May 26 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Artistic director of Arc Theatre, Carole Pluckrose, tells us about how her company has built a reputation not just locally but across the world.
I am the artistic director of Arc Theatre in Abbey Road, Barking.
I am married to playwright Clifford Oliver and we have two daughters, Phoebe 21, and Grace, 24. I started Arc with my husband in 1984 and the company moved to the borough in 1986.
I have worked in Barking and Dagenham for more than 25 years, starting out as a young actor wanting to set up a new theatre company.
Clifford and I knocked on lots of doors to find a space in which to create our theatre and storytelling company.
One finally opened at the Westbury Centre in Ripple Road, Barking, when a very generous English adviser, Bess Haire, said we could use a room in the centre.
This was a fantastic leg-up for two young and starting out actors who didn’t have a clue what they were getting themselves into.
The opportunity given to us led Arc to go to the Edinburgh Festival with a new play, Fallen by Polly Teale, which won a Fringe First.
This really got Arc on the map and was soon followed by a London run at the Drill Hall Theatre and then a schools tour locally.
We continued to work at the Westbury and in community halls until in 1993 we had a meeting with an arts officer in the largely empty Eastbury Manor House, Barking.
We moved in to the wonderful manor house, home to Arc until 2001. Our time there was fantastic.
We ran a variety of weekly drama workshops and workshops with more than 120 children aged five to 18 every week in the holidays.
Alongside our local community work, we were also developing our international reputation for new theatre writing, which has taken us to many countries over the past 25 years.
In 2008 we moved to the Malthouse Studios in Abbey Road. We have spaces where we perform professional theatre work. It hosts our community players, youth theatre and girls’ project
Arc also offers a training and foundation in the performing arts which has seen a number of local residents taking the necessary steps to get into the industry through performing professionally with us and other companies or going into TV and film.
Arc is our life’s work. It continues to be a home for new talent and fresh blood from which we learn so much.
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