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Thick As Thieves – Designer Interview

Interview with Alyson Cummins

 

What attracted you to working on Thick As Thieves?

Well there were loads of reasons really! I’ve wanted to work with Clean Break for ages, I’m such a big fan of what they do so I was completely delighted when Róisín spoke to me about Thick as Thieves. Also I love working with Róisín, we’ve worked together quite a bit over the past few years and she’s a brilliant director as well as being great fun to hang out with. And on top of all that Róisín I worked on another play together that Kath wrote called Before it Rains which I absolutely loved. Kath is an incredible writer so I jumped at the chance to work with her again too.

What is it like to work with Clean Break and how is it different from working with other Theatre companies?

Clean Break is such an important company, and one I’ve admired for a long time knowing their history and their commitment to creating work of such a high standard. It’s not only that thats so impressive but its also their education and training schemes that are so integral to the production process. Its also really wonderful to work with a brilliant all female team, not only on the production itself but within the wider Clean Break company. I am lucky enough to have worked with lots of brilliant women over the years but I think creating a company committed to promoting and developing women in an industry that was traditionally male dominated is so important. The main difference with other companies is having the opportunity to tour the show to prisons which is a really exciting challenge. From a practical point of view they are not necessarily theatre spaces or ready made performance areas so there are certain considerations that that brings. However its so brilliant knowing you’re working on something that will tour to an audience that isn’t necessarily able to get to see theatre or live performance.

What are you hoping audiences take from your design and how will that augment their experience of the show?

Whenever I’m designing a show the main thing I hope I can do is support the story that the writer has written. Its really important that my work helps to tell the story and underlines what the writer has presented. Kath has written a story with amazing characters who have been on really interesting and divergent journeys. What I hope we’ll be able to do is create a space that represents their experience and relationship with the world around them and hopefully through that also show part of their interior worlds.

Are there any other projects you’d like to plug?

I have a couple of operas coming up next year which I’m looking forward to working on. One is for Opera Holland Park next Summer who are working really hard to make opera accessible to everyone and open it up to new audiences. They have great initiates such as £20 tickets, half price tickets for NHS and emergency staff, free tickets for young people, family open days and school matinees. I think they’re doing a wonderful job breaking down barriers to accessibility, opera is such a beautiful art form it should be something that can be enjoyed by everyone.