INTERVIEW: Spotlight On…Throwback director Simon Pollard

In Circus, Features, Interviews by Helen McWilliamsLeave a Comment

Following huge success at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, Throwback returns to Jackson’s Lane as part of the London International Mime Festival. With awe-inspiring aerial and acrobatic work, one of the UK’s most exciting young troupes teams up with West End director Paulette Randall and director Simon Pollard to tell stories that are honest, emotional and absorbing. Here’s an exclusive interview with the Director, Simon Pollard:

Thank you for talking to Break A Leg. Tell me about Throwback and your vision for it?

When Silver Lining approached Paulette Randall and me to direct Throwback they already had a pretty clear idea about the theme of the show: nostalgia, memories – good and bad, those songs that take you back. We were both keen to create a cohesive show from what is quite a wide-open theme, whilst retaining the sense of fun and energy that has become the company’s trademark, and I was keen to really explore the musical possibilities in particular.

Did you have initial ideas about casting and what you wanted performers to bring to the piece?

What’s brilliant about Silver Lining is that they’re an ever-changing and evolving ensemble based on real-life friendships. Founding members Niamh and Tom were a given, as was Silver Lining regular LJ. After that it was a case of asking ourselves who we knew who could bring different skills/personality to the mix. The combination of Ulrike, Craig and Sammy along with the others proved to be something very special, and I know that Alice, who joins us for this latest incarnation, is going to fit right in and bring her very own magic to the dynamic.

What do you hope the audience will take away from the production?

For me the show is all about triggers. The cast share memories, music, even smells with the audience, and I hope that for each audience member there will be at least one thing that will trigger a memory of their own. I’m also in awe of the skills of the performers, as I’m sure the audience will be too. I want them to gasp at the tricks, have a little dance in their seats, and ultimately leave with a huge grin on their faces.

Have rehearsals altered your initial thoughts, at all?

For me, rehearsal is all about collaboration, and so although Paulette and I came to rehearsals with a load of our own ideas, ultimately what the company came up with dictated the direction the show took. I think we thought the show might explore the darker side of memory and regret, but ultimately it was the happy memories that proved the most fruitful in terms of material. And the show is definitely the better for that!

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

This company are going places – 3 weeks into the year and the individual performers have already been working in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France & Finland- so having this combination of brilliant circus artists onstage together again is an extraordinary feat in itself! Individually they are wonderful, but together they have an explosive chemistry that’s been a pleasure to work with and is a joy to watch. Add to that some cracking 90s tunes, and you can’t go wrong!

Finally, any advice for budding directors?

Watch loads of theatre, dance, circus, work out what it is that really makes you tick, and make the work you want to make, not the work you think you should be making. Also, know that your job is to guide, not to dictate and that often the best idea in the room will come from someone else – don’t be afraid to listen to it – you don’t need to know all of the answers all of the time.

Helen McWilliams on Rss
Helen McWilliams
Helen McWilliams is a Midlands-based reviewer, but is happy travelling anywhere and everywhere to pursue her love of the theatre. Since 2013, she has been combining her passions for writing and theatre in her Entertainment Views site (formerly Break A Leg). She also enjoys interviewing actors, writers and other professionals from the business. Helen tweets at @entsviews.

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Helen McWilliams on Rss
Helen McWilliams
Helen McWilliams is a Midlands-based reviewer, but is happy travelling anywhere and everywhere to pursue her love of the theatre. Since 2013, she has been combining her passions for writing and theatre in her Entertainment Views site (formerly Break A Leg). She also enjoys interviewing actors, writers and other professionals from the business. Helen tweets at @entsviews.

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