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The Flames set to reignite

The Flames, photo: Colin Hattersley

The Flames are a Glasgow-based theatre company, created by Tricky Hat Productions, offering people over 50 the opportunity to perform professionally.

With less than a month until they open their new piece at the CCA in Glasgow on Wednesday 19 April, Fiona Miller, Artistic Director of Tricky Hat, talks about The Flames and directing their upcoming show.

Why was it important for you to create a theatre company for people over 50?

As a company, Tricky Hat Productions engages with people who live on the margins of society, who are often hard to reach. Most people we work with don't know that they want to perform yet, but we offer them the opportunity to immerse themselves within the performance scene.

We give people the space to experiment with their creativity, growing their confidence and skill set before developing work.

We wanted to open up opportunities for people over the age of 50, regardless of their creative experience. As someone who is over 50, I couldn't see a platform that offered me the chance to grow and so Angela Hogg, The Flames’ Producer, and I wanted to change that.

The Flames, photo: Colin Hattersley

How does The Flames develop the creativity of people over 50?

Firstly, we offer those who are part of The Flames the chance to work with excellent artists – like many youth theatres do. As a creative team, I'm joined by Musical Composer Mick Slaven and Audio Visual Designer Kim Beveridge. Each of us host sessions with The Flames, using our skills to focus on different areas.

The company take part in a series of workshops with us; 5 Guerilla Sessions that focus on devising pieces, before a performance. The sessions are energetic, quick and punchy, and we've found people respond really well to this model.

The Flames, photo: Colin Hattersley

What are the challenges of working with people who may not have performed professionally before?

Tricky Hat is a professional company and The Flames present themselves and their work in this way too.

Creating any piece of work can be a challenge but it is surprising too, especially when you get to see the development and opening of a live performance or digital installation.

The Flames, photo: Colin Hattersley

What is your favourite thing about directing?

As a director, it is rewarding to see performers surprise themselves with what they do or create.

I enjoy developing work so that it seems easy and seamless to an audience member. The great thing about performance though is that an audience member can also add to a show – everything is forever evolving, and never static.

The Flames, photo: Colin Hattersley

This will be The Flames second-coming, having performed at the CCA last year. What can audiences expect to be different?

Whilst there are a few performers from the first Flames event, most of the people involved are new to the company; adding dynamism to the group.

We have also invited new artists into the devising sessions so they will bring new ideas to the table too.

While the format may be similar, combining mixed media through performance, live music and visual projections, The Flames create quite unexpected work so I foresee the content to be riskier this time around. It’s exciting, but we will have to wait and see.

Image credits: Colin Hattersley

See The Flames showcase their new work at 3.00pm or 7.00pm on Wednesday 19 April at the CCA in Glasgow. Find out more about the event, and purchase tickets.

The Flames is supported by Creative Scotland, as well as Glasgow Life and the CCA. Tricky Hat Productions is supported by Lloyds TSB Foundation for Schools and The Robertson Trust.

Find out more about Tricky Hat.

This article was published on 30 Mar 2017