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.