- During your 10 years as a company what have been the high points of your careers so far?
I mean, in terms of career high points and what we’ve managed to achieve as a company, then probably getting to perform Orpheus at the Salzburg Festival and in the Royal Opera House were definitely times when we couldn’t quite believe how lucky we were and where the show had got us all! But on the quiet, at the risk of sounding really cheesy I think some of the best times we had are when we’ve often had the least, being squashed up in a tiny car together with props around your ears, doing one-off gigs in the most unlikely of places, even filling in an Edinburgh brochure form in the middle of the night on the other side of world just to meet the deadline; all those times when it’s fun even though, and probably because, it’s ridiculous, I think they’re the best bits.
- What have been the low points, challenges or obstacles and how did you move past them?
Whilst doing theatre is unfathomably rich in experiences and a huge privilege in terms of getting to do what you love as a living, it definitely isn’t the most lucrative of careers and so before we really knew how to run ourselves as a business in our very first year out of uni, I have a very strong memory of Alex and I rehearsing in his brother’s spare bedroom at 4am in the morning for a scratch the following day, all of which was for free, because we both had full time jobs in London to pay the rent and so couldn’t rehearse any other time, and I definitely lost my sense of humour about it all just because i was so exhausted and so tired! Plus, ironically, the scratch was a comedy sketch about how hard it was to live in London! But not long after that we decided to cut our losses and say goodbye to having a permanent base in order to give the art the chance to be our main way to earn a living and lo and behold it paid off. It was a massive risk, but one that i’m ever so glad we took because it gave us the impetus to just really go for it.
- What do you know now that you wish you would have known when starting out?
That it would all be okay in the end, or, maybe seeing as we’re still going that the word ‘end’ isn’t the right terminology but that perhaps there is much to cherish even in the toughest times, and that, given time, you gain perspective about the past and see it as a necessary, important lesson to learn rather than some huge, overwhelming almighty obstacle that you’re never to going to get over. I still need to remember that even now!
- What is your favourite thing about making theatre?
There’s so much to love about making theatre. Any thing that interests you or excites you about art and about the world can be taken into the rehearsal room and explored in a very free and dynamic way. The rehearsal room can be an incredibly exciting place full of challenges and discoveries, but probably the best thing about making theatre is when you get to share your work with an audience. That is where the whole life of a show comes into focus; the pressure of performance gives everything a charge and when the audience are on board it’s thrilling to be able to lead them through a journey that you have spent weeks and weeks crafting.
- What is your least favourite thing about making or working in theatre?
The worst thing about making theatre is the agony of trying to solve problems that have no easy answers, but that’s also one of the best things, so I guess really the worst thing is all the loading and carrying you have to do when setting up in a new places and then packing it all up again.
- In the last 10 years who has influenced you as makers and performers?
Any show might lead us to discover or return to an artist whose aesthetic could become a touchstone as we hone in on the language of our productions. It could be anything from a well known composer, like Philip Glass, or something very niche like the specific stylisation of an unknown actor in a Barclays advert from the 80’s. Then there are the other theatre companies that we meet on our travels. There are so many companies out there making fantastic work whom we greatly admire. We are big fans of Improbable, The TEAM, and Nigel and Louise to name but a few.
- What is little bulbs process for making a new show? Do you have one?
We start every new project by trying to create a unique world that the show will be born out of. This normally involves us immersing ourselves in the music of this world. Learning new instruments and writing compositions. We then expand this out to explore characters and narratives but we always start with the world and style of the show.
- Tell us one interesting fact about each of the bulbs.
Dom’s shoulder frequently dislocates – it happened during a show once and he just put it straight back in, then after the show he was telling us about it whilst stretching and it happened again, but this time it got stuck! So we all had to get in a taxi to the hospital with Dom’s arm stuck in the air, and the next day we had to perform as a plat du jour for the British Council Showcase!
Clare used to work as a florist and Alex has a phobia of Smarties.
- Do you still get nervous? If so who gets the most nervous before setting foot on stage?
Well I think we don’t get as nervous as we used to when we were starting out but whenever we make a new show and share it for the first time I would say we all get equally nervous. Clare often gets nervous about not being nervous, which is ridiculous but also at least its solves it’s own problem!
- Looking forward to the next 10 years what do you want to achieve?
We love making shows in new and unexplored genres and there’s so many to explore. So we hope that we continue to explore and experiment and try new things
Little Bulb’s Orpheus will be on at BAC from the 5-30 Dec 2018 to purchase tickets click here
Little Bulb are produced by Farnham Maltings.