The VAULT Festival is coming to town! From January 24th to March 18th, over three hundred new shows explode across a festival of festivals in their Waterloo home. With new venues, new bars, new food and plenty of surprises, VAULT 2018 is the biggest, fairest platform in London for artists to present innovative, daring work. Here we have a chat with Katie, Hannah and Alex from new feminist musical Paper. Scissors. Stone.
Katie, what inspired you to write about the topic of gender conditioning in women?
KB: My own frustration and anger, I think! I wanted to understand and challenge how deeply conditioned we are, the stuff that’s in women’s bones and therefore really difficult to get at, and what that can lead to or hold us back from.
Hannah, how did you first meet Katie and what attracted you to directing Paper. Scissors. Stone.?
HJ: I actually first met Katie socially – at a press night – her now wife and my boyfriend were working on a show together. We soon met again at a party and she made me laugh so hard my sides hurt.
It’s less about what attracted me, and more about being completely bowled over by Katie asking me to direct it. Katie got in touch one day and asked if I’d be interested in making something together that looked at gender conditioning, feminism and the female experience. I’m immediately jumped at the chance.
Alex, what attracted you to the piece?
AFB: Being asked to write a feminist musical! How could I not…
Katie, how does this piece differ to your previous work?
KB: My work changes so much from piece to piece, but this feels like the biggest shift. It has a lot more characters and therefore narratives, it’s quite stylised with songs and flashbacks and it’s a work of fiction, so very different to my previous autobiographical work.
How has the piece developed since your first showing of it last year?
KB: I spent a lot of time interviewing women, gathering stories and listening to different voices. A lot of that has fed back into the play. Also, it’s now set in Shrewsbury, where I grew up, instead of London. I was just more interested in women’s lives in a non-city environment and felt like we see that less on stage. The songs are VERY different. We have two amazing composers (Alexandra Faye Braithwaite and Quiet Boy) creating magic mash-ups of pop and Disney songs with lots of electric stuff mixed in. The songs sound like what gender conditioning can feel like.
HJ: The narratives and characters are far more developed and complex, and the nature of the songs are now completely different. We learnt a great deal from the previous showing, and since then Live Theatre in Newcastle have been supporting us, which has given us a lot of time and space to really interrogate ideas.
So Alex, tell us about the music in the show – your inspiration and why its integral to the piece?
AFB: The music in Paper. Scissors. Stone. is a whirlwind of past present and the tiny bit in between. Its a medley of electronic vibes, glittery Disney & classic anthems. Trying to find the sweet spot in between has been like trying to poach the perfect egg for a dinner party of 12. A conceptual nightmare..we’ve had a lot of fun along the way….
Describe the play in three words.
HJ: Rich, tender & fun.
AFB: Important, sparkly & strong.
KB: Paper. Scissors. Stone.
Paper. Scissors. Stone. runs at VAULT Festival from 3 – 4 Mar, and at Elevator Festival (Live Theatre, Newcastle) on 14 Mar. Tickets and more information for VAULT Festival can be found here, and for Elevator Festival here.