Bespectacled Theatre Company is the brainchild of Drama graduates Franki Le-Voguer and Matthew Plummer, who have been working hard to make their dream into a reality. Since graduating in 2016 and 2014 respectively, the Yorkshire natives have launched one of Liverpool’s creepiest productions - Liverpool Unearthed.
We caught up with Franki and Matthew to find out more about their new venture and plans for the future.
Did your course inspire you to set up the theatre company?
Franki: “I remember saying at my interview that I wanted to start a theatre company, so I had my sights on starting one before I even went to uni! However, the course helped me to refine the dedication and hard work needed to keep up a theatre company, for sure.”
What advice did you get from your tutors?
Matthew: “We’ve stayed in contact with several tutors since graduation, and Professor Simon Piasecki and Dr Kris Darby have been particularly supportive during this project. Simon was very interested and, along with Dr Niamh Malone, organised for some current students to come and see our recent performance. Kris gave us plenty of things to further explore and develop, such as his hugely interesting work on theatre and technology. He then organised for us to speak to one of his classes about our project and explain how it intersected with their current assignment, which felt very surreal for us, but was a great experience!”
What do you hope to achieve through the theatre company?
Franki: “We hope to create a platform for young/emerging artists to explore new work that looks at the world differently and splinters reality a little. Our tagline is 'Seeing things differently’ - this goes for all aspects of our work. We are constantly asking ourselves what we can be doing to surprise and excite both our casts and our audiences. For example, Liverpool Unearthed took place in an abandoned police station, which was a new experience for us and for the actors we worked with, it was a unique training ground. Eventually, we hope to collaborate with various other companies and individuals to help develop the city's theatre scene into a working hub of creativity."
How does it feel to make your dream into reality?
Franki: “Tiring! It’s a lot of hard work, but it's worth it when you're in a rehearsal room and something just clicks. There's an absolute joy in seeing actors progress, and to feel a show start to come together. It can sometimes feel like a huge uphill battle, but it's always worth it for the view afterwards.”
How are you hoping to develop the company as it becomes established?
Matthew: “We’ve just finished our first performance in the Liverpool Unearthed series, which gives audiences a peek inside hidden buildings that are full of history. We wanted to approach this in an exciting way, using ghost stories and elements of horror theatre. This will be our autumn project each year for the foreseeable future, as we've enjoyed it so much! Each spring/summer we would like to produce some original work by new and emerging writers in the city. We would like to create a collaborative relationship with other organisations in the city, and continue to develop the financial viability of our projects.”
What advice would you give to Hope students who are considering a similar career path?
Franki: “Just go out and do it. We know so many people who talked the talk, but didn't walk the walk when it came to making work, and it's a shame to lose all of that talent because life got in the way. You can talk about it and think about it, but we learned most from just starting to create work. Don't be too proud to ask for help when you need it. Liverpool has a wealth of creative knowledge and someone will always know someone who will help you out if you ask. We made mistakes and learned from them early on, so that we can continue to develop and grow. Look for organisations that can provide you with support - we found Hope Street Ltd and their On The Verge Festival to be extremely informative and helpful with our development."