The Lab Collective
BA (Hons) European Theatre Arts 2007
Natalie Scott, Antigoni Spanou, Amy Fleming, Joe Iredale from BA (Hons) European Theatre Arts (ETA), Neil Connolly from BA (Hons) Acting and Joe Thorpe from the now discontinued BA (Hons) Directing programme.
We specialise in creating interactive, immersive and playable experiences. The performance we make is playable and interactive; meaning that the audience’s choices have a direct impact on the outcome of the piece. There are four strands to our company: one-on-one installation, mid-scale political performance, large-scale work for festivals and alternative sites, and interactive and immersive performance training. Our training facilitates students and practitioners to develop skills within the complex and chaotic world of interacting with an audience, making playable work, and understanding intricate design for immersive worlds.
We work across both non-theatre sites such as warehouses, lifts, basements and abandoned office blocks, to historical public spaces like York minster, the 10th Century Agricola Tower in Chester and the V&A Museum – together with our work at green-field festivals Boomtown Fair and Latitude. Most recently we have reconnected with the good old black box studio; after a residency at The Barbican we transferred our most recent performance, Incoming/Exodus from a round table experience to Camden People’s Theatre which will go on tour in 2018. After gaining charitable status in 2014 we were able to open our venue, The Fly Pit at Stanley Halls in Norwood Junction, from which we run artist residences, offer rehearsal space and host regular events for artists to share work in development.
We spent our first three years as a newly formed company experimenting with form and our approach before really identifying what it was that we wanted to make. As part of this process, we were lucky enough to be offered a residency in a local pub in Deptford, which allowed us to develop new performance and take over all of its spaces – from the bar, to the pool room, to the outdoor areas. Our love of making interactive performance stems from the challenges in making work in such unusual spaces.
ETA was pivotal to creating our ethos: a collaborative and generous approach to making work; the course instilled resilience, nurtured the need to explore and question – and offered a fluid and open-ended approach to creating performance. This encouraged us to experience a multiplicity of practices, whilst developing the skills to begin creating a theatre-making practice of our own; for us, the end of our training was the just the beginning of our wider journey – and we felt prepared. One of the things we cherish about our time at Rose Bruford is the lifelong collaborators and extended network we came away with…you never know who your fellow students will become!
ETA is not a classical actor training; if you are looking to be in musicals this is not the course for you! If, however, you are looking to explore the very nature of theatre, and are interested in trying out new ways of performing, directing and experimenting, then ETA is a great way to start your career. After all, your journey in the arts is a marathon – not a sprint.