Interview: Helen White

Helen White is currently working on a couple of projects with Spun Glass Theatre, this week LGBTQ Arts’ Amie Taylor caught up with her to find out more about STAMP – one of their projects coming to Clapham Omnibus as part of their LGBT+ Arts Festival.

AT: Tell us a little about you came to work in the arts and your current projects…

HW: I always did drama outside school – hated the stuff we had to do on the curriculum – and was lucky to be taught by two eccentric, and bizarrely opposite, siblings in two different drama classes. Both of them, though, focussed on comedy, and lots of impro. So I found my funny bone early on and love making people laugh. I did lots of comedy and music in uni, and skittered about afterwards teaching in various places, never getting embroiled in a permanent contract, and kept my eye out for opportunities.

So, my current projects – this and Magic Maverick’s Moonshine’s Entirely Necessary Adventure, a family show – are two things that had me galvanised from the off.

AT: What kind of projects are you interested in working on? And what kind of theatre are you interested in making?

HW: Work motivated to make broad or deep political change, but nothing that thinks it’s above humour: humour is the best. And a really powerful tool. Work that’s engaging and direct without being preachy. I find I want to use my body more and more because I think with it a lot.

AT: Tell us about STAMP…

HW: STAMP is a live gameshow where the audience come in, take a seat, and are split down the middle – arbitrarily, you could say – to create a men’s and a women’s team. The teams then engage in an all-time battle for supremacy by playing a bunch of fun rounds. The fight can get fierce.

AT: Who are you targeting?

HW: Anyone with any questions about what the fuck Spun Glass thinks they’re playing at, pitting women against men in the most regressive move since America decided that bigotry is a desirable leadership quality… and anyone who’s never given a second thought to the gender binary and how we construct and reinforce it every day. Ever noticed that a woman in her 40s will be offered a seat on the tube but not a guy in his 60s? Ever noticed that high heels are painful and people accept that as normal? No? Come to the show, it’s funny and I won’t lecture you or anything.

AT: What do you hope they’ll take away from watching?

HW: An invigorated perspective on how society treats individuals based on which box (‘M’ or ‘F’) they’ve had ticked. A glint in their eye. Some fond memories.

AT: Describe the show in 6 words…

HW: Gender Fuck Glitter Wait- Hilarious Truth

AT: What’s next for you?

HW: What STAMP does next is up to the oracle Jessica Cheetham. What I do next is up for debate, but Magic Maverick, my other company, is planning on devising for a new show sometime this Spring. If anyone needs a clown, musician, radio presenter, teacher, deviser or actor, call me.

Thank you Helen! STAMP is on at Omnibus on 9th and 10th Feb 2017.  Booking.

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