Creative Cow visits the Main House with Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene from Tuesday 5th to Saturday 9th April 2016 as part of a national tour. We talk to Katherine Senior, actor and founder member of the theatre company, about their latest production.
Tell us about your latest production of Travels with my Aunt.
The play takes its audience on a whirlwind tour across the world and it plots one very ordinary man’s extraordinary journey of self-discovery – and change. Henry Pulling is a retired, risk averse and rather dull bank manager. His journey from a man effectively retired from life and the world to active participant in the swinging 60s and the vast changes those years brought is begun the moment his Aunt Augusta turns up at her sister’s funeral. From then on his travels begin and his eyes are opened to a whole new – and dangerous – world.
Why did you chose this particular play?
We love Graham Greene’s thirst for adventure and risk – everything that, in the beginning, Henry Pulling is not. Greene described ‘Travels’ as ‘the only book I have ever written for the fun of it’ and we like the way this work is a kind of parody of his more serious books. We chose this play because of its timeless appeal – we know it’s going to delight audiences all over the country.
What are the themes of this play?
There are two kinds of journey going on – one physical and geographical, the other a journey of self-discovery and change. The power of travel to transform lives is undeniable.
What kind of productions do you normally go for and why? Does ‘Travels’ differ from this and have you added your own touches to it?
We actually toured Travels With My Aunt 6 years ago on a very small scale to village halls, pubs and studio spaces. So we are very excited to be taking it out again to these beautiful theatres and with a fresh script that Giles Havergal adjusted for the Menier Chocolate Factory three years ago. Giles has been very much involved in the production this time and has allowed us free rein to certain extent.
What are you looking forward to most about this tour?
We are very much looking forward to visiting our regular haunts and also going for the first time to Salisbury Playhouse, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Theatre Royal Winchester and Churchill Theatre, Bromley. We have a lovely cast on board which makes for an enjoyable tour and a great opportunity to check out all the local pubs after the show!
Tell me a bit about Creative Cow – why are you called that?
Creative Cow happened because the first play we produced (The Private Ear and The Public Eye) was on our director’s farm and when thinking of a name for the company we looked out of the window and there was our answer! We hope it is a memorable name from a marketing point of view! We still rehearse on the farm when the weather allows.
What’s been your greatest success?
Success is a hard thing to determine, isn’t it? Each tour we do seems to build on the previous and most recently we produced our own version of A Christmas Carol with Exeter Northcott Theatre and played a 4 week run over Christmas with an adaptation which I adapted. We played to over 16,000 people and had a broad range of ages come along which was great.
The play is produced in association with Malvern Theatres. What does this mean?
Malvern Theatres have been a great support to us. They do not offer any financial support but any money we have already made on the box office they are able to give us as an advance to help with rehearsal running costs. The Chief Executive has been a great mentor for us and helps us with contracts and putting us in touch with other theatres and contacts which helps us move up the touring ladder, as it were.
Travels with my Aunt is produced by Creative Cow in association with Malvern Theatres, adapted for stage by Giles Havergal and directed by Amanda Knott. It runs in the Main House from Tuesday 5th to Saturday 9th April 2016. For more information or to book please contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit the show page.
Productions photos by Peter Gurr.