Interview with Amy Clamp- Jackdaw Theatre

Amy Clamp is one half of Jackdaw theatre, the other half being Bethan Dear. This weekend they are at Richmix in London, hosting Tell Tales - "An extraordinary festival of short performances spanning all art forms. Specifically designed to give our audiences an intimate, cosy and fun filled evening; just snuggle up and enjoy a performance event like no other." I spoke to Amy this week about their work

1. You say you are at the beginning of your theatre journey together, can you pinpoint for us the precise moment it began?

Bethan and I first met at Middlesex University and actually made a piece of work together in our second year there. We loved working together immediately and quickly became friends too (making theatre with your best friend is awesome!) Soon after that we travelled to Uganda together and made some more theatre with lots of children… this was amazing. We then came back to London and moved into a big old warehouse. The space means that we can actually make work in our house sometimes which is so great and has meant that we basically eat, sleep and think theatre!

2. How did you get involved with Tell Tales at Rich Mix this March?

I am the producer of Tell Tales, and have been since it began in 2012. It started as a very small and informal event at the Bussey Building in Peckham, designed to encourage ourselves and other artists to take risks with the work we’re making, and also to meet artists from different artistic backgrounds. During the first Tell Tales the amazing, Chiel Busscher came on board as a musician and he has been a collaborator on the project ever since! With a huge amount of experience in composition, artistic leadership and collaboration, he is a huge part of what the project has become and we feel incredibly lucky to have him.

Each year the event has gone from strength to strength with audiences getting bigger and the work getting stronger. Last year we had a sell out run at the VAULT Festival and so were invited to Rich Mix off the back of this success. It is relationship I have been developing for a while through Jackdaw but also within my part time role as a Producer for Tamasha Theatre Company who are based in the Rich Mix building. They are an incredible venue who offer fantastic support to young artists. We feel honored to be part of their programme!

3. Tell us a little bit about your piece?

Running once a year since 2012, Tell Tales is an ongoing collaborative event which facilitates artists from all disciplines coming together to share processes and practice, experiment, play and create new work.

The results of the collaborations, which happen over the course of two months, are shared over three nights in a very informal, encouraging and specifically designed performance space in East London’s cultural hub, Rich Mix.

A large focus of the project is on process, offering time for the company to get to know one another and form a collaborative ensemble. We run a number of workshops on the lead up to the event itself during which we all share what we have been making, get feedback and learn from each others experiences and differing creative processes. It is hugely valuable and hopefully cultivates relationships that will continue long after the events completion.

4. What's a typical rehearsal like for you?

The Tell Tales rehearsals vary hugely as there are over 20 artists involved and many come from starkly different working backgrounds which makes it even more exciting to be part of. A typical Tell Tales workshop would start with a good 30mins warm-up during which we often do team building exercises too.

Following this we may play a few games to ignite our creativity and to start us really learning how one another work and what we respond to.

Typically it would now be time for us to share work, so each lead artist would ask a few questions from which we will later structure our feedback, for example, does it make sense? Do I need more music? Do you believe our relationship etc. The companies then share their 10-15mins piece of work at whatever stage its at with the group. The feedback is generally incredibly constructive and the variety of experience and expertise in the room makes it so varied and useful. The room is full of dancers, musicians, directors, artists, designers etc etc.

The workshops are always hugely inspiring and a real bonding experience.

5. What do you hope to achieve with the work you make? And what audiences do you aspire to create for?

As a company our mission is pretty straightforward…

Make work that excites and ignites us: If it doesn’t have us jumping up and down, if we’re not lying awake at night eating our finger nails and wondering if we’ll ever sleep again, if we’re not climbing up ladders so we can shout from the rooftops “THIS IS AMAZING YOU HAVE TO SEE IT-NOW!”, then quite simply, it’s not for us.

We want to make work for a real audience: We love all of our theatre friends and fellow artists but we don’t want to make work only for them. We want to make work for everyone. Everyone and especially anyone who thinks they don’t belong in a theatre.

6. If you could make any piece of theatre, no financial restraints or limits what would it be, where would it be and how would you do it?

We have had a script on our radar for a long time that we would LOVE to stage if we had the money. It is a huge political, ensemble musical written by an incredible Canadian playwright that we have known for a few years called Colleen Murphy! It would need a huge budget to do it justice but one day we will make it happen in a dingy underground tunnel somewhere, watch this space!!!

Booking for Tell Tales:
Tell Tales is on at Richmix, London from 13th - 15th March 2015.

(C) Amie Taylor 2015 - @spoonsparkle

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