Four Shadows Theatre begin their Creation Space residency
| Mon 16 Mar 2015
As they make their way to artsdepot to begin their Creation Space residency, Four Shadows Theatre tell us about what they'll be working on during the next two weeks.
Can you tell us about Four Shadows Theatre?
Hello there. We are Four Shadows Theatre, a company of theatre-makers/performers/musicians from North Yorkshire. Four Shadows Theatre started in 2010, 3,977 miles away, in Regina, Canada! Since then we have performed lots of different things to lots of different people in lots of different places.
We, Chris and Rich, are the Co-Artistic Directors of the company. In this instance Artistic Director also means writer, performer, producer, set builder, musician and anything else that needs doing. Sometimes it’s just the two of us, sometimes we work with other talented people.
Our aim is to change the commonly held belief that theatre is for the elite… because it’s not, don’t be silly! In our effort to do this we rarely perform in a traditional theatre space but try to take our work out to the people, instead of making the people come to the work.
How would you describe the work you create?
We create devised work in response to people, historical events and existing stories. The word response is important to us as we never make literal representations. We take a stimulus and we create a piece of theatre in response to that. We like playing with pop culture and context to create theatre which is accessible yet ambitious. We often perform in unusual and non-theatre spaces, previously we have performed in pubs, libraries, breweries, town squares, charity shops and even on a bus.
We have made shows in response WWII, where we chronicled the whole war through a series of vignettes, The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Anderson which we turned into a balkan musical fairytale with a new narrative and the everyday superheroes of America where we donned skin-tight lycra and tried to save the world.
The work we create is fun, beautiful and innovative. We usually don’t use a lot of tech, we like wearing suits, we like doing things you don’t expect. We sometimes sing, we sometimes play live music, we sometime dance and we sometimes do all three of those at once.
What will you be working on during your residency at artsdepot?
The residency will be an intensive research and development period for us, where will be experimenting with the plethora of ideas we have for our new show Everest:1924.
Everest:1924 will be a show about the legendary British mountaineer George Mallory who, in 1924, attempted to be the first man to ever summit Mount Everest. The thing that most excites us about his story is that no one knows for certain whether he made it to the top or not. He was last spotted on the 8th June 1924 about 800m from the summit and then never seen again, until his body was discovered on the mountain in 1999.
In our show we know both of us will be playing George Mallory, one of us on the way up to the summit and one of us on the way down from it. We also know both Mallorys will die. The bits in the middle are what we will be working on. We have loads of things written down, lots of little drawings and we have images in our head, what we are looking forward to doing is bringing all these ideas to life and seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Which elements of the project will you be developing while you’re here?
There are several important questions we will be looking to answer during our time in the Creation Space, some of which include…What kind of hat does the abominable snowman wear and how does he talk? Can you make a snowstorm with polystyrene balls? Can you dance with a pickaxe, pretending it’s your wife?
We have lots of scenes we want to include in our show and the main thing we will be working on is getting all these ideas on their feet and seeing how they fit together. We know what happens at the very beginning and we know what happens at the very end, the rest is still to be discovered.
What the most useful thing to have with you in the rehearsal room?
When we first started thinking about this show we realised there was no way we could let ourselves create a piece of work about climbing Mount Everest without somehow putting the mountain in the space, so the two most important things to have with us are our tent and our ladder. The tent is our Base Camp and the ladder is our Everest. This allows us to stand on top of the highest mountain in the world and look over the rest of the Himalayas, all from a rehearsal room in North London.
Meet Chris and Richard in this video, part of Plastic Fortune's People of York series