NT Connections Preview | The Sad Club & Variations

27 Mar 2019

Claire Richards from Ignite talks to us about The Sad Club, a brand new musical by Luke Barnes, and Karina Hunter from Warminster School about Variations, a play about family, string theory and breakfast by Katie Hims. Both will hit The Weston Studio as part of the NT Connections Theatre Festival, 2 – 5 Apr.

Tell us about your NT Connections play and the themes that run through it?

Claire: Our show is The Sad Club. It is written by Luke Barnes (The Jumper Factory) and has fantastic music by Adam Pleathe. It’s all about the trials and tribulations of growing up, tackling those feelings that feel uncontrollable and realising everyone is feeling the same way, hence ‘The Sad Club’.

Karina: We are performing Variations by Katie Hims. It is centred around a young girl called Alice who experiences different ‘Variations’ of her family and even turns into her mother in the 80’s! The themes at the heart of the piece are family, parallel universes and friendship.

What most excites you about your show?

Claire: The Sad Club is a musical as well as a play that’ll mean something to everyone. It’s been an absolute joy to explore and play with this show. All of us have enjoyed putting an eclectic mix of styles and energy into its realisation. The writing is so adaptable.

Karina: The exploration process on Variations with our students has been wonderful, they have been so focused and excited and have really experimented with the ideas of relationships within a family. The physical theatre aspects of the piece have been testing but we have remained focused and it is now a key through-line in our performance.


What kind of theatre do you love to make?

Claire: We love to make theatre that challenges its audience to stay on its toes. As a group we love mixing practitioners and styles and are particularly keen on physical theatre and dance to support our work. We hope you can see that this throughout our performance. We are huge fans of Frantic Assembly, PunchDrunk, Gecko and Kneehigh. They have inspired us throughout our journey and you may notice a few of their techniques in our work today!

Karina: Physical theatre is something I love to create, it can give such a powerful tone to a show and can bring relationships into the spotlight where we can scrutinise them in a different way without spoken dialogue. This allows the audience to explore their own narrative interpretations for some of the physical moments. Physical theatre can be so breath-taking and I take much of my inspiration from Frantic Assembly and the Pappy Show.


Is performing at Bristol Old Vic important to you?

Claire: Yes. Bristol Old Vic is a wonderful resource to its community and is one of the best theatres in the South West for its variety of theatre and its opportunities for young people. We love coming to Bristol Old Vic and were grateful for all the support it offers our performers and technical students.

Karina: Bristol Old Vic is such a prestigious theatre and it gives our students a real sense of what the industry is like. We have seen many performances at Bristol Old Vic so the pupils are familiar with the building, however performing there will be a huge privilege. It is so beautiful and will be a real pleasure to perform there.


Last word on NT Connections?

Claire: We’re so proud of this show. It’s a chance to remember your teenage years or connect to those feelings that you thought you felt all on your own. Come join The Sad Club!!

Karina: We have worked so hard to bring Variations to life, it’s been an exciting journey to go on with the cast exploring families and their dysfunctionality in a dark comic way. There are many intricate moments in the piece to really tell the audience this unique story in an innovative way.

NT Connections commences at Bristol Old Vic, Tue 2 – Fri 5 Apr. For more info and to book tickets, click here.