Updated: Mar 2
Today's guest is Jesse Fox, an actor, director and theatre-maker based in London. He trained on the Collaborative and Devised Theatre BA Acting course at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where he’s now a regular Visiting Lecturer.
Jesse is the co-founder of the devised theatre company, Engineer Theatre Collective, which creates stories based on interview-led research processes, through highly collective working methods, using actor improvisation as a means of creating text, and a strong emphasis on design elements, such as sound and lighting.
The company has twice been nominated for Best Ensemble at the OffWestEnd Awards, and Jesse, himself, was twice nominated for Best Director. The work of Engineer Theatre Collective has been reviewed and featured in numerous prominent publications, such as The Times, The Guardian and The New Yorker.
As a freelance actor, he has worked for the BBC and ITV and, in 2019, was one of the three lead roles in the play ‘Afterglow’ at the Southwark Playhouse. In 2021, Covid permitting, he will take on the lead roles in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’ for the Pitlochry Festival Theatre summer season.
For someone who doesn’t see himself as 'unusually creative', Jesse Fox certainly has a clear take on the creative process of bringing both a part and a play to life! He describes the various stages of unlocking the script, figuring out the pace, rhythm, and cadence, as well as the character’s motivations, linking in the process mind, body, and imagination. To him, acting is a highly relational process, which allows him to engage with the world and reflect it back to the audience.
Debunking many myths, such as acting is showing emotions and pretend, and there’s one way to prepare for a part, or that directors have all the answers, Jesse gives us a vivid insight of what it means, as an ensemble, to generate, shape, and perform stories. He explains why placing and passing the focus on stage is key and describes the highly collaborative and satisfying creative process of prodding and wrestling with a text, so that what emerges, when the performance begins, is ultimately greater than its parts.
I cannot wait to see his future productions and performances and hope you will enjoy our conversation.
For news about the Engineer Theatre Collective audio-play to be released this autumn: www.engineertheatre.com. Please note that, at the time of releasing this podcast, the company’s new website is under construction.
ABOUT THE CREATIVITY FOR ALL PODCAST
Creativity is everywhere and I love nothing more than to explore it in The Creativity for All Podcast, either by focusing on a theme – such as perfectionism, feeding your creative brain, or the pressure to be creative – in my solo episodes, or through my conversations with all manner of creative people.
I want to challenge the perception of creativity and, in the process, debunk many myths attached to it: it's painful, for artists and the chosen few, etc.
My guests and I are keen to zoom in and dissect the origin of an idea, the impulse that makes us engage with our own creativity, with the hope that it will inspire listeners to get creative too.
My podcast is designed for anyone who’s already being creative, or is tempted to use their creativity, in particular those of you who think they are not creative or can never be. I would love to change your mind!
The Creativity for All Podcast is sponsored by Blue as an Orange, where we believe in creativity through communication, and offer mentoring and coaching for aspiring writers and tailored language tuition for individuals and companies.