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Edinburgh Fringe 2022 
Interview

Kieton Saunders-Browne
Writer/Exec Producer
Block’d Off
Supported by the Pleasance's Generate Fund
VENUE 33 - 
Pleasance Courtyard - Upstairs
Aug 3-9, 11-22, 24-29, 15:10 /  Tickets
June 20, 2022

Working-class means many things now. Everyone knows the stereotypes, but it's time to hear their voices. A father putting his hopes on his daughter's future. A couple of dealers attempting to flee the country. A tutor manipulating his way to normality. A florist always running from brutality. Another young boy, stabbed too close to home. This is a story about people trapped in the cycle of deprivation. 

 

Based on real stories and real lives, Block'd Off is a hard-hitting one-woman play exposing what it's like to be working-class in London today.

 

Hi Kieton thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been keeping during these strange times?

 

I’ve been keeping good! I am currently training as an actor on LAMDA’s BA Acting Course in 2nd Year, so I got my hands full alongside Writing and Producing Block’d Off.

 

How does it feel to be heading to Edinburgh Fringe with your Debut Show after everything that has happened?

 

Feeling very ready and equipped to be taking this next big step, but also feeling very grateful to have been selected as a recipient of The Generate Fund with The Pleasance.

 

Will there be any nerves ahead of your first show at The Pleasance?

 

Yes…More in the producing than anything else! The work itself is being handed over to a slowly forming creative team. The show will be in very safe hands.

 

One of the vital aspects of Edfringe is The Royal Mile during August. Have you got your show's sales patter down or are you still tweaking it?

 

I remember doing Young Pleasance in Edinburgh 2 years in a row and we definitely had that patter down then. I’ll be drawing on that experience for sure. Still got to find that catchy line. Maybe ‘Fleabag meets Eastenders, a working-class one-woman show’?! Ahaha

 

Can you tell me a little bit about Block’d Off, what can we expect? 

 

The show is a bundle of laughs, cries and reflection the whole way through. Definitely not for the faint-hearted. It is a Theatre Play through and through, and with one performer playing as many roles as you’d find in a Community Theatre show, you’re in for a masterclass of Acting, Directing and Storytelling. When you’ve out funnyboned yourself, book a ticket for Block’d Off for that Yin and Yang balance!

 

When you preview a show how much does it change before a major festival and do you still allow yourself some flexibility once a run has started?

 

With a play like this, I think it is best to give and find freedom for the performer at every stage of the play’s life. I think Block’d Off will be changing quite a lot from Previews to the show as it is its first major life on stage. We must react to the audience, find how the story lives in each venue, and make sure that we don’t fall into a general pit of complacency.

Have you always had a passion for theatre?

If we chart back to 8 year old Kieton, then I’d say no ‘cus I didn’t even know what it was aha but if we go to 15 year old Kieton deciding to work in the arts, I don’t think there was any other option. Theatre was my first real form when creating work. I didn’t have the money, connections or information to make film. I created my production company, Wooden Arrow, while I was in Sixth From at 18 and didn’t even realise I was becoming a Theatre-Maker. I just knew I wasn’t going to wait for the phone to ring and have fallen in love with Theatre’s form of storytelling.

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"I think as part of making our show a ticket selling success, it is important to empower other shows. Word of mouth is the best ticket seller."

What has been the most interesting thing you have discovered about yourself and the theatre you want to create after making this show?

 

I feel like every project I create or write makes me want to try something new to a degree. I wrote a One-Man show for myself called All Of The Lights that had a short run at the King’s Head-Theatre. It wasn’t my cup of tea, let’s just say, but I knew I still loved the form of a One-Person. It just had to be someone else, characterised,  and a fictional story next time. After this show, I am already in the works to redevelop an old show I wrote ‘Lady and the Trap’ into a Gig Theatre Production, and I’m writing a play (that I have been scribbling notes on for years) into a long-form, The Inheritance-Esc, Epic Play. The learning never stops with writing and there’s always a new form to explore and perfect.

 

What one word best describes your show?

 

Important.

 

In-between your show how do hope to get a chance to see other shows at the fringe?

 

I will definitely find the time! I know a handful of people going up with shows so will be going to see theirs for sure, and I think as part of making our show a ticket selling success, it is important to empower other shows. Word of mouth is the best ticket seller.

 

What has been the best piece of advice you have been give?

 

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Even though I think this makes no sense ‘cus the stars are higher than the damn moon…someone didn’t understand their Cosmology! I think I have set my bar so high in life that it seems to be putting me in the right direction?! My goals are outlandish aha (Oscar, BAFTA, Olivier Trilogy - please and thank you…).

 

Do you have a favourite theatre quote?

 

“That’s our job, we composers: to combine the inner minds of him and him and him, and her and her - the thoughts of chambermaids and Court Composers - and turn the audience into God.” Mozart in "Amadeus", by Peter Shaffer

I believe that our job as artists is to bring truth, substance, or significance in whatever form we choose. I personally am not a fan of creation for creations sake when there are so little opportunities out there as it is. If a piece isn’t trying to genuinely impact the world in some way, it should be replaced by something that is. 

 

And finally, what do you hope your audiences will take away from Block’d Off?

 

I hope that audiences come away feeling like they know a little bit more about the lives of working-class people, in London more specifically, and that they now have information that adds new points to the conversation of class in their own lives. Or, if they do align with the representation and backgrounds in this play, that they feel heard and seen. It is a play about you, for you.