First of all we’d like to wish you a rather bleated and very happy New Year. There have been so many world changing events over the last year, so many things that have made us examine who we are and why we do what we do – it’s a time of great change and great opportunity and we hope that it’s a chance for us all to make exciting and daring choices.
At the end of 2011 we finished our attachment at the National Theatre Studio. We’d spent 2 weeks working with our full creative team and then another 4 weeks working with writer Matthew Hurt, building up the foundations of our new piece of work based on Joseph Conrad’s ‘The Secret Agent’. It was incredibly productive and marks the start of a very exciting project. There are clear ideas for the show, we have a narrative structure in place and the beginnings of muscle on the bones of act I (!).
We’ve never had the opportunity to work in this way before; to be able to thoroughly explore ideas for a project with the full creative team, and then to have the time, space and financial support to develop those ideas with a writer. It has been a pleasurable and constructive experience and we’re excited about what the next stages will bring. It has always been our ambition to effectively bring a writer into the devising process and it strikes us as essential to the evolution of our work. It’s a territory that we started to explore with our last show, ‘Delirium’, and is the key to all our future projects.
‘The Secret Agent’ is a show that we want to make in the Autumn of this year. Between now and then we’re keen to put some of our choices to the test to be sure that they hold up. As well as formal choices, this is also a chance to develop a full rehearsal draft of the script. This is something of a challenge, as whilst it’s great to have the template of a script from which to work, we also need to leave space for the devising process to continue when we eventually finish making the work. In this sense the type of relationship with the writer is paramount and needs to be one that continues to allow for the unforeseen suprises of devising. We also need to make some decisions on where we’d like the project to go, the sort of life we’d like it to have and of course we also need to raise the money to make the show!
One of the things that has really struck me about the process so far are the resonances it has with our previous work. More than any of our other projects, it feels like this one is being fed by what has come before. Of course all our work is informed by what we’ve already done, but it feels that the lessons we’ve learned are really starting to come to fruition. In this sense it feels like 2012 represents a new phase of theatre O’s existence and we hope very much that it’s the year in which we get to share new work with you all.
Spread the word.
With best wishes from the ‘O’