Wednesday, 26 August 2015

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Clemmie Reynolds

CLEMMIE Reynolds, 27, is the new artistic director of the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis, having taken up the role just under a month ago. Originally from Guildford, Clemmie plans to work with local schoolchildren and artists offering a varied programme and hopes to help restore the Marine back to its former glory.

WHERE did your love of the dramatic arts come from?
It started with performing in school plays and with my local youth theatre in Guildford. When I was studying for my BA in English at Bristol University I spent more time acting and directing plays than writing essays! After university I went to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London. After leaving drama school, I realised that as well as acting, I wanted to direct and produce plays too, so I set up my own theatre company called BurntOut Theatre.

YOU worked as a freelance director for a while, what is that world like?
It is exciting, especially working with excellent companies such as The Young Vic, Out of Joint and Chickenshed. It is also challenging and very competitive, but running my own company gave me the freedom to choose what I worked on. For three years I produced and directed open-air Shakespeare productions which I toured all over the South East and London to parks, gardens, city squares, even empty ornamental ponds! In the last two years, I developed a new play called “Muscovado” with support from Arts Council England and the V&A Museum in London; the play is set on a sugar plantation in Barbados in 1808 and earlier this year I toured it to cities across the UK with historical links to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Considering Lyme’s links with Bermuda, and now Jamestown, it would be very interesting to bring this play to the Marine next year.

WHAT is the biggest challenge facing you and the Marine Theatre?
Our biggest challenge is that we have a hole in our roof that leaks water into the 120-year-old auditorium every time it rains! This will cost around £100,000 to repair, so I have my work cut out for me over the next few months!

HAD you ever visited the Marine Theatre before you took on the job as artistic director?
Yes, I was in the middle of a six-month UK tour performing in “Muscovado” and one of our tour venues was Bridport Arts Centre. On recommendation by our “digs” host, we drove over to Lyme and I was amazed by the town, enchanted by the gem of the Marine (I love old theatres and cinemas!) and decided in that moment that I wanted to move to Dorset. The following week, when I got back to London, I saw the job of artistic director posted online and applied.

DO you plan on working with local artists and writers in the area?
As a host venue for many of the Lyme festivals, I am looking forward to working with lots of  artists and musicians from the area. I would also really like for the Marine to be able to produce its own theatre productions, as well as receiving touring companies. These could involve many local artists, writers, performers and amateurs too. I’m keen to programme local performers as much as possible and would be delighted to receive recommendations – so if readers have ideas about who they’d like to see at the theatre, please pop in and let me know!

ARE there any plans to work with the local secondary and primary schools?
Yes! The Marine’s Youth Theatre LYT has just been selected to be part of Connections, the prestigious UK-wide festival organised by the National Theatre, so we are now looking for local secondary school students aged 14-19 to be involved, both on stage and backstage. As part of the festival, we will perform a fantastic new play for five nights at the Marine Theatre, and for one night on one of the largest stages in the South West (to be revealed soon). For children under 14, we will run three weekly youth theatre classes with lots of chances for performances throughout the year too. Contact the theatre if you want to join!

HOW has your first month in Lyme Regis been?
It has been very busy, with hundreds of new faces and names to learn! But I have loved it, especially being able to swim in the sea every day and looking out over the sea from the Marine Theatre office isn’t bad either!

AS artistic director, what is your goal for the Marine Theatre?
I’d love to see the Marine repaired and restored to its former glory days of the past 120 years, and enable it to continue to be a special and much-loved place in the Lyme community for the next 100 years. I want to programme an exciting mix of plays, music and comedy – so there is something for everybody!

AT your perfect theatre production what would you see and who would play the starring role?
I would travel back in time to 1937 and see Laurence Olivier playing Hamlet at the Old Vic opposite Vivien Leigh as Ophelia. A dream!

No comments:

Post a Comment