Unable to escape this cycle, Emma hides the choice she has made, even when joined by friends on the night of her birthday celebration. If you're stuck in that cycle; how desperate will your actions become?
Bearded Dog Theatre’s thought-provoking new play A SINGULAR CHOICE by Niall Kiely, is currently playing this week at The Bread & Roses Theatre. Bearded Dog Theatre’s Co-founders Anson Williams (Executive Producer) and Niall Kiely (Artistic Director) discussed with Roman Berry (The Bread & Roses Theatre Production & Marketing Manager), their theatre highlights so far, ON THE state of British Fringe Theatre and their new piece A SINGULAR CHOICE!
What inspired you to establish Bearded Dog Theatre? And how did you come up with the theatre company name?
Anson:I think we wanted to see more theatre talking about unspoken subjects. We both love all kinds of theatre but our favourite shows tend to be powerful shows with strong messages. We’ve also chosen to focus mainly on storytelling, and allowing these unspoken subjects to show people that there is someone listening and their stories are being told and heard!
Niall:Our name came from my childhood dog Caffrey who was a Bearded Collie. We decided on Bearded Dog because dog’s are man’s best friend and we tell them everything honestly, something that we wish to do with the theatre we create.
What sort of issues/ theatre does Bearded Dog Theatre focus on or passionate about? (is it concentrating on new writing, classics or musicals?
Anson: Unspoken topics; something that others are too scared to talk about. Our previous show was about male rape and I challenge you to name another show that exclusively deals with this topic. We want people to feel they have a voice and someone is willing to share their stories. I’d love to attempt this idea in Musical Theatre one day, but that is very much on the back burner (haha.).
Niall: I feel as if we’re drawn to new writing because it deals with topics not discussed whereas older plays will have already allowed the discussion of the themes they explore. I’d be interested in doing a classical in a way that isn’t commonly done and can offer new insight.
What was the inspiration in developing and writing A Singular Choice? Why this story?
Niall:Although I’m now a graduate I began writing it as a student because I was shocked to hear that this was happening to people of my own age and how easily it could occur. Everyone jokes that student life is tough but sometimes I don’t people realise how hard it can be in this climate. I wanted to shine a light on this crisis in a way that makes people question why we’ve ended up with a society where this is increasingly taking place but do it in a way that is relatable.
Anson: We saw another Drama St Mary’s group perform here and they recommended the space. It’s a beautiful and intimate space which is perfect for the subject matters we’re looking at. I think it’s the reputation of the venue too which is great for us. So far we’ve focused on new writing so it’s important for us to find somewhere where we can experiment with that. The staff and team here are also just amazing and incredible!
What do you think the state of British Fringe Theatre is right now, and how does Bearded Dog Theatre fit into it?
Anson: From seeing the Edinburgh Fringe last year, and from seeing shows on the fringe of London, I’m noticing that people are trying to tell stories that are different or exciting; which is perfect. But I think we need be louder about demanding change with these shows! It’s nice to see some fringe shows transferring to larger venues too as I think it shows people are demanding these kind of shows.
Niall: I’m certainly glad that theatre is changing and daring to be braver because I believe art and creativity is really important in helping change and challenge people’s points of view. I feel that Bearded Dog is an example of ‘If not me, then who? If not now, then when?’; we want the world to be a better place and for people to grow. Be the change you want to see in the world.
What’s next for Bearded Dog Theatre?
Anson:Personally, I’d like to continue with A Singular Choice, maybe bring back Anathema at some point too. We’d like to develop more work, maybe tackling subjects in a different manner; so perhaps doing a comedy unspoken subject perhaps. The future is ours as I see it. We’re going to keep wagging our tails for a while!
Niall:I agree with what Anson said, we’re always interested in continuing further with work and developing more. I’m just excited and looking forward to this journey!--