Paradigm Theatre Company

Interviews! 


Centre Stage on What’s Peen Seen?: Sarah Pitard

Centre Stage on What’s Peen Seen?: Sarah Pitard

Founded in 2012, Paradigm Theatre Company has come on leaps and bounds, and as a company that produces four shows per year as part of their mission statement, they’ve done so to critical acclaim so far. We had a little chat with Sarah Pitard, the Artistic Director of the company, to get some inside information and chat a little bit about their latest show Tartuffe.

Paradigm Theatre Company has been around since 2012, so you’re relatively new. How have things been going so far? 

Really great so far! But that’s not to say there haven’t been problems and things we’ve learned. It’s no mean feat to create a repertory company, that’s for sure. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished, in all four shows, our two fundraisers, and our benefit show… it’s been a lot of hard work, but work that has paid off.

And you’ve produced all of their productions? 

Yes. I’m the Artistic Director, so it’s my job to make sure that everything gets done, that we have money, and that we hire talented people who know what they are doing. I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy in my life.

Have there been any highlights within your first year? 

Plenty! Working with Dudley Sutton and Sylvia Syms on our Benefit Show was thrilling!  Dudley is quite the character and Sylvia was so kind.  She actually announced to the crowd that were immensely talented and would go far… it was really sweet.  So that was definitely a highlight.

Also, I’d say the opening night of our first production, The Inappropriateness of Love, was another highlight… We had worked all summer to raise money to create good theatre and after we opened our first show, we knew we were well on our way.

Freedom, Books, Flowers, and the Moon was also a magical experience because the show was such a tear jerker.  I think the cast was really blown away by the effect their performances had on the audience and the show was a true sentiment to just how important theatre can be in a very deep and emotional way.

To be honest, all of our productions have had highlights of their own.

Can you tell us a little bit about Tartuffe

Ha! Tartuffe has been what we call our “cursed” show of the season… not in a bad way necessarily… I’d say that Tartuffe has been a testament to how hard we have worked to make this season happen. In the middle of our third show, A Woman of No Importance…or Somewhat Little Importance Anyhow, the UK Border Agency rejected my visa application to stay in the country with my British husband, so I had to leave London and move to Paris, where I am currently residing. With that being the situation, I have had to produce Tartuffe entirely from abroad, having never actually seen the show (except over blurry Skype)… we also had a couple of spaces back out on us at the last minute and two directors not be able to do the show, one of which left in the middle of the process. Thank goodness we have a strong core Resident Director, Cat Robey, who has directed all of our previous shows and who is mega talented. She’s tackled 4 different types of theatre in the past year and all with success. I’m just as proud of Tartuffe as any show we’ve done, even though we had a tumultuous time making it happen.  It’s a brand new concept of Tartuffe, one that purists may not go for, but we certainly think it’s hip and new. Hopefully audiences will too!

What sort of direction do you think Paradigm will be heading in over the coming months and years? Can we expect more exciting work?

Absolutely! I’m currently working on getting back to the UK. If all goes as planned, I should be back in London by August. We already have an entire season planned for next year.  We’ll be doing a couple of fundraisers over the summer, another Benefit show, and will be applying for a few grants… and then in the autumn, we will open the 2013/2014 Season entitled “Lies of the Human Mind” with a new play called Rogue Taxidermy by B. Spencer Evoy. It’s a dark-comedy thriller… should be great for Halloween. And then we’ll be doing a show for the New Year – an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ The Chimes, written by myself.  The final two shows are still being confirmed.

Tartuffe runs at Canal Café Theatre until 27th April 2013. See what we thought here.
You can visit the company’s official website here.

Photo Credit: Jon Bradshaw 




March 17th, 2013 - Romeo Says So... London 

INTERVIEW WITH ACTRESS AND PLAYWRIGHT KATHERINE RODDEN
ABOUT INSPIRATION, THEATRE AND LONDON

It’s March in London, hoards of office workers are fighting their way through the bitter winds, their thin macs acting as shields as they make their way towards Waterloo station. Snow flurries circle the Southbank, decorating the air like a British film set.


Today we have come to the Royal Festival Hall to meet Katherine Rodden, actress and playwright.


Over a coffee we discuss her latest project, ‘A Woman of No Importance… Or Somewhat Little Importance Anyhow…’ in which she starred and wrote, Paradigm Theatre Company and her love of Noel Coward.


Recently you performed ‘A Woman of No Importance…’ at the Hen and Chickens Theatre, could you tell me more about your influences for the play?

I’d like to think that I am very influenced by Coward and Wilde and to some extend some people have said to me Ionesco, and in hindsight I do see that, but I hadn’t meant to emulate that when I was writing it. The reason I kind of wrote it was that I don’t think our generation really gets Coward, I don’t think that Coward and Wilde are very relevant, kind of, the middle class generation that seems to frequent London now, and I wanted to take these great writers and make them modern and accessible to my friends.


What’s your favourite Oscar Wilde?

It’s the Importance of Being Earnest I think. It’s just such a classic.


 So what came first, acting or playwriting; or was it something that has evolved?

I always wrote from the age of four or five. I was writing very bad poetry and then writing short plays and I always wanted to be an actor, that was a given, since I saw the Wizard of Oz and I was like four years old and I wanted to be an actor. But I just wanted to write a play because I’ve written a lot or short stories and poems and I wanted to finish a project and then this just seemed to write itself to be honest. I wanted to write something based on the texts and the writers that I like so it just wrote itself really.


And how did you get involved with Paradigm Theatre?

(Laughs) Sarah Pitard is one of my best friends. I worked with her husband on a production of Macbeth a couple of years ago and she was just sat in the corner of our rehearsal one day writing on this bright pink laptop and I was like who’s this girl? Then I needed somewhere to stay when I was doing another show and we became really close. Then, when I was in Germany or somewhere in Europe on tour, she just emailed me and said I’m setting up a theatre company would you be a member?


What was the last thing that you saw that you would recommend that you really enjoyed?

The last thing I saw that really, really inspired me was Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellen, which is bizarre because Ian McKellen is one of those really over recognised actors really, that you kind of just accept that he’s good even if you don’t see him. Seeing him in Waiting For Godot, I mean I thought Patrick Stewart was good, I thought Simon Callow was good, but for me seeing Ian McKellen play a character that was so unlike anything I have ever seen him do, that character transformation, that was inspiring.


When you’re out and about in London where do you like to go out and where would you recommend?

Well, if I’m going out for cocktails and stuff, which we do tend to do in our group, then we often end up at The Young Vic or The Pit Bar at The Old Vic. There are so many great hidden away places all over town I like though - Betsy Smith in Kilburn, the Soho cocktail bar and there's this awesome wine bar called Gordon's Wine Bar in Villiers Street too.


One thing that we always ask people is the classic ultimate dinner party, if you could invite anyone dead or alive who would you invite?

To dinner? Oh my God. Do I have to cook for them?

No you can order take out if you want.

(Laughs) Wow. That’s a good one. Probably Noel Coward - God this is going to be like a manic depressant dinner party! Noel Coward.  Andrew Scott, because I think he is one of the most amazing actors of our time. Ben Whishaw. Thomas Hardy, because I’d like to meet Thomas Hardy. I need some women don’t I? Erm probably Judi Dench because she’d be a good one to meet. Erm and lots of casting directors from across the World.

 February 7th, 2013 - Enfield Independent 

Return of the farce - playwright Katherine Rodden channels Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward for a modern take on the unfashionable genre

Playwright Katherine RoddenPlaywright Katherine Rodden

Shakespeare, Wilde and Coward – they sure knew how to make their audiences laugh. Their comedies, from The Comedy of Errors to The Importance of Being Earnest to Hay Fever, were the most popular plays of the day. But where are all the modern farces? What happened to wit in contemporary theatre?

“I'm bringing it back, that’s the aim,“ says first-time playwright and performer Katherine Rodden. “I think it’s much more trendy, these days, to write really gritty dramas or something political. People don’t think farce is relevant anymore, but I think it is and I know that the audiences really enjoy it.“

A Woman of No Importance or Somewhat Little Importance Anyhow is Katherine’s debut play and channels the high wit and family feuding of Britain’s great farce writers and is already drawing comparisons to the works of Alan Ayckbourn.

“I felt they’re lost on modern audiences,“ says the 28-year-old, “some of the references aren’t relevant anymore. It’s modernising and trying to keep that wit alive. It’s modern language, but it’s quite loquacious. There are lots of puns and wit and derogatory comments thrown around like in those old plays.“

When her mother turns up one day saying she’s divorcing her husband, Lauren is forced to play middle man in her parents break-up.The story follows Lauren, an emotionally unstable actress in her late 20s  played by Katherine, who is having “a career crisis, a mental breakdown, an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and an even less healthy relationship with her parents.“

“Lauren is the archetype actress,“ says Katherine, “over dramatic, a bit self-pitying and self indulgent. She’s at home getting drunk on a Friday night worrying about how badly her career’s going. Her mother comes round and pretty soon it turns into a full on farce – a farce in the true sense – fighting and things falling around, exits and entrances.“

The final scenes are so chaotic, Paradigm Theatre Company, the fringe repertory company producing the play, even commissioned a fight coordinator to choreograph the punches.

“A lot of the humour comes from picking up what somebody’s said and using it against them,“ says Katherine, who has recently returned to the UK following a tour of The Taming of The Shrew in Europe and Japan. “It’s that kind of repartee. A lot of it is in the awkwardness of the characters, like in a comedy of manners. It’s how people fail to communicate, how some things get missed and picked up on.

"The actors are so funny – even when they’re not talking, just watching them react.“

Seeing her first full-length play take shape on stage has been an experience for the actress.

“It’s really nice seeing how the actors interpret what you’ve written, that’s probably the nicest part of being a writer. They bring them to life and put their own ideas on the character. I feel like a bit of a child watching people in rehearsals.“

A witty comedy that observes just how insane families really are behind closed doors, A Woman of No Importance or Somewhat Little Importance Anyhow could mark the return of the farce to modern theatres.

“It’s a favourite form of mine,“ adds Katherine. “There’s so much energy and you’ve really got to have that energy to do this style well or it just falls completely flat. It’s just exciting, exciting to watch. It would be nice if there was more of this style being written now – I hope to bring it back.“


January, 2013 - 17% Magazine: Supporting and Promoting Female Playwrights 

Interview: Katherine Rodden

“What I wanted to do was write a play with modern day, intelligent, educated, witty people who banter and cuss like Coward’scharacters – but with contemporary language and issues”

A Woman of No Importance... poster

A Woman of No Importance…

Katherine Rodden is an actress and writer, whose play A Woman of No Importance… Or Somewhat Little Importance Anyhow, premieres at The Hen and Chickens in Islington, 5-23 February 2013. The play is the latest offering from Paradigm Theatre Company, and the describe it as “a comedy of manners – Noel Coward style. A farcical, witty comedy that observes just how insane families really are behind closed doors – even ones that love each other to bits!”

Katherine not only wrote the piece, but is acting in it.

What you do: 

I always wanted to be an actress – and this is essentially what I am. But I do lots of other bits. I write a lot and I do photography.

What your background is:

I am from Buckinghamshire where I grew up and went to school. After school I did my travelling ‘gap year’, went to E15 to do the foundation course in acting before taking a place on the three year acting course at The Oxford School of Drama (which I adored!) I’ve been working consistently as an actress since graduating (a lot of this work is unpaid due to the current economy,) but I was lucky enough to see a lot of the world over 2011-2012, going on tour with White Horse Theatre Company.

What made you decide to rework Oscar Wilde? And what was the process? In fact how much of the play is inspired by Oscar?

Well; this is an entirely new piece of writing and it is a sort of ‘ode’ to Wilde, and Coward, and Ayckbourn (and all the writers I admire – most of whom are dead…)

I didn’t sit down and plan out the story line. I had a basic idea and just sort of went with it. Of course then I did rewrites and eventually it resulted in the current (not necessarily final) product we have at The Hen & Chickens today. My beef with a lot of current writing is that there’s a huge amount of incredible, political writing, and a constant stream of famous, long standing productions; there’s tonnes of young, gritty, personal drama. And I am concerned that these wonderful plays by Wilde and Coward are losing there attraction to younger audiences. They are incredibly witty, inspiring plays and I love this format of comedy. What I wanted to do was write a play with modern day, intelligent, educated, witty people who banter and cuss like Coward’s characters – but with contemporary language and issues. I want to throw this out there and see whether it has an audience. I am hoping it does.

Do you feel being a woman has hindered your career in any way?

The only thing I would say about being a woman is that there are so many women in this industry. So many incredibly talented women. And there just isn’t enough work for us all. It hasn’t all been jelly beans and sunshine but it is hard work (which I love) and it does force you to think outside the box (the only way to think!) I never thought I would start writing and I didn’t dream in a million years I would write and act in my own play. But I am lucky enough to have a network of like minded, driven, ambitious women in the Paradigm Theatre team.

What advice would you have for other women starting out?

Believe in yourself. Don’t ever apologise for being wonderful. Meet people. Talk to people and most of all – do what you love.

What do you think is the best way to get more work by women into the theatre?

Well, we need to support the talent primarily. And good work needs to be acknowledged and supported. It’s very difficult to push your career in the theatre when you work 9-5, have to rehearse in the evenings and write at night over your dinner when you get home. But I am surrounded by strong women that do this constantly. And they still achieve wonderful results. We need to keep badgering away and promoting what we do. Financing is the main issue. But this will come with time if we believe in what we do. I do think people have to take responsibility for themselves. If you want to change the world – you have to get up and do it. In Paradigm we have Cat Robey (an incredibly hard working resident director) Sarah Pitard (one of the most driven, self motivated and supportive people I’ve ever had the joy to know) and a pool of incredibly strong female actresses.

What made you want to work in theatre/entertainment in the first place?

‘The Wizard of Oz!’ When I was a kid I used to watch it, pretty much on a daily basis. I loved the drama, the story, the idea of fantasy and make believe. I loved the idea of taking a story and whisking the audience off to another world entirely. And maybe returning them to this one – slightly different. Story telling is essentially what we do. And I don’t think it really matters how important, political, or even personal, the story is.

On a personal level. I love playing characters. I love to build a person and discover them. Their loves, their habits. Every character I play changes me and helps me to expand my world a little. I like to think that every character I play – like a good friend – teaches me something about life.

What are your next plans?

I am writing away. I’m currently working on a slightly absurd piece. Slightly more Ionesco inspired. I’m not sure how it will work out quite yet. (It may well end up in my trash can along with some of my super-crap poetry.) I have enjoyed seeing my writing come to life more than I ever knew I would. When I’m not on stage I watch rehearsals like a kid in a sweet shop. It is such an incredible feeling seeing your writing being performed by talented actors and watching a fabulous director bring your vision in to reality. This is definitely a new, and important part of my life now. I didn’t quite realise until today that – I am a writer. And I always have been. I just need to figure out a way to act and write consecutively without completely shredding my nerves! I want to keep telling stories for ever. As I always say – not the most noble profession perhaps, but a damn fun one!

 

October, 2012 - OffWestEnd.com

Sarah Pitard talks to Tom Whicker about new repertory company PARADIGM THEATRE and the challenges of adapting Oscar Wilde!

While Oscar Wilde is best known for his works for adults, novels like The Picture of Dorian Gray and plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest, he also wrote numerous children’s stories during his lifetime. These fairytales, which he first composed for his two sons, have been staple bedtime reading for generations of families.

Now, American writer and London resident Sarah Pitard has brought together and updated two of Wilde’s best-loved short stories – The Nightingale and the Rose and The Happy Prince – to form a two-act play set in Germany during World War II. Tackling unconditional love and self-sacrifice, Freedom, Books, Flowers, and the Moon is the second show to be staged as part of new repertory company Paradigm Theatre’s inaugural season, ‘The Many Faces of Love’.

 

 

Pitard is Paradigm Theatre’s founding artistic director. She also wrote the company’s first show, The Inappropriateness of Love, which was warmly received when it played at the Hen & Chickens in September. Cat Robey, Paradigm Theatre’s resident director, is responsible for bringing both productions to the stage. Earlier this year, she was nominated for an Off West End ‘Offies’ Award for her work on Ondine at the White Bear.

A week before Freedom, Books, Flowers, and the Moon opened at Waterloo East Theatre, I spoke to Pitard about adapting Wilde, the ageism of new-writer programmes and the advantages of being artistic director of London’s only repertory theatre company.

Why adapt Oscar Wilde’s children’s stories?

 

I have loved Wilde forever, for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, my dad used to read the stories to me; not all of them, but a select few. One of them was The Happy Prince. Every time he got to the end, he couldn’t finish it, because he would choke up with tears. I thought that was just amazing, because I’d never seen my Dad cry before – he never cried! It was fascinating to me that a piece of literature could do that to a person. Even though I was too young to understand the gravity and moral of the story, I knew it was good writing.

 

Why did you decide against a straightforward adaptation?

 

I had wanted to do an adaptation for quite some time, but wasn’t sure how. I knew that it was going to be difficult because you’re dealing with animals here – birds and all sorts of non-human things. I wanted to avoid people dressing up like trees! And as I thought about it, I realised that the stories work in the way that they do because so much of it is about imagery; it’s not dramatic in terms of theatre. So I needed to add a layer, to up the action.

 

Why did you set your adaptation in Germany during the 1940s?

 

I wrote the act based on The Happy Prince first, and I thought to myself, ‘When would it be illegal for someone to do something kind for another person’? I immediately thought of Germany, gypsies and World War Two and all of these people who were hiding people in their homes. And I thought, ‘that’s it, that’s what I’m going to do’. After The Happy Prince, I adapted Rose, because both stories were about birds and they were quite complementary. They go together really beautifully, and it works well. No one really talks much about the gypsies at that time. They’re the forgotten group.

 

What do you see as the appeal of fairytales?

They’re available to everyone. Anybody can listen to a fairytale and be amazed by them. And with this project, it was about juxtaposing the fairytale with the harsh reality of Nazi Germany – finding kindness and beauty in a time that was anything but kind and beautiful.

 

What prompted you to create Paradigm Theatre?

 

I moved to the UK and got my MA for writing for stage and broadcast media at Central. I graduated and realised immediately afterwards that I had passed the deadlines to apply for any of the young writers’ programmes, because I had just turned 26. Suddenly, it wasn’t really an option anymore. London theatre is quite ageist in terms of the way that they accept new writing and new playwrights. They really only help you if you’re under 25. So I thought, ‘I’m just going to start producing my own stuff.’ I’ve never really trusted submissions. You have to wait for ages, and I’m not very patient. I always want to do it now!

 

What was your next step?

 

I had a short play on at a little festival, asked Cat Robey if she’d direct it and contacted various actors that had been recommended to me or that I had seen in productions. The show went down incredibly well, and we had such an amazing time, I thought: ‘You know what, this is it – theatre is people, and these are people I want to be working with’. That had never happened to me before. So I invited them to make a company, and told them I wanted it to be a repertory company – the only one in London!

 

What are the benefits of being a repertory company?

 

Basically, it prevents us from ever going without working. I think in this economic climate, at this point, a lot of actors – especially women, and we’re a company of women – aren’t getting work because there are so many of them. And a lot of bigger theatres have become very particular. They will only take people from a certain school. So this is a way for me to guarantee everyone in the company work, all the time, all year.

 

Do you think it enriches the audience’s experience as well?

 

Yes, I do. I think that audiences find it fascinating. Also, if they like the company and the work, then they will trust that every time we do a show, it’ll be good. They know that they’ll always have an outlet to see fringe theatre they’ll enjoy.

Why did Paradigm Theatre choose ‘love’ as its first-season theme?

 

We are really selective about our actors when we cast externally. It’s been great because we’ve not had a single bad experience with anyone so far, because of that. So to make love the theme of our first season is a reflection of our compassion for the people we work with, and that we’re nice people! We also looked at the plays we had and thought about what it was that was similar about them. We chose the pieces to complement each other.

 

Why is Waterloo East the right venue for this production?

 

We are doing this at Waterloo East because the train runs over the theatre. That sounds weird, but because the play centres on people being carted away in trains to concentration camps, we thought that these would be great acoustic triggers for what we were trying to convey artistically. It’s never going to be something that’s ignored by the actors. And the tunnels themselves are quite secluded and hidden, which is exactly what the characters are experiencing.

 

Why should people come to the show?

 

Anybody who is a Wilde fan should come and see it. This is the first time these short stories have been adapted in this way. It’s not a direct adaptation – only 10-15% of the lines in the play are actually from the stories. It will be interesting for people to spot the differences. I also think it will be good for school kids who are studying World War Two, and for their parents and teachers. And if people don’t know Wilde’s short stories, they should definitely to come see this. If they like it, they might want to read more – and they’re all brilliant.

 

September, 2012 - StageWon.co.uk

NEW TALENT: Paradigm on Creating a Theatre Company

in Talking Talent

Melissa Rynn speaks to Sarah E. Pitard, Artistic Director of Paradigm Theatre Company and writer of The Inappropriateness of Love, about her experience creating a new theatre company.

We speak to Sarah E. Pitard, Artistic Director of Paradigm Theatre Company and writer of The Inappropriateness of Love, about her experience creating a new theatre company.

 

Where did the idea for Paradigm come about?

I had a short play called Plus One produced at the Honor Oak pub for Tiny Dog's Theatre Breaks Festival. The play went down really well and afterwards, I thought, "I really like these people, I like their work ethic... I'm going to create a company." It was literally that simple. I tend to be quite a spontaneous person in general, so I made it happen then and there. I'm too old (at the ripe old age of 27) to participate in any of the young writing programmes, so I figured I'd be better off creating my own work. And I decided I wanted to replicate the way Chicago theatre's produce work (I'm originally from there), so I brought in the whole 'repertory thing' and voila, here we have Paradigm.

How would you describe the work Paradigm produce?

Paradigm produces four shows per year, three of which are new writing. One of those new writing pieces must be an adaptation of a classic work and our fourth play must be a classical play. We also operate under a chosen season theme. This year, the theme is "The Many Faces of Love." Our mission statement is quite broad, which is great because it gives us the opportunity to explore all different types of theatre, but the season theme reigns us in a bit, which gives us a focus. To keep it short, we produce any work which we find interesting and creative.

What’s been the most difficult thing in setting up the company?

For me, the producing aspect has been the hardest part. I'm a playwright and an actress and this is my first stint at producing... Finding funding is also a very difficult thing to do. It's a bit like a double edged sword... no one wants to give you money if they haven't seen your work, but it's hard to produce unless you have money. Ah, the trials and tribulations of being an artist!

What do you think the key to working in a group is?

It is imperative that everyone in the company pulls together and puts in the same amount of work. It's not just about being an "actor" or a "writer"... it's about being an "Artistic Associate" (what we call our company members), which means that each person has a job within the company and each person is expected to pull his/her own weight. We've lost members due to some people not being able to commit...which is fine. Everyone makes their own choices...we work as a team.

How would you describe your role as Artistic Director of the company?

I oversee everything. I organize fundraisers and our benefit show. I have artistic control over all the productions, and all casting comes through me. In saying this, however, I don't do anything alone. Our resident director, Cat Robey, is my right hand and everything I decide to do goes through her as well, but I guess in the long run I would have the final say... although we've not disagreed yet!

What advice would you have for others looking to start a new company?

Think big. The only reason the Egyptians were able to build the pyramids was because they didn't know they couldn't do it. Don't ever underestimate yourself. Take chances. Be prepared to lose money. Be prepared for criticism. Hang bad reviews in golden frames above your toilet.

When did you first start writing?

I used to write short stories as a kid. But I didn't write a play until I was 21. It took me a while to realise I was more than just an actress and that I could actually create my own worlds. As an actor I was always categorized into one box. As a writer, I can do whatever I want. It's been liberating and the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Tell us about The Inappropriateness of Love?

Ha! Well, The Inappropriateness of Love is a longer version of the short play Plus One that marked the creation of Paradigm... and so it's quite special in that way. Actually, I went to Turkey, while on holiday with my parents and wrote it in 10 days. I was in a secluded little village and it was so peaceful and so gorgeous...and I felt as if I had lived there in a past life or something... Anyhow, it was the perfect place to focus and write. The play is about 6 interconnected people trying to get to know themselves through love... it's about taking risks and living in the moment.

What three words would you use to describe it?

Intriguing, tragi-comic, Honest.

You also wrote Freedom, Books, Flowers, and the Moon. Tell us a bit about this upcoming work?

And now for something totally different! Freedom, Books... is based on and adapted from two of Oscar Wilde's short stories, The Nightingale and the Rose and The Happy Prince...set in Nazi Germany 1938. The play focuses on the gypsy population of Germany of that time and works surprisingly well as an adaptation. It's heightened realism; both fairytale-esque and realistically sinister... the set and lighting are going to be gorgeous. I can't wait. We run from the 6th-25th of November at the Waterloo East, so don't miss it!

How did you approach writing two works for the same season?

Luck really. They both fit the theme. We wanted to stick close with the company for our first season, obviously because companies fold all the time, we wanted to play it safe this first season and not produce work from outside the Artistic Associate pool. It's exciting, but also a lot of pressure. I'm holding up just fine though... for me, it's not the writing that's hard, it's the production aspects that keep my head spinning.

What made you make the decision to have two new writing works, one adaptation, and one classical play in each season?

I feel like companies should always challenge themselves. New writing is so different from Shakespeare, so why not do it all? Scare us a bit! I'm bored easily...haha.

How do you avoid creative block?

I haven't had one yet. I hope I haven't jinxed myself...

What are the benefits of working in a company from a writer's view?

Using the actors are muses... It's lovely to write for people. And it's rewarding. I feel like as a company we have great faith in one another and the support has been fantastic, not to mention inspiring!

What are your goals for the piece and for the company?

I'd like to get an agent from The Inappropriateness of Love... or a transfer. I don't know if either of those things will happen, but I'm going to keep trying. And in terms of the company... I'd like to become a London name! I'd like us to sell out every show one day. I'd like for us to be able to buy our own theatre. I'd like it if we became an industry. These are big dreams, but why shouldn't they come true? I have great faith.




 

 August, 2012 - 17% Magazine: Supporting and Promoting Female Playwrights

Interview: Sarah Pitard

Sarah Pitard picture

Sarah Pitard

Sarah Pitard is originally from Chicago, where she got a BFA in Acting from The Depaul Theater School. She lived there for several years as an actor, but moved to London in 2009 to study for an MA in Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media at The Central School of Speech and Drama. Ever since she graduated, she’s been writing plays and film scripts. Some of which have been on in small festivals here and there. She started Paradigm Theatre Company in January 2012. The company is the only rep fringe company in London. Sarah’s play ‘The Inappropriateness of Love’ is currently playing at The Hen and Chickens theatre, Islington, until the end of September. I asked Sarah to answer our 9 questions…

1. Tell us about your background.
I’m originally from Champaign, IL… which is about 2 hours south of Chicago. I grew up as a child actor, doing all sorts of community theatre and then professional theatre by the time I was 12. I did my first leading role in an equity production when I was 16 and then went off to Chicago to persue acting. I graduated from the Theatre School at DePaul in 2007, where I focused on modern drama and stage combat. The writing came a bit later.

 2. Focusing on writing: What was it that made you start?
My senior year at DePaul, I did an independent study with the playwriting teacher… My movement class conflicted with the normal playwriting class, so that’s why I got a class all on my own… I was reading a lot of English literature at the time and my brain was full of ideas… I had a teacher who suggested I begin writing, so I took the class and, of course, I loved it. From an exercise in the class, I devised a full-length script and that became the first play I ever wrote.

3. What is the project you dream of making happen?
I have a screenplay that I desperately want to have produced… but I want a big budgetted company to do it and I want a director like Spielberg or Joe Wright… someone who’s keen on epic dramas to direct it. It’s a film about archaeological forgery, but I don’t want to say anymore *wink*.

4. What are you working on next?
Well, I’m producing my second full-length play in November. It’s an adaptation of two of Oscar Wilde’s short stories. And I’m working on another full-length that takes place in Florida… a comic drama type of thing… And I’m also collaborating on a new musical, but I’m not allowed to talk about that at the moment. :)

5. What do you love or hate most about the writing process?
I love the creation. I love sitting in a pub or at a cafe and zoning out, not having to think about all the crap that’s going on at work or how much money I owe to various billing companies. I don’t know if there’s anything I hate about it, but I guess I hate not having a lot of time to spend on my writing. Juggling work and producing with writing is very hard!

6. Where do you go for inspiration?
Inspiration is difficult when working full-time, however, I recently took a magical trip to Turkey… it was an old Greek ghost town that was abandoned in the 1920s… I spent ten days there and wrote an entire play… If only I could do that all the time!

7. Any advice for writers starting out?
Write EVERY DAY. It doesn’t matter if it’s crap. Sit down at the keyboard and type. It’s amazing what can come of a small exercise. Most of my plays have been expansions of smaller pieces. Be okay with the fact that a lot of what you write isn’t any good. I’d say that a majority of my work is never seen by anyone but my cats.

8. Does your writing run away with you? Or do you plan it?
Both. Some plays I’ve literally written in less than two weeks, simply because I had them in my head for so long. Others have come out of blind writing. Obviously, doing an adaptation is different and writing a historical piece is a different game entirely, but I try not to limit the ways in which I devise… it keeps everything interesting ;)

9. Tell me about your theatre company?
Paradigm is the only rep fringe company in London. I started it so that I’d have a platform to produce my own work and also so I could give actors a home. London is quite ageist and being older than 25, I was limited to the kind of literary programs I could join… So voila! Paradigm! I run the company like a Chicago Rep company, so we’re doing 4 shows a year, all of which operate under a season theme. This year, it’s “The many Faces of Love” and our production, “The Inappropriateness of Love” is running at the moment until the 29th at the Hen and Chickens Theatre, Islington. You’ll have to check it out!

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