Previews of ‘One Minute’ by Simon Stephens opened at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester this weekend, following the success of their inaugural production of The Secret Garden earlier this year.
Iwan Lewis was the producer of the incredibly successful The Secret Garden and has not taken on his first ever production of ‘One Minute’ as Creative Director. During the rehearsal process, he took some time to tell me about how he’s feeling taking on this task.
“I feel really confident. I’ve got an incredible team around me and I think the cast are absolutely incredible. There is some really exciting work in the room already and that gives me such confidence.”
“I’m in my element, working with fantastic actors who have been so patient with me, giving me the support like I need. There is no ego in the room, it’s such a difficult piece with such sensitivity and intelligence and the one thing I’m not worried about is the performances of my actors.”
‘One Minute’ follows the happenings and relationships between five people during the disappearance of Daisy Shultz. The company will explore the themes of isolation and claustrophobia whilst focusing in on the moment when a child disappears. I asked Iwan what we can expect from the show.
“You are going to be seeing some of the best talent executed in what is a beautifully crafted piece of writing by Simon Stephens. What I intend from this piece is to transport our audiences into claustrophobic inner city London. We are going to explore the idea of nameless millions of people living in a metropolitan area when a tragedy, such as the disappearance of Daisy Shultz, happens.”
This production seems like something completely different, especially in regional theatre. The Barn Theatre are eager to revolutionise the way we think about regional theatre and the way we often patronise the audiences, assuming they always want a jukebox musical or an Agatha Christie.
“If we were at the National Theatre this wouldn’t be unusual but it is unusual in the regions regions. You might get this in Manchester, you might get this in Bristol but because we aren’t in a big city they tend to stay away from this kind of content.”
“I didn’t come into this game to play it safe, and everything we have done so far even with the way we did the secret garden and even the building of the theatre itself, you gotta risk it. You’ve got a chance to be victorious and I’m always going to be the one that takes the chance. That’s why you employ someone like me.”
Finally I ask the all important question. As somebody at the forefront of the changes within theatre, where does Iwan think the theatre industry is headed?
“I believe we have the potential, with the team we have here, to be a real front runner in not just regional theatre but UK theatre and that we can really be on the frontier of what happens. Why can’t we develop, in Cirencester, really great pieces of work that go to the West End or go on tour?
“What I would hope to see in five, ten years is lots of Barn theatres popping up in and around the country, promoting pride, promoting creativity and promoting the wonderful art form that is theatre. In my humble opinion there is no greater form of entertainment. I remember every single night at the theatre, I don’t remember any nights in watching Netflix.”
During such a pivotal time for fringe and barn theatre I couldn’t be more excited to have Iwan taking control of Cirencester’s theatre output. He is aware of the changes going on around him and his goals are exactly what the industry needs at this time.
Catch ‘One Minute’ at The Barn Theatre in Cirencester until June 16.