Interview with Jo Griffiths, co-founder of Two42 Theatre

Interview by Amie Taylor (@spoonsparkle)

This week I spoke with Jo Griffiths, one of the founders of Two42 Theatre - which started as two 42 year old women wanting to make theatre, and has since grown in to something much bigger. Here I speak to her about their journey to Edinburgh, and the show they will be taking: Consumption.

AT: Hi Jo, First of all, could you tell us a little about your theatre company, Two42, the whens, hows and whys...

JG: Two42 Theatre company is basically two 42 year old women who want to write and direct the best theatre we can. Jo writes and Lorraine directs. We’ve worked together over twenty years and we know each other very well. The strength of this friendship means we can work together very well. We hope so anyway! End of August we will know for sure! We have been teaching A’level students for some time and a few of them go off to top drama schools and then can’t get work. We want to give recent graduates a platform to show their talents and Edinburgh is the start of this. Working with a seven piece cast, we hope the work is going to be fresh and exciting.

AT: Your show 'Consumption' is on at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, could you tell us a little of what it's about and what inspired you to write it?

JG: I started writing this piece a while back with a youth theatre group I was running. The theme that we kept coming back to was finances. Credit card companies, what young people want to spend money on, how to get money etc, etc. This led me to thinking about how much we consume and how much of society consumes without really thinking about it. Our western world is governed by what we spend and how much we spend. It seems as if if you don't spend money and have the latest gadget or item you are somehow shunned by society or at least your peer group. The pressure on people has become mad but we've all bought into mass consumerism. This seems ridiculous to me and I wanted to show how ridiculous we have become.

AT: What do you hope your audience will take away from watching?

JG: I hope the audience laugh in the right places! It is meant to be funny, well, the first half at least. I would also like the audience to think about we really need. I have just returned from a trip to Nepal, prior to the earthquake, and I think this piece resonated with me even more than while I was writing it. People in Nepal have NOTHING. Food is basic, housing is just about adequate, people survive day to day and it makes me feel guilty that we have so much. I think this piece is an observation on life really. I hope that is what the audience take away. And that they giggle at the same time!

AT: Do you devise or script or both?

JG: I have scripted it and Lorraine is currently working on the physical elements. We both love physical theatre so she is working on how to bring it off the page. Lorraine directs by layering the physical componants and then she adds the text. The actors are also contributing heaps of ideas. Its an ensemble piece and we are very priviledged to be working with this talented bunch of actors.

AT: What's a typical day like for you in the rehearsal room?

JG: A typical rehearsal is physical, physical and creative! Everyone's ideas are put into the piece and Lorraine structures from there. Most rehearsals are sweaty and a bit stinky. The characters are quite bizarre so I think the actors are enjoying the freedom of going slightly mad and unhinged. It suits them well. :)

AT: How have you found preparing for the Fringe? have you met any challenges?

JG: Preparing for the fringe has been an experience. If anyone had told me what actually goes into producing a show for Edinburgh I might have run for the hills. Being new to this is probably the best thing, ignorance is bliss. I've done everything as a complete beginner at 42! Some key people at my venue and at edfringe have been brilliant. I've asked stupid questions and they've helped!!!! Brilliant. The hardest part for me has been the design side of posters and flyers etc. Without calling all the favours on some good friends I would have struggled even more. There have been plenty of sleepless nights.

What are your plans, as a company, post Edinburgh?

Doing Edinburgh will give us a realistic idea of how the piece has gone. At the moment we don't honestly know how it's going to be received and that is scary. If we get good feedback we'd love to tour the piece to regional theatres across the UK. We also need arts funding so Edinburgh is a good launch pad for the company. If you don't put the work on then no one can judge if it's any good. Whatever the outcome, we will have been on the steepest learning curve ever and Lorraine and I like a challenge. This is one big challenge!

(c) Amie Taylor for Female Arts / Jo Griffiths 2015

You can see Consumption at the Edinburgh Fringe from 8th - 27th Aug. For more info and how to book, visit here: http://two42theatre.co.uk/

Author's review: 
0