20 artists 20 questions
The first of our Bush Bazaar companies to be interrogated, we present you with Bad Host, who will be performing as part of Bush Bazaar from 31 July - 18 August.
1. Please tell me about your piece and the inspiration behind it – what has provoked it, what questions are you asking?
Occupied was originally a response to the proposed abolition of public toilets. The company then became inspired by the grafitti, poetry and images left behind on the walls of public toilets, and by imagining what drove these anonymous writers to leave their mark. We are interested in what happens when strangers meet in this most private of public places, what level of intimacy can be achieved and whether we can inspire our audience to leave their own mark in return.
2. Please give me three words that sum up your piece
Intimate. Surreal. Charming.
3. Who is involved in your piece and what are their roles?
Occupied was written and devised by Bad Host theatre company which has 6 members: Catriona Kerridge (writer), Lucy Knight (producer/performer), Chelsea Walker (director), Heledd Watkins (performer), Anne Wearing (performer) and Paul Williams (designer).
4. What is the background to your company? How did you all meet? – or - what is your background as a performer?
Bad Host met at the Central School of Speech and Drama on the MA in Advanced Theatre Practice course. Occupied was the first piece we devised and has been shown at various stages along its development at Central, BAC and Basement Arts, Brighton. We are also currently developing When The Lions Drink..., a large scale, promenade performance with the BAC.
5. What space will you be performing in at the Bush? Do you know what you’re going to do with the space – do you have elaborate set plans?
We are performing in the ladies toilets at The Bush. The space will be transformed, but you’ll have to come along to find out how.
6. How does your rehearsal/devising process work?
Bad Host create work using new writing and improvisation side by side, and always place our audience at the centre of our devising process. We have an organic process in which the stories we create are born out of our own ideas as well as inspired by the city we live in, London.
7. Bush Bazaar has its roots in the idea of value and the price we put on things? What do you value most in your life?
We value the opportunity to be able to make and show our work in the city we love.
8. What theatre companies or performance artists inspire you? What have you seen recently that you have raved about to your friends?
We are inspired by companies such as Ontroerend Goed, Punchdrunk and Knee High. Shows we have seen recently include two of the World Cities 2012 productions by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, which were completely captivating, and 66 minutes in Damascus by Lucien Bourjeily.
9. There will be an element of bargaining going on between performers and audience members in Bush Bazaar – what is the best bargain you have ever got? Are you a fierce haggler?
We like to be thrifty! When we first began making Occupied we managed to blag 3 used toilets from a local Odeon cinema which was being refurbished - we thought this was a pretty lush bargain!
10. What would you pay for your work?
It’s tailored to each audience member, so... £1,000,000
11. What kind of interaction are you expecting to have with your audience?
The show involves different levels and styles of interaction. We want to invite the audience to feel they can be playful within our world, and we like to make friends with them.
12. What do you think audience members gain from immersive theatre? Does it matter if an audience member is a bit shy or nervous? Will they still enjoy it?
Shy and nervous audience members tend to get more out of immersive theatre - they feel its effects more strongly. When we make immersive work, we don't want to be abrasive or aggressive and we look after our audience. The reason that Occupied only has one audience member at a time is to encourage real interaction and intimacy, without the pressures of being watched or judged by other audience members.
13. What challenges does Bush Bazaar pose for your company?
I think the main challenge will be working in a toilet space that will be still used by the public. But we reckon we’ve created a solution!
14. What are your company’s plans after Bush Bazaar? What are your long term plans?
After the Bush Bazaar Bad Host will be continuing to develop our second show, When The Lions Drink..., which imagines London after an apocalyptic flood. We will be returning to the BAC for our 3rd residency in September, and we’re really excited about it.
15. What does theatre mean to you in 2012? How do you see the performance world opening itself up to new ideas and possibilities?
Theatre in 2012 means a whole host of different things. We are a company with 6 different opinions and voices and so to give you one answer is impossible. But we do believe theatre is about engaging audiences in new ways, about telling new and exciting stories, and about creating work which challenges, celebrates and examines the world of 2012 which we live in.
16. Do you have any tips or tricks up your sleeve for getting the best price from our audience..? What's your selling strategy?
Barter like crazy!
17. Why should I come to see your act? What will I leave your act with? What will I gain?
Come and see Occupied because we’ll excite, intrigue and surprise you as we transform an everyday space into something extraordinary.
We’ve been waiting for you.
18. If your piece was a well known person or fictional character, who would it be and why?
Moaning Myrtle, from Harry Potter, because we hang out in the loos and try to make friends!
19. Who would be your dream audience member and why?
There isn’t one - the piece is exciting for us to perform because each individual audience member makes it different.
20. What are you most looking forward to with Bush Bazaar?
Meeting a whole new group of audience members, and meeting our fellow theatre makers.