26 August 2020
“My name is Lauren Elizabeth and I am a creative based in South Wales. I am originally from Stratford upon Avon and moved to Swansea as a teen. Growing up in Stratford upon Avon, I was immersed into the wonderful world of theatre and creativity from a very young age, I was captivated by all aspects of telling a story. I’m an actor and theatre director specialising in new writing and studio theatre. I am also the founder and artistic director of Show Face Festival which is a virtual theatre festival showcasing the work of emerging creatives across a series of virtual platforms.
Being a welsh creative woman is an important part of my identity and influences the way I work. I am fascinated by the idea of embodying different characteristics in order to tell another’s story, and how, in turn, this had an impact upon an audience. I began to ask myself; If I could influence and educate others by telling them a story, then what story should I be telling? What stories should we be telling at creatives? These are the types of questions that has affected my work as a creative. I actively seek stories that need be told. As creatives, I think that we are very fortunate to have theatre as a powerful tool, in that, we can make an audience think and reflect. Can the work we create through theatre, directly impact the lives of others? I strongly believe the answer is yes.
Throughout my Acting degree, I had the privilege of working alongside many professional theatre directors that opened my eyes to a whole new world. Fascinated by the way they shaped and collaborated with different creatives, inspired me to begin my own directing journey. My training as an actor has enabled me to gain an understanding behind the processes and techniques an actor implements in order to embody a character and take on emotions. Therefore, as a director, I am able to communicate effectively with actors. I quickly learnt that there are so many aspects to a theatre director and that being able to correspond and build relations with other creatives, is a vital part of the process. There is as much story telling in each individual aspect of theatre, such as the design process, as there is in the performance.
A theatre director can use their vision, as their destination. By being confident in the destination, you can guide creatives down multiple avenues. These avenues will help creatives to exercise skills, unlock new ideas and build upon a common language throughout the process. Therefore, I describe the role of the director as a creative facilitator, between what is being created and striving for clarity for an audience.
The global pandemic has caused mass devastation. It has affected everybody in many different ways. For many people, the future of their livelihoods is very uncertain. In that group of people, are creatives. The world of performance and creativity has almost come to a standstill. We must find a new way of working. As an emerging creative myself, I fear that other emerging creatives and recent graduates will struggle to continue their journey into the arts. We find ourselves in difficult situations and often fall into a gap between education and training and working as a freelancer. We rely heavily on opportunities to progress further. We can’t lose the next generation of creatives.
I decided to reach out to the wider community and create an platform which allowed creatives to connect with each other, flex their creative muscles and ultimately showcase their work! The wonderful amount of support received was overwhelming. I knew that in order to involve all of the creatives who had engaged with the project, we needed a bigger platform. Hence, the start of Show Face Festival! We have over 150 emerging creatives involved in Show Face Festival who have created 60 new pieces of theatre that will be showcased across virtual platforms. All of these shows are free and accessible through our website www.showfacefestival.co.uk!
I hope to keep Show Face Festival an ongoing project that will happen at least twice a year. The engagement and support we have received makes our mission of supporting emerging creatives and new writing so important! I would like to echo something that Dame Judi Dench said in an interview I did with her recently about Show Face Festival, “we must remain enthusiastic… we are all in the same boat.” By supporting each other, theatre will come back stronger than ever.”