The Delta Collective are not your ordinary theatre company. In addition to creating their own work, their mission is to cultivate new creative communities. Miro Magazine Editor, Josh Brown, caught up with the group ahead of the company’s debut show.
Theatre has an inherent ability to bring people together and create conversations. Recently though, theatre’s place in our society has changed. Rising pressure on public funding has meant the industry has to work harder than ever to prove its value.
Spaces for emerging theatre makers to discuss, nurture and create new work are shrinking. Nothing has yet come close to replacing IdeasTap which housed numerous showcases, funding opportunities, workshops, jobs, mentoring and advice. In losing these such organisations, vital communities for networking, creative discussion and career growth have been torn apart.
However, there are a few fragments of people who experienced the significance of these communities and who now seek to revive it.
Rebecca Robinson, Anna Brooks-Beckman, Faye Derham, Alex Kristoffy and Robin Kristoffy are the five impassioned entrepreneurs behind new theatre company, The Delta Collective.
I first came across the company after being asked to lead a workshop for them and immediately wanted to know more about their innovative approach to creating theatre and, perhaps more importantly, creating a community. I caught up with them while they were in rehearsals for their debut show Seven, which heads to the Cockpit Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe this August:
What brought you all together?
Coffee; our one true love.
We came together one morning to form a writing group and spoke about how we desperately wanted a space that brings artistic people together. Half an hour later we had an idea for a company!
What do you want to achieve with the company and who do you want to engage?
There’s two strands to the company – the Delta Collective theatre company, and the Delta Collective workshops.
Alongside our original ambition to create both beautiful, cutting edge theatre, the workshop side is non-profit, running professional workshops designed to connect like-minded peers from all walks of life and to help them discover new ways of working – top-up training, if you will.
We want to grow a community of friendly, passionate people that love nothing more than to support each other and make new projects happen.
You officially launched the company in March this year, how have you found people’s initial reaction?
It’s been really positive. We threw a big launch party at the Grand Union Bar in Farringdon and the atmosphere was so warm and generous. People have been so encouraging, but what we really enjoyed seeing the most was that, even at the launch, people began talking about their work, mingling and beginning to curate that community we’re so passionate about.
It just proves that creative people want to talk and converse – they just need the space to do it!
Why do you feel it’s important to offer workshops and advice-based brunch sessions in addition to creating your own work?
Being a freelance creative can be very lonely. It naturally has periods of downtime which needs to be kept in check so that it doesn’t impact your creative output. We all noticed how much more productive, inspired, and happy we felt when we were meeting other creatives regularly.
Working together and collaborating seems to foster a supportive, nurturing community that helped our mental health and creative energy flourish – we wanted to share this with others.
You’re currently gearing up for Fringe mania with the Delta Collective’s debut show, Seven, playing at The Cockpit as a part of Camden Fringe on the 15th and 16th of August. How are you feeling?
We can’t wait! We’ve had so much amazing feedback and support from our Delta Collective community which has been instrumental in the show’s development.
Set in a dystopian future, Seven is a completely devised piece based on female ‘sins’. The play presents seven stories that intertwine to reveal some disturbingly honest truths of what it means to ‘be a woman’.
What’s the inspiration behind your first piece of work as a company?
We have been completely inspired by a new generation of women making their own work. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Michaela Coel, just to mention a couple, saw a lack of opportunity and created it for themselves.
As young, passionate women, we have all felt frustrated by the people we’ve been expected to be or by the things we couldn’t do, so naturally, we wanted to express our experiences through our work. This, twinned with conversations around the seven deadly sins, led to a story about people not being able to be themselves effectively and a society trying to force you to be something you’re just not.
How can people get involved and what workshops have you got coming up next?
People can sign up through our website and keep track of everything we’re up to through social media. We have just finished our Spring/Summer season of workshops, but we will be announcing our Autumn/Winter season at the beginning of September.
Some of the workshops we programmed earlier in the year included; casting for screen with casting director Ben Cogan, budget short film making with director Mike Beddoes and a Marketing and PR seminar at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. All of them received some wonderful feedback and we’re so grateful!
We can’t bloomin’ wait to announce the next season! Watch this space…
So, there you have it. Seven questions to the wonderful team behind Seven. Their dynamism and energy is infectious and whatever hurdles lie ahead for their new company, a quote from the late Kurt Vonnegut Jr. seems more than apt here:
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”