Get It While It’s Hot is Sherman Theatre’s platform for emerging companies in South Wales. For the spring 2020 edition of Get It While It’s Hot the Sherman has welcomed Nova to the Studio with their show Winners. We caught up with Nova’s Artistic Director and writer of Winners Lowri Jenkins about their work to date, their experience of working at the Sherman and what lies ahead for the company.
What led you to create Nova?
Nova was a bit of an experiment in the beginning. I had written something and was looking for someone to collaborate with on the movement which is when I met Jennifer Fletcher who runs Nova with me. We had a great time trying to tell a very human story in a way that magnified the feeling of it, rather than just the narrative and tried all kinds of versions to achieve this (including one with no text and two brave local Spanish actors). We continued to work in that way with me writing/performing and Jen directing/movement...ing. But our roles have always been flexible so they don’t prevent us from trying new things/ways of presenting our ideas. We set out to identify all the strange little behavioural things that make us human and magnify them so we question ourselves. And that can look very different each time.
What kind of work do you make and who is it for?
We make work that allows us to laugh at ourselves as people and the way we treat each other, and that humour is a way in to the hard stuff that can reveal pain and trauma. It’s usually very physical and connects with the audience directly without asking them to participate.
I know we’re supposed to be very specific about who we make work for but we’d like it to be for everyone. It’s definitely very adult at the moment. The humour is very intricate. It’s for people who like to laugh at themselves as a species and individuals, but also want to have the rug pulled out from under them every now and then (and Rugby lovers!).
How have you found the experience of being part of Sherman Theatre’s Get It While It’s Hot platform?
We have been big fans of the Sherman for a long time so being offered the opportunity to perform for a week in such a fantastic studio space is definitely a highlight in our company’s journey. Get It While It’s Hot also feels tonally right for us. It’s that kind of end of day, relax, have some food and booze, laugh, maybe get a bit challenged but ultimately walk away feeling a warm glow. We like those vibes and they have a real connection to what we do as a company.
Sherman have been really supportive with giving us space to rehearse and feedback which is so useful when you’re making a performance in a short amount of time, outside of subsidy and when you’re still growing creatively. One of the greatest things about this offer is that you get 5 nights to perform which means you can build some word of mouth and hopefully create a little following for your work.
Could you briefly give a flavour of what audiences can expect from Winners and what you would like audiences to take away from the experience?
Winners is about a couple who love each other and rugby. It’s about our expectations of one another and when we don’t quite meet them. In lots of ways the characters are inspired by that fan-idol dynamic; and what happens if that’s part of a personal relationship – and if we push that to an extreme? It’s funny (at least we hope!) and charming and simple. We haven’t tried too hard to make it anything other than an analysis of a very normal relationship told through the theme of rugby… because we genuinely love rugby! We want audiences to have a good night out, to laugh, maybe cry (!) and relate to our story.
What’s next for Nova after Winners?
We look forward to hearing what people think of Winners and we’ll have some reflection time after the show, where we’ll plan the next steps. We also have another production in the making – it’s about Shirley, a landlady of a fading Welsh pub who dreams of being a weatherwoman amidst an unprecedented drought. We think Shirley has the potential to be both hilarious and urgent, offering a Welsh perspective on a global concern. Watch this space!
Lowri Jenkins, Nova’s Artistic Director