Kate Valentine, director of Fast, is interviewed by Voice as part of WINDOWS industry showcase for Brighton Fringe:
For tickets, go to www.brightonfringe.org/whats-on/fast-124595/
Interview by Tom Inniss for Voice:
Could you first introduce yourself to the readers?
I am Kate Valentine, director of the play ‘Fast’ by Kate Barton, which we are bringing to the Purple Playhouse Theatre for the Brighton Fringe.
Could you describe your act for us?
Fast is a dark, psychological drama based on true events. Set in 1910 in the isolated Pacific Northwest, it examines the notorious ‘Doctor’ Linda Hazzard, a complex, beguiling and utterly driven woman whose methods divided a nation. Fast reflects a modern fascination with ‘clean eating’, specialised diets and alternative medicine through the lens of one of the original mavericks of the medical world.
Why did you want to perform at Brighton Fringe?
We want to produce Fast for the first time at Brighton Fringe as we think the audiences will be intrigued by the story and we want to be part of such a brilliant festival of creative talent.
Why did you decide to apply for WINDOW?
We decided to apply for WINDOW as we are looking to tour Fast in 2018 and 2019 and are looking for a co-producer so that we can make this happen.
How did you react to being told you’d been selected to be showcased?
It was great news! We really hope that being part of WINDOW will bring greater industry exposure to the play, the writer Kate Barton and all the production team and cast.
How has it helped you so far?
It is early days yet, but being part of WINDOW is focusing us to make sure the production is the very best it can be.
What is the best part of your job?
Working with writers on their new plays and actors who make the new writing come to life.
Conversely, what has been the most challenging?
Juggling the numbers in the columns of the budget sheet!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Not as a director, as by the time we get to the performances, I am hoping I have done the best job I can do and it is then up to the cast and crew to be brilliant! Maybe I should find some lucky pants to wear if reviewers are in the performance…
What is the process you go through when looking to create a new show? Are you very disciplined or do you need to be strict with yourself?
Our processes are very varied – depending on whether we have been approached with a script or if we have commissioned a writer on a topic we are interested about or have funding for. As a multi-media production company, we work on many strands of development at once, so we do have to be disciplined, especially with our time. The creative influences can often merge across different projects and ideas pop up at any time – mainly when you are not looking for them.
What has been the single best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?
‘Be prepared’. I was assistant director to Alan Ayckbourn in Scarborough when I was starting out and he taught me that a director has to be completely prepared before rehearsals and then confident enough to throw the preparation out of the window when a better idea emerges through working with a team of actors and production crew.
What do you think has been the most dramatic change to the industry in the last five years?
Digital showreels being available to watch online during the casting process – they save so much time and help whittle a long list of applicants down to a manageable number to meet.
If you could have any other job in the world, what would it be?
Tough one…I would like to run a mixed arts building as a director as I am interested in many disciplines and connecting with a community, getting people through the door and giving them access to a creative hub that belongs to them.
Imagine you possess the power to send one message back in time to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
None of those exams really matter – it’s your ability to see an opportunity and make the most of it that really counts. Oh…and always be kind and helpful and interested in other people’s stories.
What advice would you give to young people who want to enter the industry? What should they do and not do?
Say yes to opportunities more than no as you never know where they will take you. Put the effort in and don’t compromise if you want to achieve the best that you can do.
Where can people find you on the internet, and find out more about your show?
We are Digital Drama and information about Fast is at www.digitaldrama.org/project/fast and on Twitter @Digidrama. Hope to see you there – come and say hello.