FUSE Festival: Interview with Paperback

Photo Credit: Bea Cadwallader

Over the next few weeks we will be be catching up with the participants of FUSE Festival and finding out a bit more about them and their work! Next up on the hot-seat is Paperback - who will be performing their new work-in-progress 'Me and My Doll'...

Q1. In 3 words describe your theatre company

Clever, Funny, Irreverent

Q2. How did you meet? We met whilst studying at the University of Warwick. It has an incredible student drama scene which is really supportive of new work. This encouraged us to start messing around with some ideas and the company formed from there.

Q3. What was your inspiration for creating this piece of theatre?

RomComs! As a company we're really interested in the stories that we keep telling in our media (film, tv, books etc). Lucy, our director, has a particular love of RomComs and somewhere in between binge-watching them and writing her third year essay about Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew noticed that this story of a woman being "tamed", softened or fixed by a man was being played out again and again in films like The Proposal, Leap Year or The Ugly Truth. The fact that often the writers, directors and primary audience of these films are women speaks to a thirst amongst a proportion of female audiences to hear stories about often high-powered women breaking through their hard exteriors and falling in love. For Lucy, this is part of a conversation about how difficult it can be to allow yourself to be vulnerable in a relationship, and these films acting as escapism where the female protagonist is almost forced into that vulnerability. Q4. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

One of the Paperback team will get fixated on of these stories that they're interested in and the ideas for the show will grow out of the conversations we have about it. We try to meet up as a team and do a bit of story boarding (plotting out different version of what the play could be) before one of us goes away and starts writing a script, and once we've got our actors on board we start to devise extra material from what they bring into the room. It's very collaborative and fluid and there's a lot of discussion throughout the process, we want our work to be as relevant and relatable as possible so talking with the whole creative team about how we respond and relate to the show we're making is a key part of what we create.

Q5. What is your show about?

This is a show about a business woman who doesn't think she is capable of allowing herself to be loved, who struggles to trust and struggles to let go. She is given an inflatable doll at the beginning of the play and finds herself revealing some of her deeper secrets to the doll, because she has no one else to talk to. The play is about what happens when this doll comes to life. It's ultimately about her relationship with allowing herself to be vulnerable and what happens when your fantasies come to life.

Q6. Who should come see your show and why?

We like to think the show has a broad audience. There's an obvious appeal to lovers of RomComs (we hope that the show will be a funny and touching romance) but also to anyone who has ever struggled to be honest or scared of allowing themselves to be vulnerable this is the show for you. Also if you want to see how someone can make a play for one woman and inflatable doll, we're doing our best to rise to the challenge.

Q7. What was it about FUSE that made you want to take part?

It seemed like a great experience! The support Shoebox are offering in terms of space to rehearse, mentoring and a chance to show your work to an audience is amazing. There's so much pressure to create a perfect show straight away and that can really inhibit our ability to experiment and develop as company - the chance to do a work in progress, provides a great space for us to push ourselvfes as a company, to take risks and to hear from an audience whether or not these work.

Q8. Any words of wisdom for those considering creating their own theatre?

Have confidence in yourself and don't be afraid of making mistakes, that's where the best discoveries are. And the most important thing is to make sure you're having fun and always remember why you started making shows in the first place.

Q9. What do you hope to do next?

We're hoping to tour our latest show We Need to Talk About Bobby (off EastEnders) over the next year, as well as developing Me and My Doll based off our feedback from Fuse Festival. George, co-director of Paperback, has also started work on our next show Washing Our Hands a piece about what happens when the Government dissolves state education.

Q10. Where can people find out more about your work?

We're on twitter @paperback_tc and Facebook. We also have a website with more details about the company www.paperbacktheatre.com

'Me and My Doll' will be performed at the Shoebox Theatre as part of FUSE Festival on Saturday 7th July at 8.45pm. Find out more at www.fusefestival.co.uk

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