We – the newly named Splint Theatre – have been working together as a company since September. Now, as we begin the 6 week intensive rehearsal period for our upcoming show, it seems like light-years since our research & development week back at the end of April.
Being a new theatre company, we are always striving to identify ourselves as a group and R&D week came to play a huge part in the collaborative process which we are now nearing the end of.
We began with three initial ideas which, by the end of the week, had slowly been whittled down to what would become our final show. We spent five days over at Trinity Centre, warming up, playing, singing, moving, writing and working truly independently as a company for the first time.
These five days gave us time to explore a load of completely different ideas and push them to the limits. Often in a rehearsal process you aren’t given the scope to fully explore all the extremes. A lot of our initial ideas didn’t really ‘work’ or particularly fit our group but over these five days we were able to discover exactly what did.
It also gave us space to work as a theatre company and get to know each other at our worst and best times. In order to make theatre that feels ‘right’ we discovered that you have to completely trust the collective you work with. It’s the only way you can make theatre that is both exciting and that you – the people making it – care about.
Julia Head, one of our two Co-Directors reflected on her own personal experience of Splint, saying; ‘It’s exciting. I love working in a room with people who have completely different artistic views to me. We have to fight to defend our view or realise the benefits of another person’s. It constantly challenges me to see work from a different perspective and not settle in my comfort zone. It’s exhausting and hard and scary but that’s when the magic happens. This is a room full of young creative minds who are incredibly talented, and my job is merely to try and use those talents to realise the collective potential.’
It now feels like Splint Theatre are collectively ready to make this show. Before R&D we were apprehensive and uncertain. None of us can gloss over the fact that a group of young, individual and creative brains in a room of 12 can be difficult at times. However, in the weeks following R&D, we’ve taken our minds and our bodies to places we weren’t expecting and have now reached a point of anticipation which feels very good. We’re incredibly lucky to be making work at Bristol Old Vic and, as the building changes and grows around us, so does the work we make. We begin intensives on 13 June and six weeks later our show goes up at Wickham Theatre from 20-23 July.
We can’t wait.