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           THEATRE N16, homeless this Christmas

 

 

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Jamie Eastlake updates us on the search for a new home and talks us through what makes Theatre N16 such a great proposition.  

 

Theatre N16 has been a breeding ground for new talent and somewhere safe to try out new work.  What has been your most rewarding moments during your 2 years and 4 months at the Bedford pub in Balham.

There have been so many rewarding moments. The sheer number of companies and artists through our doors creating work is the biggest reward. Has another theatre in the country allowed as many companies to get their first starts? I don't think so. For that I'm so ridiculously proud.  

 

You're now homeless, and the sheer breadth of  homeless is a really hot issue in London and elsewhere right now. Telling the stories of the powerless so that the powerful are held to account is one of the reasons why Theatre N16 is in existence.  Could you tell us more about that?

I've always wanted to tell stories about the little man. Stories of injustice. N16 has always been about creating a platform for these stories and these people. The arts is supposedly meant to be a socialist driven network of organisations, but is it really? I mean the major driving force of most organisations is blatant capitalism and protecting the best interests of board members, white middle-class audiences and those with bulging pockets.  

 

What are some of the burning injustices that you feel passionately can be addressed through theatre?

I think you can take any injustice and put it on stage. If you have the right artistic team you can start or continue any conversation.  

 

With over 28,000 audience members through the door since moving to the Bedford in 2015, there must be pubs out there who would benefit from the business you are bringing.  What kind of research have you done to date and where can you go from here?

We've viewed over 60 spaces so far. Spoke to tons of different organisations for advice. We'd done so much of the work and business plan when we went for tender for streatham. So we have everything in place. It's just a shame now that my staff after all we've done can't just move straight into a shiny new building after proving our worth to the local area and industry.  

boat 2

Pigdog's BOAT

With over 178 productions.   Tell us about the most outstanding shows and their achievements.

There's so many that have been amazing. I always go back to Boat by Pigdog when we first opened. I thought it was just beautiful and a statement of the work we wanted to program. So many companies have went on to do amazing things. Poor Michelle being a major player for the future for sure after their epic Harry and Thick skin.

Harry (Poor Michelle_)

What kind of follow up is there on plays produced in house or companies bringing work to Theatre N16?  

We want to continue developing as much work as possible for it to keep going. This year we brought 6 shows to the Edinburgh fringe. All of which had started at N16. That's pretty amazing for such a small company.

 

What has been your financial model?

99% of the companies who come through the doors are on a risk-free box office split. This means they leave without owing us a penny. We've survived on ticket sales, rehearsal space bookings, credit card debt, pay day loans and selling sperm.  

 

Jamie, to date, Theatre N16 has been housed in pubs, what has been the importance of this kind of venue to the experience of theatre goers?

Pub theatre is mint. It's just mint. Pubs have always been about community and a place to go to sing and dance and share stories. I have a very strong link with pubs from my heritage. On the tyne and in Northumberland people would escape the horrors of day to day life by going for a pint and sharing stories. That's what we do.  

 

Finally, could you tell us in a nutshell what kind of space you’re  looking for?

A building for our own really has always been the next step. That's the ideal. But none of this is ideal so we're looking to pop in spaces with cool bars, an already existing artistic following.  

 

This is not the end. This is just another chapter about to begin.  

 

Anybody who knows of a suitable space or is interested in becoming a patron of the theatre to help them find a new venue, please email jamie@theatren16.co.uk.

 

You can also help support the future of Theatre N16 by making a donation, here 

 

"We've survived on ticket sales, rehearsal space bookings, credit card debt, pay day loans and selling sperm."