Meet The Tin Can Collective, the latest young theatre company to emerge from our Made in Bristol scheme



What is Made in Bristol?

Made in Bristol is a platform offered to a group of young theatre-makers that means we can create our own work, while also receiving training on how to share what we have learned by delivering workshops to others.


What have its successes been so far?

Last year’s Made In Bristol company [The Wardrobe Ensemble] created a brilliant show called Riot that was a hit at Edinburgh and is currently on tour. This year, it has bought together a very different bunch of people which has resulted in a piece of theatre that gives multiple perspectives on life, called I Would Not.



Who are The Tin Can Collective?

The Tin Can Collective are a group of crazy drama kids making plays! We were all members of the Bristol Old Vic Young Company who have progressed to join the scheme. Individually, we are 10 people who have very different backgrounds but together make a representative mix of young culture. We are Anthony Almeida, Alistair Debling, Andre McMiller, Alice Ritchie, Gabrielle Sheppard, James Kent, Lily Drewry, Lala Simpson, Stef Martini and Ruby Etches. We rehearse at Bristol Old Vic two days a week creating and refining material and the rest of the week researching and designing the show.


Describe your new show, I Would Not, in three words and tell us what it’s all about.

Explicit. Honest. And human.

It’s a piece that we want to speak to everyone, not just people our age, or of a certain demographic. It is all about the world we live in, and the world we don’t; the shackles that are placed on us in life to tell us how we are “supposed” to act in certain situations. But why? This is what we ask ourselves and the audience through our loud, tight ensemble style complete with music, movement and naturalism.


What boundaries does it examine specifically? Which boundaries do you try to push?

Sexual boundaries came up a lot as well as our own personal boundaries. We tried pushing all of them! Some things worked and some didn’t, but the majority of the ones we’re working with are social and domestic boundaries – things we personally wouldn’t do that we might have the chance to do.


What propelled you to make the show?

At the beginning of the process, we were quite focused on making an adaptation of Lord of the Flies, but when creating material it didn’t quite work for us as a group. After that we would often just play, facilitated by [Bristol Old Vic Young Company Director] Miranda Cromwell, and we found ourselves steered towards our boundaries and the reasons we felt we “had to” dress or behave or speak the way we do. We found we were very good at being ourselves on stage so we decided to play ourselves blurred with other characters, but it is never clear when – or even if – that happens.


What kind of research did you do to inform the content?

We watched YouTube videos on anything and everything, music videos, articles, listened to songs, trawled Facebook, looked at current and old news stories, constructed interviews. We didn’t want to rule anything out so we just kept exploring anything that interested us.



Lots of people will have seen your flyer by now. It’s eye-catching to say the least! Tell us a bit about the idea behind that – and on a practical note, how you got the shot?

We were thinking about things we would never do, and one of the things that came up was being naked in public. Personal space came up a few times as well and how on buses and trains you usually avoid sitting next to other people and catching their eye. So we thought we’d combine the two and make it even more awkward…


It was a Thursday and we all headed over to the dock in castle park, where we thought it would be the best place for James to get naked. It went pretty well despite the freezing cold! The gardener glanced at us a few times and then came on down and told us, half way through the shoot, that security was watching us and wanted us to stop. So James had been flashing them for a good 15 minute! We eventually got the shot though. With everyone watching!



Why do you think people should see the show and what do you hope the audience will take away from the performance?

We think people should see it because it’s honest. We want them to enjoy themselves, to take a fresh look at the world around them and to push their own boundaries as a result of that.


How much harder is it devising new work? As opposed to just picking up an existing script…

The vast majority of us are used to working with devising, as that is generally how the Young Company works, but for some of us it is a new experience that has been interesting to learn. In some ways, it is easier to make devised work, as you’re not constrained by a script, just a small thread that you can pull about. It’s often a longer, but more rewarding process.



Why is it important to support young companies?

It is important so that people like us can do what we enjoy the most and are able to create fresh, new work. Young companies also bring people in to the theatre who wouldn’t necessarily have come before, and that’s one of the things we’re hoping to do with this show.


What’s next for you as a company?

Wherever the road takes us. We are taking the show to the National Theatre on Wed 27 June to the Inside Out Festival. We’re hoping to take the show to some festivals over the summer and The Tin Can Collective may carry on after this project to a new one…




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