Guillaume Pige, founder of Theatre Re and regular performer at South Hill Park, sits down and reminisces about his experiences as a performer, theatre-maker and the impact that South Hill Park had on his career.
Hi Guillaume, you were in Edinburgh this summer for the Fringe Festival; what were you performing?
The Nature of Forgetting. It is a powerful, explosive and joyous piece about what is left when memory is gone. Tom is 55, today. As he dresses for his party, tangled threads of disappearing memories spark him into life, unravelling as a tale of friendship, love and guilt.
What is it about Edinburgh that makes it so special?
I absolutely love the festival and the whole buzz around it. I also find it very healthy for the piece. It almost feels like a show and ultimately a team is never quite complete until it has gone through a run at the Edinburgh Fringe. On stage, this long run will allow us to really own the piece and also give us the confidence to keep playing with it and be bold. Off stage, we will be seeing lots and lots of shows and sharing life’s incredible moments.
How did your interest in theatre begin?
I first started doing magic when I was about 14 and then very rapidly joined the theatre classes offered by a theatre company in Lyon (France). It was every Wednesday and I had to travel for about 2 hours to get there, but I would not have missed it for the world. I loved everything about it: improvisation, ensemble work, scene studies… It was great (and a real shock) to discover that one could be at school without having to study maths or physics! Then, I went every Wednesday and Saturday and then every day… for the past 15 years!
When did you first fall in love with South Hill Park and what do enjoy most about South Hill Park?
I first discovered South Hill Park when we brought our piece The Gambler to the studio back in 2013. It ran for two days and the studio was packed! We have been coming back ever since. I absolutely love the park, and the theatre of course, and the bar…and the cinema, and the recital room and the dance studio and all the staff and the fantastic team of volunteers!
How important was South Hill Park to your early career development?
Instrumental! South Hill Park was the first venue to really believe in us and invest in our work. South Hill Park was the first to support us in the making of The Little Soldiers, Blind Man’s Song and The Nature of Forgetting. We would simply not be doing what we are doing now if SHP had not helped us get started. South Hill Park still plays a crucial role in the development of our work and in the development of Theatre Re as a resilient theatre company.
Tell me about your training route into the profession.
I trained in France but also in the US and Canada and then in the UK at Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and at the International School of Corporeal Mime with the last assistants of Etienne Decroux. I also worked and learned an enormous amount with Theatre Director Andrew Visnevski. All of these influences shaped the way I think about and make theatre today.
How did Theatre Re come about in the first place?
I founded Theatre Re in 2009, whilst still in training at the International School of Corporeal Mime in London. Originally the main purpose of the company was to be able to take gLoved to the Avignon Off Festival and Your Letter, At Last! to the Dublin Fringe Festival. Both shows went on to tour in the UK and France in 2010 and 2011.
Then I graduated at the end of 2010 and building on the success of these first two productions and with lots of time on my hands, I started to work full time for the company and Theatre Re became much more than just a vehicle for a production… Alex Judd, Katherine Graham and Malik Ibheis joined the team and here we are now!
What are the challenges of taking work to Edinburgh and how does it differ from touring?
The Nature of Forgetting was a big show and we had very little time to get in and get out every day. It is also challenging to not only perform the show but also make sure that we bring an audience to come and see it… I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it nonetheless.
So what next do you think for you?
We will start developing a new piece in the Autum which is very exciting! The Nature of Forgetting will also tour nationally and internationally in the 2018 and 2019.
I look forward to seeing you back at South Hill Park soon – what shows are you bringing to us and when? What can we expect?
We will be bringing The Nature of Forgetting at South Hill Park on Thu 3 May 2018!
N.B: Some text has been edited for clarity.