Act 1 – Double Trouble

So why two shows? Good question, and one some of the more seasoned (read: older, greyer, and probably wiser) Fringe goers have asked me frequently, usually with an expression that blends bemusement and pity with a little twinkle of romantic reminiscence. Well, here’s the condensed version:

Back in 2007 I directed a production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change in a small and sweaty studio theatre that, from the outside, looked more like a multi-storey car park. We hit on something that worked; we sold-out our very short run and immediately the Edinburgh cogs started turning. Of course, lack of funding had the potential to stop that machine quite quickly, but we found support in a company called Office 2 Office who had seen the show and liked what we were doing. A hefty business plan and several meetings later they made our Edinburgh venture a reality, which we will be eternally grateful for.

Meanwhile, I had been working with the very talented John Nicholson of Peepolykus and composer Alex Rudd on a proposal for a new musical, and I was amazed by their passion for making new theatre. They were doing things with the musical medium that no-one else was daring to do. It was infectious, and I headed back to Bristol with a proposition for the cast and team…

What if we took another show to play in repertoire with Love, Perfect, Change? What if we took a gamble and put together something from scratch, a completely original idea? A show that was the unknown ying to our ready-to-go yang, a thoroughly British production to balance our very American flagship piece?

The response from the rest of the company was initially laughter, then confusion, then a stunned silence when they realised I was serious. But, as soon as I played them some of Pippa’s past work and introduced them to our writer Jake this melted into to sheer excitement. The ideas started flowing and we’ve not looked back since.

Now we had two shows to concentrate on which meant twice the work. From risk assessments to tech rehearsals, poster designs to press releases, our work load doubled over night without even considering all of the rehearsal room and table time. I’ve never been that fond of sleep anyway, and my goodness is it worth it. I can’t wait.

And pretty soon I won’t have to as this time next week we will be in Edinburgh. Before then we have four days of intensive rehearsals, but I feel like a child before Christmas counting the sleeps. After all, two shows might mean double the trouble, but surely it can only also mean double the fun?

Until next time,

Luke Sheppard


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About Luke Sheppard

Luke recently finished working as Assistant Director to Sir Jonathan Miller on his production of Hamlet at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol. He was part of the creative team for the MTM award wining show Force 9 1/2 at last years Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Theatre Workshop), and returned as Choreographer for the London revival as part of the Perfect Pitch Festival (Upstairs at the Gatehouse). He has since worked with Peepolykus developing a musical at the National Theatre Studio. Luke is an experienced workshop leader and works with several children's theatre companies. He set up the musical theatre company Take Note Theatre and will direct both of their productions at this years Edinburgh Fringe.

One thought on “Act 1 – Double Trouble

  1. One of the joys of planning the first Musical Theatre at George Square season is to take risks on completely unknown shows. Of the 29 new shows we are presenting less than half were finished (or even started) when we planned the programme. So not only are the companies/producers taking a crazy gamble, so are we. It could, in Luke’s words, be double trouble or double fun. I can’t wait to hear/see Jet Set Go! and, with the audience, guage whether we are in trouble or fun. Whatever else the true early spirit of the Fringe…the gentle (and not so gentle) art of risk-taking is alive and well across George Square.

    Luke, and all the company – enjoy your last moments of rehearsal, and let’s hope They Love You, You;’re Perfect. Cheers Chris

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