Interview: Alyce Louise-Potter Talks CLASS

They’ve just been named in the Top 10 Most Anticipated Shows by Stage Door App. They are Spur of the Moment, the show is CLASS and the vision is to give a voice to the underrepresented. The show plays the Tristan Bates Theatre 29 July – 3 August 2019 (tickets here) so I caught up with Alyce Louise-Potter to talk all things CLASS…

Spur of the Moment are heading to the Camden Fringe To begin, tell me a little about the company and the name – when and how did Spur of the Moment come to be and what’s the vision?

Spur of the Moment was created in 2014 where I began my journey in creating verbatim theatre. The aim is to create theatre that gives a voice to the voiceless and to bridge the gap between audience and actor. Which I think we do very well due to the subjects that are chosen. 

What prompted you to begin working on CLASS?

After finishing a tour of A State of Mind I have always wanted to create a show about the working class and what social classes mean. I began interviewing many people and started exploring the subject with Kelsey Short and director Xander Mars. Kelsey and I both believe that the ‘working class’ are underrepresented in theatre or are represented in a different light. 

Your work is clearly quite politically charged. Is CLASS as much about educating as it is about providing work which engages and entertains? 

Yes. CLASS is politically charged as well as being engaging and entertaining due to the personalities of the people that were interviewed. They share how they have been brought up and how their career and accent can be judged by others. 

You’re interested in sharing stories which capture real issues in real terms, with unemployment and housing issues being specifically mentioned – is there an area which you feel needs vital attention more than others right now? Where should meaningful change begin?

The housing issue for me is very current and holds a lot of importance. The new ‘Help to buy’ Scheme is well underway but the properties which are being built are not to a standard that people are able to live in safely which has been reported in the media over the past year. 

What draws you to verbatim theatre over other forms? Do you feel it carries more merit than conjuring fictional characters based on real people?

Verbatim theatre is special; I was introduced to the genre by a pioneer in my eyes called Philip Osment. He taught me that the beauty in verbatim is truth. You cannot take the truth away from anyone in any given situation or subject shared. I do feel it carries more merit as the audience is able to relate to the interviews shared on stage knowing that they are real people’s stories and if the subject is emotive the audience commend the interviewee for sharing their experience. Which then I feel bridges the gap between audience and actor as we all have or know someone who may be able to relate to the subjects I have chosen to share on stage. 

For you, just how intertwined are ideas about class and our sense of identity? How much of an impact does class prejudice have on the psyche and sense of self?

A lot, people who have been interviewed are proud of their upbringing and what they have achieved but have definitely felt in their life, a moment of prejudice. If you have an accent that can be stereotyped to causing trouble or being uneducated how is that going to make you feel if you are neither of those things? Which is why CLASS has been created to prove that people who may be working class or stereotyped as being working class doesn’t make them any lesser of a person. 

What does it mean to you to bring your show to the Camden Fringe?

It means so much! To be at the Tristan Bates theatre for the Camden Fringe is such an achievement for CLASS. Sharing these stories from people who are not usually heard in theatre is making the right moves in the right direction to make change. 

If audiences take just one thing away from seeing CLASS, what would you like that to be?

That social class can only hinder you if you allow it to. 

And finally, to close – in one sentence only, why should people come to see CLASS?

You will laugh and hear stories from the best trades men and women from South London! 

And now for the quick-fire round of general theatre related questions…

Who or what has inspired you most in theatre?

Philip Osment.

Favourite theatre genre and why?

Verbatim theatre because it’s true and not written for a purpose to shock due to fictional characters – it’s just truth!! 

If you could bring change in terms of opportunities in theatre right now, what would it be?

More opportunities for working class people who actually are working class!! Grants and funding which are for people who need the support and guidance.

So there you have it! Remember, CLASS plays the Tristan Bates Theatre 29 July – 3 August 2019 and you can find tickets here.

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