Distillery Takeover Week at Taunton Brewhouse 20 – 25 September

Hope Thain

This is the fifth in our series of interviews with visiting artists who are at the Brewhouse as part of the Distillery Takeover week between Mon 20 – Sat 25 September. They are receiving seed funding and organisational support to help develop their ideas, which will be presented as a ‘scratch’ performance to a live audience at the end of the week.

This is an incredibly exciting initiative to encourage and support artists and companies, made possible by funding from the Weston Culture Fund, specifically for a programme of activity to develop and support regional artists under Taunton Brewhouse’s Distillery strand.

We thought it would be great to get to know the artists a bit better, so we have asked them some questions – some serious – some less so.

Next up is Hope Thain who is director with experience in movement directing and voice work, and enjoys exploring how these two things allow for different pathways into storytelling, often through the devising process. She is also interested in making theatre that explores the intricacies of what it is like to be human with intrigue, grit and theatricality. She is working with writer Pearl Andrews, and composer and musician Oscar Killen, on a musical adaptation of the fairy tale, TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES.

So Hope:

  1. How are you feeling about putting on a performance in five days?

Surprisingly calm! This week has been about us exploring different ideas and knotty concepts in a room, which for me is one of the best parts of a devising process. We’re definitely approaching the performance as a place to share and feel out the audiences responses, however polished or not this may be.

  1. What are the challenges?

At this point in the process there is always so much to feel out and play with that marrying the various sounds and styles we are interested in is a big challenge – the perfect challenge for a week’s R&D!

  1. What do you hope to get out of the experience?

There were a few moments in particular that we were keen to explore this week – we have a parallel universe made out of mirrors that is as challenging to stage as it sounds(!) and so definitely consolidating some of these ideas was something we were hoping to achieve from this. We are also all South West based artists working together for the first time, so working together at the Brewhouse has been an amazing opportunity.

  1. What was your inspiration for the piece?

Pearl, our writer, came to me with this concept and I was immediately interested in the fairytale/magical element of the piece. The idea of enchanted mirrors was an image that struck me straight away, and has evolved into a huge concept for the production that we’ve been working on this week.

  1. What’s the best part for you about working in the theatre?

Connecting and collaborating with other artists is absolutely the best thing for me – i’ve really enjoyed working with the writer, composer, choreographer and actors in the room and bouncing off each other to create new stories and ways to tell them is like nothing else. Before this week I had only met Oscar, our composer, over Zoom so it’s great to meet and work in person.

  1. Artists often have other jobs on the side or to keep them going between work. What sorts of things have you done? Highlights? Worse jobs?

Unfortunately, nothing too exciting! I’ve worked as a legal secretary, front of house, office work, whatever temping I could get my hands on at the time. It’s hard to focus on the worst one when none of the office work is really for me – glad that for now at least I can stay away from filing!

  1. And a last one because I’m nosey and love to know what people like– what’s the last book you read or film you watched?

I recently watched Sound of Metal and absolutely loved it – I’m very into soundtracks and music and thought that element of the film was particularly gorgeous.


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