Rise Up: Thematic Theatre

Whilst still in drama school, Laura Shoebottom and Liam Ashmead formed the company Thematic Theatre to have more control over the work they are part of.

The pair say that:

there are more actors than there are acting jobs, so what better way to get more work than creating your own?

Thematic Theatre

Both Laura and Liam love writing and creating, so forming the company was a natural step for them to take.

The name Thematic Theatre was decided upon, as the pair hope that the company can focus on theatre that extends to a wide range of themes, and they hope to have a different theme for each project they do.

The focus at the moment for Thematic Theatre is mental health and raising awareness for it. It is a topic they both feel passionate about and they feel “it is something that needs to be explored and talked about.”

Their show Blue Tights, Red Knickers and an ‘S’ on Her Vest explored mental health when it played at The Bread and Roses Theatre in Clapham last July. The play was a one-woman show written by Laura Shoebottom, and not only was it well received, earning multiple four-star reviews, it also was successful in raising £310 for the charity Mind. The pair were keen to raise money for this mental health charity whilst producing the show, as that was what the show was raising awareness of.

The premise for Blue Tights, Red Knickers and an ‘S’ on Her Vest is centred around the main character feeling she has to be all things to all people, which eventually takes a serious toll on her health.

It was originally written as a dissertation piece which was only half-an hour long, but in its development, it has become an hour-long, but the development of this show doesn’t stop there!

In August, Thematic Theatre will be bringing Blue Tights, Red Knickers and an ‘S’ on her Vest to the Camden Fringe, where audiences will see even more growth from its debut performance in Clapham.

Blue Tights, Red Knickers and an ‘S’ on her Vest

The main changes (without spoilers) are the ending and the relationship between the main character and her best friend. The reason for these changes were that:

we wanted to redraft and explore how the story could end differently and we really feel like we’ve found an even stronger ending to the character’s story.

Thematic Theatre

Bringing this one-woman show to life, and raising the significant amount of money for charity, has certainly been Thematic Theatre’s highlight so far, but they hope to continue to grow bigger and better. With the Edinburgh Fringe in their sights, not only do they want to carry on writing about mental health, but also would love to work with other charities such as The Samaritans and raise money for them also.

Thematic Theatre are keen to thank their incredibly supportive and encouraging team, as well as The Bread and Roses theatre who were “such a lovely company” and “really made [them] feel welcome”.

Quick-Fire Questions

  • In the theatre world, who inspires you? “We both love Phoebe Waller Bridge”
  • What is your favourite show that you’ve seen? “Our favourite show has to be Broken Family a the Edinburgh Fringe”
  • What is your favourite genre of theatre? “We love a bit of everything, but a good comedy or thriller with lots of twists are our favourites”
  • What do you think we need more of in theatre? “We always want to hear more stories about mental health, but we also love abstract work and ideas that have an unconventional journey and layout”

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