Interview: Twelve Strings Theatre Company

Who are you? 

We are a new ensemble theatre company in our final year of university.  Our company met while studying theatre in Blackpool. Our members’ experience includes working with various styles of performance such as; Carnesky’s Ghost Train, Frantic Assembly, stand-up comedy, improvisational theatre and fringe festivals. Within the company there are connections to Europe – particularly Czech Republic and Texas, USA.

As a large ensemble we work closely together to devise completely unique and original pieces of theatre; in a group this size there is a plethora of skills, including dance, singing, movement, clowning, writing and music. This collaboration of skills is the driving force of our devising process and allows us to produce beautiful work that is completely unique.

In addition to our creative process we are currently founding our company and learning on the job how to run the administrative processes it takes to run a company as a business.

What do you do?

We devise original theatre using topics that excite and interest us as theatre practitioners; we are particularly interested in the human psyche, social affairs and the symbolic undertones of fairy-tales.

Our mission statement:

Our aim is to create exciting theatre through music and movement. Our unusual style allows the audience to fall through the looking glass as our twelve imaginations unite to create beauty from some of the ugliest subjects.

Our Perfect Child (image by Imogen Jones)
Our Perfect Child (image by Imogen Jones)

Where do you do it?

As students studying acting we are lucky enough to have the use of week day rehearsal spaces and a theatre space for preview performances and open rehearsals. We feel that we have the skills to refresh the alternative theatre scene in Blackpool, something that we feel would benefit the town and its tourist revenue, and also provide a platform for other artists in the area.

Due to this goal, we are currently planning pieces of street theatre to take out into Blackpool town centre in spring and summer this year. In addition to this, we are now in the final stages of rehearsal for our full show, Our Perfect Child, which is to be performed at Brighton Fringe Festival in the BOSCO Tent Theatre on 8 to 10 May.

Why do you do it?

We take great pride in providing beautiful theatre. Our topic choices are what we feel is prevalent in today’s society and it’s important to show multiple views on commonly ugly subjects.

What else should we know?

Everything we do is completely original. We are constantly producing original scripts, movement and music and are forever adapting and modifying what we do. Our drive pushes us to never limit ourselves to accepting what we create first time; the preview stage of Our Perfect Child is almost unrecognisable as we constantly question and improve our work.

What are you doing next?

Our plans for the future involve setting up smaller scaled schemes in order to fund our collaborative work. We intend to do this via small scale performances such as band work, improvisation nights, stand-up comedy as well as offering workshops to school students and teachers who wish to refresh and expand their knowledge of theatre. Our aim is to create a stable income from each of these sources in order to subsidize our larger scale performances.

In terms of our own devised work, we are currently constructing two pieces that will form part of a ‘menu’ of performances that we plan to take to various venues throughout the year.

Our Perfect Child (image by Matilda Harper)
Our Perfect Child (image by Matilda Harper)

Who/what inspires you and why?

As an ensemble our main inspirations for the devising process include the works of Frantic Assembly, Knee High Theatre, DV8, Made In China and Pina Bausch. These theatre companies and practitioners express their work through beautifully strong physical displays which is something we, as a company, try and uphold.

As well as this, due to our cohort containing twelve members, we have a variety of performers with different specialisms so we are further influenced by a wide variety of styles. Stylistically our influences include The Tiger Lillies, Bob Fosse, Tom Waits, Aqueous Humour, Forced Entertainment and Complicite. In addition to these influences we incorporate puppetry and jazz techniques.

How can we find you?

We have a very strong online presence. We are on: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo and IdeasTap. You can find us on all of these by searching for Twelve Strings Theatre. We also have our own website, which is currently under construction: www.twelvestringstheatrecompany.com

On all of these sites, you will be able to find out more about us as a company, the group as individuals, up and coming events and current projects.


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