Emerge, Flex Teatre, Tristan Bates Theatre

Emerge, A Night of New Writing

Flux Theatre’s devising experiment Emerge is the rising company’s second production. On Sunday the 11th December, four short scenes had their debut at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden.

Emerge is about giving plays in making the opportunity to get feedback from a professional industry panel. Will Adolphy, the founder of Flux Theatre and head of the Emerge panel, says that “Emerge is a chance to flex creative muscles, showcase work and collaborate with others. For the writers, Emerge is an opportunity to do all of the above, but most importantly, to gain feedback on their work for future development.”

The panel is made up of Matthew Keeler (producer at Tristan Bates Theatre, St James RE: Act), Richard Speir (production assistant at Arcola Theatre), Phoebe Éclair-Powell (resident playwright at Soho Theatre) and Hannah Hauer-King (artistic director at Damsel Productions).

The event itself is open to the public. That makes it a great opportunity for theatre enthusiasts that don’t work in the field to get a taste of the production process behind the curtain.

Emerge is like watching a trailer and behind the scenes simultaneously it gives the audience the chance to hear about the writers’ motivations and thoughts behind the stories.

However, it was a shame that the minds behind the four pieces were not on stage with the panel. It would have made questions from the audience more approachable and it is always nice to have a face to a name.

But that might change; Adolphy is already thinking of improvements for the next time; “we’d like to include the audience more in our feedback Q & A – creating an environment where everyone feels they can speak up is something to be explored. The more open the discussion the more feedback the writers can get on their pieces.”

Never the less, each of the writers got valuable feedback from the industry panel. Adolphy says that “seeing the work up on its feet in front of a jam-packed Tristan Bates definitely gave the writers a new perspective on their work as well, leaving them feeling very motivated. For the performers, including myself, and the directors, it was incredibly useful to exercise our craft on some exciting new writing. Flux is also keeping in contact with all the writers, keeping up to date on everyone’s work so the support is ongoing.”

Flux Theatre first came up with the idea in late summer 2016. Adolphy recalls that “a scratch night had been mentioned before at a meeting and it was decided by the team this would be a great stepping stone in between projects for the company.”

The four pieces showcased were “The Phlebotomist” by Ella Road, “Bridle” by Stephanie Martin, “Bolero” by Tatty Hennessey and “Biscuit” by Reece Conolly. Every single one of them was witty and pointed out social phenomena that left the audience with something to think about, from a dystopian near future to the handling of disabilities in everyday life. Now all that is left to do is to remember those names and wait for the full-length versions to come out – hopefully, sooner than later! There is a great new generation of writers, actors and directors coming up and Flux might just be the new way of devising for them.