Hi Nick & Sam, thanks for talking to tNC, how's everything going?
N: Hey, good to be talking to you again!
S: Hello, it's going great thanks.
What does it mean for you to be bringing From the Gut's debut production to Katzspace in London?
N: We are very excited. Katzpace is an intimate, black-box theatre which makes it a brilliant venue for truthful, engaging stories. We love the space and have worked closely with Bebe, the Artistic Director, on a number of projects, so it feels like an excellent place to debut ‘ISTANBUL’.
Are nerves setting in?
S: This is our first time devising a show as a company and it's a completely new way of making theatre for us, which is slightly nerve-racking, but mostly exciting as the process so far has been brilliant!
How did From the Gut Theatre come about?
S: Honestly - the two of us were with Nathan at a pub on the river not long after graduating LAMDA, and we were having a good moan about difficulty of finding fulfilling acting work. After a few pints, we got chatting about making our own work and the whole thing just sort of grew from there.
N: The name came from an old acting teacher of ours, who would lament loudly that the acting was not coming From the Gut.
What do you hope to be able to achieve and create with your new theatre company?
N: Our aim is different and more specific now than it was a year ago, and I guess will be different again in another year but at that heart of it we want to tell extraordinary stories for and about people that are not always represented by theatre. We want people to leave the theatre talking and debating, rather than nodding and saying 'Well that was quite enjoyable', hopefully that comes from doing work 'from the gut'.
Does creating your own theatre company provide any additional pressure or apprehensions for you as a theatre maker?
N: Yes and no, I notice myself playing a completely different role when I'm 'just acting’ and when working with the company.
S: The ability to pick and choose what work you do and with who is a hugely fulfilling feeling, which massively offsets any extra pressure.
Your debut production Istanbul: You'll Never Walk Alone will open in February, can you tell me a little bit about this production?
S: ‘Istanbul' is about football and its relationships with the fans. Set around the Champions League final in 2005 against Liverpool FC and AC Milan, which at the heart of it is the ultimate underdog story! Our play shows the game being watched through the eyes of three different sets of fans in very different locations - each with their own attachment to the club and their own reasons for willing their team on.
It explores fandom and how a single game can prove to be literally the best moment in a fan’s life. We have waded through mountains of fan accounts and testimonies of the game and it’s incredible how many people describe it as the best moment of their lives - more so than the birth of their children!
How did it come about?
N: Well, I’m an avid Liverpool FC fan and when they win, I’m in a good mood and if we lose I'm in a bad mood. I find it really fascinating that eleven people that I’ve never met can have such a profound effect on my life. The game in Istanbul provides an amazing backdrop to explore why that is.
What is it about Istanbul: You'll Never Walk Alone that will connect with audiences?
S: The fact that this story is complete underdog tale, we want to show the audience the true heart of football and what it means to those people who devote themselves totally to their team. Football is like religion to many people and, hopefully, we can give the audience a slice of what that feels like.
What have been the biggest challenges you've faced so far bringing this to life?
N: Liverpool FC has such a long, rich history and the match had so much drama in it, it’s been tough to condense it all into 60 minutes!
How much has your approach to theatre changed since you started?
S: It hasn't really but working with this cast, the play has taken a completely different form than it would have if it was just me and Nick working together. It’s been really exciting.
What has been the best advice you've been given?
N: When we were first starting out as a company, we had a great chat with Henry Lewis of Mischief Theatre (and our old Improv Teacher!) who basically told us to 'just do it!’ Whenever we catch ourselves talking round in circles, remembering that advice always get us to do something.
For any actor still training what advice would you offer them?
S: Stay inquisitive and try everything, find out what makes you creatively excited. Members of our company regularly say that the best thing Drama School gave us was the opportunity to meet the people who we'd later want to work with.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your show?
N: 'Hope in their heart' - sorry not sorry!