Alice Rush

3 February 2021

“I’m Alice, I’m originally from just outside of London, but since studying in Cardiff for my undergrad degree I always knew I wanted to live here permanently – so here I am, via Kingston and Canterbury.

I’m a producer – for my own company CB4 Theatre and also currently as an associate for the amazing Arch 468 Productions. I also work Front of House at Chapter Arts Centre, and in the past I’ve worked for National Theatre Wales, Rose Theatre Kingston, and Paines Plough.

I straight up adore Cardiff. I adore how creative it is, I adore how welcoming it is, I adore the people who live here. Through my more recent work with NTW I’ve been lucky enough to travel around Wales, meeting even more amazing artists and communities, and I just think as a country it’s full of brilliant stories to tell and talent to nurture.
Having said that, and having lived through many incarnations of the Cardiff arts scene in particular, I feel that we’re currently stuck in an extremely male dominated period. Everywhere I look I see white men in charge of venues, in charge of companies, writing about us and our work – essentially the people who hold the power to dictate how we make work and who’s stories get to be told. I think it’s more important than ever to make sure women, especially non-white women, are front and centre and in charge of their own story.

I didn’t gel with any of the other obvious avenues for creatives – I tried my hand at writing, directing, acting, tech/production but didn’t feel excited by it as much as I felt I should have. I fell into producing by accident, as I think a lot of people do, as part of a placement with my local theatre and suddenly I just felt like I had slotted in. I found that I could still exert a level of creativity but from the organisational side where I felt much more comfortable and at home. That was in 2015 so I’ve spent the last 6 years honing my own personal approach to producing, which I think is very different from a stereotypical producer, but works best for me and the work I’m passionate about.

Other women empower me. From working at Chapter Arts Centre with the most brilliant team, to my best mates in CB4, to my fellow kick ass bar staff at Porter’s I am surrounded by so many strong, funny, talented, beautiful women, who in turn make me feel just as powerful and amazing.

As a cisgendered woman, I don’t feel that I encounter a lot of challenges because of my white privilege. I find my biggest challenge is often other people’s perceptions and expectations – as a disabled artist with a long term mental health disorder I do not always work in the “usual” way, and I find that this is often viewed as a sign of inexperience or weakness – often by other white women.

So since I moved back to Cardiff in 2018 there had been a real explosion of emerging fringe talent that wasn’t really there – or at least obvious – when I left in 2014. I felt that when I was studying here there was a real lack of opportunity, so I was stoked to jump back in; however I found the scene to be super closed off and very exclusive. Through numerous chats with other artists, many of them students, it seemed there was still a feeling of lack of opportunity, or at least lack of connection. So that’s when the idea for the CFN came into being – as a way to address this, a way to connect fringe artists with each other, and to share resources/knowledge. It’s only been going a few months and is still in its infancy but we’re planning more recurring events and sessions to make sure that the fringe thrives and early career artists are given the opportunities they deserve.

Other people and their stories inspire my work. I realised over lockdown that I don’t really want to make my “own” work, I want to empower others to tell their truth. I’ve been so privileged throughout my life – going to Uni, working in a busy London producing theatre, getting a Masters degree, being able to afford to move out – and I know so many creative people who haven’t been able to do these things. The thought of people giving up and leaving our sector is one of the most heartbreaking things to me, so I want to try and use the skills I have to support others in the creation and realisation of their own work as much as possible.

What’s next? Developing Cardiff Fringe Network so we can offer meet-up events and knowledge sharing workshops, taking CB4’s debut show BACK TO BERLIN back out on the road after a year of cancelled shows(!), and working on our new show in R&D BAD BOY DISCO. But also, and very importantly, putting my health – both physical and mental – first. Burnout is real guys, look after yourselves!”

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