Our stars of the show… Well almost…

IIIIIt’s Showtime… Opening night tonight folks and we are very excited.  Rehearsals have been underway all day and we open tonight with three fabulous plays, Fit Piece by Helen Shay, Winter Light by Christine Foster and Voucher by Danke Throne.  But before we get in to the nitty gritty of the week and I hand over the reigns of blogging and social media to our lovely intern, Ben, I thought perhaps I should introduce you to him and our fabulous photographer, Caroline!

So, let’s start with you, Ben.  Tell us a bit about yourself.

Photo on 11-02-2015 at 17.43 #3I’m Benjamin Haynes. I’m 21 years old. Origins are from Cornwall (God’s country). I moved to Bedford, about three years ago, this September. I am currently studying English Studies at the University of Bedfordshire. I’m a published poet and I’m a sucker for good coffee and a chinwag.

I’m with you on the Cornwall front… after Bedford… obviously!  So you’re studying English at the University of Bedfordshire.  How’s that?

I am, it’s going swimmingly. Kind of surreal, I’m studying a course I’m passionate about and get to discover various kinds of literature.
I enjoy the discussions and the bouncing back of ideas, also the introduction of new texts. I I love that within discussions, you can hear the sounds of brains turning and people’s perceptions expanding. It’s real horror show.

Haha!  I know that feeling well!  Last year you submitted a piece for StageWrite.  Tell us what you got from that experience?

I did submit last year. The experience was great rapture, yet bone frightening at the same time. I mean, seeing something that fell from my brain, to paper, to stage is mind boggling.  The thought of a certain amount of people, watching something you’ve written and it’s making them think, or feel in a particular way is precious. I had positive feedback from the audience and it really helped me with the continuous fashioning of the play. I also, had the opportunity to see local writers have the opportunity to showcase their work, a real feel of community.
Brilliant… and the question to beat all questions… What do you want to do with your life?

What I want to do with my life? Travel is definitely first priority. I want to see the world, experience various cultures, whilst I don’t have any tie me down responsibilities. On my pilgrimages, I want to go to non speaking communities and hopefully teach them English, and see what comes from that. I think teaching will somehow fall into the bracket during a later stage. So the aim, so far is to write, travel and hope to get paid for my scribblings on the page.

Thanks Ben – And now to you, Caroline.  It’s such a privilege having a photographer with us this year so we are excited to know more about you and what you do.  So let’s start with you telling us a little bit about yourself?

carolineWell I come from Ireland, I’m the third in a family of four girls and I’ve just finished my four year degree in Photography. I’ve only recently emigrated to Bedford; with my course ending and nothing holding me in Ireland I figured now was the perfect time to try something new. I like to think I’ll get to keep traveling and live in a few more countries in the years to come but for now I’m really enjoying living here. I come from a really nice town in Wicklow called Bray which is right between the sea and the Wicklow mountains so it was always idyllic for shooting landscapes or just deciding to go for a bit of an adventure.
Wow – and what got you in to photography?
I was actually going through a really hard time about 6 years ago and I may have been borderline depressed. So when my parents bought me a cutsie little camera for my birthday, I began to use the camera as a form of catharsis. I’d photograph myself in my room or go out to the woods; I’d just disappear for hours just to see if I could somehow find myself within the very things I was photographing. And then it turned out that I was becoming quite good so I took a diploma course in photography before I went on to my degree. The funny thing is that all the ‘weird’ thoughts I’d always had but felt they hindered my conversations and made me too different, were actually the bones of highly complex critical visual theory which I learned in University. So I suppose you could say I was made to be a photographer.I’m something of a keen (read keen as crap) photographer myself.  I’m a massive fan of portrait photography and I love pictures of faces.  Tell us about your favourite photo that you’ve taken.
4A favourite photo of mine has to be one of my photos from
my El Duende series, which got me into the Mermaid Arts Open Exhibition and Competition 2013. It’s made from multiple images; the main surfing image taken in Donegal and the lightscape on the horizon was made in Killiney which is close to my hometown. The image was inspired solely by the feeling of enlightenment I feel when I look at a piece of art and find myself not thinking but feeling; and how the lights on the horizon represent a number of things; hope, promises, aspirations, dreams; all of which need to be realized, pursued and stepped into. I don’t really have a name for this particular image but I really love it and how I made it by complete chance but that the whole range of images in this particular collection have taken on a life of their own and I’m excited to see where the project will to go.
And what about your favourite photo taken by someone else.
1082022408There are countless images I could say are my favourites; I’m a diehard fan of masters of editing such as Jerry Uelsmann and Sam Taylor-Wood so any single piece of their work qualifies for discussion and appraisal. The image I’ve chosen though is from Sam Taylor-Wood’s Suspendedseries which is a collection of self-portraits she took to express her battle with cancer. In real life she’s suspended from a harness which is edited out, but the pain and discomfort of the harness depicts the unseen, painful presence of cancer in her body and the uncertainty she feels about being suspended between life and death. I think it’s a really beautiful and powerful image with an incredible back-story. I studied the series as part of my thesis last year so I think a part of me feels married to these images!
Thanks, Caroline.  If you want to see more of Caroline’s work check out her website here.  Don’t forget, make sure you get down to The Place tonight for our opening night at Bradgate Road, Bedford.