Rebecca Jones

We interview Rebecca Jones, writer, actor and all round good egg about her new venture in new writing venue ‘Slam’
How did Slam come about ?

My business partner and pal Gavin found the space through Only Connect (which is a Creative Criminal Justice charity), fell in love with it but didn’t quite no how to fill it, and that’s when I came on board. With the idea to make it an accessible platform for a whole host of creative disciplines, get stuck into and get their work off the ground

You write, when did you realise you loved writing and wanted to write plays ?

At the risk of sounding a little bit wishy washy, I’ve always written, since I physically could, my Mum has journals of mine in her place since I was 5 or 6. I always love writing and acting so the natural thing to do was to write things I could act in. I wrote, with a group of mates, a play for Edinburgh when I was about 15, and just kept trucking from there. 

What do you love about new writing ?

Precisely that, that it’s new. Theatre, especially needs to reflect the times, reflect society, the broken bits, the wonderful bits, the unseen, unheard important bits. At the moment, audiences are largely made up of the middle-aged middle class, I’d love to see more of a balance. The audience is reflective of what, proportionally, is on. I love a bit of Chekhov, an evening of Shakespeare is a wonderful thing. I think that it is incredible that writing can transcend generations and still be attributed to the individual. BUT new writing can do it differently, new writing is what has a chance to do it afresh, to tap the now with now and make it intriguing and exciting.

What excites you about theatre especially ?

The live-ness of it. The jeopardy of it happening right before your eyes. The experience of it being touchable, smell-able and even believable even though all the seams and holes are visible. I think it’s the best thing in the world; that you can make a whole room of people believe, go on the adventure of a story, have their heart drop, their goose pimples raised and their shoulders shake with laughter by something that never pretends to be real but that is right there in front of them and belongs to them. 

Did you grow up in a art sensitive family and surroundings? How do you feel arts is important in schools, bearing in the mind the cuts made by the government..

I did yes. My Mum is the most creative person I’ve ever met in my life, she has an events floristry company, which meant that I was fully aware that creativity isn’t all flounce and clouds, but it’s bloody hard graft, from the moment I popped out of the womb.  My feelings towards arts in schools is pretty identical to how I feel about arts throughout society, really. On a general level, arts in schools and society are integral to cultivate culture. Arts are vital in forging connections with people, all people. Art stands up and says ‘I think this… If you do, join the club. If you don’t, that’s cool, there’s some different art over there’. For that reason, arts are necessarily not rigid, unbound and dependent on freedom of expression. In school arts are squished to fit into a curriculum which, in many ways, defeats their purpose. In life arts are similarly suppressed by cuts. On a personal level, and the level I most intend to pursue, is the therapeutic aspects of arts, both from the perspective of the creator and the viewer/audience. I, hand on heart, probably wouldn’t have survived school if I hadn’t been able to pretend to be someone else for a few hours in drama. Or write it out in English. That’s from a standpoint of mental health, but it acts and outlet and a success for so many varying groups of people, people trying to get through something. My sister (and many other), for example, is severely dyslexic, but worked her bum off and well and truly excelled in art, finding an outlet within it. The arts are vital for society to stay sane. So the cuts can stick it.
What’s you next year at Slam look like, any special events?

Oh blimey, there’s plenty. I’m going to make it the best possible place to find new writers. There will be an educational strand coming to, where we’ll do creative workshops … script writing, acting, spoken word, comedy etc … so that other people can get something from the brain mush outlet they can be, or just because they enjoy it. These will work on a pay what you can basis. So if you can afford to you pay full whack for the course, but this, in turn, will mean that it is open for free to anyone less privileged.

If someone wants to bring a show to Slam, tell our readers the awesome deal you provide ! The first part of the deal is … it has to be good, and the creators have to be ready and raring to graft. Freeloaders not included. Then … we offer the performance space including 8 hours free rehearsal, our tech on the night of the performance for no upfront charge and just 50% of the box office. Within that, I’ll be there to help with anything … rewrites, reading, casting, marketing, admin stuffs, bits of producing, whatever, if needed. Only if you’re not scrimping, and working at it too: team work makes the dream work.

This is a great venue which needs to be packed out every night, who ever you are get there and see the hype.

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