Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Choir of Dramaturgy: Bern Norris @ Edfringe 2017

The Choir of Man will be at the Assembly Rooms Music Hall on George Street for the month of August for tickets go to

What was the inspiration for this performance?

The idea behind the show is to subvert the traditional 'blokes in pubs' stereotype by having a 9-part choir emerge from what looks like a standard masculine drinking set-up. Of course there will still be rousing, stomping tunes, but there will also be tenderer moments, moments of contemplation and vulnerability. I think ultimately it's about subtly challenging and broadening the definitions of masculinity and pub culture as we know it, and also give the audience a bloody entertaining hour of music. 

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Absolutely. More so than ever, I think we need to come together and delight in and explore and challenge the world that we live in. We've seen recently the power of collective thought and energy, and performance spaces are great places to develop and channel that energy.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I had a very inspiring drama teacher at school who
gave me a space to burn off some of my often-unhelpful energy as a teen, and during that time, and consistently since, I've had formative nights in the theatre that have really shaken me to the core. There are very few media that allow you to explore some of life's biggest questions and have a properly good night out at the same time, but performance does that.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

We've really tried to shape a piece around the skills, interests and personalities of the cast, to make something that is truly ours, fun to perform, and hopefully fun to watch.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Nic [Doodson, the producer] has made similar shows before (most recently 'Gobsmacked') but this one is more conceptual; we have a full bar on stage, and all the songs fit either narratively or tonally into the overall idea. There are also some surprises planned throughout the show that further this.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope they'll experience something recognisable and yet strange, transformed. The familiar pub scenario but taken somewhere completely new - somewhere fun and entertaining, and also somewhere socially interesting.  

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We thought about the kind of things an audience would expect and tried to satisfy some of them and subvert others. We also thought about the different people we'll have in the room, and how we can bring them all into the space and offer something for each of them. Casting the audience as the 10th member of the drinking group, addressing them collectively as one person and inviting them to drink with us, is a great way to do this. Soft drinks available for designated drivers.

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