IGNITION is a new project by the rejuvenated team at Tinderbox Theatre Company. Starting on Monday morning, four performers will be locked in a rehearsal space with artistic director Patrick J O’Reilly and dramaturg Hanna Slättne to devise a new work that will be performed on Friday and Saturday evening in The MAC.
Alongside the rapid turnaround innovating, a one day State of the Arts dramaturgically led workshop will be held on Saturday. Ten other theatre makers will attend and be assisted in the development of their new ideas.
Tinderbox hope to run IGNITION twice a year in order to work “the wealth of talent we have here” in Northern Ireland. Over time they’ll use different performers, different styles and even vary the writers-to-performers ratio in the rehearsal room.
“We hope to find gems of idea that we want to develop with writers and make into larger pieces of work” says O’Reilly who has just finished touring Britain and Ireland with Big Telly’s madcap production of Spike Milligan’s Puckoon.
Time bound by one week, there’s isn’t scope for big sets and complicated productions. But that doesn’t put O’Reilly off: “for me simplicity is the key”.
“You can have a piece in development for over two years, which is great. But I also think you also have to enjoy the spontaneity and freedom of making something in a very intense, short period of time.”
He believes that stopping to perform or read a new work opens it up to discussion and fresh ideas, before picking it up for further development.
“It’s important to make art accessible to everybody so it doesn’t remain in one demographic. We can take shows to people’s homes, to community centres in very remote rural areas as well as playing in commercial venues. Theatre doesn’t fit one size …
“How we view theatre also needs to change. We need to take it away from that end-on fourth wall environment and find new ways to excite audiences and organisations and theatre goers.”
Book a ticket and head along to The MAC at the end of next week and see what Louise Matthews, Michael Patrick, Keith Singleton and Julie Maxwell have come up with.
As well as IGNITION, Tinderbox are planning a triptych of pieces – What We Are Made Of – to be performed in the autumn. Three forty minute shows will highlight new writing and new devising processes. They’ll be performed together over a two week season but will also tour on their own, with at least two hitting international circuits.