Rhiannon Jenkins Month – INTERVIEW – Stepping Into Directing

If you are part of the improv scene around London then you may already know the name Rhiannon Jenkins as she is part of Acaprov, The Ol BIl, Eggplant Improv and even used to be part of the Improbotics. She also teaches some great courses including The Vocal Technique Course and Nursery on Death, Dying, and Bereavement for The Nursery. This week talk about all the other projects that Rhiannon is a part of including Directing.

Tell us all about Hot Singles in Your Area ? 

We originally formed as a Hideout Theatre Student Mainstage Group, and now perform our show “The Love Circle” as an independent company. We perform a romance-based La Ronde (inspired by the play La-Ronde / Reigen), where each pair of performers are romantically entangled in some way. We’re really trying to stretch and break the format at the moment, trying out genre additions, time jumps, and getting in some external coaches to stir the pot! 

How did the idea come about? 

I’d done a similar one-off show with Lee Apsey at Gothenburg improv festival: a two-prov inspired by online dating profiles. I was thinking about doing some work online, and La Ronde as a format is one of the cleanest for online editing. Add together dating profiles and a La Ronde, and you get The Love Circle! 

How did you get into Directing? 

I’d done a fair bit of scripted directing pre-pandemic, and I co-direct a couple of the groups I play with. I saw that The Hideout were looking for Student Mainstage Directors, and figured it would be amazing to play in an entirely new improv scene. I really feel like I’ve found an improv home there. 

What do you prefer more directing or performing?

That’s a tough question; you get such different things from directing and performing. Obviously I love being able to play and perform, but with Directing, you have full creative control, and you get to work on bringing out the best in others. I like both! Sorry, that’s not really an answer haha. 

What key lessons have you learnt from directing? 

How to get an idea across concisely and then shut up and let people run and play with it. The last thing you want to do when directing is tell people how to improvise or act. 

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline if so, what are they ?

I’m currently working on a solo show; it’s still in the writing and development phase (and has been for a while!), but I’m hoping to get that into a small theatre later this year.

 When the pandemic is over will you do anymore online shows? 

Well, HSIYA is comprised of actors from two different continents, and I’ve made so many (more!) international friends since March 2020, I would hate to stop interacting with those people. I definitely want to plan to some travel to see people IRL, but I don’t think the online space is going away, and I still want to keep working with my international friends. 

You were part of futuristic shows such as Improbotics do you see modern technology changing the way we approach comedy?

 Yes & no. I think comedy is pretty universal; people have been making dick jokes since people have had dicks. But tech is giving us more ways to connect to each other, and new things to add onto our humour. 

What tech would you like to see more of in the future used in shows? 

I think there’s a lot of potential in using VR and tech to create landscapes and settings. 

What styles would you like to see in improv more in 2021? 

I want NEW S***! Stuff that we haven’t thought of, stuff that I couldn’t possibly have dreamed up, but that other people’s weird and wonderful brains have made. NO MORE HAROLDS. 

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