[This Friday, the NEAT 14 Festival kicks off, ten days of an amazing variety of cultural events at venues across the city, featuring visiting and local artists. One event could be seen as both – Reckless Sleepers left Nottingham in 2002, and returns for one night for Schrödinger – Monday, 26 May at 8pm. In this guest blog, Katherine Wilson of NEAT14 (twitter: @neatfestival) , interviews Reckless Sleepers about Nottingham then and now. Over to Katherine:]
Tell us about what you do and your style of performance.
When people ask me what I do I say that I mostly make theatre, that’s quite a wide area I know, but that’s everything to do with making a performance from scratch, and its everything from making a theatre project to booking hotel rooms for the people who are involved in making the project happen. It’s a full time job.
I don’t know if its possible to say what style of theatre Reckless Sleepers make, I don’t really go for style…I go for content.
When Reckless Sleepers was formed in 1988, what was the creative environment like in Nottingham?
You know it was a long time ago, and a lot has changed I’m sure.
I left Nottingham in 2002. The other day I was talking with a friend who was also living in Nottingham in the 1990’s…
And we talked about how good Nottingham was then, that it was a great time, and how Nottingham felt connected to a wider world that presented the style of work (that I can’t possibly say what it is) that I still now make. And we boiled it down the environment that was created surrounding the Now Festival as a crucial reason for why it felt so good to be in Nottingham.
The connection went further from the Now Festival to smaller works being presented at Expo, and then a regular season of work at the powerhouse and then larger scale international projects being presented at the Nottingham Playhouse and smaller pieces being shown in make-shift spaces in the lace market…it was exciting and Nottingham felt to me then as a centre for contemporary theatre…That’s it that the kind of work that I make…
That pattern of Festival is a crucial focal point for a town of city its creative people…I’m sensing that neat is filling that void that was left when Now stopped.
What prompted your move from Nottingham to Ghent? What particular highlights does Ghent offer as a base for a creative company?
Well I moved from Nottingham to Glasgow first for a couple of years, and this was because Reckless Sleepers were commissioned by the National Museum of Scotland to produce a large scale participatory project, it was a massive project that involved about 100 young people over 18 months, as well as this in Glasgow we were resident at the Tramway, were making projects with the Academy and showing other work at the CCA, I felt a connection, a wider connection to the city.
The reasons I give for living in Ghent changes, sometimes I say it’s because our Van got broken into again, sometimes I say that if you make film you live in Hollywood, if you make contemporary theatre you live in Gent…
Partly it was about trying something else, taking a risk (albeit low) and being connected to a range of places, festivals, venues…
In Gent we were commissioned to make the Last Supper, we are still performing that piece, and since 2002 most of our work has been made in Belgium because we’ve been handed the keys to a theatre (for free)…
That makes a massive difference in making work.
What are you most looking forward to about returning to Nottingham for neat14? What favourite places do you want to revisit?
We’re not spending enough time there really, that’s a bit of a problem, and there would be no time to go to other places, really I think that we will do the get in and show and have some drinks in the café bar afterwards and then because its such a long hard day, and quite a demanding piece just go to sleep.
I’m excited to see some old friends more than anything else.
Tell us a bit about Schrödinger.
I’d say have a read what other people have said, I can tell you over a drink after what goes on in my mind when I’m performing the piece, I can tell you that its great to be presenting a work that was originally commissioned by the Now festival and now over ten years later after a remake is presented again.
You can read what other people have said on our website.
What are you looking forward to seeing at NEAT14?
I won’t be able to see anything else we go home and start preparing for the next festival we are involved in and that’s presenting an Italian version of our Last Supper project for the Polverigi Festival and preparing our new piece with dancers called A String Section that’s also going to be made with up to 30 participants in Brighton and Hastings in the summer.
Twitter account @RecklessSleeper
NEAT14 Festival with full schedule