Ahead of family show Night at the Theatre, we recently spoke to Casson & Friends Artistic Director Tim Casson, about himself as an artist, his ways of working and responses to his work:
– Why do you do what you do?
In short, because I love dance and want to help other people to love it too! I feel incredibly lucky to be doing something as a career that started as a hobby. I started dancing because as a kid I was always moving, I enjoyed the sensation, and I didn’t care where it happened; in the living room, in the park, I was even kicked out of a cinema for dancing aged 4! I’ve now been working in dance for over 10 years and throughout my training, and my career, there have been difficult moments where it has definitely felt like a ‘job’, but I always try and remember that joyful dancing 4 year old. I hope that even in a small way I can connect people with the joy of dance, whether in the theatre, the workplace or even the street!
– How has your practice changed over time?
The biggest change with ‘Night at the Theatre’ is that it’s our first full length show specifically for theatres. For the last 5 years we’ve mainly made work for public and unusual spaces such as pubs, hotels, offices, shopping centres and even football stadiums! Our work has always been interactive and involved some elements of participation. Over the years we’ve learnt a lot ‘in the wild’ about this kind of audience participation, so it’s exciting to be bringing that indoors with ‘Night at the Theatre’! This is also our first show for families, and we feel like it’s a show that the whole family can enjoy in equal measure – so there’s plenty of jokes for big kids in there too!
– What memorable responses have you had to your work?
‘Night at the Theatre’ is a show about what it’s like to go to the theatre for the first time, and we’ve actually had some young people in the audience for whom it was their first time!
The show aims to make the theatre as unintimidating as possible, and when we started touring, some young kids actually didn’t want to leave after the show, and would even come back in to the theatre to meet the cast. As the tour has gone on, we’ve started letting young kids and families hang around after the show to meet the performers, explore the set and touch the costumes – in one venue a family even wanted to help us pack up the set!
I love this kind of reaction because I believe that theatre shouldn’t always be us and them, it’s fun to blur the boundaries a bit and get involved with a show on a deeper level! I believe that participation doesn’t have to be scary, done right it can be a really touching and positive experience – and if your first experience of the theatre is a good one – they’ll want to come back.
Casson & Friends Artistic Director Tim Casson