Interview: Jodi Burgess, SECRETS

“We all lie,” says Jodi Burgess, founder of Secret Hour Theatre, who bring their show SECRETS to the Lion and Unicorn on 8th August. “We all try and protect ourselves. We all have more than one persona. Each of the four short plays in SECRETS responds to this behaviour. They explore why we keep secrets, their consequences, and whether our lives would really be better for telling the truth. Perhaps keeping a secret is sometimes the best option.”

SECRETS will showcase four unique pieces of new writing by emerging writers. “The pieces, consisting of two monologues and two duologues, are interwoven to create a seamless performance,” explains Jodi. “Each piece will reveal an important secret; shedding light on how secrets can excite, damage, challenge, surprise and change lives.

“The stories include a challenging black comedy about gender and the sexualisation of the female body; a grisly tale motivated by love; an edgy comedy exploring the personal life of a politician; and a heart-warming journey of a daughter’s self-discovery and acceptance.

“We hope SECRETS will be relatable, challenging and surprising. It’s also a chance to see and support the work of talented and generous writers, directors and actors.”

The show’s four writers are Gregory Skulnick, Ben Francis, Megan Fellows and Alexis Boddy. “They all met the theme SECRETS with a particularly imaginative response and, most importantly, their work felt like it needed to be told,” says Jodi. “They also stood out for their distinctive voices and for taking risks in their work. The reveal of the secret is perfectly judged in all pieces, maintaining intrigue throughout.”

Jodi’s directing one of the four – Alexis Boddy’s Mote in Your Eye – as part of an all-female directing team. “Our directors were primarily chosen for their talented approach and for being well-matched to the piece,” she says. “However, we also recognise gender inequality in the arts and we’re proud to encourage and support female talent.”

SECRETS can be seen for one night only as part of the Camden Fringe 2017, and the company are proud and excited to be involved. “We’re particularly looking forward to seeing as many of this year’s shows as we can. The festival provides such a diverse and positive experience of performance in all its forms.”

Secret Hour Theatre initially started as a solitary idea. Jodi explains, “I wanted to create a company that brings writers, actors and directors together to put new voices on stage. So I leapt into making it happen. Since the initial idea, I have been lucky enough to find and collaborate with artists who have put their faith in the concept and believed in the show.

“Our aims are to make work that is new, unusual and brave. We are particularly interested in stories that are unexplored on stage and from underrepresented voices. New writing is responsive, unique and has limitless potential. It often reflects what we are experiencing now and, as these experiences are ephemeral both on and off stage, new work will never stop needing to be explored, performed and felt in new ways. Supporting this work can only encourage new writers to continue to create it.”

Book now for SECRETS at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre on 8th August, and keep up to date with Secret Hour Theatre on Twitter @secrethrtheatre.

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