'Head to Head' September 2015
Cast of Pinter's 'The Dumb Waiter' (Part of 'Head to Head'): Jak Quartermaine (Gus) and Richard Stainer (Ben)
Bury Free Press Article:
Errata: the picture is Richard Stainer & Andrew James Deane in 'An Extraordinary Rendition' and 'Talking in the Library' was taken to the Brighton Fringe by Swallows Theatre.
'Talking In the Library' August 2014
Cast of 'Talking in the Library'
Above: Richard Stainer (Derek) Jackie Deane (Mari),
Andrew James Deane (Jay) Sarah Lockhart (Bethany)
Oakes Barn, Bury St Edmunds, August 2014
Cast of 'The Seventh Train' in rehearsal.
Above: Jak Quartermaine (Ray), Sian Notley (Carol), Andrew James Deane (Barney) and Hatty Ashton (Ellie).
'Winter Tails' November 2014
Cast of 'Winter Tails'
Above: Andrew James Deane (Humble Player 1), Sian Notley (Storyteller) and Jak Quartermaine (Humble Player 2)
Interview in Bury & West Suffolk Magazine, July 2015 (Picture above):
Suffolk has a brand new theatre company, and its name is QuirkHouse! Co-founded by actor/director Andrew James Deane and writer / musician / designer, Jackie Carriera, they’re already onto their fourth production. Head to Head, featuring three short plays – two by local writers plus The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter - will also see the company undertaking a tour of West Suffolk villages in September. No mean feat considering they started less than twelve months ago with a budget of zero! Andrew explains more…
What inspired you to start a theatre company in the first place?
It’s always been a dream of mine, specifically for a modern type of repertory company. Rep is sadly missing today, which is a shame because it provided a great platform to learn, grow and gain experience. When we discovered we shared the same dream, Jackie and I began discussing the possibility and QuirkHouse was born. We knew we wanted something different and modern; at the same time as embracing the origins of theatre, focusing on new writing, performed in all kinds of spaces, reaching audiences that might not ordinarily go to the theatre and – above all – on a shoestring! A professionally-run, ethical company working as a co-operative… I said it was a dream but it’s come true!
Why now, in a recession, with arts funding being slashed all over the country, particularly in the regions?
Why not? Whenever people feel inspired to take a chance, quite often it’s when there’s nothing to lose! It may sound clichéd but the most powerful part of theatre is the audience’s imagination, so we decided early on, for idealistic and practical reasons, not to worry too much about lavish costumes or sumptuous sets but instead to focus on great, new writing. This pushes us to be more creative and means we can be interesting while keeping costs down. So far we’ve even managed to pay everyone involved in our productions, including the writers and technicians.
How are audiences responding?
We’ve been very well received so far. Ticket sales have been good and we’ve had fantastic feedback. People are buying into our ethos and grassroots style. We don’t compete with other companies, be they professional or amateur, because we offer something different.
If QuirkHouse could put on any play, what would it be?
Given the organic way that we’ve been developing, and the fact that we’ve only produced new plays, I would guess neither of us has imagined what that ‘any play’ might be. It hasn’t been written yet!
And QuirkHouse’s plans for the future?
We’d love to have a home of our own and to have it be a hub where creative people can gather, share ideas and produce interesting, thought-provoking projects. Whether that happens or not, we’ll still take new theatre to places and people it doesn’t usually reach and collaborate with as many groups and companies as we can.
How do you find talent?
There’s an abundance of talent in East Anglia, it generally punches well above its weight in this respect. Being Bury-born myself, I’ve worked with several local groups, meaning we’ve been able to meet and then work with people that we know can do the job to the high standard that we, and our audiences, expect.
What would you say to anyone wanting a career in theatre?
Have faith in yourself to do it and the tenacity to take the knocks. It doesn’t simply come down to talent. Persevere. Work hard – really hard – and don’t expect to get rich overnight!
Photos courtesy of Andy Abbott of Abbott Photography: www.abbottphotography.org.uk