Stories emerge and overlap in this energetic dark comedy. Generations battle in a tug of war. Somewhere, a girl chooses between being a name or a number. Avatars strive towards the end of their video game. A boy struggles to get served at an off licence. Reflecting and exploring our own identities and how we construct them, as part of a flock that feel FLEECED.
Roman Berry (Production and Marketing Manager) had a candid interview with Co-Founders, Artistic Directors and siblings, Georgia Hardcastle and Sally Hardcastle.
S - Well, we've always planned things together, haven't we?
G - We've always been big planners! And it was once we looked towards going into theatre in sort of separate ways that those plans became for the future instead of just for fun.
S - the reason we've actually formed Matipo as a company now, is that we've had the opportunity to produce Fleeced.
G - Yes, this is our first official collaboration. And the name...
S - The name Matipo comes from the road we were born on in Te Atatu, New Zealand - it's where our placentas are buried!
G - It felt right to name our production company after where we're from.
S - Because that's where any of our work ultimately comes from as well.
Who are the people behind Matipo?
S - It's us!
G - Yes, we're a team of two sisters.
As siblings and co founders, how do you differentiate roles in the company?
S - I come to projects from a design angle, and Georgia is more the writing/directing side of things.
G - Plus we share producing responsibilities for now.
As it is your debut production, what sort of issues is covered in FLEECED & what theatre does Matipo focus on or is passionate about?
G - This show deals with identity, and that's something that will certainly continue to be a focus of our work.
S - Well I think Fleeced is a pretty fair representation of Georgia's writing style... our focus is on new writing.
G - Yes, I think it's always got to have a slightly angry impetus about it! Certainly, everything we have in the pipeline deals with things I can get passionate enough about to pursue in writing.
S- The Fleeced scratch night!
G- Yes, that was really special. Getting the first proper audience response was incredible.
S- When we secured the cast was great - it made the production and Matipo feel real for the first time, which was really exciting.
G- I think the whole cast have made rehearsing an absolute delight! They are all as funny off stage as they are on it.
Any stumbling blocks?
G - I think logistical stuff was the big thing to get to grips with, this being our first full scale production.
S - Yes, and from a design point of view, probably turning one female actor into an entire flock of sheep!
G - Oh yeah, that too...
What attracted you to The Bread and Roses theatre to debut this production?
S - I love Bread + Roses, I've worked here three times before! It's a great space to work in with lovely people. Plus the ethos of the theatre sits well with Matipo as a company.
G - Absolutely, and with Fleeced as a stand alone show. We've felt really supported in the process, and I was attracted here because of the wonderful emphasis on new writing and female creatives!
Call someone out by name: who should see this debut production. Be brave!
S - Everybody! Well, everybody above fourteen...
G - But seriously, I think the themes of the play should resonate with a lot of different demographics, even if it is written specifically from my rather young point of view. Everyone has a relationship with their identity, and an opinion about technology! In fact the more diverse the audiences points of view, the better the after show discussion!
What do you think the state of British fringe theatre is now, and how does Matipo fit into it?
G - What I really love about the British Fringe scene is the accessability it offers; you can afford to see really brilliant, innovative theatre without getting too out of pocket.
S - Plus there are new venues popping up all the time - of which the Bread and Roses are a perfect example! Having a wider range of venues adds to that reach I think.
G - Absolutely. And I think where Matipo comes in is adding to the great surge of Female voices we're starting to hear at the moment! When ever I see new shows by female lead teams it just makes me more inspired to add to that conversation.
What's next for Matipo?
S - Well, Georgia's started writing a few different projects...
G - Yeah, I just have to settle on one to finish! We hope to produce a new show next summer.
S - And in the meantime, we are going to be actively scratching work and building our presence, so keep an eye out.
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Photos by Jade Boothby