Pitch Lake Productions reflect on their Creation Space R&D Residency

| Tue 8 Nov 2016

Pitch Lake Productions recently joined us for their two week Creation Space R&D residency exploring ideas towards a new show They Know Not What They Do. We caught up with them to find out how their ideas developed during their time here.

Can you tell us about Pitch Lake Productions and the work you create?
Pitch Lake Productions is a Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) led Theatre Company comprised of actress Cathy Tyson, writer Michelle Inniss and director Cara Nolan. The company was formed to address the lack of leading roles in British Theatre for BAME mid-career actors in particular. It is our ambition to create theatre which addresses this issue and puts BAME characters at the centre of their own story.

Which particular elements of the project did you focus on during your residency?
One of the underlying themes of the play, They Know Not What They Do, is the process of Restorative Justice which the two main characters Moselle and DeAngelo are engaged in. Getting to grips with how this process would inform the dramatic action of the play was one of the things we worked on in the first week. We sought information and guidance from the Restorative Justice Council. After spending time working through the script we were able to form specific questions for those who work in this field. This was a fantastic resource to have, armed with this information we then went on to experiment with the structure of the play. We were also able to have a clearer picture of Ben, the character in the play who facilitates the process of Restorative Justice between Moselle and DeAngelo. We also discovered were Ben’s character needed to be developed. We also looked at the character, Mercy, and the importance of her role in the play and where in the play she could double up as another minor character. This was also the first time that Cara and I had read through the whole of the play, just being able to have the time to work through the play together was invaluable. We were able to make decisions on what elements of the play needed to be developed and which needed to be cut. We also worked with actors during the second week focussing on the characterisation of the characters and their language.

Did you make any new discoveries about the project?
The discoveries we made were mostly in relation to the play’s theme of the Restorative Justice process itself and just how powerful this process can be in the lives of those who perpetrate crime and by those who are affected by it. The amount of discussion the subject initiated was brilliant. The varying opinions around it and the discussion of youth offending in particular was something that gave us a lot of food for thought when looking at the characters in the play.

Did you bring in any collaborators?
In the second week of the residency we brought in actors to read through the play and interrogate the characters and their underlying motives. We also discussed the language of the play, which gave further insight into the character’s lives. On the last day of the residency we invited an audience to listen to a full read through of the play and invited them to give feedback and commentary on the play.

Did this residency enable you to do anything that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do?
Without the residency we wouldn’t have had a specific allotted time or the space to firstly work through the play, lay it out and work on and experiment with the structure in preparation for the actors. We also wouldn’t have had the time and space to invite actors in to work on the first draft of the play, to be able to hear the play, the language and the relationships between the characters. This gave us the gift of being able to develop the play tenfold.

What the most useful thing to have with you in the rehearsal room?
Has to be the actors! What’s a play without the actors! It was also useful to have the artsdepot staff on hand to ask questions and get their thoughts on various aspects of the play… and of course tea and coffee on tap!

What are your next steps for this project?
Our aim is to take the play on a national tour in the autumn of 2017.

What else are you working on at the moment?
Michelle is working on ideas for her next two plays.

Twitter: @PitchLakeProd
Facebook: @PitchLakeProductions

Read more about our Artist Residency Programme

Latest Posts


R&D (55) dance (28) directing (27) backstage (59) acting (18) Creation Space (59) behind the scenes (10) family theatre (28) design (15) residency (13) theatre (55) choreographing (17)

VLOG of Pitch Lake Productions R&D at artsdepot