The Lyric Hammersmith has collaborated with Latitude Festival, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival and Watford Palace Theatre to bring a pick-and-mix line-up of inventive and promising theatre companies to its brand new event, Theatre in the Square, featuring Tangled Feet’s performance of Inflation and Curious Directive’s Olfactory.
Taking place across June and part of July, the performances presented in the Lyric Square are completely free. Audience members strolling across the square will experience the unexpected, depending on which date they decide to visit. RashDash is presenting its first piece of outdoor work from 19 to 21 June. With the title Set Fire to Everything!!!, it’s hard not to wonder if matches are involved in the performance.
Helen Goalen of RashDash explains, “It’s about all of the annoying tasks we have to do in life. We spend so much of our time ringing up banks, speaking to automated voices, posting, filing and getting stressed. Why do we let these things get to us? It’s ridiculous. In Set Fire to Everything!!! we explode the problem in 20 minutes of mess and madness with music, song and exhausting physicalility… It’s a vibrant, fun critique of our nation’s obsession with the to-do list.”
I couldn’t agree more with this sense of annoyance. Having written endless to-do lists myself, I often manage to lose them somewhere despite putting them in a ‘safe place’. Will Set Fire to Everything!!! help me? I certainly hope so. “We have a range of influences,” says Goalen, relaxing with fellow RashDasher Abbi Greenland on a sofa in an Ikea store. “Stylistically, we are inspired by a lot of European work. In particular, Czech dance company DOT504. Music is really inspirational for us. We listen to a huge range during a process- world, folk, pop, drum and bass…”
Goalen concedes that their inspiration “varies depending on what we are exploring. Scary Gorgeous was very politcially motivated and required detailed research into the porn industry and its effects on young people. It was an issue we were passionate about, and as young feminist theatre makers felt we had a responsibility to be taking on.” It’s a story about the pictures that tell us how to live and love. The performance won a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. RashDash only formed in 2008 at the University of Hull and since then it has had successes at the last two Edinburgh festivals. Taking the step from a university environment into the world of work was a challenge, Goalen admits: “The first year was quite difficult- it’s a cliche but you go from being somewhere where everyone knows you to feeling tiny and totally insignificant . Until we made a show that made a bit of an Edinburhg buzz we had to do other jobs along the way.” She has compelling advice for graduating theatre companies: “Stay positive, go for everything and don’t get put off. Keep going, keep making and be nice to everyone – especially the technicians!”
After the Theatre in the Square, the company is off to the Edinburgh Fringe again with The Ugly Sisters at the Northern Stage at St Stephen’s, inspired by Cinderella with thumping drums and clanging keys. “We’re so excited to be a part of that Northern showcase, there are some fanstastic companies there this summer. We also have plans to work on a new play with Greyscale Theatre, which is currently called Ballroom and is a story about two female ballroom dancers in the 1950’s. This will be touring in the autumn.”Goalen also animatedly announces they will soon be taking their work to the Bush Theatre. Watch this space and definitely watch the company take on the unexpected at Theatre in the Square.
Details of Lyric Hammersmith’s Theatre in the Square, with performances until 5 July, from Les Enfants Terribles, RashDash, nabokov, Curious Directive and Tangled Feet can be found here. More information about and tickets for RashDash’s performance of The Ugly Sisters at Northern Stage at St Stephen’s, can be found here.
Image credit: RashDash