RADAR 2013: Q&A with Caroline Horton

Today’s RADAR Q&A is with the wonderful Caroline Horton who talks about the inspiration behind MESS (plus a few interjections from lovely Edmund Collier of China Plate!)

Tell us about this work in one sentence.

CH: A show about one person’s experience of anorexia and recovery; don’t let that put you off.

What questions lies at the heart of the work; what are you asking the audience?

CH: Why is there still so much contention around how to speak about anorexia? Can we disobey the rules about how to talk about this stuff and have a brash, strange, funny, sad, hopeful, real, bizarre, music-filled show about this terrible illness?

What sparked the original idea for this piece and how has it evolved?

CH: In 2005, I went back to an old school to talk to the students about what I’d been doing since leaving. In amongst all the chat about choosing what to do, university, drama school etc, I mentioned having anorexia and beginning to work out what recovery was for me. I was amazed by the number of parents, students, staff who wanted to talk to me afterwards about their experiences of eating disorders; about not knowing what to do or say. It was this that sparked the idea and 5 years later I invited a little team of devisers – including two experts in eating disorders from the Maudsley hospital – to start making the piece with me.

What excites you about being part of RADAR 2013?

CH: It feels like a great way to meet other artists and have conversations about what we are all doing. I was lucky enough to speak on a panel last year and see a couple of shows, so it’s great to be back with a show this year.

EC: It is fantastic that as part of The Bush’s evolution over the last few years. Madani and Omar have really embraced looking at different ways that theatre is made and how ‘new writing’ is developing to incorporate more diverse models of making. RADAR feels like it has become an essential date in the national theatre industry calendar already!

What direction do you feel yourself moving in creatively, and what comes next for you as a company/artist?

CH: I’m working on a few things at the moment but my main focus is a new show – Islands – about tax havens. Don’t let that put you off….

EC: We’re really looking forward to the next stage of Islands. It’s Caroline’s biggest challenge to date. There’s a great team behind it and we think that we could be on to something extraordinary.

We’re compiling a RADAR playlist to play in the bar throughout the festival. What songs would you add to it?

CH: Billy Taylor, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free and The Killers, Human

EC: David Bowie, We Could Be Heroes and The Beatles, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window