Introducing... Tmesis Theatre
Posted on: 08th November 2016 at 00:00
Posted by: PANDA
Here at PANDA we love hearing more about what our members are up to. Through our Introducing... features we can share and promote members' work throughout our network and beyond, helping to spread the word about the rich talent coming out of the north west.
This week we're excited to introduce Elinor Randle, Artistic Director of Tmesis Theatre & Physical Fest... Read on!
Can you introduce yourself?
I'm Elinor Randle, Artistic Director of Tmesis Theatre & Physical Fest, International Festival of Physical Theatre. I had a passion for theatre, performance and acting from an early age, probably fuelled by a dramatic family, with quite a few of my relatives working in theatre and television. Growing up in a small town in mid Wales there wasn't huge opportunity to explore, so I got involved with what I could, local pantomime, drama at school and making sketches with friends. I came to Liverpool to study Drama in 1999, and then really developed a huge interest in physical theatre when training on Hope Street's then, Physical Theatre programme where I worked with some fantastic practitioners to make shows including Paul Hunter from Told by an Idiot. Hope Street really encouraged and supported us to create our own work, and it was after leaving that I formed Tmesis with two other people on the course and began to make physical performance work.
Tell us about Tmesis Theatre.
Tmesis began, as most companies do, from a group of people coming together who work well, have a similar vision, and want to create work. We all had a passion for movement and for continuing to develop our skills, so we always invited high profile directors/physical practitioners to come and work with us like Tanya Khabarova (Derevo), Nigel Charnock and Malou Auriado (Pina Bausch). These people really pushed us and helped us to discover our style and way of working. This ethos was also what started the beginning of Physical Fest. Initially just a programme of workshops, we were always hungry to train and learn and were travelling to do workshops all over Europe- so we thought, let’s try and bring these people to Liverpool!
The company has changed a lot since its inception, and took a new direction in 2010, when my former co-artistic director, Yorgos left. After years of bringing practitioners in, and doing my solo show, Wolf Red, I was ready to explore my own vision and take all that I'd learnt into directing. I now work with a fantastic ensemble of performers, writer and creative team, and the work has really grown, with a big development in the use of text, visuals, connection with the audience, more of a comedic style. For myself the challenge of creating work that is both intelligent, explores human themes in an interesting way, but also really considers and connects with an audience is a fascinating one. I really enjoy directing and working with such a great team who all bring so much to the creative process.
What have you got coming up?
We are currently touring our new show, Happy Hour, which is a Unity Theatre Commission and will continue to tour throughout 2017.
Happy Hour is very much a madcap comedy, but with interesting, darker themes about the 'Happiness Industry' and the world of the work place. It's a really exciting show and a real collaborative piece, with writer Chris Fittock and the whole creative team.
It's been really well received on the tour so far from a variety of audiences, as there is a 'way in' for people, something they can relate to or recognise and the performers are fantastically different and unique with a great mix of text and physicality.
Come and see the show at the Lowry 24/25th November- you won't be disappointed!
*PANDA members can enjoy discounted £10 tickets by quoting 'PANDA' when booking.*
'Expertly choreographed...laugh out loud comedy' The Stage
'Does not waste a moment and enthralls and intrigues from beginning to end' Made up on Stage
'Tmesis have done a brilliant job of creating a skewed office comedy' Nerve Magazine
**** Liverpool Art Scene
9/10 Liverpool Sound & Vision
You can watch a trailer here and book tickets here.
Why are the arts important?
Big question! Without them the world would be a very dull place. It's a way to express, learn, discover, explore ideas, question human nature, escape. So many things!
What’s your relationship with PANDA?
PANDA supported Tmesis through a really important period of organisational development before our ten year anniversary in 2014. Through mentoring and facilitating development, our annual festival really grew and developed to be what it has now become, including performances, events, a platform for new work, street theatre, participatory programme and a Tmesis Graduate Company. I was also able to, with support, explore my own artistic vision, and look at how I wanted to change the direction of the work, re-establish Tmesis on the national touring circuit, and take the company forward. It's not often we get the space (or allow yourself) to really take stock and not keep churning work out, but really consider what you are doing, if its needed and why it’s important. PANDA have also been a partner on industry events and symposiums at the festival, including last year's Conference on Comedy in Art.
PANDA is really important as both a support/advice network and in communicating and linking with different artists and organisations outside of Liverpool. It's really vital for artists to have a point of contact, to offer guidance as quite often it’s a struggle to keep making work, particularly in an unstable financial climate where people and venues are taking less risks.