We’re excited to bring you our new interview mini series, #PhysicalStorytellers giving an insight into the life and work of some of the artists and organisers behind the 2020 festival. 

    Paul Hunter of Told by an Idiot. On how he got into theatre:

    “Like a lot of people, it goes back to an inspiring teacher. I had no context for theatre in my family; my mum was a dinner lady and my dad was an electrician. I liked English at school and I had an English teacher who was casting the school play at the time. I was about 15. It was a play by George Bernard Shaw called ‘Androcles and the Lion’. I, in a teenager way, said “Oh there’s no point in me auditioning because you always choose the same people.” And she called my bluff and said, “Well why don’t you come along?”

    I was mainly into football and sport, but I did go along – and I got a part. She kind of encouraged me and told me this was something I could do. I thought everyone from my school went to work in the car industry in Birmingham! And then she told me about youth theatres and I went and got involved in a youth theatre, and then suddenly started to think, well, maybe I could. I started to think about drama schools and, of course, it was a complete shock to my parents when I said that I wanted to be an actor. Their initial response was – well they were obviously a bit worried – and said, “Why don’t you go to university and get a degree, and then you’ll have something to fall back on?” I don’t know whether my response was foolhardy or brave or naïve or what, but I basically said: If I have something to fall back on, I will fall back on it. Whereas if I give it a go, and obviously if it doesn’t work I’ll have to get another job, at least I’m just going for it 100%. And I did! And, I guess, here I am: still doing it 35 years later.

    I suppose I’ve always been attracted to the notion that theatre can do things that no other form can. It can make you see something or imagine something or believe something in the simplest way, in a live environment in which one group of people are watching another group of people. I do passionately believe it is still the most collaborative of art forms and that brings me back again and again and again. A group of people coming together with the endeavour to create something is always incredibly seductive for me. You don’t know what that thing is going to be and you don’t know what the journey is going to be, but you’re in it together.”

    THE STRANGE TALE OF CHARLIE CHAPLIN AND STAN LAUREL by Told by an Idiot will appear at Wilton’s Music Hall on Tue 14 – Sat 18 January as part of London International Mime Festival. More details here > 


    Kane Husbands of The PappyShow

    “When I left working at the National Youth Theatre, it really felt like a chapter of my life was ending and a new one was beginning. I decided to go to the Caribbean, which is where half my family are from. I’d never been before so it was one of those real soul-searching trips, re-connecting with all these people. It was the most amazing trip but it also gave me some perspective and allowed me to really look at what I’d been doing by stepping outside the bubble.

    ‘Pappy show’ is a Caribbean word, it means playfulness and it’s probably my cousins’ most over-used word! Always calling each other a ‘pappy show’ or they’re taking each other for a ‘pappy show’… It just felt like the perfect name and I thought: when I get back I’d love to just hire a space and get some friends in the room. Who knows what will come of it, but let’s just play some games and try to carry on a little bit of the joy I’d experienced with my cousins.

    Over the years, I started to think, ‘Where would I like my voice to be?’ and ‘What is my contribution going to be to theatre?’ I really found a gap in what was happening in the conversation around diversity and gender, and I thought: this is where I need to speak up. And that’s why we made ‘BOYS’.

    I’m interested in really big feelings. I feel theatre has got quite conceptual or we’re using this ‘thinky’ part of our brain to understand it. I’m interested in the big emotions. So I want to make theatre that hits you in the gut and makes you belly laugh or makes you weep and you don’t know why you’re crying. I’m interested in moving audiences in that way and then they can go away and unpick why it affected them.”  Artistic Director, Kane Husbands

    BOYS by The PappyShow will appear at Southbank Centre‘s Purcell Room on Mon 20 & Tues 21 January as part of London International Mime Festival. More details here > 

    Kane will teach a 2-day Introduction to Play workshop at Jacksons Lane on Sat 18 – Sun 19 Jan.  More details here >