BLUE TIGHTS, RED KNICKERS AND AN ‘S’ ON HER VEST, tells the story of Jenna. A woman being bullied at work and is struggling to cope with her anxiety. Her best friend is on the other side of the world and not speaking to her, and no one seems to think anything’s wrong. The play iexplores the lengths one person will go to, to be perfect and the toll it takes on their health.
The Bread & Roses Theatre Production & Marketing Manager, Roman Berry had a candid interview with co-founders Liam Ashmead (Director) and Writer/ Performer Laura Shoebottom. Both shared their passion in new writing and the importance of sharing mental health awareness in theatre and beyond.
What led you to establishing Thematic Theatre & how did the name evolve?
We started thinking about forming a company in our last year of drama school. We’re both so passionate about creating our own work and the idea of doing that together sounded incredible. The name came from a passion for writing in response to a brief or theme. We’ve both had experience in that area and it’s something that excites us both a great deal.
Who are the people behind Thematic Theatre?
To quote the song “Just the two of us!” We both have our own individual roles within the company but the two of us are taking on the production and administrative side of things which is a lot of fun, we’ve learnt a lot from doing it!
We’ve also got a fabulous support network. Phil; who’s done all our recordings, has been brilliant and so have the rest of the cast. They’re wonderful to work with and have really brought the other characters to life. The Bread and Roses have been absolutely fantastic as well. It’s daunting putting on your first show, there’s a lot involved and they’ve made us feel so welcome and been incredibly supportive.
As it is your debut production, what sort of issues/ theatre does Thematic Theatre focus on or passionate about?
We are a new writing company and that’s we’re our passion lies. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had so many new writing opportunities during our third year of drama school and that really inspired us to build a company around new writing for a brief. We both wrote our own monologues for our showcase, our own plays for our dissertations (which is where Blue Tights began) and in our last term we got to work on a new play ‘The Real Estate’ by Freddie Machin, where we were also involved in the initial R&D workshops. The whole experience was invaluable and so much fun. Having had very little experience of R&D before training, it’s great to have been a part of it before graduating. We’re hoping to hold an R&D session for our next production so now we know how it works we can make sure we all get the most out of it.
We like to write about lots of things, but mental health awareness is something we’ve always been passionate about. We think it’s so important to have constant access to support and that’s why we wanted to raise money for Mind. They’ve been really supportive of the play as well which is so lovely.