An Interview with Paul Brotherston
Hello Paul, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking:
Hi!! I’m from Kelso in the Scottish Borders originally but have been based in the west end of Glasgow for 3 years now.
When did you first realise you had a theatrical side
‘a theatrical side’ made me laugh. I wasn’t exposed to a lot of theatre growing up, but when I arrived at Edinburgh University I wanted to try something new so gave acting a go. I slowly found my feet in theatre and discovered directing. I enjoy collaborating with other people to tell a story.
Can you tell us about your company, Blood of the Young
We formed BOTY about three years ago with the idea of making a collaborative, ensemble company that trained together regularly and made inventive work that was formally playful and full of live music and, crucially, didn’t take itself too seriously. We’ve made a couple of shows together, Golden Arm Theatre Project which was a collaboration with the indie band Golden Arm and Secret Show 1 which was sort of anarchic reimagining of an undisclosed classic play. I’ve been heavily influenced by working with American company the TEAM, and with Scottish physical theatre ensemble Company of Wolves.
What is it about such multi-media presentations that makes you buzz
I like this question! I think I’m interested in the ‘liveness’ of theatre – which sounds like a pointless statement – but I think that working with live musical elements allows theatre to do something that TV and film can’t do. It’s something that makes a night at the theatre unique.
You are just about to put on Daphne Oram’s Wonderful World of Sound at the Tron, can you tell us about the play
Daphne Oram’s Wonderful World of Sound is about the life and work of electronic music pioneer Daphne Oram, who is perhaps most famous for founding the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. It’s a story about bravery, experimentation, artistic daring, and ultimately, about legacy and what we leave to future time. Daphne’s life is full of amazing episodes, and the whole story is accompanied by a full live electronic score by Anneke Kampman of former Scottish Album of the Year nominees Conquering Animal Sound. It’s a very visual, physical piece of theatre as well as a fun piece of storytelling.
What is the difference between a composer & a sound artist
Well I think Anneke would answer this better than me! I guess that ultimately, a composer evokes images of someone sitting writing music privately to be performed by someone else or to accompany another piece of art. Anneke is a sound artist who is performing live and composing/improvising with our story as it unfolds. It is very live and absolutely integral. It sort of crosses multiple disciplines.
What emotional responses do you expect the Daphne Oram audience to experience
I hope the audience are able to reflect on the life of someone who pursued their vision with their whole being, and who sacrificed everything for her art. We have tried to make the piece a communion of two women across the ages – Anneke and Daphne – and tried to talk about the nature of music, inspiration and artistic legacy. We have also worked hard to create playful, fun images of the BBC in all it’s kitsch, bureaucratic glory. Terry Gilliam’s Brazil has been a big influence!
What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Paul Brotherston
Kind of you to ask! After our tour of Daphne I will be collaborating with Graham Eatough on a new show (we last worked together on Lanark: A Life in 3 Acts at the Citizens Theatre), as well as joining up with New York ensemble the TEAM to further develop the show I made with them last year, Anything That Gives Off Light.