When I attended the greenhouse Pitch Up event in Brighton it was with the hope that I might be able to get the message out that The Marlowe Theatre was openly looking for partners with whom to make new work. I didn’t imagine that a matter of days later we’d be in the early planning stages towards research and development work for Encounter Productions’ next project, but that was the happy circumstance we found ourselves in.
Hosting the R&D, as well as being a privilege, was very educative for us. For the majority of the time Encounter were using The Marlowe Lab, which hasn’t been employed for similar purpose in the past. It became immediately obvious that certain practical things had to be attended to in order to make the space suitable for the intended work, and one by-product of the whole experience is that the temporary measures we put in place during the fortnight are shortly to be refined and made permanent, transforming The Marlowe Lab into a far more functional space for this kind of work.
There were various other prosaic things that, this being the first time we have engaged in this kind of undertaking, were not in place upon the company’s arrival. Jen and the rest of the team displayed great patience, and were understanding whilst we found our way towards accommodating most of what they required.
Whilst I was privy, in a limited capacity, to some information coming out of the rehearsal room, and saw some early script pages, I went into the showcase performance at the end of the fortnight with unformed expectations: I didn’t really know what kind of show Encounter had been putting together. I was so pleased with the result of the company’s two weeks of work, and a little astounded at how quickly they had gone from a blank page to the kernel of a compelling show (both in terms of text and performance).
As well as seeking to programme touring new-writing shows of exceptional quality, and continuing to produce new work in house, the third pillar of The Marlowe Studio’s commitment to new writing work is providing the time and resources to facilitate exactly the kind of work that Encounter Productions undertook in this fortnight. I’m enormously pleased to have been a small part of allowing Wonderland (formerly Swingers) to take an early shape. Discussions continue regarding the future of this show, and the touring potential for Encounter’s other work, both as a direct result of attendance at the Pitch Up event.
Adam Wood, Studio Manager
The Marlowe Theatre