The London-based multicultural and multilingual migrant theatre company Exchange Theatre is celebrating its 15th birthday with IN Exchange, a feature-length company documentary that goes behind the scenes of its 2018 production of Molière’s Misanthrope, available online and on demand from 15 June to 15 September 2021.
A window into the running of a small theatre company pre-pandemic, and the making of a Fringe theatre show, IN Exchange chronicles the highs and lows of when Exchange Theatre Company produced Molière’s Misanthrope at London’s Camden People’s Theatre in 2018. The film is released for the first time to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the company and is presented online and on demand on the Living Record digital arts platform.
Each year, Exchange Theatre produces its own theatre festival, where the professional company and amateur community company share the stage of a theatre around a main “flagship” production. Naturally this has not been possible in 2020 and 2021 so the company took on the challenge of reinventing itself and creating work differently. This summer the company takes its annual season online to celebrate the anniversary – presenting IN Exchange alongside its anti-bias family show The Cat in (Re)boots.
Mauritian artistic director David Furlong said: “I was Jerwood assistant director on ORFEUS at the Young Vic when the pandemic hit and cancelled all my plans both as a freelancer and for my own theatre company. For this special occasion, we decided to share an insight into our process and bring in focus our human values through a unique documentary.
“With INExchange, you will discover what makes Exchange Theatre a multicultural, multilingual, open-minded, dynamic and young theatre company. You will live at the heart of Exchange Theatre and be completely immersed in our life.
“In a true cinematic experience directed by film-makers Marie Loury and Léo-Paul Payen you will understand how the company worked through Molière’s play Misanthrope from production to performance. Rooted in our diversity, you will find out how we manage to create theatre for the present and how we offer a true sensorial experience.”
Exchange Theatre is an international company established in 2006 in London by mixed-race Mauritian actor-director David Furlong, who trained at Paris National Theatre, and French London-trained actress-producer Fanny Dulin. The organisation started by translating and producing unknown or rare French-speaking plays in English, for the first time on Off-West End stages, and plays from major French playwrights like Racine, Paul Claudel, Georges Feydeau, Jean-Paul Sartre and Xavier Durringer (London and Off-Broadway).
Exchange Theatre was resident company at the French Institute in London for two years and created 12 bilingual youth shows. The work then evolved towards a unique bilingual experience. The company now translates and presents classics simultaneously in French and English with bilingual artists.
In 2017, Furlong was nominated for Best Director and assisted at the ROH. In 2018, Misanthrope was nominated at the Offies for Best Production and Video Design. Beside the production division, the education department led by Dulin offers drama classes in French and also teaches French through drama in schools and nurseries across the UK. Its studio space is based in London Bridge at the heart of London. With a strong portfolio of more than 30 shows, Exchange Theatre is followed by a multicultural, multilingual and diverse audience.
Executive director Fanny Dulin stated:
“At Exchange Theatre, we are convinced that in order to promote the Francophone culture, it has to be reclaimed, readapted and reinvented every day. For 15 years, it is a true community that we have been striving to create around this: Exchange Theatre perpetuates a vision of culture for everyone. Beyond the mere discovery, our productions aim to be accessible to a multilingual third-culture youth and a 21st century diverse audience.”
Made and edited by Marie Loury and Léo-Paul Payen, the Misanthrope cast and creatives featured in IN Exchange are: Samuel Arnold, James Buttling, Fanny Dulin, Leo Elso, David Furlong, David Manson, Marie Miscopein, Simeon Oakes, Clara Quentin and Anoushka Rava.
The IN Exchange feature-length film is available on demand and streamed online from 15 June to 15 September 2021. Tickets are £6.