Edinburgh Fringe 2022
Award-winning performer Bron Batten wrestles with love and war in an explosive interrogation of her ill-fated affair with a conservative military official.
Hi Bron, thank you for taking the time to talk with The New Current, how does it feel to be heading to Edinburgh Fringe this summer?
I am so excited to be coming back to the UK after a long break- am actually just about to hop on the plane to come to London and I’m thrilled to be even waiting for hours in the airport!
What was your first experience at Summerhall?
I had some friends from New Zealand doing a show called Power ballad there in 2017- I had a small cameo as the ‘leaf blower’ on a few of the nights and it was then that I knew I wanted to do my own show at Summerhall one day, it’s such a great venue with really interesting shows.
As an award-winning theatre maker how important are festivals like the fringe?
Edinburgh Fringe is the biggest festival in the world and it’s an incredibly important place for people to try out new work, to see performances from all over and meet and make new friends and connections. It really is the only place to be in August!
The reviews for Waterloo have been amazing, did you image you would get this type of response for you show?
You always hope that audiences are going to connect with your work and the response to Waterloo has been really positive so far. I hope Edinburgh audiences also enjoy the piece and get something from it.
Can you tell me how Waterloo came about, did you have any apprehensions about creating theatre that comes from a personal place?
Waterloo is a love story really- and it came about from someone I met in Paris in 2015, who was a high-ranking Army officer. It took me a very long time to figure out how to tell this story- to figure out how to protect his identity and to work out how it could be fair, complex and engaging for audiences.
What where the biggest challenges you faced bringing Waterloo to the fringe?
This show was supposed to come to Edinburgh in 2020- we won a touring award from Melbourne Fringe Festival which supported the presentation back then but obviously that was delayed. So, the pandemic has definitely been the biggest challenge- though it can also be VERY expensive touring work internationally, so everyone please buy as many tickets as you can!
Has the show changed much since you first staged Waterloo?
The work has changed SO much- we’ve basically re-worked the entire ending. The first time we staged it at Melbourne Fringe it was very much a work-in-progress and we’ve done a lot of rewrites since then as well. We presented Waterloo at Darwin Festival last year and the show was finally in a place that I was happy with it.Though the piece will definitely keep changing throughout the season- that’s really the kind of work it is. As things change in the world the show can respond in real time.
"I have always been involved in the arts and have been a professional full time artist for about 10 years now."
What would you say have been the most valuable lessons you have taken from staging Waterloo and what have you discovered about yourself through this whole process?
Oh that’s a hard question! I’ve probably learned a lot about determination and perseverance, also a lot about empathy and trying to understand different perspectives… Also how to be onstage without telling jokes all the time - that’s particularly difficult for me!
Have you always had a passion for theatre?
I started jazz ballet classes when I was eight years old and I was really doomed from that moment… I’ve always been involved in the arts and have been a professional full time artist for about 10 years now.
How much has your style and the approach to your theatre changed since you started out?
Definitely! I used to script my ad-libs and now I improvise a lot more. I’ve become really fascinated with audience participation - there’s not so much in this show, but my other show Onstage Dating is pretty much all improvised audience participation which is different every night and keeps things very live and responsive.
Do you have any advice or tips you would offer a fellow theatre maker?
It can be incredibly hard but keep going. If you can. Follow your curiosity and make work about things that fascinate and challenge you.
And finally, what do you want your fringe audiences to take away from Waterloo?
Waterloo has some pretty challenging themes around love, war, violence and morality. I’m definitely not telling the audience any definitive answers, but I want to provoke them into thinking about things that they may not have considered before. Whilst having a really great time at the theatre as well!