Interviews Uncategorized

Fringe Interview: Lady Beaufort

Words By: KS

Lady Beaufort is a brand, shiny new venue offered especially at Perth’s FRINGE WORLD 2018!

Tell us – what’s it all about? 

We wanted to open a venue for smaller female shows that can get lost at Fringe, and as a way to showcase female work.

How did you come to take lead of Lady Beaufort? What’s its significance in Perth and in the arts scene?

Our company Tempest Theatre was founded to create strong theatre roles for women. In the last three years, we have expanded that concept to include all aspects of production. We want to showcase and offer opportunities to female writers, directors, producers, lighting designers, sound designers and stage management. As such, Lady Beaufort for FringeWorld was a natural extension of our concept. There is only one other female theatre company, Maiden Voyage Theatre Company, and that is too few! We need female spaces more than ever, especially in these times of sexual harassment and the #metoo movement. Our stories need to be told. And in a city like Perth which has a dedicated but small theatre community, opportunities can be few and far between for newer independent theatre companies.

How did you choose the artists? What was your aim when setting out to find performers for Lady Beaufort?

We put out a call on FB and through our networks for female only acts. We wanted a dipping platter of genres for our first year – and encouraged solo shows to apply just for logistical purposes. I wanted to offer opportunities to newer acts on the scene to try out Fringe. As Fringe expands, it can be harder and harder to get a show noticed in the crowd.

Tell us a little about yourself! What are your background in performance and the arts? 

Susie is an actor/producer/director who started Tempest Theatre in 2011. She has just finished her MA in Directing at WAAPA, where she assistant directed 3 major shows – A View from the Bridge, Twelfth Night and The Tempest. She directed a short play at WAAPA as part of their Petit Fours season. She has worked with WAYTCO and Black Swan State Theatre Company.

Kylie is an actor/director who has just graduated from the BA in Performing Arts at WAAPA.

Tempest has performed shows at FringeWorld for the last 5 years, gaining two Theatre Awards nominations in 2016 (BASH) and 2017 (The Yellow Wallpaper). In 2017, we took a show Sparrow to the Hollywood and San Diego Fringe festivals. Tempest has produced shows at Subiaco Arts Centre.

What does Lady Beaufort offer for gals in Perth? (Is it accessible, inclusive and diverse?)

We want to offer accessible, inclusive AND diverse content to a Perth audience. We have a Canadian stand up Gillian English, who is a fierce feminist warrior with a show that is unapologetic and funny (Drag Queen Stole My Dress). We have a new work by WA award-nominated playwright Louise Helfgott which is a piece on immigrants and identity (Light In Her Eye). Our third show is a duo of monologues by Alan Bennett from a Busselton based theatre group (Talking Heads), and our final show is a new piece devised by WAAPA graduate Imogen Rose Flint on the expectations of women (Hard and Soft). We would love to expand in 2019 with a larger and more diverse line up.

If you were to give any words of wisdom to up-and-coming women involved in the Perth arts industry (or particularly theatre), what would it be?

I would advise making your own work, writing your own shows, and being honest in your theatre making. See as many shows as you can, and can afford, and find your niche.

How do you feel about the Perth theatre scene? Where is it heading?

The Perth theater scene took a hit in the last few years with the closing of a bunch of theatre spaces, removing venues from independent artist. Couple that with less government funding and it was a bit of a shock. Perth is home to a vibrant independent theatre scene that is full of puppetry, and devising new content and finding new and clever spaces to make theatre.

What goes into organising a venue like Lady Beaufort? Is this something you’d like to continue being involved with?

It has been 11 months of work – finding the venue, approaching them to see if they wanted to join us for fringe, getting all the paperwork organised, fixing on times and acts as early as possible to be organised, and dealing with the council about having a bar. The venue have been fantastic – Beaufort St Community Centre was founded 40 years ago as a place where women could congregate together. It has a creche and fitness studio and workshops. It has been a very symbiotic relationship. We asked them to nominate a charity we could donate to with part of our fringe proceeds and they recommended Girls Academy so we have entered into a partnership with them. Kylie and I truly believe in theatre with a conscience. We hope to expand and continue running a Fringe venue for years to come.

What are your Fringe Fest recommendations for this year? Anything that we’d be kicking ourselves for missing?

Apart from our shows?? There are some great shows at the Blue Room but my favourite thing to do is just go out and spend the evening trying anything. Say yes to anything. You never know. The smaller the better since they have no money!

If you want to find out more about Lady beaufort and what shows are playing, you can see more here.