As part of the opening Theatre N16 season in its new home, Octavia Gilmore and Emily Schofield present Catching Up. This two-hander explores what it means to be female in the 21st century. Daniel Perks catches up with the duo during the run:

In its first three months of programming at Styx, Theatre N16 has given a platform to a majority of female-led work, including pieces by Nina Raine, Natalie Cutler and Associate Company Poor Michelle. Next in its season is Biting Block Theatre, composed of Octavia Gilmore and Emily Schofield. Their piece, Catching Up, explores female friendship and the expectation of a modern woman to ‘have it all’. Why do we expect over 50% of our population to be seamlessly capable of juggling both a successful career and a family life without breaking a sweat, when only 100 years ago our society wasn’t even prepared to give women the vote?

I caught up with Octavia and Emily during Catching Up‘s run at Theatre N16 to talk about the show so far:

Catching Up Theatre N16

Emily Schofield & Octavia Gilmore

Congratulations on the show’s success at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Now it’s in a run at Theatre N16’s new location, Styx Bar – how does it feel to be a part of their first season in the new space?

“Thank you! It’s great to be a part of it all and we are proud to be involved in a female-led season. We’ve all been seeing each other’s shows and it feels like we’re part of a really supportive community in Theatre N16’s new home at Styx.”

Where did the inspiration for the company, Biting Block, and the show, Catching Up, come from?

“After graduating from ArtsEd we felt passionate about making our own work; we wanted to tell stories about dynamic but flawed female characters. We were keen to take a show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Emily [Schofield] had seen The Wasp by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and was inspired to make theatre that would keep people on the edge of their seats. So, we wrote a blurb for an as-of-yet unwritten play – once accepted by the PBH Free Fringe, we had to write it!”

Catching Up Theatre N16

Emily Schofield & Octavia Gilmore

What are your views on the experience at PBH Free Fringe versus the paid Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

“We have both performed at the free and paid Fringe. The PBH Free Fringe was definitely the right choice for us in 2016 – we didn’t have a completed script until the week before! We also didn’t have the bank balances to afford any of the paid venues.

“We would definitely recommend the Free Fringe to first-timers who are trying out new work and want a risk-free deal. It’s an amazing community to be part of and we had a great time. You get a real fringe experience – we were lucky enough to have audience members willing to cram in and sit on the floor in our venue’s sweaty basement!”

Catching Up Theatre N16

Octavia Gilmore & Emily Schofield

What piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to go up to Edinburgh as a performer this year?

“Flyer immediately before your show – you’ll be surprised how many passers by you can get in at the last minute! Oh, and bring comfortable shoes; you will do a lot of walking.”

Any future plans/ shows/ productions that you’d like to highlight?

“We would love our new and re-developed version of Catching Up to have a life after Theatre N16. We’ve already been selected to be a part of the Stockwell Playhouse One Act Festival and hope that this opportunity leads on to more. We also have some exciting ideas in the pipeline for a female sketch comedy… so watch this space!”

 

 

Catching Up runs at Theatre N16 until 24 May 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.