Bootworks discuss their Creation Space residency

| Fri 5 Jun 2015

Bootworks have been in the Creation Space for the last two weeks, working on a brand new children’s show called The Many Doors Of Frank Feelbad, about a lonely boy and the many problems he keeps locked away. Co-Artistic Director James Baker told us how the show developed during their residency.

Which particular elements of The Many Doors of Frank Feelbad did you focus on during your residency?

This residency was used to spend some time bringing the script to a state of completion. We really wanted something concrete that we could bring into stage 2 (working with a set and performers in The ShowRoom Chichester).  

Were there any surprises? Did you make any new discoveries about the project?

So many! This is the first children’s piece that we’ve made that we’ve devised from the ground up. Our previous show for kids The Incredible Book Eating Boy was adapted from the picture book by Oliver Jeffers. So to have some time to play, and explore, and make mistakes, and reshape material has been really invaluable; we’re learning as we go and just trying to make material that feels right to us. Finding the 4 - 7 year old in ourselves has been really useful… which is probably how dead chickens and careless fishermen have made it into the show.   

Did you bring in any collaborators?

The joyous Nick Walker was brought into the space over the last few days of the residency to make some cogent sense from the assemblage of material that we’d managed to muster. Nick works with lots of really varied theatre/dance companies as well as writing for radio and tv. He’s an all round terrific energy to have in the rehearsal space with us and he’s been a terrific help working with us over the last few project. We’ve only been working with text since 2012 so he’s been useful in helping us find a collective voice.    

Did this residency enable you to do anything that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do?

Other than the obvious benefits of having a generous amount of time and space – being able to share our work on the penultimate day proved the MOST useful thing. It’s easy to get cabin fever when you’re locked in a studio rehearsing but being able to share with an audience who understand ‘process’ and really know their kids theatre was wonderful. It made us understand where cuts needed making and where material needed streamlining. It also helped affirm the sections that we’re already really pleased with.  

What are your next steps for this project?

Our ‘making’ time is now shared between The ShowRoom in Chichester and Worthing Theatres; where we will be performing a preview in the early stages of July 2015. The eventual premier will then be at Warwick Arts Centre in December – who have been a significant financial supporter of the project.   

What else are Bootworks working on at the moment?

The company is currently touring Now Listen To Me Very Carefully; a participative show about growing up, Terminator 2 and what it means to be an obsessive. We’re hoping to have a ruddy good time with it in Edinburgh 2015.

We’ve also nearly finished making a show called We Could Be Heroes; which asks what it means to be a hero in today’s climate?

Rob has been busy making things in miniature in a project called Tiny Live Art; where he documents infamous live art pieces on a micro scale – he’s also curated a book on DIY performance called DIY; the clever sausage.  

The Incredible Book Eating Boy just won’t stay in the cupboard and has consistently been booked for one-off gigs since it did its last full tour in 2014.
Twitter: @Bootworks


This residency was supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
Read more about our Artist Residencies programme

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