This week, I caught up with Georgie Staight – joint artistic director of Flux Theatre and the director of Chutney (a ‘pitch black comedy’ which opens at the Bunker Theatre next month).
Flux are behind some super exciting things on the London fringe scene: the EMERGE platform (which gives emerging writers, directors and actors an opportunity to collaborate and showcase work), and a host of workshops aimed at both writers and actors.
Chutney is their latest project – so I asked the Mountview-trained director to tell me about the show ahead of its 4-week run.
6 Nov-1 Dec, 7.30pm, https://www.bunkertheatre.com/whats-on/chutney
What drew you to the script for your forthcoming play, Chutney?
It has everything I look for in a script. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, it’s fiercely dynamic, it has two complex central characters and one of those moments where you think “how the hell are we going to do this.”
And as a director, what attracts you to new writing in general?
New writing is in direct conversation with the world around it, and that’s exciting. Some of the best scripts Flux read are the ones that surprise us – and that’s what we saw in Chutney. Collaborating with writers is one of Flux’s core aims and as a director, lifting that work from page to stage is the best challenge. Every relationship is different but I like to be in dialogue with the writer throughout the creative process – as I think it will only deepen your understanding of the piece.
Are you seeing any trends or changes in the scripts you’re receiving at the moment?
There’s a seismic shift happening in theatre and across all the arts at the moment. It’s hard to pinpoint without feeling glib, but it feels vibrant and hungry and inquisitive. We’re championing new stories, we’re asking uncomfortable questions and we’re taking risks.
And how does Flux normally find – and select – its scripts?
We met Reece through our new writing initiative EMERGE, and stayed in contact ever since. We also accept submissions throughout the year and run actor-writer workshops which has been a great way to meet new writers.
How do you feel about the opportunities available to female directors at the moment? Do you see the industry changing to better support you – and what more should it be doing?
Its certainly not the case for all areas but in directing, I feel like we’re moving towards a more positive place. Directing can be lonely and the industry creating communities for female directors to collaborate, moan and laugh within is important. Transparency is also key and we often look to the people with the power: the people programming. Theatres must publish their gender splits and do better than “we’ll have 50/50 split by 2022.” Why 2022? Why not 2019? It’s not as if there’s a shortage of female talent…
What would you say to someone starting out as a new director?
For me, theatre is about collaboration so there’s no better place than starting with the people. Find the people who excite you and whose work you respect. The designers, the writers, the actors, the stage managers, the artistic directors. They are the people I’ve learnt more from than anyone.
Chutney, 6 Nov – 1 Dec 2018, 7.30pm, https://www.bunkertheatre.com/whats-on/chutney