Interview with Co-Managers of Bread & Roses Theatre

Bread and Roses

Interview with the Co-Managers of The Bread & Roses Theatre, Rebecca Pryle & Tessa Hart, launching November 1st 2014 in Clapham.

Bread & Roses Theatre is a brand new venue; very exciting! What have been the biggest challenges so far, getting the entire project off the ground and how have you overcome these?

Tessa: I’d say just getting the whole thing off the ground has been a big challenge altogether. There are so many people who’ve worked on different bits and pieces. All the shows we did before the transformation of the space, showing it can be used as a theatre, then the planning, the funding, the marketing... So it’s kind of been a challenge every step of the way really and I guess we’ve overcome it by just keeping on going and believing in the project and it’s potential.

Following this, though, what's been the most rewarding part of the process?

Tessa: For me the most rewarding has been the response and interest so far. Even before officially announcing the theatre launch we’ve already had companies enquire about using it and our opening season this November & December has quickly filled with a very exciting line-up of fantastic productions. And local audiences have also already expressed their excitement about the launch of a new theatre.

The theatre company behind this new venue have been working together for quite some time. Where did the Bread & Roses journey begin?

Rebecca: Myself and fellow company member Hannah Duffy worked together at the Bread and Roses pub, as two budding actresses we wanted to start making our own work, create our own company, knowing the space was there for us to utilise. So we sought out other likeminded people to form the company.

Tessa: Following that, a group of us got together in 2012 started producing a new writing night called The Platform, which has had five installments and a ‘Best of’ since. The core team has changed a lot though over the past couple of years. The only two from the original team also managing the venue now are Rebecca and me.

What are you most looking forward to during the opening season?

Tessa: Everything! It’s just exciting to see everything come together and I can’t wait to see all the productions we’ve got in the space and see what it is transformed into each time! Although, I guess I’m particularly excited to start sharing the space with as many as possible, both audiences, of which we hope there will be plenty, as well as fellow theatre-makers.

Launch Night will soon be here! What should the audience expect?

Tessa: We’ve decided to hold a new installment of The Platform for opening night, because that is the in-house project with which everything started! This will be our seventh show! The audience can expect the usual mixture of comedic and dramatic short pieces of theatre but for the first time the look of our new theatre will be revealed. Previously we’d only hired lights and stages and otherwise had a bare function room above a pub, this time there will be an improved theatre with our own equipment and a new, different feel to it! After the performance free drinks and appetisers will be served at the launch party and people can chat to us, the cast, the crew, and just have a celebration of Clapham’s newest theatre!

What makes the Bread & Roses Theatre unique?

Rebecca: The Bread and Roses is the only trade union owned pub in the country and we are so lucky to have their backing on this great venture and that they see the potential in this new theatre. The Workers Beer Company that run the pub itself, run bars at major music/entertainment festivals in Europe, my BRTC offspring improve group ‘4PLAY’ had the opportunity two years in a row to perform at Glastonbury festival. The Workers Beer Company are a great company always looking to create opportunity and we couldn’t be more grateful for their support. Beyond that, we are in a prime location, are new and are not limiting ourselves to specific types of productions we choose to program.

Does the Bread & Roses Theatre have a manifesto, yet? If so, what is it?

Tessa: Actually we don’t really… The Bread & Roses has a great poem though; maybe we can just get away with using that?

“Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for -- but we fight for roses, too!”

Do you have any words of wisdom and/or encouragement for aspiring artists/theatre-makers out there?

Tessa: Work hard, be respectful and professional with every person you work with and be very pro-active! As a new theatre we welcome new theatre companies very much and offer one/two night slots for instance, which are a great way for new theatre-makers to take their first steps. So if there’s a venue you like the sound of, don’t shy away from just getting in touch and enquiring and getting your work out there.

Finally... What's the plan after the opening season has finished?

Rebecca: We have already started working on 2015 and its looking like its going to be a busy year.

Tessa: Yes, we’ve already received plenty of applications for productions next year and will be starting to offer slots for early 2015 shortly! It will be a very exciting year for the theatre, we’ll start programming some longer runs up to three/four weeks as well. But will also keep the possibilities of one/two week runs as well as one-off slots or just a couple of night runs. Any theatre-makers interested should get in touch asap!

(C) Tessa Hart & Rebecca Pryle 2014.

Twitter: @BreadandRosesTC
Facebook: /BreadandRosesTheatre

Launch/season info:

The Platform & Official Venue Launch Party on Saturday 1st November 7.30pm!
Tickets £8 (including free drinks and appetisers)

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