Monday, 8 August 2016

Letters to Dramaturgy: Sh!t Theatre @ Edfringe 2016

Sh!t Theatre and Show & Tell present:
Letters to Windsor House 
at Summerhall, Edinburgh Fringe 2016
3rd-28th August, 1.35pm

What was the inspiration for this performance?
We, like many renters, kept receiving letters to previous tenants. We got loads. We got attached to them. When we moved flat we brought them with us. We collected them, we separated them out by name and started trying to guess the lives of the people. In our flat at Windsor House we also started receiving strange-shaped packages. We became obsessed. We decided to open the mail and piece the previous tenants’ lives together.
How did you go about gathering the team for it?
Sh!t Theatre are already a team. Gathering is always tricky though. The prospect of a cup of tea is usually enough to get the two of us in the same place at the same time. Our friend Jen already works with us, we gathered her as usual to plough through our 200-slide slideshow. Tea wasn’t enough in this case. Beer worked better. And the promise of a novelty t-shirt.

How did you become interested in making performance?
We both went to Queen Mary University of London where any love of conventional theatre was beaten out of us. The void was then filled with Performance Art. When we first saw Bobby Baker perform in 2006 we realized there was a type of performance art we felt we could make. We were further inspired by Split Britches and Taylor Mac.
Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Our process was slightly different this time around. As well as our usual research and devising process, the Harlow Playhouse – who commissioned the show – also helped us organise workshops with various homeless groups. One of the underlying themes of the show is the housing crisis and instability, and we found the workshops invaluable for our understanding.
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
We hope the audience will laugh, get angry, feel nostalgia and be generally informed and entertained.
What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
We are very supportive of and reliant upon work-in-progress nights/performances. We think it is very important to have audiences present during the development of the show, how else can you know what will work and not work?
Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
We like to consider our work within the performance art tradition. Our work also fits within the tradition of DIY performance, as written about by Robert Daniels in ‘DIY’ and ‘DIY Too’.

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