An Interview with Jake Oldershaw from Untied Artists, creators of For Their Own Good

Birmingham-based company Untied Artists sat down with us to answer a few questions about their upcoming performance of For Their Own Good as part of this Ferment Fortnight.

Briefly describe (for us) what your show is about?
It’s about death, how that’s removed from us as a process, and how maybe we should reclaim it. During a trip back home I had a conversation with my grandad about how the method of killing horses had changed during his career as a vet. It seems the changing sentimental attachments that humans feel toward them, coupled with changes in science, meant that they would often be given an injection rather than shot. It got me thinking about how far death has been removed from our collective conciousness. During my grandad’s lifetime life expectancy has gone up dramatically, both for humans and domestic animals; from field to kitchen the food industry has become an industrial process, with meat packaged, sanitised, and so far removed from the beast it once was that it’s easy to forget it ever was one.

I wondered how those gradual and almost imperceptible changes have affected how we would like to die, and how we expect to live out our days. It also crossed my mind that people for whom death has an almost daily presence (vets, butchers, doctors, etc) might have a completely different perspective than someone like me who’s lost less than a handful of pets or close family. This piece has been devised using content from, and in response to, interviews with those people.

Now describe it in 3 words.
Moving, Visual, Thought-provoking

Is it similar to what you’ve done previously or are you trying something new?
Every show we make is always completely different in style and content. This is the most challenging subject matter we’ve ever tackled, but hopefully we approach it with a lightness.

How will it make people feel? / What will it make people think about?
Hopefully it will polarize opinion according to peoples ethics and maybe get them talking to each other after. They might laugh a bit too, and maybe think about their own lives in relation to it.

What stage will it be at in its development when we see it in January?
It’ll be a full show with rough edges.

What elements in particular are you looking forward to testing it out on Ferment audiences?
Seeing whether it works as a whole.

What are your personal highlights of the line-up for January’s Ferment Fortnight?
As they’re from our neck of the woods we’re rooting for Kindle Theatre, that should be great. Ed Rapley’s a very engaging performer, hopefully we might catch his show.


Untied Artists will be performing For Their Own Good on Sat 26 Jan. Find out more here.


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