Ill-Advised Theatre Company – it’s a good name for a ballsy start up with ambitious plans to shake up the musical theatre scene in Dublin. By their own words the company want to ‘bring high quality and professional musical theatre standards to the Dublin stage at an affordable price.’ As founding member Andy Carberry explains, ‘when it comes to musical theatre there’s the likes of Bord Gais and the bigger companies in Dublin and then there’s just very small amateur companies, but there’s nothing in between that.’ His fellow founding member Adam Tyrrell adds ‘Rough Magic have started doing some great work so ideally we’d like to sit alongside their work in the arts scene.’
I meet with both Adam and Andy to discuss getting their first show [title of show] off the ground. Two of the five company members, Tyrrell and Carberry come across as very passionate about what they do, however starting up your theatre company takes balls and for all their fascination with what some might describe as jig-acting on stage, these guys have them. A start up arts company will get no funding from the government until it proves itself and very few businesses will sponsor an arts group with no name for itself. Having passion, talent and knowledge just isn’t enough. Scraping together pennies from family, savings and an energetic fund-it campaign, the company have managed to set themselves up to run a few dates in the New Theatre next month.
It does seem unfair that, as Tyrrell explains, ‘the Abbey gets €7 million a year from the government but they’re the ones selling loads of tickets, the Gate get €1 million.’ Surely these are the most commercially viable arts institutions in the country so shouldn’t need massive amounts of funding. On the other end of this scale, you have two young and talented guys with big dreams but asking for just €3,000 to put on a show that the city has maybe never seen staged. With no experience under their belt, they get no funding. But who’s to say how to get around that road block without opening up arts funding to every actor with big dreams who rocks up with a script in hand, and who’s the say the Abbey and Gate could survive without that funding. The way Carberry looks at it ‘I’d rather more funding went to hospitals, carers and those less well off than the arts to be honest’. What a good guy.
Back to the task at hand, [title of show] is, Carberry enthuses ‘so reflective of where our lives are at right now. It’s all about struggling actors trying to find their way’. A unique musical piece, the show documents its own creation in a wonderfully postmodern series of ‘meta moments’. Tyrrell describes the play as a ‘real actor’s play’ but insists there’s something for everyone, with heaps of humour and the promise of an entertaining night out.
There’s still some work to be done, mostly drumming up a bit more awareness of the show and of course, squeezing in some rehearsals in space kindly provided free of charge to them by Tallaght Leisure Centre. The guys have some nice marketing ideas to bring them through the new couple of weeks and hopefully a busy two-week run in the New Theatre.
You can catch [title of show] between August 11 and 23, and tickets will be available to purchase very soon on the New Theatre website – just €15 for adults and €12 for students/OAPs – see, they are making musical theatre affordable! And you can find out more about Ill-Advised on their Facebook page.