Spotlight on The Arches

  • Student Guide
  • 10 September 2007
The Arches

Jackie Wylie graduated from Glasgow University in 2001. She worked extensively in film and television as a freelance location manager, and is currently arts programmer at the Arches in Glasgow

"We run two festivals of theatre a year. Arches Live! in September tends to feature younger, more emergent theatre makers. I like mixing experimental, obscure works with accessible, sexier pieces: this year Adrian Howells and Lonetwin are presenting new shows, and a performer called Ben Faulks is going to create a soundscape by bouncing on a trampoline.

The Arches Theatre Festival is in April; that's usually composed of bigger, often international touring companies. We've had The Riot Group over from New York, Daniel Kitson, and [legendary Russian physical theatre group] Derevo gave us the European premiere of their show Ketzal.

I love the atmosphere in the venue during the festivals – our basement rooms are full of young companies rehearsing, there's usually some sort of cabaret on, people running in and out of shows, and you get artists and clubbers mingling in the bar. There's always something – or someone – to look at, and a kind of electricity about the place.

'The theatre programme at the Arches is about taking risks, and giving young performers a place to experiment. As well as Arches Live!, we run Scratch nights – informal evenings where four or five companies are given ten minutes to try out new ideas in the studio theatre. We encourage any big name visiting companies to get involved, too – The Riot Group have done a couple of Scratch Nights when they've visited, just mingled in with the student companies. Sometimes people get naked – onstage. Only onstage. Afterwards, everyone hangs out in the bar for a drink, and the performers get feedback from the audience – we've been doing them for about two years now and some of those ten minute Scratches have become full length pieces performed with us or at bigger venues, which we're really proud of.

'I actually started out performing at the Arches when I was a student – we just marched up to the artistic director, Andy Arnold, and asked him to read our script. It's not possible to do that any more as we do get a lot of requests; but we're always open to new work and young companies – I'd encourage people to come along to a Scratch Night orto Arches Live! (we do very cheap student tickets), soak up the atmosphere, and then get inspired.'

Arches Live! runs from 18–Sat 29 Sep. www.thearches.co.uk

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