As the incoming Artistic Director of KDC, I wanted to write a little about my views. What I think we’re good at, why we’re here, what theatre is for me, and what I plan for us over the coming year. About the artistic direction I would like us to take.
Theatre is almost unique in the performance art forms in that it has the ability to personally connect the performers with the audience. This audience and actors exist in the same place, the actors affect the audience, and also the audience feedback to the actors, there is a closed loop that makes each performing instance unique, and personal. Only live music rivals theatre in its ability to connect bi-directionally… but we can tell more stories.
Currently in London we are in an era of theatrical renaissance. Blockbusters like Hamilton have re-introduced musicals to the popular mainstream culture. Fringe shows have a place each winter in the excellent VAULT Festival. We have world-exclusive improvisation extravaganzas. London itself is even building more theatres.
So, why KDC?
Amongst all of this we should question why KDC particularly is here. What are we good at, what are we weak in. Amongst all of this opportunity what actually is our place? What are our strengths?
- We’re agile – we’re a low-budget operation, so we don’t need to attract large audiences. We can take more risks.
- We’re open – as part of those risks, we don’t need to know you before you get involved. Looking back at our recent show, on average half of each cast are brand new to KDC.
- We’re varied – last year we did a devised horror, a translated Russian comedy (komedy!), a Terence Rattigan classic, and several pieces of new writing. We aren’t beholden to any genre.
- We are focussed on actors and directors
We have weaknesses too, that’s uncomfortable thing to admit but it would be disingenuous to pretend they don’t exist. We’re not awash with cash, we’re a fairly bare-bones operation. Often our shows aren’t technically stunning, or sometimes the sets are quite limited. These limitations aren’t without exceptions – the audience of last year’s Hush Now was experienced through headphones with live stage dialogue mixed with a sound effects and music, and Hand To God had a fully destructible set for nightly main-character breakdowns. But examining our weaknesses does as good a job as our strengths in showing who we are.
Which means… what?
KDC is a place to learn and experiment. I would like us to emphasise what a good time we have in making our productions, the key word is play, after-all. Shows that are fun to put together are fun to watch, it comes through. I also would like to focus on development of skills. With KDC you can try things that you can’t elsewhere, maybe because you are being assessed, or are under pressure to produce a high-selling low-risk show, or because there are other production distractions. We intend to provide a sandbox where enthusiastic amateurs and professionals can hone and develop their skills.
How we plan to do that… well that’s probably a post for another day 🙂
Artistic Director – KDC