Yesterday I met up with Francis Alexander, the Artistic Director of The Chelsea Theatre, to discuss the InTRANSIT festival that is being run in conjunction with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
The festival runs throughout July, within the Royal Borough. And on 30th July, Chelsea Theatre will be putting on a free day of theatrical events and activities.
As we talked over breakfast at the King’s Road cafe Mona Lisa, a veritable local institution in itself (which I will write about soon), I asked Francis about his motivation to invite the artists involved in SACRED In Transit and his decision to take theatre out of the building and onto Chelsea’s streets.
But first, I asked …
Why is theatre important to you?
FA: Theatre helps to change you. It’s a safe place to have experiences and discover new ideas. And in the meantime, the experience provides growth.
At the Chelsea Theatre, we enjoy the idea of reinventing the form of theatre, which ties into the transformation of ideas that theatre is also about. That’s why we invite new artists to work with us. They have fresh ideas, which is what we’re looking for.
Tell me about the idea behind walking through Chelsea as a theatrical experience.
FA: We asked ourselves how walking could be an artistic practice. And then we thought about dance, which is similar when we consider movement. But walking isn’t about style or the visual of movement. It’s about what’s going on in our minds and the changing places around us.
A question then arises, where is the art actually happening? Is it within the minds of the participants or the artists who are leading the experience?
Why did you invite the artists involved to join the festival?
FA: When I discovered these artists, they shocked me. I realised that these artists weren’t weird. Their work wasn’t difficult and the people who like these artists weren’t a bit crazy. Seeing the work of these people is inspirational. You heal. You’re changed and inspired.
Have you any last thoughts you’d like to share?
FA: Good contemporary art speaks to everybody.
Francis did go into detail about what to expect on the day but given that the element of surprise is pertinent to the meaning of drama and theatricality, I think perhaps I’ll hold back. Sorry!
Along with the free theatrical events, there will also be an all day workshop with Manuel Vason (£30, from 10am to 6pm) and a tea dance in the afternoon (free). If you don’t know how to waltz or jive, now’s your time to learn. And where better to learn than on the King’s Road!
For Chelsea Theatre’s events on 30th July and to book tickets, click here.