While we’re counting down the days until the London premiere of ITI’s new interactive show The Wedding Reception it’s the perfect time to catch up with UK Tour Manager and Production Assistant Caitlin Page who has been working on the show since the beginning. We interviewed her ahead of the London premiere and she shared some interesting insights with us.
Hi Caitlin. When did you realise you wanted to work in the arts?
It has always been a part of my background. I guess originally I got into theatre because as a kid I had some speech problems and theatre was a great form of speech therapy. There was a turning moment though, during my first semester at university (I have a BA in Advanced Theatre and Applied Theatre) and I took a module called Applied Theatre Fundamentals which was about the use of theatre in a non-theatrical context – not just for entertainment but more for therapy. That really ignited something in me. After that course I started to look more at post-dramatic, new wave and contemporary work; I was intrigued by forms that push the boundaries and I realised I wanted to be involved.
Why do you like theatre; particularly interactive theatre?
There’s something very cathartic about being able to immerse yourself into a completely new environment away from the external world. Sometimes it’s nice to step away from all of the other stresses in your reality. When a show happens to you, with you and because of you there’s a heightened sense of reality that makes it much more believable, playful and entertaining.
What was the show that has influenced you the most?
I was part of a show in my second year at university called Antigone – the famous Sophoclean play – adapted by Eamon Flack. The show was highly interactive in parts and I found so much joy in engaging the audience. It made me realise how playful theatre can be. Playing is important for all people; it’s a great way to keep in touch with yourself, express ideas and stimulate further thought and development. From when we are children it is the primary way our brains synthesise and learn about the world. The experience of collective playfulness, like in interactive theatre, gives people a great sense of freedom. I think sometimes interactive theatre can be a scary concept to people but the truth is it’s a safe reality, a reality where you share an experience with strangers (who won’t judge you). Especially in Faulty Towers The Dining Experience, people often find themselves sitting at a table with ten people they don’t know but as they start to talk and play they quickly build up a rapport with each other. It is a wonderful way to connect with other people.
Why do you like working at ITI?
I enjoy working in a creative industry with a sense of stability. My role in particular is great because there are so many different tasks that I am able to keep stimulated in diverse ways and always find myself with new challenges all the time. I like that it’s not too repetitive. The team is also very supportive. It’s a very lovely work environment.
What’s been your best moment at ITI?
I really liked the sense of completion that I got when we took The Wedding Reception and put it into rehearsal and then pushed it on stage at Brighton Fringe. That was a really good sense of fulfillment and I was proud to be a part of the production.
You were there at every stage of development for ITI’s new production The Wedding Reception. What was the hardest part?
At the time I was doing two full jobs between tour management and helping the production of the new show. It was great to have a challenge like that. I’d say the hardest part was having to sit on the sidelines while it was in development. Sometimes it would feel like I was invading a secret creative space – I was really close to the whole production but not exactly part of the show itself.
What do you like the most about the show?
I love Auntie Marge: she is absolutely mental and I swear I have an auntie just like her! Also Lynn! She reminds me of my family from Newcastle: the relentless insistence that she has to do something she thinks would benefit you even if you didn’t want it! I also really like the little moments between characters when things sync up: when something has clicked between two people you feel a sense of unity happening in the space. That real sense of connection between the characters pushes you into the story: it becomes more real.
What will people appreciate about this new show?
People will like the singing and the dancing; the show has a great way of energising you. Also the roving that happens – the interactive moments that you have with the single characters – is all very playful. Little by little after every performance the characters will develop more and more and become more multi-dimensional. This show has a lot of potential: the more you layer the characters, the more comedic material the show will have.
What are you excited about that is coming up?
I’m really excited about the new shows coming up in the future with ITI and the possibility of those shows touring across Australia and the UK. I like to watch shows grow as I did with The Wedding Reception and I know they are going to be excellent! I’m also very excited about Edinburgh Fringe: I look forward to seeing how The Wedding Reception will be received there.
After opening to excellent reviews at this year’s Brighton Fringe – ‘Highly recommended’ (FringeReview), ‘Thoroughly good fun’ (BN1 Magazine) – The Wedding Reception will have its London debut at Kingsway Hall Hotel in July and then play at Edinburgh Fringe from 11- 23 August. Here are some of our favourite moments from Brighton Fringe!