Theatre Should Be The Voice Of The People
Director Jacob Crutchley chats about REP Foundry and what first inspired him to get into directing.
What made you first want to direct theatre?
I have always been curious and I often over-analyse things, which helped when I first got into the arts at 16; I wanted to be an actor. I did a directing module whilst at college and realised that what I really loved was directing and creating, rather than acting. So when I finished college me and my best mate at the time set up a theatre company and produced and directed Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party. Through all the mistakes we made, we learned a lot about producing and directing theatre in those few months! Whilst living in Liverpool I started to work with local communities and young people on drama based projects, this changed my perspective of theatre. I started seeing theatre as a tool and most importantly a tool for change, theatre can be a catalyst for change on various levels; socially and politically. I became involved in activism and worked with people who weren't having their stories heard by society, going into communities and making theatre with local people and marginalised groups. This is what makes me want to be a director, to be able to find space for the counter narratives in our society.
What excites you most about being a REP Foundry artist?
Firstly, I would have to say the opportunity to collaborate with other Birmingham-based directors, writers and theatre makers. Plus, having support from a theatre like The REP is invaluable. I am excited that I am in a position to potentially spark some dialogues on certain topics that are affecting Birmingham at the moment through theatre. I'm also looking forward to having the chance to learn and grow and absorb everything I can from The REP in terms of Directing/Producing. The thing that most excites me though is the chance to bring real stories into the mainstream and tell the counter narratives of our society that can challenge and ask questions of the status quo.
If you could collaborate with anyone (past or present) who would it be, and why?
This is a hard question and really made me think, my thought process was; who is making work that is challenging the status quo and striking up key dialogues within society. So I think it would have to be Ken Loach. The work he has created has caused mass debate by highlighting those untold stories of real people since the 60's until now. I think I would also love to collaborate with Charlie Brooker; his dystopian view of technology and social media mirrors (no pun intended!) my own view of where we are heading as a society. His black mirror writing has not only influenced my work, but the way I think generally and it would be great to share a drink and chat about the twisted dystopian possibilities of the future.
Who or what in theatre inspires you most?
A couple of things really, first of all I'm inspired by the power that theatre holds. Theatre is such a powerful tool and I've started to think that we live in a society where theatre (in my opinion) is not easily accessible to all, or people feel theatre is “not for them”, when it should be the complete opposite. Theatre should be the voice of the people and a platform to advocate change for society's unrepresented groups. I want to make this a reality in Birmingham. When we look through history at times of oppression it is often theatres that get censored and shut down. I am constantly inspired by the communities and young people I work with who remind me how powerful theatre can be.
There are a couple of quotes that really inspire the way I work and my outlook when it comes to life and theatre. The first is Che Ernesto Guevara, the second Bertolt Brecht.
“Let the world change you and you can change the world”
“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”
Enjoy brand new work from our REP Foundry artists each week, as we present a series of Tales & Tonic evenings. Starting at 6.15pm on Fridays (starting 10 March), they are the perfect way to kick-start your weekend.