The RADA Festival 2018 runs from 27 June to 7 July, inviting graduates to present their work. We catch up with Hot Coals Theatre, bringing Knock Knock to the festival this year:

Now in its 7th year, the RADA Festival 2018 celebrates the work of its past graduates with a ten-day programme of theatre, installations and discussions. That’s ten days that centre around the school and its network of contacts, ten days of individuals who have learnt their craft in those hallowed halls, who return to take creative risks, extend their work into new territories and experiment with telling stories in unexpected ways.

Here at Miro Magazine, we are always on the lookout for the next generation of theatremaker, so where better to look than at a set of graduate artists? Throughout the festival, we will be profiling some of the companies and people bringing along their work, seeking feedback and hoping to expand their own networks through the common link of their alma mater.

RADA Festival 2018

Next up in our Spotlight feature is the second of the three flagship shows, Knock Knock, playing at RADA Festival from 30 June – 7 July 2018. We caught up with Hot Coals Theatre:

Describe Knock Knock in three words.

‘Quietly, beautifully, moving.’

Is this your first RADA Festival experience?

‘No, we have been to the festival twice before. The first time was in 2014 when we performed our first show, Storm in a Teacup in the Gielgud Theatre for one day. The second time we were lucky enough to develop our next show, Finders Keepers, as one of the headliners in GBS Theatre, similar to this time. That was a wonderful experience – we would not have been able to make that show at that time without the support of RADA Festival, so we are hugely grateful. We also met technical students then, who we have continued to work with regularly now they have graduated. Finders Keepers then went on to have a long life, touring the UK and playing festivals.’

Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the RADA Festival?

‘Wow there’s so much on! I think we are most excited to see Lucid, another of the headline shows. It’s by a group of the most recent graduates of the MA Theatre Lab here at RADA. As graduates from the first ever year, it’s great to have the opportunity to support each other and see what kind of work is emerging from this innovative course.’

Who or what are your inspirations?

‘As a clown company we take a lot of inspiration from Charlie Chaplin; the sensitivity and detail in his work is something we try to emulate and his belief in tackling hard issues with the lightest of touches is right at the core of our work. Other physical theatre companies are also a huge influence on us, such as Frantic Assembly and Gecko who tell moving human stories through movement and physical theatre.

‘For Knock Knock, as two female theatre-makers in our 30’s, we wanted to explore gender roles and in particular the role of women in today’s society, where we belong and what is expected of us. In order to understand where we are today, we looked back over old folk tales handed down from generation to generation and took inspiration from these. With Knock Knock we wanted to take these themes and set them in the magical fairy tale world, creating a window into the characters’ lives and so creating a modern folk story for all ages.’

What are the future plans for Knock Knock?

‘Well obviously a West End transfer would be the dream! However, we already have quite an extensive UK tour booked for Knock Knock in the autumn, which we are really looking forward to. We love taking the shows on the road and are visiting some great theatres we’ve been to before and some new ones to us, which is really exciting. We are also in the process of booking a spring tour for 2019 and hoping to take the show to Edinburgh Fringe next summer. Then in amongst all that we start work on the next new show, phew!’

What is the best production that you saw in the last 12 months?

‘Oh my gosh, so much, we try to get out to see as much as we can. We loved Rash Dash’s Two Man Show, such a great piece of hard hitting theatre. We also loved Theatre Re’s The Nature of Forgetting, which was a beautiful piece of physical theatre; and of course we went to see Slava’s Snow Show last Christmas, which combines the epic with gentle clowning, gorgeous!’

Is there anything else you want to highlight about Knock Knock?

‘Well, we, Hot Coals Theatre, founded in 2012, use highly visual theatre to tell stories that are accessible to all. By removing spoken word and sign language we create our own universal language on stage, making our work accessible to both hearing and d/Deaf audiences in a shared experience. Our unique style has been described as cartoon for the stage, using comedy, clowning and physical theatre to move our audience and bring them into our magical worlds, telling important human stories with the lightest of touch.’



Devised & Performed by Hot Coals Theatre

Director: Caroline Parker

Cast: Clare-Louise English; Jo Sargeant

Knock Knock runs at the RADA Festival 2018 from 30 June – 7 July 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.