Q&A with Rob Drummond

Award-winning playright Rob Drummond (Mr Write, Wrestling, Quiz Show, Bullet Catch) shares the initial thoughts behind the conception of his latest piece, The Riot of Spring – part of the wave of events sweeping the UK to celebrate 100 years of Stravinsky and Nijinsky’s game-changing, riot-inducing  first performance of The Rite of Spring.

Opening tonight at Glasgow Tramway, the past five weeks have been an intense time for the three performers in the show: Rob, a cellist and a dancer, all of whom will be trying out each other’s particular skill on stage in a show which questions our attitude towards the arts and the politics behind it, towards talent, towards the possibility of creating original art and towards the alarming state of our society today. If Stravinsky’s original composition is subtitled Scenes from Pagan Russia, Drummond’s is Scenes from Secular Britain.

For more on how the piece has progressed see the Arches website.

Where did the idea for your Auteurs Project work come from?

As part of the Auteurs development process I went to Saratoga to take part in the SITI company summer theatre intensive. I had never received any formal performance training which meant that I occasionally, and by that I of course mean constantly, felt insecure about this aspect of my work. Part of the course was studying the Rite of Spring and everything about it from the incredible music to the unorthodox choreography. The fact that the original performance caused a riot appealed hugely to me. The fact that the dates we had in mind for the Auteurs performances fit in so perfectly with the 100 year anniversary of the riot just meant that this became the show I had to do.

What has been the highlight of your development process?

Without doubt the summer intensive. We were trained in speech, movement, contemporary dance, Suzuki method (an extremely difficult technique where one delivers lines whilst performing a sort of martial art), Viewpoints (group improvisation) and dramaturgy. A lot of what we learned I was already using instinctively in my practice, I just didn’t necessarily know why or have a name for it. Viewpoints has informed the collaborative way we will be working on the Riot of Spring.

Rob Drummond by Rosemary Cunningham

What can audiences expect to see/experience?

I don’t know yet. That’s the fun of the way we’ll be working. The show will come together in the room with the musician and the dancer. I know there will be live music. I know there will be dance. I know it will be a riot.

Who would be your perfect theatrical collaborator dead or alive?

Nick Griffin. Dead.

Describe your piece in three words:

Rules Are For Wimps.

Rob Drummond performs The Riot Of Spring at Tramway, Glasgow on Fri 10th and Sat 11th May. Tickets are available from the Arches Box Office on 0141 565 1000 or online here.

Illustrations by Rosemary Cunningham – @illustrationetc

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