The Creative Associates of NST Laboratory are celebrating what Southampton makes now! Their upcoming performance of I Won’t Make It On My Own will be on the main stage at Nuffield Southampton Theatres 5-7 October. We met up with Josh to find out more…
Tell us about yourself and your role.
Hi, I’m Josh and I’m the Lab Associate for Lighting. I’m a Lighting designer for theatre, dance and performance art with a particular interest in collaborative design. I trained at The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama and graduated in 2015. As the lighting designer for I Won’t Make It On My Own I collaborate with the rest of the creative team to frame and shape the way the audience see, understand and encounter the performance.
What made you want to become a Lighting Designer?
I knew early on that lighting really captivated me, as it had an ethereal quality; I really like the idea that you can't touch it. With many other elements in theatre making there’s a version you can see or touch or experience before the show, but with lighting design it can only be experienced when all the elements are in place. It exists in the here and now which I find a big draw. I had a really empowering time at drama school, where I had the chance to really examine what it means to be part of a team sharing a story with an audience, it’s fuelled me ever since…the search for the ideal way to share with an audience.
What interested you most about working on this project?
It was exciting to have a chance to work with a piece of theatre that wanted to have an open relationship with the audience, and not just when the performance has been created. I believe that the best way to create that openness is to invite people in. So this project has been all about just that. I think the value of theatre that actively engages the community is sometimes overlooked which is a great shame, I definitely wouldn’t be working in the arts if it weren’t for organisations like Old Vic New Voices and Theatre Royal Haymarket Youth Company.
Undeniably it’s a tricky business trying to create a show with material generated in some way by the community, but I’m thankful that we’ve been given the space to discover the challenges and gifts that it presents.
Have you faced any challenges in your position during this project?
There's something scary and risky in working on something devised. But also very exciting. You start with a blank page and a vague conception of where you’d like to end up. There are lots of points in making a devised show where you really crave answers, but I find a certain freedom in floating around in the abstract for a little longer than usual.
The creative risk taking is magical, sticking it out really allows you to find the best version of an idea, which is often only found after you’ve been on a metaphorical creative trip round the houses! This piece is a contrast to how many would consider most theatre to be made. I adore it because it’s a process that allows people to make the creative discoveries, not the text!
What have you enjoyed most about being an Associate at NST?
For me, having the space to get together to interrogate what's important about theatre and storytelling has been a fantastic way to build up a relationship over the course of a year. Forming a relationship slowly is great, but it’s rarely possible within a world of fast turnarounds and tight schedules, so it’s been a creative oasis.
It’s also been wonderful having the chance to explore the arts scene in the South a little more, being a part of producing theatre outside of the London bubble has been an invaluable experience.