Friday, 9 September 2016

I Got Dramaturgy Superpowers For My Birthday: Katie Douglas and James Greive

Ethan, William and Fiona are about as different as three almost-teens can be. The only thing they have in common is that tomorrow is their birthday. And they’ve just discovered they have superpowers.
Which is lucky because someone needs to protect the world from The Darkness. An evil overlord with plans to turn everything to ice.
Join our three heroes on an epic quest to save the planet in this brand new play for ages 7+ from award winning writer Katie Douglas.

What was the inspiration for this performance?


How did you go about gathering the team for it?

Katie Douglas: Paines Plough have a long list of theatre people they love working with who tend to come back again and again.

James Greive: Every year in Roundabout we present a repertory of new plays performed by a single ensemble of actors This year the rep is directed by my Joint Artistic Director George Perrin and performed by an incredible trio of actors – Remy Beasley, Richard Corgan and Andy Rush. Their energy and skill and range know no bounds as they flip from playing teenage lovers to consultant surgeons to gargoyles and dragons across three shows. The shows are lit by LED wizard Prema Mehta with exhilarating sound design by Dom Kennedy. They both return to PP having recently worked on our UK Garage musical WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK, and Dom designed sound for last year’s Roundabout shows, so Katie’s right, we love welcoming great people back to the team again and again. And we have a heroic, hugely talented team of production, technical and stage managers who are the unseen superheroes.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

Katie Douglas: Yes, in the sense that as the writer I just lock myself away and come up with a script. After that the director and actors and the rest of the team take over and the hard work really begins.

James Greive: It’s all new for us. This is only the second show we’ve made specifically for children. We’ve been lucky to work in co-production with Half Moon who are leading experts in making theatre for young people, and with a writer of Katie’s immense creativity and imagination.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Katie Douglas: Fear, excitement and a good few laughs!

James Greive: Just as with last year’s Our Teacher's a Troll by Dennis Kelly, we and Katie wanted to make a show that enthralled the grown-ups as much as their little superheroes. So hopefully the adults will find much to amuse them whilst their charges are enthralled by the adventure.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

James Greive: We built Roundabout because we're really passionate about new plays and we wanted more people to see them. We thought more people would come if we created a context and environment for new plays that felt as exciting as when the circus came to town as a kid, or as exciting as going to the football. A different kind of theatre. A new kind of theatre. A theatre that was bright and colourful and welcoming. A theatre that was comfortable and unpretentious and democratic - where the view from every single seat is the same so every seat is the best seat in the house. Where you're so close to the action you can see the whites of the actors’ eyes. Where you see incredible drama in 3D. So we hope seeing shows in Roundabout gives audiences a unique theatrical experience.
We also want the young people who come to Roundabout to have a really exciting, memorable time. So we lay on a few extras for those very special guests. Stickers and badges go down very well, and this year there are balloons too, plus lots of fun things to see and do around the theatre before and after the show.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

James Greive: Touring theatre is as old as theatre itself and we’re as passionate as ever about making work for as many people as possible to see, so as well as being here in Edinburgh we try to travel the length and breadth of the country taking Roundabout and our shows to the heart of local communities. This Autumn Roundabout tours to a churchyard in Eccles, the pedestrianised centre of Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent, the seafront in Margate, Marsh Farm Estate in Luton and lots more places besides.

Dates and times
08-11 September
Roundabout @ The Lowry, Salford
0843 208 6000
16-18 September
Roundabout @ Lighthouse, Poole
01202 280 000
22-25 September
Roundabout @ Theatre Royal, Margate
01843 292795
29 September-02 October
Roundabout @ Lincoln Performing Arts Centre
01522 837600
06-09 October
Roundabout @ Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
01539 725133
13-16 October
Roundabout @ Barnsley Civic
01226 327000
20-23 October
Roundabout @ Appetite, Stoke-on-Trent
01782 454404
27-30 October
Roundabout @ RevoLuton, Marsh Farm
01582 345567

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