Peter Rowe talking about Bubble Theatre productions

Audio Transcript:

Iris: What about Yuppie Zombies– was that particularly local politics?

Peter: Yeah, we, at the time, because of moving into those new buildings in Rotherhithe- the days of the London Dockland Development Corporation and all that money flooding into that area – because we were in a new converted building we had bright blue paint- we were seen by local residents as being part of that incoming development. We had to make alliances locally and make it clear that we were a different thing and weren’t necessarily part of those neighbourhoods being taken over and being used for expensive housing effectively and existing residents being sort of brushed aside which is what they were doing- what they felt was happening to them. Alan Gilbey, the writer of Yuppie Zombies was part of a group on the Isle of Dogs called Woof, and he had been working in community theatre on the Isle of Dogs for some time. I went to see a show they did called The View of the River which was about the history of the Isle of Dogs. I commissioned him to write for us. He was in a very good place because he came from that history of activism locally but he also had a writing style like a stand-up comic. He wrote sketches, monologues and did a bit of stand-up himself. So all of that style suited the Bubble Performance style – cabaret performance style. So yeah, that was a show- felt like you were speaking about the times. The experiences that people were living through at the time.

Iris: Sounds as if you were doing something that was political in a popular cultural way.

Peter: Yeah, which was the idea. We attempted that with The Headless Body which we commissioned from Bryony Lavery but it was a much less successful piece. It was an extended anti-Thatcher metaphor about this circus composed of these different people with a woman at the head of it who exploits them all and they got together and decided to remove her head, the head of the organisation. It was kind of wishful thinking, a political parable.

Interview extract (11 March 2013)

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