award their prize – an exciting beginning to what will surely become an established and highly admired prize.’

http://middlepegreview.com/tag/theatre-503/

‘Dennis Kelly, who presented the award, said it was “a really great time for new writers”, and praised the award for including a guaranteed production in the prize.
“Money is great, but it only goes so far. What’s really amazing is that they’ve attached a production to it because it’s so so important to get that work on,” he said’

http://uk24.me.uk/link/37324_winners-of-inaugural-theatre-503-playwriting-award-announced


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(Bea Roberts, And the Come the Nigthjars and Paul Murphy, Valhalla)