For almost two years now Nasi & Bertrand have been working together on EUROHOUSE. A play that discuss EU's lost founding ideals. Their new play Palmyra is also under development and you can see it at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August at Summerhall where EUROHOUSE will also return for a limited number of shows.
After touring the UK for several months and before Edinburgh Nasi & Bertrand are heading back to Bristol for 4 shows at Tobacco Factory Theatres. They both have spend some time performing , developing work and collaborating with local theatre makers. Below they share some thoughts about Bristol and the theatre scene there. Happy reading...
Bristol's independant theatre scene is diverse. Ranging from experimental work in a vaulted cave underneath Temple Meads station, to a happy-go-lucky musicals on the Bristol Old Vic prestigious main stage: it really has all kinds of theatre to accomodate everyone's tastes. That, I believe is a really good thing.
I love the diversity of the Bristol scene. Everyone creates very different work but somehow really respects each other. We have different tastes for things, we don't always love each other's work but we are always happy to offer a helping hands to other fellow artists. If it can seem a bit clicky at first, it is only an impression. Everyone is really up for meeting and learning from each other. Because the city is small, I really believe we can do more to encourage everyone to meet more often. We can do so around a drink and a bowl of peanuts. This is what the Brunswick Club is trying to promote and I think this is a fantastic idea.
A lot of theatre makers I know have now chosen Bristol in order to try and develop their own work, away from the commercial pressures of London. Bristol gives you time, space and support to try things out. I don't know many people who are disappointed about what they have found in Bristol. It is easy though to feel content and satisfied in your own field in Bristol. I believe that people should get out more and see what else we can make so that we don't get too complacent about our very own theatre scene.
After losing the Bristol Old Vic studio and the Brewery space at the Tobacco Factory, the Wardrobe Theatre has become the epicenter of independent theatre in Bristol. It is honestly one of the most vibrant places in Bristol at the moment presenting fantastic comedy, drag nights and Bristol based bands and musicians. It is so popular, it gives me hope that people aren't tired of theatre just yet. Now more than ever though, we need to work more concretely on ways that we can help other spaces to open and remain the theatre that a lot of independant artists need. Especially those who do not fit any of the mentioned categories. Supporting experimental work is ways of preserving the vitality of the Bristol independent theatre scene. Mayfest and In Between Time are among two of the major festivals in Bristol taking on those risks. Visuals artists, musicans and theatre makers should collaborate and meet more often.
It’s worth pointing out that I’ve never lived in Bristol. The time I’ve spent there making or performing shows has been sporadic and normally spent sleeping in living rooms- But in that time I have had a bit of experience of the Bristol theatre scene, here’s some things:
Who doesn't like theatre festivals?
The amount of theatre festivals in Bristol is pretty good. I’ve been to Mayfest twice, both times seeing great stuff. IBT and Submerge also were good. These festivals seem to help to create a decent theatre scene.
People are nice
I’m sure not all people who work in the Bristol theatre scene are nice. But a lot of people I’ve met are very nice. This is good for any theatre scene because if people are dicks, it’s not good.
You've gotta love those Japanease Bao's
So this one isn’t really a ‘theatre scene’ one- but my god. Have you tried those Japanese Baos near St Nicholas Market!? I mean I didn’t even know what a Bao was before I came to Bristol. But gee-wiz they are great. Not everyday because they’re a bit pricey. But if you need a mid week rehearsal pick-me-up. Gee-wiz.
Interval have sort of defined my view of the Bristol theatre scene for a long time now, a group of performance makers, who pulled together and have created a space for themselves to work and make. It feels like that’s a really great thing that the Bristol theatre scene has, it gives artists an belief that collectively they can make things happen.
Is Veg the way forward for theatre scenes everywhere?
It feels like Bristol has the highest concentration of vegetarian and vegans of any other theatre scene in the country. The question is does this effect the quality of Bristolian theatre being made? This remains to be seen. All I know is that recently I became a vegetarian, and I really think it’s having a positive effect on mine and Bert's theatre making.
Catch Nasi & Bertrand at Tobacco Factory Theatres 14-17 June 21:00.
Double bill: EUROHOUSE & Infinity Pool
Info & Tickets here