Can you tell us a little about the style of The Castle Builder?
The Castle Builder is part rock gig, part lecture/documentary investigation and presented as a theatre show. We were attempting to write and devise a play about Outsider Artists who make massively weird constructions, follies and buildings and as that idea developed we staged a couple of test or scratch performances in Bristol and changed what we presented each time. We had a booking for a third such event but had no time to rehearse as I was touring with one of my shows for children and families. I remember saying to Vic, “look it’s ok, I’ll do the songs, you can do the talky bits and we’ll take it in turns”. It turned out that the format worked really well for us and spoke more directly about the characters and work that we were investigating. The show embodies the spirit of the artists we discuss with songs, dancing, tenderness and mayhem and we have the strange enigma of a guest ‘maker’ building something unique from furniture which Vic has just smashed to bits. It’s a wonky, shonky show which fits the subject perfectly.
What inspired you to create The Castle Builder?
Vic and I first worked together in 2012 while performing in The Lost Present, a Christmas show. During a dressing room discussion Vic told me about a book he was writing about a castle he’d seen in Norway. He was on a tourist boat trip around the coast and asked the tour guide about a castle he could see on the clifftops. He was told a story about ancient Vikings which all the tourists and The Rough Guide writer aboard the boat thought was wholly plausible. The truth about that castle was far stranger than what they were told.
We decided we’d like to make a show together about the castle in Norway. We found the blurred line between reality and fiction as inspiring as the actual castle builder. We began looking at other castle builders and found thousands of inspirational people and their works. Inspiration for the mind, heart and soul.
What do you enjoy most about producing theatre in the south west?
I love making work close to home. I want to be with my family and friends and not running away from them. Theatre in the south west is really supportive; there are many talented, clever and generous people in the field who readily offer their advice and help, there’s tons of work being made and hopefully that will continue to expand and develop.