An Interview with Fiona Miller
Hello Fiona, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Based in Glasgow, but we work all over Scotland and beyond when possible!
When did you first find yourself getting into the dramatic arts?
From as long as I can remember. I used to watch Ethel Merman films and imagine myself in a flowery swing cap beaming at the camera
What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
It has to make you feel something. I’d rather feel angry watching something than bored. Short is good too!
What is it about being an artistic director that makes you tick?
I mostly get to make bits of theatre that interest me. I like developing a way of working with other artists, sometimes over a long period of time. I also like the freedom to see a performance or someone work that I like and can find ways to collaborate with them.
What does Fiona Miller like to do when she’s not being theatrical?
My favourite pass time is going to different countries when I can. It freshens my senses. This year I have been to Japan, Spain, Romania and Italy. I have to say this is not a typical year for me.
You have been part of the Scottish Theatre scene for three decades now. How has the scene evolved in that time, including the development of trends you may have noticed?
When I started out there was hardly any youth theatre in Scotland. So, I was involved in that first big movement to develop Youth Theatre as a new theatre form and make it accessible to all the young people who wanted to take part. I feel that I am now part of a new trend, an Older People’s Theatre movement across the country! There has been a big shift in attitudes to theatre created by professional and non- professional performers over the last 30 years. There is more recognition that the quality of performance can be the same, the content and styles may be different. But I don’t think we are quite there yet. A lot of people still feel theatre is not for them.
You are a member of Tricky Hat, can you tell us about the company?
I’m Artistic Director of Tricky Hat. I co -founded the company 12 years ago. We create new theatre. We currently have a schools tour going to every 16 year old in Dundee at the moment. Our other main focus is making theatre with and about older people. All our work is collaborative, we work with big organisations like See Me Scotland to create dramas that challenge perceptions to community based organisations who support older, more frail and isolated people. Plus artistic partners like CCA, Cumbernauld Theatre, The Catstrand. We create live performance, digital installations, on line films and Forum Theatre based interventions.
What are the secrets to a good workshop with your fledgling actors/actresses?
Enabling people to discover that they are creative, that they do have a voice and that they feel safe enough to try new things. But most importantly a good laugh.
You will be bringing The Flames to the CCA in Glasgow next month, can you tell us about the play?
We have started devising it now. We have 24 Flames in this performance, more than double the last time. We prefer to call them performance events! We work together for 5 days then rehearse for one day, then perform to an audience. All the content of the show comes from the Flames lives, ideas or imaginations. Together with a director, a digital artist, a musician and a choreographer we decide the best medium to tell each of the stories. We don’t really know what the show will look like until the dress rehearsal. We are exploring choices, decisions, reasons to stay, and reasons to go.
What emotive responses do you expect from your audience?
Not to be bored! Being moved in anyway at all will do for me.
What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Fiona Miller & Tricky Hat?
After this next Flames Performance on 4th October, the rest of the year will be focused on planning the next round of Flames events in association with the CCA. We also want to offer different experiences to the Flames community (once a Flame, always a Flame). We are working toward a collaborate with a Japanese artist and some older people in Japan ( Japan is leading the way in the world with its aging population) and the Flames. I think the cultural exchange would be fascinating. I also want to do a project called £10 Ticket based on the migration of people from Scotland in the 50’s 60’s to New Zealand & Canada. What are the parallels between then and migration now? I’d love to create a multi media performance of this on a railway platform.
You can See THE FLAMES @ Glasgow’s CCA, October 4th, 2017