Caro Meets Theatre Interview

Katie Gibson: The Killing Of Charles Bravo

By | Published on Thursday 5 May 2016


‘The Killing Of Charles Bravo’ ought to appeal to anyone with an interest in the historical and the mysterious, and it’s got the added appeal of being a site-specific promenade performance that deals with events that genuinely took place in that very spot, The Bedford in Balham, which, as you’re probably aware, is the new home of Theatre N16.
I was certainly intrigued when I heard about this, so I put a few quick questions to the creator of the piece, Katie Gibson from producing company Twenty Seven Live.

CM: Tell us about the narrative of the play – what happens in it?
KG: Without giving too much away, the audience are taken through the building, and guided by one of the suspects in the Charles Bravo murder case. They will meet every other suspect along the way and hear everyone’s side of the story, before being given the chance to decide for themselves who was behind ‘The Killing of Charles Bravo’.

CM: It’s based on a real life murder case, but how close to the truth is it?
KG: I’d like to tell you its 100% factual, but as this happened 140 years ago, we can only reveal so much ‘truth’. Also, the fact that no body was ever convicted of the murder allows us and the audience to only guess. Apart from that, every character, every sentence from Court, and every account is accurate. This is a very famous case and is written about heavily.

CM: It’s a promenade performance, isn’t it? Where do you take the audience?
KG: Again, without giving too much away, we take the audience through the main rooms and back rooms of The Bedford in Balham, which is of course the venue where the inquest was held.

CM: How has this been put together? Was it written or devised? Who are the creative team behind it?
KG: I wrote it myself following a research and development week in January. Our creative team reflected on the story and the facts surrounding the piece, whilst absorbing the atmosphere of The Bedford, and identified the key moments in the history of Bravo’s final hours.

CM: What made you want to tackle this grisly subject matter?
KG: I specialise in site specific theatre, and produce immersive theatre. Jamie Eastlake of Theatre N16 asked me to work with him and produce something similar to my usual line of work, so after a little bit of research, I discovered The Bedford’s dramatic history, consulted Jamie, and we both agreed it needed to be written about and exposed.

CM: Is this a scary show? Who is it suitable for?
KG: It is not scary, it is not gruesome, and nobody will jump out at you! However, due to the nature of the piece (as of course there are talks of murder and poison) we recommend that the show is suitable for children aged fourteen and over.

CM: Given its site-specific nature, it can only be performed in the one location, and it’s only a limited run – do you think this is a piece you will be tempted to revive in the future?
KG: If it is received well and there is interest for it, then of course! The Bedford’s staff are wonderful to work alongside, as is my co-producer, Jamie Eastlake, and all of his team, so it would be great to make a habit of working together!

The Killing Of Charles Bravo is on at Theatre N16 from 9-19 May. See this page here for info and to book.