Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Theatre's Loss, Film's Gain

The Other Room: the First Five Years

A Chapter Closes, A New Chapter Begins , The Other Room , May-09-19
The Other Room: the First Five Years by A Chapter Closes, A New Chapter Begins Theatre is the art of fissure, division made actual through human presence. After twelve years of watching from afar I am inclined to the view that here is the problem. The Government of Wales, and its adherents, likes pageantry and heritage and goody-goody stuff for a reason. It is frightened of theatre. A pity. Because things are understood, as are we ourselves, by probing at division and tension. The Other Room arrived five years ago, detonated an explosive Sarah Kane script on stage and has never looked back.

Arts funding works. It works because it is made manifest in good, and sometimes great, works. But it could- because everything can- be better. It could be better if its gate-keepers scrutinised the tensions more than repurposing art for ends that are without purpose. It aspires to strategise the unstrategisable; creativity is stochastic, the random as embedded as the determined.

Kate Wasserberg did her time with distinction at Theatr Clywd. At Wrexham station two tracks lead south. One goes fast to the world's theatre capital and the other track leads, much less fast, to Cardiff. No-one in authority ever planned that a theatre director should cross from one platform to the other. In Cardiff she and a fellow spirit tramped the terrain in search of the place that was right. And no-one ever planned that there might be a good actor, with a feeling there was more to a creative life than shooting lucrative lager commercials in sunny, far-off countries.

Theatre is collaboration and the mix just worked; Porter and Wasserberg, one with the vision, one with the space and the beer. But vision can only go so far. Vito Corleone needed his Tom Hagen, Tony Stark his Pepper Potts. Vision needs its complement, the person who does the detail, the hazard, the unpredictable, the grind, the meetings, the ruffled feelings, the funding applications, the filings, the corporate returns, the lobbyists, the distracters, the software crashes, the contracts, the compliance, the get-outs and the get-ins, the despair and the good times.

In short a company needs the person who does the whole lot, of which we in the audience are blissfully unaware. And the Other Room got that talent, the rainbow of skills that makes the whole thing work, brilliantly. Five years is a good scale of time to do something and to seek a new challenge. So it is, announced in Broadway World.

“Today, Cardiff's pub theatre The Other Room has announced that its Executive Director Bizzy Day will be stepping down from the company having taken on the role of Production Executive with Ffilm Cymru.

“Bizzy co-founded The Other Room in 2014 with Kate Wasserberg, and in her tenure has overseen: the transformation of the Porter's' cinema room into a purpose-built theatre; four seasons of The Other Room's produced work; five years of Young Artists Festivals; multiple successful co-productions with companies including Theatre 503, Theatr Clywd and Gagglebabble; the launch of the theatre's female writers award, the Violet Burns Playwright Award; and the advent of the theatre's development scheme, the Professional Pathways Programme.

“Bizzy leaves the company at the end of May having recently secured funding from Arts Council Wales, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation for the future of The Other Room and its upcoming Autumn 2019 season, details of which are due to be released later this month.”

Bizzy Day at Broadway World

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Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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