Celebrated director Phil Willmott and artistic director of King's Head Theatre, Adam Spreadbury Mahor debate:
How do you turn a small studio theatre into an advantage?
Are pub theatres the place for
Are there other pub theatres you
would like to work with?
Phil Willmott brings his celebrated production of Arthur Miller's INCIDENT AT VICHY to King's Head Theatre 7-25 June Read here
PW: The actors can work with enormous subtlety as they're being observed from close up. It's almost like acting on camera. For half a century artists volunteering their time were also free to create ambitious work, telling big stories and making bold and radical statements free from the pressures of being economically viable. Unfortunately, recently impressionable theatre makers have been pressured into only making small cast, under-rehearsed pieces that just might stack up financially.
PW: Yes but that isn't possible if your primary focus is pairing everything right back to make it commercially viable.
PW: My favourite fringe venues are the Finborough and the Union Theatre. Fortunately I have regular opportunities to work there so I haven't considered working anywhere else for a while. It's lovely to be back at the Kings Head though, as I've made a lot of work there in the past and feel very nostalgic about it. If I did work at other theatres I'd be looking for venues with a similarly high profile and I'm not sure whether there are any others. The Gate maybe.
Editor's Notes: 1)There are several with excellent technical capabilities such as Brockley Jack Studio and the purpose built White Bear with others having upgraded including Drayton Arms - standards are rising exponentially. 2) Not sure The Gate is a pub theatre. It cannot be accessed from the pub below and you can't take your pint in.
ASM: Small studio spaces are critical to the lifeblood and ecosystem of theatre in the UK. They’re a place where artists are given permission to be bold and to take risks, and where audiences are willing to be taken on a journey into the unknown. More new work happens in studio spaces than in any other type of theatre; these spaces are the true trailblazers of the industry. Working in a small studio theatre is an advantage in itself.
ASM: Pub theatres are a place where different philosophies are challenged and explored. If you’re deconstructing ideas, anarchy is always going to play a part. In some ways, it’s expected.
ASM: I’d love to work with other pub theatres and small studio spaces, with really ambitious high quality emerging and established artists and anyone who shares the same values as the King’s Head Theatre; the creation of sustainable, high quality work and providing employment and opportunities for different types of diverse people and audiences