Bucket Club, emerging theatre company and the inaugural recipients of the Farnham Maltings Fellowship Award, are currently working on their newest show: Launch Party. We’ve loved having the Buckets in the building over recent weeks, so had a chat to writer, director and founder-member Nel Crouch in advance of next week’s.
It’s clear that you all love making theatre and performing together; but how did Bucket Club come to be a theatre company?
Bucket Club met at Bristol University where we all worked together on theatre and comedy, but never as a company. After graduating we all knew we wanted to make theatre, but weren’t sure where to start. We applied for an emerging artist’s residency at the Lyric Hammersmith, where we were able to start work on our first show, Lorraine & Alan.
It was through making that first show that we met Farnham Maltings, when pitching for their No Strings Attached fund for early career theatre makers. Amazingly, they made us an associate company and have steered us through making our other two shows – Fossils, which was at the Edinburgh Fringe in August, and now Launch Party.
Alongside Bucket Club, we all work with other companies and theatres as individual artists – I’ve just finished up a BBC Performing Arts Fund fellowship at Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol, and certainly wouldn’t have had that opportunity without the work I’ve made with the company. But it’s always my favourite thing to come back and make stuff with the Buckets.
What style of theatre would you say Bucket Club specialises in?
Bucket Club’s work is all about storytelling. We use a lot of narration, which allows us to talk directly to our audiences and play with different ways of telling a story. It lets us use a lot of comedy but also to create really beautiful images and have moments of poetry.
Music is also really important to how we work. Our composer, David Ridley, who also performs in our shows writes beautiful original songs and uses innovative technology to build up soundscapes and music that respond to and support our stories. Expect a lot of singing in Launch Party!
Why did you decide to base your new show, Launch Party, all around space exploration?
When we were coming up with ideas, our friend Emily taught us about the 1970s Voyager 1 craft. Launched by NASA, it’s a spacecraft traveling indefinitely through interstellar space – it left the solar system a few years ago. When it was being made, the scientists working on it realised that, if it was going to go through space for potentially billions of years, there was a chance it might be found by alien life. They decided to tell those aliens something about Earth.
A gold-plated record was attached to the craft, containing sounds from earth including greetings, whale song and music – from ancient tribal singing to Chuck Berry. On the record was written “to the makers of music – all worlds, all times”. We thought this was a lovely leap of imagination, and an interesting idea to explore as a company that works with music. Once we were thinking about space, it started popping up everywhere – at the time there was a lot in the news about the proposed Mars One mission. With all this in mind, we started cooking up a story.
After performing at the Maltings, Launch Party’s touring to rural venues. Why were you interested in making a show for rural touring?
We’ve never made work for rural touring before! It’s great to be working with Farnham Maltings who have so much expertise in this area, as booking and organising a tour is a huge puzzle. Whenever we’ve told people about Launch Party they’ve said how rural touring audiences are always their favourite, so we’re really looking forward to it. We’re also excited to visit some really beautiful parts of the country, and getting to know lots of different communities.
Launch Party opens in the Tindle Studio on Thursday 13 October, before touring to rural venues in the UK throughout October & November.