Wandsworth Arts Fringe | 2020
"Our Shore became the first professional outing of Buried Thunder, and toured around the UK in the summer of 2019."
Buried Thunder Theatre Company
Facebook: @buriedthundertheatre | Instagram: @buriedthunder_ | Twitter: @BuriedThunder
The Buried Thunder company joins you from lock-down to take you through how we made the film. It follows these four young adults asking hard questions and weighing up even harder decisions.
Hi Felipe, thanks for talking to TNC, how are you handling the lockdown?
Hello! It’s a pleasure, thanks for having me. I’m doing alright, trying to keep busy, creative, sort personal dilemmas, you know, the usual! I’m finding that taking each day as it comes really helps. As well as really trying to take care of myself in all four corners of my universe – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. What inspires me is remembering that the world is resilient, especially the world of the arts. And that’s beautiful.
Do you think this time will offer up some creative opportunities?
I think this time does offer up creative opportunities for sure. Not for any particular reason though… I think if one is creative, one can be creative at any point in their lives. Having said that, I realise this time has restrained some people’s creativity, for many different and personal reasons. For others, it has allowed it to blossom, or change. It is also a reality that being creative is many people’s job, so when money is tight, it puts the pressure on us to create, and that can sometimes be destructive. Or inspiring I guess, it just depends where you are and how you can afford to look at it.
What does it mean for Buried Thunder to be part of Fragility's #takeoveryourinbox 2020 and premiering your new show Growth?
#takeoveryourinbox was a lifeline to us at Buried Thunder. It allowed us to stay creative and produce something new and exciting – something we would never have made! That in itself is really cool. We are also a new company whose members are at various stages in their lives. This means it can be difficult for us to commit to big projects and ideas. #takeoveryourinbox has allowed us to carry on making work, and I think that should never be underestimated.
Is this the first time your company has been part of a festival like this?
Yes it is! When we weren’t yet called Buried Thunder we created a show for the Inter University Drama Festival (IUDF) in London, but this was our first professional festival piece. Here’s to many more, hopefully!
"We are currently working on a book version of our first professional show too. So you know, as I like to say, left foot, right foot until we stop!"
How important are opportunities like Fragility's #takeoveryourinbox for theatre?
It’s a very tumultuous and uncertain time for theatre, and I think initiatives like Fragility’s are crucial. Especially the monetisation/donation aspect. I was listening to an established artistic director speaking the other day. They commented on the importance of not falling into the trap of just releasing free things during this time, and perpetuating the romantic idea that artists can starve for a living. #takeoveryourinbox is very well thought-out and doesn’t fall into this trap. I think it’s an excellent thing to throw into the theatre-during-corona mixing bowl.
When you are showcasing new work do you ever get nerves?
Great question. I think there is always a little bit of apprehension…Especially because we are releasing work on a new platform and in a new medium. So inevitably one thinks, will it work? Does it play to a virtual audience? I think the fact that we have always treated Growth as a brand-new project helped us out, though. It allowed us to start fresh, and focus on what we could do to make it grasp an online audience. That helped, and I had confidence it would hold its ground amongst the billions of videos on our social medias currently.
Can you tell me a little bit about Growth, what was the inspiration behind this show?
So Growth was made using rehearsal footage from our last R&D session before lockdown. We had been working on our new show for WAF 2020 as part of Fragility’s Takeover programme, and when that got cancelled, we thought this would be an interesting challenge. We film everything we do, and luckily got some really high-quality footage that we could play with.
In terms of inspiration, since the beginning of last year we had been fascinated with the question of whether this generation should be having children or not. One of our company members, Liv (who actually edited Growth) had overheard the conversation, on a bus I think it was, and put it to us in a pub meeting. Well that was it, we couldn’t stop talking about it. Growth stems from (if you’ll pardon the pun) that questioning. It follows these four young adults asking hard questions and weighing up even harder decisions.
With lockdown and social distancing what are the biggest challenges you have faced as a physical theatre company?
Well, we need to be in a studio or somewhere to rehearse, so that’s obviously a challenge. And I think communicating between us has been a challenge too. Although, I think lockdown has made us step up to that, and we’re now experts at navigating video meetings! We are always working on new things, looking to improve our digital content. We have made a workshop to go alongside Growth for example, that takes you through our working process. We are currently working on a book version of our first professional show too. So you know, as I like to say, left foot, right foot until we stop!
Have you always had a passion for theatre?
Always. I feel at home on stage, and have always wanted to be many things. Acting gives you that chance. That, and to never grow up. I think theatre speaks to each of our company members differently, but for me, there is something visceral about theatre, especially physical theatre, that is inexplicably addictive. It speaks and inspires universally, and that is beautiful.
How did Buried Thunder come about?
We all went to the same University (Surrey) and whilst there, made a show for the IUDF like I mentioned. That went down really well, so we decided we could probably keep going! When we came back to uni after that summer, we came up with a new idea for a show, and managed to secure funding to take it on a national tour. Our Shore became the first professional outing of Buried Thunder, and toured around the UK in the summer of 2019. It did take us a while to agree on our name though… If I had my way, you’d be interviewing Felipe from The Children of Icarus right now.
How different has your approach to Growth been compared to your debut production?
Growth is a much smaller piece compared to Our Shore, and that meant we could work on it a more quickly. Liv did an absolutely wonderful job. I guess we also didn’t really have much of choice with the footage we could use. It was just choosing videos that were of a good enough quality to edit. So that sped up the process too, and added to the spontaneity and character of the end product. We have always said that limitations breed creativity, so I guess our approach hasn’t particularly changed, Growth just gave us a chance to put our philosophy into practice!
Do you have a favourite theatre quote?
Another great question! Nothing particularly deep comes to mind that’s specific to theatre… But I think that’s only natural, right? There are lots of people in the world that say lots of cool things. (They probably steal it form others.) One of my teachers used to say that ‘if it’s not in the physical, then it doesn’t exist’. I think I’ll never stop agreeing with that.
What has been the best advice you have been given?
We have been extremely lucky to be surrounded by many excellent and caring people in every venue we visited, every company, or friend we reached out to. So it’s difficult to pick out one specific piece of advice. I think filming everything is always a great shout. And if we had to choose a poignant lesson we learnt from working together, it’d be to always have someone responsible to make the final call on creative decisions. We all know how beautiful and necessary collaboration is, but in an industry where the adage ‘time is money’ couldn’t be more true, you have to work efficiently!
And finally, what do you hope your audiences will take away from Growth?
Growth for us was a new venture. One that made us think about what is important in life. My hope is that it serves as a three-minute pause in people’s days to think about how we interact with those around us, and realise that everyone comes up against tough decisions in their lives. Simply, we hope audiences will sit briefly with the film, take a breath, listen to their thoughts and digest whatever they might be.
Also, as part of WAF in your living room (WAF’s new, digital festival), you’ll be able to watch Growth and get involved in a 15-minute workshop! The Buried Thunder company joins you from lockdown to take you through how we made the film and invites you to have a go yourself. I’d love to see some responses to that as well – just tag us on social media @ buriedthunder.