Artistic Director Dave Spencer answers 3 questions for me and what follows are his answers in his own words.
1) I understand this is a new take on the Sweeney Todd story where did it come from and how has it come to be in production?
This original take of the classic Sweeney Todd story, which has had so many incarnations in the past, originally sprang out of our desire to perform innovative pieces of theatre in interesting locations, whilst studying at university.
I had received an offer from the Managing Director of Durham Indoor Markets, Colin Wilkes, who was fully on board with the idea that we could use the Indoor Market as a venue for a run of promenade performances. He took me around this beautiful, wrought iron, Victorian covered market and, thankfully, I was hit upon by the idea of performing a new take of Sweeney Todd in it. This was in June 2012. I was just about to go up to the Edinburgh Fringe for work and so began writing it in earnest, recruiting our composer, Jo Turner, who I had worked with on previous Another Soup productions.
These two sell-out runs were such a success that we decided to invest more time and energy in them and, in 2014, we took the show up to the Edinburgh Fringe with another new Victorian musical based on The Picture of Dorian Gray, which were both performed as immersive pieces in a conference suite in the Radisson Hotel.
Again, we had such success with these two shows that we decided to bring Dorian Gray to the King’s Head Theatre. Thankfully, we had such wonderful audiences and responses and Adam Spreadbury-Maher invited us back later in the year to perform the other half of the Edinburgh duo.
After severe rewriting, we feel we have invested the story with far more gravitas, far more cheek, and many more twists. Fingers crossed our efforts have paid off.
2) I’m intrigued by the company’s name Another Soup where did that come from?
This is kind of a big secret that is widely known in and out of the Another Soup clan. Basically, when we were founding the company back at Durham University, we dodged around a lot of different names, adding a ‘Productions’ here or a ‘Theatre Company’ there. We did not settle on any. It was simply that none stuck out to us. However, one night, when we were having a bottle of wine, or more likely a bottle of gin, we were watching a selection of Victoria Wood sketches, and this name became our moniker. I’m not going to tell you specifically which sketch, as I think a trawl through the Victoria Wood sections of YouTube would do anyone good!
3) What’s next for Another Soup after this production?
We have several projects mapped out, for the next couple of years, in fact. I am particularly obsessed with Virginia Woolf and so I want to revive my working with her texts (we produced a version of The Waves back in 2012) and develop a brand new production of one of her works. Aside from that, I think it’s safe to say that Jo Turner and I will work together again almost immediately after this production has finished. I find our creative process so satisfying and fulfilling and we have a lot of ideas that we would like to get out into the open. Nothing too concrete, but what’s life without a little bit of mystery?