Interview: Damien Hughes

Damien Hughes recently appeared in ‘Five Guys Chillin’ at The Kings Head Theatre, London. This week he is returning to the stage in The Arcola Queer Collective’s Production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, I caught up with him this week to find out a little about the show.

1. How did you get involved with the Arcola Queer Collective?
I’ve been with the Arcola theatre for a while now, since I moved down I started working in the bar and as an usher and since leaving pop in most days. Personally I was interested in exploring my own queer self and modern queer culture, so had shown interest. When back in Glasgow I got a call from the director, Nick, asking if I wanted to jump in [to Midsummer Night’s Dream] as Puck, as the original couldn’t do the show anymore. I jumped at the chance and found myself in he rehearsal room the following day with a week to go to opening night.

2. What’s the best thing about being a part of it?
The best part of being part of Arcola Queer Collective is the people I’ve met from so many different backgrounds and bringing with them such diverse opinions and ways of thinking. We’ve all learned a lot from each other.

3. As you’ve mentioned, you’re playing Puck, and at the last minute! How have rehearsals been?
The rehearsals have been so much fun. It’s rare you get a second chance so we’ve all warmed into it very quickly and have been letting things happen that we maybe didn’t have the bravery for last time. Also the warmth, humour and compassion in the room is amazing.

4. What’s been the most challenging thing?
The most challenging thing has been the usual winter sicknesses plaguing the cast and crew. We have had to be piecemeal in our rehearsal schedule at times though there has been a lot of unplanned comedy from people having to read in.

5. And what’s been the best thing?
The best thing has been seeing the cast and crew again and the amazing discussions we have between scenes. A lot of laughter in the rehearsal room!

6. How is this production unique?
There’s a uniqueness in this production that the queerness brings. A real “fuck it” attitude. Anything goes! To my mind it brings it back to the controlled chaos of theatre in Shakespeare’s time. It was for the people. It’s meant to be fun and anything could happen. If you’ve seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream then I suggest you watch this one to see a theatre that has truly captured the spirit of the play.

7. Can you sum it up in six words?
Queer chaotic hilarity ensues, so enjoy.

8. What kind of night can we expect to have?
If you come to see the show your going to have such a fun night. Leave your assumptions at the door grab a drink and follow some fairies into another world.

9. Where can we book tickets?
The Arcola website:
There’s also an app called outsavvy that will be releasing some tickets. Or feel free to pop into Arcola if you’re in Dalston and chat to the box office.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs at The Arcola (London) until the 19th Dec 2016.

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