Indomitable Productions is a newly-formed performance company, with a little bit of a twist. Formed by a group of students and recent graduates, they are trying to create a collaboration of the classical arts that you wouldn’t normally see working together. AYT spoke to Guy Withers, Artistic Director and Co-Founder, to find out a little bit more…
Indomitable Productions was initially “more of a coming together. It was a kind of collective idea of creating music and theatre together. We were a group of people from different centres in Bristol, Cardiff, Wales, London and Chicago. It was about creating an opportunity for all of us together,” says Withers.
The name ‘Indomitable Productions’ came from the fact that “we are all big fans of Britten. Obviously it is his centenary this year, and there is the link to Britten and one of his operas. A whole scene is set on a ship that is called The Indomitable. It is a unique and bold name, which shows that we are trying to do something with strength while the ship itself symbolises the journey we are taking.”
Obviously there are a lot of preconceptions about the classical arts that Indomitable Productions has chosen to focus on, and so it has a lot of work to do in order to change these negative attitudes. Withers completely agreed with this, and said that “it is very difficult. When people think of opera they think of fat people standing and singing on stage. Indomitable Productions is about putting on something that is classical in a way that is accessible to everyone, by bringing in new ways of presenting archaic forms and doing something exciting with it. Essentially it is about drawing it into new areas, but keeping it true to the classic theatre lovers.”
Indomitable Productions has made it very clear as it has started up that it is mainly aiming to work with students. Withers explained the thinking behind this decision to me: “It can be very difficult to get those stepping stones into professional areas, so we are providing a platform of opportunity for lots of different people who do have the skill, the ability and the gift to contribute and be a part of something together. It also means that the audience can watch young people performing, which will hopefully draw in a young audience and interest them in a new art.”
Of course every company needs to have something that sets it apart from all the others out there in the same niche. Withers believes that Indomitable Productions stands out because it is a “cross over of a few centres in Wales, Bristol, Bath and London. Indomitable Productions is bringing something to other parts of the UK. In a cliché way we are bringing the theatre to the people. Not only this but we are always looking to collaborate and are striving to do something different. This time we have used songs to make a little theatre production. Next time it might involve film, be in a town square or a coffee shop. We are all about bringing things together in new ways.”
Indomitable Productions’s debut performance, which will make its way to the stage during December this year, is heavily focused around celebrating Britten’s Centenary. This could be seen as a bit of a strange topic for a group of young people to chose, but Withers stood by their decision. “A number of us are really big fans and I guess one of the things was that there is a lot going on in London this year and while there have been forms of canticles around the UK, there is nothing within Wales, Bristol or Bath. The canticles themselves are five songs and they’re not very long, only an hour long in total. They are five different songs that don’t mean anything together but our director has formed a narrative and has essentially put them together in five separate scenes and made a play out of them.”
When asked if there is anything in particular that the audiences can expect to see in the shows, I was told to look out for “what will hopefully be a really emotional piece, something that people can really feel empathetic towards. You will learn about love, loss, war, peace, religion, moving on and acceptance. Other than that hopefully there will be beautiful music and that will carry the story through.”
We are all well aware that financially times are difficult right now and so it seems strange that the team behind Indomitable Productions chose now to set up their own business, but apparently it was a very straight forward decision for them all. “The company that we wanted to be a part of didn’t exist. The idea was that if we can’t find it, we have to create it. It is a difficult financial times, but for us it is more to do with experience, the skills learnt and the people met. Our decision was not financial; it was about making something that works for us.”
Withers left me with his final thoughts on what he would like Indomitable Productions to achieve. Overall “if an audience member comes out of the show and says ‘that surprised me’, then that would be fantastic. If they think ‘I’d really like to see that again in the future’ then I will be happy.”
Read more about Indomitable Productions on its Facebook page.