MEET: Bullet Theatre
Founders: Producer & Director
We saw Bullet Theatre’s performance of Freak by Anna Jordan back in March. I can’t really do justice for it in a few sentences, so I won’t try. What I will tell you is that what Katherine (the director) says about people wanting other people to see the message that Freak puts out there isn’t wrong. It was the type of performance I text my best friend about it. And told my mum about on the phone.
The women behind Freak - Grace and Katherine - are amazing, they sincerely want to do bold, heartfelt things out there in the world. Join in and read on.
Tell us a bit about yourself and Bullet Theatre?
K: Bullet Theatre is an all female theatre company that was set up a year ago. Our broad aim is to explore the everyday female experience and create an open dialogue about the issues that all women face. So our first show was Freak by Anna Jordan which we took to Edinburgh recently and that was about exploring female sexual experiences and taboos.
What is your role in Bullet Theatre?
G: So I’m Grace and I’m the Producer. I did Drama at University and I always wanted, ages before I got involved with Bullet Theatre, to start my own Theatre Company. So this is such a big step and it’s nice that it’s happening now that’s we’ve graduated
K: I’m the Director and I’ve done a bit of Producing too. I did Theatre at university as well and I’m just passionate about doing theatre that has a social relevance and can make an impact. So for Freak, so many people have come up to us and said that they could relate and found it a really helpful experience for being able to work through their own personal difficulties. So that’s what motivates me.
Why did you create Bullet Theatre?
K: One of the reason we did this was because within the University Drama Society it was so male dominated, there was no diversity whatsoever.
G: Exactly, so many male characters.
K: So we thought we’d create an independent company to create opportunities for women and we love doing the exhibition side because we were giving a platform to a load of female artists. The art that was showed was so directly connected. So there was one artist who did images of women with body hair or period blood, the idea of that being about women being ‘gross’. That was basically what the show was partially about too. Being crude and open about things that women aren’t supposed to talk about.
How do you want people to feel after they leave the show?
G: I want women to feel empowered about their womanhood, really cherishing themselves for being a woman.
K: To open up conversations, even about small things such as shaving - things that maybe you wouldn’t feel you could talk about when it shouldn’t be something you need to shy away from
What work are you doing with Bullet Theatre now?
K: We’re weighing up whether to take Freak to London. People really wanted other people to see the message that we put out there with Freak.
G: But also we definitely want to start working on something new that we will write ourselves. We want to make something that is completely our own work.
K: I also really want to continue the exhibition work like we did with Freak, having creatives and artists involved.
What was Fringe like?
G: It was incredibly insane. That’s how I keep putting it.
K: Yeah, it was just this hub of amazing work and so many shows that were female led and created by females in one place, such an inspiring place.
G: Everyone was so willing to see work and give feedback on work and talk to each other, sharing advice.
K: Also you’d see shows that were really large scale with lots of money being put into them and then you’d see really small budget student shows but everyone was on the same level and everyone was supporting each other
What was your happiest moment with Bullet Theatre?
K: For me it was the first night of Edinburgh. Up until about 5 minutes before the show started we were outside madly flyering, panicking that no one would be in the audience and then somehow we had a sold out audience. They were turning people away. As soon as the lights went down and then the music started playing for the cast to take their bows, the audience just stood up immediately and gave us an ovation. I was so overwhelmed.
G: Mine was when we did our show in March. Just before the show ended, I was cueing the sound and I was checking my phone and saw that we had a 5 star review. I remember telling Katherine and Charlotte, just showing them 5 stars. We were clapping the actors but just the whole company.
K: Just to have that validation, we were doing something we loved but doing it well.
Is there something you know that Bullet Theatre does differently?
K: Every decision we make we ask everyone, all the cast, all the crew.
G: That is so true. Especially because this whole experience has been a learning curve so listening to advice is so crucial.
Where do you want Bullet Theatre to go?
K: We would like to carry them on and tour the shows around.
G: To be self-sustaining.
K: We’d also really like to do workshops about sexual consent at secondary schools. One of the things that inspired us to start up Bullet Theatre was that consent shops were being cancelled in Universities so I’d love to one day do workshops where people will engage and learn.
To you guys, what does it mean to be creative?
G: It’s having your own take and having confidence with your own expression. So, for me, I love producing and some people may see that as logical and numbers based but it’s my own type of creative outlet because you’re enabling people’s creativity. Using my own voice and skills to do that.
K: And when i’m directing a show, I’ll have discussions with the actors which is the way it should be. It allows it to be a collaborative process. Also, having emotion behind why you do it.
Who has influenced Bullet Theatre the most?
G: The writer of Freak, Anna Jordan, her writing just spoke to us so much.
K: For me it’s a mix of different shows and also our biggest influence, especially in any new work we do, is just our own experiences as women.
What challenges do you face?
K: It’s important to us that we get a diverse audience, I think as soon as you say to a guy that it’s an all female show about female issues, it instantly puts them off - even though they may not admit that. It’s just as important as men see our work though because we’re trying to raise awareness about things that women go through that men not necessarily know about.
G: It’s like an echo chamber - there’s no point doing a show if the people who need to see it, don’t see it.
What do you do in your free time?
G: It sounds ridiculous but literally this. But that’s why we do it, we just love it.
K: When people ask me what hobbies are I say this. Also going to other shows. Especially in Bristol, I love the art scene. It’s so politically charged or charitable. It always has a cause
G: Yeah, definitely, it has the community feel to it.
When you’re feeling down, what’s your best way up?
G: Listening to music I love...and dancing to it.
K: It’s the same for me, just being in my bedroom and putting on a really good song and dancing around. I love a bit of Miley Cyrus.
G: What’s my go to? Something with a lot of emotion. A musical song.
K: That was one of my things for Freak. In our warm ups at rehearsals, I’d always put on a song and make the cast close their eyes and dance and just lose their inhibitions.
G: That was so much of our show, so many of our cast members said about how doing the show empowered them too.
What’s your favourite piece of Art?
G: At the moment, I won’t say of all time, I saw this show in Edinburgh. It was a piece of gig theatre called Six about Henry 8th wives, in the style of a girl group.
K: Think Little Mix.
G: I saw it again with my Mum for her birthday and she loved it too. It makes you feel so empowered and fierce as a woman.
K: It’s about reshaping history because all they’re known as is his wives and what he did to them but they’re like, no, we’re telling our story.
G: I can’t stop singing the songs either.
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