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Floor Plan

20 November 2009

The septet of performers from Dartington College of Arts, otherwise now as Openbatch Theatre, performed last night in the Arts Printing House before heading back to the UK to attend their graduation. I caught five minutes with two of them post-performance to find out about this group, who's debut piece explores 'group' and the relations between the individual and the group.

"We came together to form a group for our final performance, we were drawn together by similar work ethics and style of performance" explains Rowena Russell.

And what is that style of performance? "We are still struggling to define it, but it is a physical based style of theatre using imagery, gesture, references to the every day and music."

"The seven of us have very different interests, we each took responsibility for the devising process right through to the performance, each taking elements like performance aesthetics, dramaturgy, texts - researching texts and seeing where we can reference them- sound using all of our individual skills to come together as an ensemble. Unison is quite important as well as music. Chris is a sound artist and during the process we discovered that he was best placed creating the sounds, as he's more technically minded."

"Rowena pays more attention to the audiene engagement," Hannah Sullivan, the groups appointed performing director adds. How does one capture audience engagement? Is it all about eye contact?

"A lot of it is quite subtle, one of our main aims is working towards accessible theatre, for instaces the descriptions of the everyday which people can relate to. One of the things we always said was that we'd like our mums to be able to watch it!" Hannah laughs.

And after the success of their debut, have Openbatch got their next production in the pipeline? "That is one of the most important conversations we go home, because people keep asking us and we're really excited to get going."

"It would be nice to take from Bristol for our next work," Rowena considers, "While we're here in Vilnius we hope to hear what peope think of us as a company and to tighten the piece, and to fnd where we sit as a company in contemporary theatre."

 

Read more about Openbach and watch a video of their performance here.



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