Burnt Orange Theatre Company are an exciting new theatre group focusing on youth led performance, we chatted to co-artistic directors Rosie and Ella about their upcoming production of ‘Fast’ at the Camden Fringe. Read on to see what they had to say about their debut production, theatre, food and politics…
Tell us a bit about the origins of the company – where does the name come from and where did you meet?
We started Burnt Orange in 2019 in order to create a youth theatre company that is valued and respected on a professional stage. Our members aren’t just actors, they are fully fledged company participants and we are aiming to create a wide range of industry experiences and professional working opportunities for them. Ella and I met in 2015 and worked together on a variety of projects through university. The name itself is a nod to a production of Avenue Q we did together in 2016 and the garish orange clothing we had to wear to promote the show.
What is it about theatre with young people that you find so interesting?
To quote the old cliche, we really do believe that children are the future. Why would we not want to hear their opinions? Our mission as a company is to try and re-brand youth theatre and extend their audiences beyond parents and friends, championing the work that young people make in its own right.
Can you talk us through your audition process?
We aren’t fans of simply one to one script reading, and so we wanted to ensure we saw each person’s full abilities. We held workshop style auditions which gave the young people the chance to show us everything they could do as performers but also as theatre makers in a collaborative environment. We really appreciated the interest that was shown from everyone who auditions and the enthusiasm for our what we stand for as a company. It’s resulted in a cast of nine incredibly talented actors and two imaginative, creative directors who we can’t wait to make work with this summer.
Why did you choose to stage ‘Fast’, what drew you to the production?
We spent a long time looking for a script that was centred around young people and didn’t ask teenagers to play adult characters, instead championing their voices. We love theatre that sends a clear message, and Fast managed to tick all the boxes for us! The script was developed at Regent high school in Camden, so bringing Fin’s writing back to Camden feels like an added bonus.
What place do you think politics has in theatre in 2019?
I think you can argue that art in any form is necessarily political, and its how you choose to push the message determines the extent of it. We like that theatre that opens a conversation and doesn’t try to push an agenda, that’s what we’re hoping to do with Fast.
What is exciting to you about the London theatre scene currently?
We’re seeing a real push in theatre to tell different stories or tell stories in a different way, rather than retelling the stories we’ve heard a million times before. August is a particularly exciting time for theatre in London, particularly as the Camden fringe unites a huge range of emerging and exciting work and talent. This influx of creativity is undoubtedly going to be exiting.
What does the future hold for Burnt Orange?
We have lots of exciting plans to continue working with young people on a larger scale but we’re taking it one step at a time and focusing on our debut production first!
Finally, following what you asked the rest of your team – what would be the hardest thing for you to give up if you were fasting?
Rosie – Something boring like pasta probably, either that or crisps – Ella always makes fun of my crisp dinners…
Ella – Crunchy nut cornflakes, Kellogg’s have really locked me in there.