Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Rainbow Dramaturgy: Vivienne Acheampong @ Edfringe 2016


4 – 28 August
Press performance: 6 August
Assembly Hall, Baillie Room

Director: Hannah Price

Character comedian and primary school teacher Vivienne Acheampong comes to the Edinburgh Fringe to debut her hilarious first solo show, Rainbow Class.

"All my kids came to Tiddlesworth, lovely little school it was back then. It’s like the United Nations now."

Welcome to Tiddlesworth Primary School! Allow politically dubious dinner-lady (sorry, ‘lunchtime supervisor’) Sheila, ‘challenging boy’ Ty’Quan, the officious Deputy Head and chronically overworked teacher Miss Marshall take you on an extraordinary journey…

Vivienne Acheampong uses her experience as a primary school teacher to shed comic insight into life in an inner-city school in this one-woman character-led comedy show that combines verbatim text, stories and characters based on real-life people. Written and performed by Acheampong, and directed by Hannah Price, this show is a bonkers, hilarious and often poignant look into modern primary school life.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Having taught in schools I found there were always stories to be told and was constantly meeting such fascinating characters both children and adults. Having toyed with the idea for years I thought I’d write a show about it! I also felt that the subject matter is extremely relevant to the current climate that we find ourselves in.

Does theatre offer any distinctive qualities for the discussion of ideas in the public domain?
Theatre offers a unique opportunity for one to be completely immersed in an experience as performers and audience members share a space where a world is created. Beliefs, thoughts, ideas etc can be challenged and as an experience is shared it is more likely to provoke discussions amongst fellow audience members.

What do you believe are the most important qualities to develop a piece of performance?
Truth. When writing Rainbow Class that was the one thing I kept asking myself. Is this world believable? Are these comical characters believable and am I telling the story? These are the questions I always go back to.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Definitely not! This is the first piece I’ve written and it was a real learning curve and I learnt so much. For a start I applied to the Camden Fringe without having written a thing, it was just an idea in my head. It was a real trail and error experience but bravery got me through not being scared to make mistakes (many mistakes) along the way!

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I hope the audience will immerse themselves in the world I have created and experience the journey of the characters they are presented with and listen to their stories.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
As I mentioned previously my priority was creating a real world and having truthful characters exist within it. The school is based on a real place and the characters are all based on real people with verbatim text being used throughout the show. When that is achieved I believe the audience will have an experience that truly reflects the goings on in an inner city primary school!

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

I am influenced by many strong female artists such as Cush Jumbo, Danielle Ward, Brigitte Aphrodite and Bryony Kimmings who have created work which is  exhilarating, dynamic and thought provoking. Their strong voices resonate in their pieces and this excites me as an artist.

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