Our 10 selected WINDOW companies for Brighton Fringe 2018 have now been announced! Over the coming weeks, we’ll be interviewing each of the companies. This week we introduce Anima Theatre Company and their show The Sleeper.
What is your event about?
'The Sleeper' shines a light on the very real experience of the thousands of refugees who, over the last few years, have become stuck somewhere between leaving home and finding a new one. Weaving together both real testimony of Syrian refugees and my personal experience of finding a refugee hiding in my bed on an overnight train through Europe, the play is a poignant and provocative distillation of the refugee crisis: should we stake claim to our rightful place or share it with those in need?
Why did you decide to make it?
Having never found the woman in my bed, I become obsessed with the idea of who she was, where she had come from and where she was going. I tried and failed to find her. This play is not only a response to my fleeting moment with her, but also goes some way to filling in the blanks. I may never find out who she was as a person but I wanted to explore what it was that she represents.
Who should see your show?
Anyone who is interested in our current politics, who is socially or politically engaged, who enjoys experimental theatre, new writing and new possibilities for theatre and form. Anyone who is interested in the refugee crisis. More than that, anyone who is or has been directly affected by it. We see 'The Sleeper' as a play by, about and for refugees and this has been an important part of our process. How can we make something that refugees will recognise as their own experience? This has included working closely with a number of charities and directly involving refugees in the creative process.
What should audience members expect?
To be challenged both intellectually and formatively. But perhaps more importantly, we hope the audience come away with at least some small sense of what it means to be forever on the move. Never anywhere in particular. Always travelling. Always trying to get somewhere and never reaching it. At the very least, some real sense of what it might mean to no longer have a home.
What are the technical requirements of the event?
Anima's productions are universally minimal and easy to stage, and this was our aim with 'The Sleeper'. It has been designed to fit in any space. We were conscious that, if we are serious about wanting to get new people to see it, then we need to fit into unconventional places in order for that to happen. Our set is simply chalk on the floor and the most minimal version of this production would use only one light. We want 'The Sleeper' to fit in any space it is given; large, small, or somewhere in between.
What are your plans post-Brighton Fringe, with this or other work?
Above all, we are keen to tour 'The Sleeper'. It is a story that is relevant to not just the UK but to Europe too and feel strongly that there is potential for this for the play. This story is as poignant and provocative here as it would be in Italy, France or Germany. We want this story to move outside of cities. We want the play to challenge all kinds of people and to ask questions of all sides in the great immigration debate.
We will also continue our on-going project Place to Be, a unique on a new-writing night which focuses on getting new audiences into theatre. We will be taking a new show, 'Blue Departed', a visceral fever dream focused on addiction and recovery, to Edinburgh Fringe this year and are also looking to tour this later in 2018/19.
What does it mean to you to be selected for WINDOW?
Being selected for WINDOW is a huge opportunity for us to get our hard work seen, to meet with new people, to showcase our guiding principles. To simply be included in a list of such high quality is both enormously exciting and equally humbling.
What do you hope to gain from inclusion in WINDOW?
We are particularly (but not exclusively!) interested in meeting with industry outside of London and those also who may have links to Europe. We hope to connect with producers, programmers and producing houses to begin working relationships with – those interested in new work, new possibilities and new audiences.