Caro Meets Festivals Interview Theatre Interview

Charlotte Everest: Labyrinth Diet

By | Published on Friday 4 June 2021

Beginning this week at The Space is the Foreword Festival, which brings together four plays – whittled down from over 200 submissions – which were developed through the venue’s ScriptSpace programme, and which will each be staged for a week over the course of the next month.

The first of those is the rather promising one-person play ‘Labyrinth Diet’ by Laura Horton, directed by Charlotte Everest of Mrs C’s Collective, an associate company at The Space.

I spoke to Charlotte to find out more about the play, the festival, and her company Mrs C’s Collective.

CM: Can you start by telling us what to expect from ‘Labyrinth Diet’? Whose story does it tell and where does the narrative take us?
CE: The body is under examination in this play, so expect it to be taking centre stage as the complex story of the relationship with oneself unravels. We follow the narrative of Louise, a 36-year-old woman at a clothes swap party, as she clutches onto a yellow summer dress that may just be holding her and her life together.

CM: What themes does the play explore? What is it trying to tell us?
CE: The theme of this play is the body, our relationship with it and the relationship we have with each others’. In this production, the validity of our own journey and narrative is put under the spotlight, questioned and held accountable. The power we have to affect that narrative is what our protagonist is looking to understand.

CM: Can you tell us a bit about the performer?
CE: Anjelica Serra is certainly a mover and groover, forging a physical narrative that is delicate and powerful. Having previously appeared at The Park Theatre and the Young Vic, this is Anjelica’s first role in a one-person play.

CM: Can you tell us a bit about the writer? Has she been involved in the process of bringing it to the stage?
CE: Laura and my creative journey actually started back in January 2020 when I directed a rehearsed reading of ‘Labyrinth Diet’ on Zoom. We’ve kept in touch, discussing the play and our own projects. I am thrilled to be able to provide her work with a fully staged production. Laura is based outside of London, so we’ve checked-in over the phone and Zoom. She has placed her trust in me which is a hugely rewarding feeling as a director!

CM: It’s on as part of The Space’s Foreword Festival. Can you tell us what its aims are?
CE: The festival is the next stage of the incredible support The Space theatre provides to new writers. ScriptSpace’s successful applicants receive rehearsed readings online or in-person with one-to-one dramaturgical feedback from their Literary Manager Mike Carter. With an all female production team and 24 freelancers in total, this is a safe, supportive and empowering step back into our crafts!

CM: How did you become involved with this production? What made you want to work on this play?
CE: My theatre company, Mrs C’s Collective, is an associate company at The Space, so I have worked closely with the team over the past year or so. Having worked on the play as part of ScriptSpace, it was a real delight to be asked back to direct the full staging. Laura is a brilliant creative and I always feel empowered when working with her.

CM: Can we talk a bit more about you? How did you come to be working in the arts? Was directing something you always wanted to do? What route did you take to begin your career?
CE: As many, I’m sure, I wanted to be a rock star. I ended up heading to the University Of Leeds to study a contemporary theatre course called Theatre And Performance. It was an eye-opening course where I studied developing performance cultures from raves to environmental theatre.

It was here that I received funding from the university to direct my first play, ‘Love And Information’ by Caryl Churchill. I fell in love with the role of the director as a facilitator to creatives, and the collaborations and work that would emerge from this process. I went on to study Theatre Directing at Mountview on their masters programme and have been working in London and internationally since.

CM: As you mentioned further up, you have your own company, can you tell us a bit more about that?
CE: Absolutely! Mrs C’s Collective is an artistic community that aims to operate as an ally to freelancers navigating their careers. We are extremely proud to be an associate company at The Space theatre. And we are even prouder to have a community of 150+ theatre-makers.

We run an Annual Writers Collective, a twelve month programme which supports and nurtures four playwrights. Focusing on the development of a script; from pitching, redrafting, exploring structure and character, to working with directors and designers in their own festival, The Big Share.

We also run community-building initiatives, such as The Reading Room, member-led workshops, The Collective Blog and Creative Speed-Dating events. And we commission and produce work by and with the artists in our collective. We also offer opportunities for creative development, often through shadowing and trainee programmes.

CM: What hopes and aims do you have for the future?
CE: I hope to keep working, continue seeking out new collaborations internationally, with technology, language and movement.

As the Artistic Director at Mrs C’s Collective, I aim to continue nurturing and building on the community and our projects. I am passionate about making a career in the arts accessible to all.

For this project, this entailed opening up my room to ten aspiring directors to observe online or in-person whenever they could, providing resources and conversation, as well as the space for them to try out exercises or warm-ups.

CM: How has the pandemic affected you professionally? How did you get through it?
CE: Mrs C’s Collective and its growing community was an inspiration throughout lockdown. And The Space was a shining beacon of hope and motivation on how we keep moving as theatre-makers and creatives, they guided me personally and the entire team at Mrs C’s Collective.

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this?
CE: Mrs C’s Collective are preparing a series of online features demystifying the roles of some of our community members – from intimacy coordination to making environmentally-aware theatre.

We are also preparing our second instalment of The Writers’ Collective and hope to continue the development of our next production ‘Dream School’ by Francis Grin, working with creatives within the Collective.

Labyrinth Diet’ will be performed live and in person and also livestreamed as part of the Foreword Festival at The Space. For more information about the show, head to this page here, and for more information about the festival, see this page here.

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