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Inspired by... Alumna Lizzie Cooper sets the stage for this summer's Play! Festival

Posted on 17/05/2013

This year’s Play! Festival promises to have something for everyone with a diverse programme of theatre, dance, music, comedy and creative writing at The Firestation, in Windsor, on Saturday 1 June.

As excitement builds with just three weeks to go, we caught up with Stage Manager and Royal Holloway alumna Lizzie Cooper to find out how rehearsals are going and what she finds inspiring about the theatre.

Who is your inspiration for your theatre work?

I got into drama thanks to the inspiring teachers I had at a young age. I was fortunate to have several at school and of course, it goes without saying, at university too! Working on shows, I find a lot of inspiration from the concepts of the directors, as they have a vision that they have personally asked you to help them create. I have a very hands-on and collaborative approach to shows, and would much rather work collectively on creating the world of a play, rather than separating myself from the rehearsal room or any other aspect of the production. Seeing people's drive for wanting to make a good show is the biggest inspiration for me and pushes me to do the best job I can.

What has been your favourite production to work on?

Difficult choice, but if I was pushed I'd have to say Royal Holloway’s Quad Production of Doctor Faustus in 2010. It was a huge production and my first credit as a Stage Manager. It was pivotal for me as it confirmed my interest in stage management and I learnt so much about working in a large production. I also won a Royal Holloway OSCAR for my work on the show, so I must have done something right!

How did you end up at the Edinburgh Fringe?

I’ve been lucky enough to go to the Edinburgh Fringe for the past three years through connections made at Royal Holloway. I am returning again this summer with comedy duo and graduates Max and Ivan to operate the lights and sound which I did last year. I think it’s essential for any budding theatre maker (from an actor, stage manager, director or designer) to get involved in theatre outside of university before graduating. I gained so much from going to the Fringe each year and in my final year was lucky enough to work on fringe theatre in London with graduate company Blackshaw, who I still work with now.

What can people expect from this year’s Play! Festival?

A great day out! The programme is packed with a variety of different performances and events. Even if you're only coming for one show, it will be worth sticking around to catch a few other things on during the day. Try and check out The Many Mishappenings of Keith Collins in the auditorium if you can. There will also be a cracking array of new writing going on in the loft and the basement that will be well worth a watch. And that’s not all! Alongside that there are some amazing music performances and Cat Tarrant's art installation Scotoma is one to see for sure! Staying for the whole day is my best advice, as there will always be something that takes your fancy.

What are your hopes for the future?

I would love to work on shows in the West End - who wouldn't?! -  but the best part about the job is that I can travel the world and work on shows in any country. I would also love to work on stage shows on a cruise ship, because that sounds incredible. I am planning to start a course in Stage Management in September which will hopefully make me better at what I already love doing. I have a lot of long-term aspirations, but to just keep doing shows is the main one!

The Play! Festival will be held at The Firestation, the Old Court, St Leonards Road, in Windsor, on Saturday 1 June from 2pm until midnight. Free entry and open to all ages.

For more information, click here.


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