Thursday, 19 March 2009

Lost Banditos

Here's the latest in the Drama St.Mary's series of articles about current research and practice in the department. This article focuses on Kasia's work.

Drama St Mary’s has its own physical theatre ensemble “Lost Banditos” consisting of recent graduates and 3rd year students, interested in extra curricular development. It is directed by Kasia Zaremba-Byrne programme director for Physical Theatre. Here she talks about the project

You’re taking the first ever Drama St. Mary’s production Destination GB to the Edinburgh fringe this summer. What’s the motivation for the piece?

The group’s research is concentrating on issues relating to immigration, diversity, inclusion and racism. They explore the following questions: How we look at “the other” in the 21st century. How does our cultural and social upbringing shape our understanding of people who come with very different set of cultural, social, ethical rules? What does it mean to live in multicultural society? Why do immigrants choose Britain as a place to come?

Wow! How do you workshop these huge questions?

The group collects stories, images and opinions and then turns them into improvisations and scenes blending techniques borrowing from clowning, bouffon work and physical theatre. ‘Destination GB’ tells the story of two immigrants on the back of the lorry intercepted by English immigration officials.

What’s the long term plan for the project?

Well in the summer, as you know, the show is going to Edinburgh Fringe Festival for 4 weeks and then, once the students have all finished their degrees, it’s poised to tour regionally around England in the autumn.

I know you’re passionately committed to offering students at St. Mary’s opportunities to participate in production work. Could you tell us a bit more about the new MA Physical Theatre (International Ensemble) that you’ve just created?

The programme is designed to teach theatre in the European tradition with roots in Commedia Dell’Arte, this mode of theatre looks primarily at storytelling, stories drawn from and shared by the community to whom they are performed. It is populist, humanist and anti-elitist.

Who do you hope to recruit?

We’re targeting both domestic and international students with a view to sharing perspectives, cultural and theatrical traditions. As Physical Theatre has an emphasis on the visual rather than the verbal it is not necessary that the students are Anglophone, though the common language will be English. Two international companies will be connected with this degree New International Encounter and Complicite. Company making and touring are vital components of our work at Drama St Mary’s so the MA is focused on the creation of small- scale touring companies who we hope will enrich the theatre scene in the future with new distinctive voices.

For more information on Lost Banditos or the MA Physical Theatre (International Ensemble) please contact Kasia on:

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