Theatre Uncut was created to get people thinking, talking and taking action on the events that are happening in the world around them.
Leading international playwrights are asked to write brand new short plays in response to the current political situation. These scripts are then made available for anyone to perform anywhere, between the week of 12th – 18th November 2012.
It’s an international movemement but what’s happening in Bristol?
There is already an impressive team of performers, crew and directors in Bristol but if you want to get involved – there is still time because this is about the NOW. There are venues all over the city poised to host an event. If you want to catch all the plays, you’ll need to bomb around the city in the week of the 12th November to Hamilton House, Bristol Old Vic, Trinity Centre, Tobacco Factory, The Bierkeller and more. Someone might open their front room or take over their street. That someone could be you.
The plays are staged creatively and quickly. As Sharon Clark, Literary Producer at Bristol Old Vic says “It allows immediate responses to global issues and events, putting on stage true political theatre because it is relevant and immediate to the day’s news …. being fleet of foot, it enables writers to capture a zeitgeist political moment that is rare to find in the usual theatre making process.”
The team is led by artistic directors Emma Callander and Hannah Price and producer Sarah Brocklehurst. Malcolm Hamilton who has been coordinating a series of events in Bristol spoke to fellow team members about why they got involved and what it means to them. You’ll hear the voices of actors Jesse Meddows, Marta Pacini, Eoin Slattery, Amy Louise Webber, directors Eleanor Fogg, Chris Harper, Roz Hopkinson and Joe Wallace, and venue producer Alice Tatton Brown.
Theatre Uncut is an international, voluntary organization and, everyone donates their time, energy and skill for FREE.
As Malcolm says, “The brief is simple – heres the plays, put them on, its up to you”.
What made you want to engage with Theatre Uncut?
I think it is vital in the current situation, where financial difficulties make it increasingly harder to put on shows, to use theatre not only to fight the cuts but also as a means for bringing together the community. This is a way of saying that, no matter what, theatre belongs to us. (Marta Pacini, Year 11 BOV Young Company)
It’s the perfect opportunity for me to channel my passion for political and social issues. (Jesse Meadows , actor)
The caliber of the writers is what attracted me to it first but I always jump at the opportunity to work with my contemporaries and the up and coming of the next generation. (Eoin Slattery, actor)
The project demonstrates art’s ability to make a commentary on the current global political climate. It also engages theatre makers and audiences in an important conversation about pertinent issues that affect us all. (Joe Wallace, Director)
Uncut feels like its outside the commercial frame of theatre, yet it doesn’t compromise on quality, that appeals to us at The Parlour Showrooms. It also has this ground swell of momentum which feels promising. (Alice Tatton-Brown)
Why is the idea of Theatre Uncut important to you, now?
Because its not just about making work that’s current, its also about making it in a democratic and inclusive fashion rather
This is a time when people are disengaged with politics, disappointed with politicians and feel ignored by those in power. With the Bristol mayoral election coming up as well as changes happening on a local and global level, this is the time to make our voice heard and get people talking. (JM)
Uncut is important NOW, because it is a utopian act that is not placed in the distant future but here, around the world, next week. Its that strange thing that happens in a recession- money seems to matter more for everyone and at the same time it matters less. Uncut addresses this conflict, through both its form and content; It poses a question… (AT-B)
As a young person growing up in the situation that our society finds itself into at the moment, I am developing my political conscience and hoping to get more into writing political plays and using theatre as a tool for development; for this reason I find projects like Theatre Uncut invaluable. (MP)
It enables local people to come together and take theatrical action in a response to issues that are happening in the world now. (ALW)
The project is being made in a short amount of time with a small team, all working voluntarily however it’s for a cause that inspires and motivates them. It feels fresh and immediate to be doing this script right now. (JW)
People are getting very creative with how they engage with Theatre Uncut, what possibilities or opportunities does it open up for you?
I really like the fact that the emphasis is just on getting the words heard. There are loads of exciting scripts, and its really liberating to have the opportunity to do as much or as little work on them as you like. There’s so much possibility to be playful and creative, but if you’ve only got 4 hours to spare you can still get the words out there and contribute to an international event. (EF)
Having performed in theatre uncut last year, I really wanted to see it take place again, but on a larger Bristolian scale. It’s very satisfying seeing it all come together and working with so many passionate people. I am a performer so I relish the chance to get to grips with the plays and work with others. (JM)
Theatre Uncut gives me the opportunity to connect with a range of people throughout the local community. It also offers me the possibility to contribute other skills such as volunteering at venues and helping with organising and delivering the festival as well as meeting new people. (ALW)
The scripts are bold and striking, some funny, some moving and it’s hard not to want to stage one once you’ve read them. Because of their short length and the nature of a spontaneous, political theatre festival it’s a great chance to put a show together quickly and make something without many of the normal pressures of directing a larger scale piece. (JW)
It just gives us permission to take immediate action and trust the process and the writers. (Sharon Clark)
As a venue it encourages us to ask questions about alternative models of creative engagement, because we are essentially old shop units this is a really interesting line of enquiry. So we are trying to think of new models of ‘exchange’ … all ideas welcome. It feels like a good time to be bold. (AT-B)
Theres quite an array of writing to choose from, what drew you to the play you are staging?
“The content and the staging opportunities struck me. It’s deceptively simple but there’s a lot going on with the characters, their history, the events they’re both recalling and also in the way the performers address the audience directly.”
Joe Wallace on Yesterday by Helena Tornero “Amidst the chaos of a Spanish protest a couple realise their loyalty is more divided than they thought possible.”
“I felt I could relate to the main voice in the piece and I understood the ideas. I felt that they were so clearly expressed that I wanted other people to experience them as well.”
Chris Harper (And Then We Danced) on The Birth of My Violence by Marco Canale ” A meditation on theatre’s relationship to the burning passion that drives an act of protest.”
“There in a tremendous array to choose from! ‘The Price’ is an intriguing character-piece that makes a bold statement in a very bold way. As a black comedy verging on the grotesque, I found myself laughing out loud about a subject that in reality only resonates despair. With such fine writing, what better way to get a message across?”
Roz Hopkinson (Director) on The Price by Lena Kitsopoulou “A searing Greek comedy set in a world of extreme austerity where absolutely everything has its price.”
Compiled by Malcolm Hamilton
Find out how to get involved theatreuncutbristol.org | @TheatrUncutBriz | facebook.com/theatreuncutbristol