by Georgina Baker
(De Montfort University student)
An artistic director has spoken about the importance of getting people involved in local theatre.
Gary Phillpott, from Off The Fence Theatre Company, who are based at Upstairs at the Western, Leicester’s only pub theatre, is currently preparing two plays about the First World War.
Mr Phillpott, a former post-graduate student from De Montfort University, set up the company in 2010 in a bid to bring more plays and playwrights to the city, as well as trying to get Leicester on the theatre map. He said: “It is fundamental to be involved in theatre.”
With both local and London-based connections, he added: “It is really the Curve and us, we have a real close tie with the Curve theatre and it is getting closer all the time. It is important to get Leicester and its people involved.”
The company is currently rehearsing for ‘Clamber up the Crucifix’ which will run on Monday, March 3 and Wednesday, March 5, and ‘England Expects’ which will be performed on Tuesday, March 4 and Thursday, March 6.
The local company has showcased 29 plays in the Midlands and toured 68 in and around Leicester, showing that theatre is still a popular form of entertainment and doesn’t have to be found in the traditional places.
Their original venue wasn’t as intimate as upstairs at the Western pub, as the company’s first 15 minute productions were staged at Leicester Market.
Mr Phillpott explained: “It is the only medium that allows you the opportunity to think for yourself and draw your own conclusions.”