Triangle Theatre (UK)
CARRAN WATERFIELD – Co-Artistic Director
In 1988 I left my school teaching job and became a freelance theatre maker following a period of training with theatre/dance practitioner Nigel Stewart and a variety of studies with movement and theatre practitioners from 1980 onwards whose influence supported my own teaching practice and developing performance practice.
I produced and performed my first solo show Omega and the Golden Water which toured to schools, arts and community venues in the UK including a 3 week run at the 1989 Edinburgh Festival. Concurrently I set up Bare Essentials Youth Theatre with members of my drama classes from my former school where I was course co-ordinator for drama and we made work together.
In 1990 I made my second show Married Blitz. This toured nationally and to Russia winning two awards at the International Festival of Experimental Theatre in Volgograd. During this year I attended a training course with Roberta Carreri, Torgeir Wethal, Richard Fowler and Eugenio Barba of Odin Teatret in Holstebro, Denmark after which I madeThe Dig which attracted national interest and support winning the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1992 and being shortlisted for the Independent Theatre Award. Throughout this time I continued to collaborate with Bare Essentials Youth Theatre making ensemble works alongside my solo pieces and developing my methodology whilst tilling the ground for the development of my theatre company Triangle which I had set up as a vehicle for performance and teaching practice with the intention of expanding the group to include the young people I had trained as professional performers. This did not happen in the way I had envisaged but that is another story.
First impulses come many times in life as reminders and milestones when one might give up. They act for me as motivations to carry me forward and on and they are rich with the nourishment of the first impulse of your life. So the first impulse is as important today as it was yesterday.
My mum encouraged me and made opportunities to develop skills in music, storytelling, creative play and drama and her life story has fuelled my work. My dad was a born entertainer though he had to do this in his spare time at his club. My Sunday school teacher, Janice Deakin, gave me performance opportunities from the age of 3. Miss Casson, my speech and drama teacher at school let me dance freely to In The Hall of the Mountain Kingand included my copy of Fleetwood Mac’sAlbatross in her music and movement sessions with our class. Peter Slade (Child Drama) was a very early influence on my creativity and expression as a newly qualified teacher. Nigel Stewart and Ian Cameron were key directors for me, influential in my early practice as a theatre maker. Of course the company of Odin Teatret actors and in particular Roberta Carreri have had an impact on my practice as have Enrique Pardo of Pantheatre, Venice Manley and Margaret Pikes of the Roy Hart tradition. Richard Talbot gave a particular impetus to the work that catapulted me out of the studio and onto the street when we began collaborating in 1997. Currently I am working with Sandra Reeve who brings me full circle back to some of Slade’s early work and its location in a therapeutic practice.
I am my own master but I can locate mentors for my work in numerous people with whom I have worked and some are named above. But mostly those whom I have taught have been the greatest masters: a long list of young people from youth projects, student groups and community groups who have gone on to make their own theatre work. You learn so much from those you teach.
I don’t think I could do anything other than theatre, and yet I think I might be more useful doing something else. I hope theatre’s manifestation in my daily art/work/life is of some benefit to others in its various forms. It nurtures me and helps me make sense of myself in time and space and in relation to others.
RICHARD TALBOT – Co-Artistic Director
Before joining Triangle I had been inspired by Japanese theatre, and by Grotowski and Barba’s Towards A Poor Theatre but also by Forced Entertainment, by The People Show and other companies touring in the 1990s. A West Midlands Arts Officer introduced me to Carran Waterfield and Bare Essentials, and we began collaborating. I did some extended training with the SITI Company in New York before making two projects with Triangle in Coventry: Looking for the Tallyman and the Nina and Frederick projects.
As a child I used to lie on the playground floor waiting for a group to form around me, and then just listened to their questions, feeling that I was their audience. I don’t know why I sought attention in that way. I faked an asthma attack when I was on a camp as a boy scout. There was no doubt some trouble that I was trying to work out but superficially I think I was just attracted to the ‘drama’ and intrigued by people’s behaviour. I have been very aware of playing a role all my life. I decided to make odd-ness a virtue and to respond to a vocation when I got to university but it was still a long time before I gave myself permission to take it seriously.
I don’t have a single master, although I think that is a fascinating model for transmitting knowledge. Anne Bogart and the SITI company have had a huge impact and I keep returning to their composition methods; performances at Odin Teatret, and long training with Enrique Pardo, Pierre Byland, and Philippe Gaulier have provided reliable foundations. During the Nina and Frederick project with Triangle, Venice Manley really helped me a lot with singing.
I wouldn’t claim to be anyone’s pupil or to justify a connection through my own work. Amanda Price at Leeds Workshop Theatre, and participants on the 1995 conference on Performance, Tourism & Identity at the Performance Research Centre, Aberystwyth also have had a long term influence on my feelings about political and participatory performance.
I don’t think theatre is an imperative for me, if we’re referring to theatre as a space or technology. Nevertheless I keep putting a frame (or arch) around the things that I witness and experience, and can’t resist thinking of them as performance.