Getting to know one of our new associate companies – Flintlock Theatre

We recently announced Flintlock Theatre as one of our new associate companies and here is a chance for us all to get to know them better…

Can you tell us a bit about Flintlock Theatre? 

We started the company in 2012 and made our first show in a room above a pub on a shoestring budget. Since our humble beginnings, we’ve strived to make theatre that is at one and the same time both familiar and entirely surprising. We use music, movement, dance, technology, new writing and classic texts, and we try to always put our audiences front and centre of the theatrical experiences we create. The company is jointly run by Robin Coyer and Anna Glynn, with a team of associate artists recruited specifically for each project.

 

How would you describe the work that you create?

Reimagined classics, new writing, verbatim and site-specific work are all part of our work; their common characteristics being a commitment to great storytelling, a love of tall tales and a delight in the anarchic and irreverent. Our theatre making is founded on our sense of the potential of ensemble and a disregard for the traditional barriers between audience and performer.

 

What is your favourite thing about creating theatre?

Working as a team. It all has to start from there, and the process is also at its most satisfying and enjoying with a happy company of people working together.

 

Who/what has been your biggest influence/s?

We try and see lots of live theatre because it’s the best way to keep the creative juices flowing, whether you’ve seen something you loved or hated! Favourite companies are Knee-high, Cheek by Jowl, Complicite… From a theoretical point of view, there’s no bigger influence than Brecht on most contemporary theatre making, we think.

 

How did you chose the company name? 

Well, aside from being easy to remember and to spell phonetically, it’s got a metaphor behind it. A flintlock is a mechanical device that creates a spark strong enough to ignite an explosion. It was invented by human ingenuity through an understanding of simple materials.  (Also known for blowing up in your face – but we don’t talk about that bit…)

 

Can you describe a typical day at flintlock theatre HQ?

When we’re rehearsing… Coffee, games, playful yet focussed rehearsing, a communal lunch which everyone contributes food to, more games, more rehearsal. Then on some nights we might have a trip to the pub or a company curry night here or there…. The communal eating is really important to us as it helps to bind the team together and sustain morale. We really believe the process should be joyful and uplifting, not a kind of artistic agony.

 

What’s the most useful thing to have with you in the rehearsal room?

First, people. They’re the one thing you can’t do without, so we try to make sure we also use the people – their voices, bodies, ideas, skills – as the starting point for everything. Next, music. We often depend on music, whether live or recored, to stimulate the process, help tell the story, and give the style of the show a stronger flavour.

 

Tell us one interesting fact about each member of the flintlock team.

Robin is a sourdough baking nerd. He recently pulled his best loaf from the oven shortly after the birth of his third child (if you know about sourdough you’ll know the hard work had been done a day beforehand and there was a risen dough in the fridge ready to bake, so don’t worry, he was very much present for the birth). Anna has a bizarre ability to count the number of words in a sentence at great speed – say a long-ish sentence out loud at full pace and she can instantly tell you how many words there were.

Post caravan questions with Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas

After a successful 2018 caravan showcase we caught up with Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas to ask them 10 post caravan questions. 

Was this your first time being part of caravan? 

Yes. Although Bert had taken part in the Marketplace before with FellSwoop Theatre.

Why did you apply to be part of the showcase? 

We wanted the opportunity to show our work to lots of international programmers and we had heard about the marvellous opportunities caravan provides to do so.

What was the best part of the 3 days and what have you gained from this experience? 

Performing the show in front of promoters and Brighton audiences was really fun.

We also liked meeting our mentor Gary who was really helpful in guiding us through.

What was the most challenging part? 

We had to change performance space on arrival in Brighton, which was quite challenging! The original space was very noisy and we realised that we wouldn’t be heard if we had performed in it. And while the new space was also quite challenging for us the caravan team made it work as best they could and we felt really supported throughout.

Did you get to see others work, if so what stood out to you and why? 

Sadly not. Our time there was really busy.

What was the caravan atmosphere like? 

Friendly and supportive from the caravan team. Amazing work with the technicians from Brighton Dome (Tim especially! What an amazing guy!). Wished we could have had shared more time with the delegates.

What did you expect before attending and did it live up to expectations? 

Yes, it lived up to expectations. We hoped it would bring together lots of different people from all over the world to see our work and it certainly did.

Would you want to participate in caravan again? 

Yes, of course!

What would you say to others thinking of applying? 

It’s really worth it, and they should give it a try. Especially if their work fits the international circuit. Our show is quite minimal in terms of text – which I think was part of its appeal for the international promoters.

What is next for Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas? (or Palmyra?) 

We intend to make the most of this international opportunity with the show and what is coming next. Eurohouse (our first piece) and Palmyra are the two parts of a trilogy. We are exploring the idea of polarisation and division in the next piece. We are thinking of bringing this political trilogy to an end with a potential reconciliation at the end. We are also starting work on a dance piece about ‘The End’.

 

Farnham Maltings fellowship and two new associate companies announced

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Louise Blackwell is this year’s recipient of the Farnham Maltings Fellowship. Louise, who was previously the co-director of Fuel, an independent producing company, has done much to shape the way theatre is created and presented in the UK and is now beginning a new chapter developing a structure to support artists aged 9 to 90 years old in Brighton and beyond.

Gavin Stride, director of the Maltings, says ‘We are delighted to be working with Louise in the realisation of her latest ambitions. This fellowship is based on the idea that if we can support others to achieve the things they want, then we are more likely to be realising our own ambitions to ensure that the south east has a vibrant independent theatre sector.’

This is the third Farnham Maltings Fellowship, following awards to Bucket Club and Action Hero as investments in time, money and support for artists and producers to take their ideas forward. The awards are made possible with the support of the Maltings Patrons and each runs for a year. Action Hero have spoken about the impact of their award in a blog here

Speaking about the potential value of the fellowship Louise commented “This is just what I need right now; money, time and space to develop ideas that will help visionary artists of the future. I look forward to supporting  people who may not have access to the opportunities I have had in my career so far.’

Farnham Maltings is also pleased to announce two new associate companies with whom they will be working to ensure the best independent theatre is made and presented across the region: Action Hero, who are currently working on Oh Europa and Flintlock Theatre who have secured Arts Council investment to produce Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People.