This summer we are very lucky to see some of life return to normal and one of the things that is coming back with a bang this year is Camden Fringe! We have spoke to a number of acts that you can go and see on the actual stage, so if you have missed comedy and theatre then this is a great time for you! If you are planning on going to the festival though please pre-book your tickets to avoid disappointment. Today we are talking to the theatre behind the show Améliore: A New Musical – Ruckus Theatre Co.
Date: 2nd-6th August
Location: The Gatehouse
Hello! Tell us about the show Améliore: A New Musical that you are bringing to Camden Fringe?
Améliore: A New Musical is a tale for the modern age, inverting traditional Broadway stereotypes and prioritising the Black, bi-sexual, female voice. The musical explores how mental health conditions manifest in our lives, what love means, both romantic and familial, and what happily ever after looks like in the modern day.
Using a small but diverse cast, we explore sexual assault, misogyny, racism, over-bearing parents, the responsibilities of the carer and mental health in a balanced performance which is both profound and optimistic. The message of Améliore is that life isn’t perfect and it will always face us with challenges, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t beautiful in its own way.
Améliore: A New Musical is an entirely original musical, featuring an original script and score. The story was created by Melissa Boyce-Hurd and Bethany F. Knowles. The script, songs and lyrics were written by Melissa Boyce-Hurd. The score was written by Matteo Ressa. The script was edited by Montaz Marché and Bethany F. Knowles. Améliore is the product of the second lockdown and we really believe in the quality of the music, the poignancy of the story and the truthful representation of the characters.
Our cast, crew and band feature Black women, People of Colour, LGBTQ+ identities, people with disabilities including a wheelchair performer and people with mental health conditions. The crew and band are majority female, which is rare for a production such as this, and we have been actively making opportunities for members of the creative community who are too often left behind.
How did you come up with the name of your show that your taking to the Camden fringe?
Améliore is the subjunctive form of the French verb ‘améliorer’ which translates to ‘to get better or to improve’. The show is about the process of dealing with and improving your mental health and we felt that this name encompassed our overall message of optimism for the future. The name also has the added bonus of paralleling with our central character, Amelia, whose journey we follow throughout the show.
Tell us a little bit about your style of show?
Améliore is an entirely original musical and the musical style is inspired by artists from Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Rae, to Gershwin and Michael Giachhino. The Musical also pulls inspiration from Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Lea Salonga, Crazy Ex Girlfriend and The Princess and The Frog! Basically, there’s something for everyone in this soundtrack!
What will your set be about?
Our stage design is very simplistic as we revolve around a few different key locations within the show. We travel from a wedding to a café to an engineering firm to a club to a New Years Eve party as we progress through Amelia’s story. The stage will change to reflect the changing venue.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?
We are so looking forward to seeing ‘fester’ by Halfpace Theatre at The Cockpit Theatre as one of our previous actors, Niamh Smith, is performing in the cast! Niamh played Romeo in Ruckus’ production of Romeo and Juliet at The Cockpit in December and we are delighted to see them return to a venue that was so kind to us and to perform in this new production! ‘fester’ is being performed on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th August at 4pm! We are also so looking forward to seeing our Juliet, Sophie Barton, performing in Dirty Feet’s production ‘Mischief and Mayhem’ by Esme Pearson-Brown at the Little Angel Theatre from 18th to the 20th August! We are so proud of both actors and we can’t wait to go and support them!
Have you done the fringe before? What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?
Some members of our team have been up to Edinburgh Fringe before but this is our first time at Camden. I remember absolutely loving Kate Butch’s Fringe performance in 2016 and it has been so great to watch her career flourish since then!
How has the last year in lockdown been for you?
Lockdown has definitely been a challenge and we’ve all missed being on stage for sure.
Have you managed to do many online shows?
Ruckus has actually done two productions during lockdown! We did a one-man production of ‘The Fever’ in October 2020 which was a completely virtual production and we did ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at The Cockpit Theatre in December 2020. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ had to be converted to a live stream at the last minute due to lockdown regulations changing but we still managed to be The Cockpit’s most successful show of 2020, which is something we are very proud of! Ruckus has also run a collection of Zoom table readings in our New Writing Series, which gave a space for performance and also critical development and was hugely popular. We have also run 16 virtual events since July 2020, platforming some incredible talents, and done several industry interviews to give advice to performers and creatives! If you want to check out what we’ve done, make sure you have a look at our website!
And now you are returning to the stage!!! How exciting! What are you looking forward to the most?
We are so delighted to be back in the theatre with an audience! Performing on a live-stream was incredible and a truly unique experience but there’s nothing quite like feeding off an audience in your performance!
What advice would you give to others who want to perform at Camden Fringe next year?
Get your application in early. As soon as it was announced that Camden would be going ahead, I called the venue that was our first choice and told them about the project and how excited we would be to perform with them. I was the first person to make contact with them and it meant a lot so that when our formal application came through within 48 hours on Eventotron, they knew who we were, what the show was about and our company reputation. They’d even be able to contact our previous venue to ensure that they wanted to work with us. Because of this, our show was confirmed and contracted within 10 days of our application going in and we are performing at one of the most competitive venues. So be prepared, get your application in early and the personal touch never hurts!
What is the best thing about performing at the Camden fringe?
The community feeling! We are so excited to go and support other productions and to have them come to us! Publications like this one have been reaching out to different shows to promote us and it really makes you feel like your project is part of a much bigger movement! It’s really exciting!
What are your three favourite things about Camden?
We have a great moment in Améliore where Rex asks: “Are you calling me dumb?” Amelia responds with: “Only emotionally dumb.” and Rex responds: “Okay, so not like Demi – “Come and see the show to see how this moment comes about!
Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?
We are so grateful to anyone who comes and sees our show, but an absolute dream audience member would be a musical theatre legend such as Sir Tim Rice!
The iconic image of the Camden Fringe is the Pigeon – if you could call this years pigeon a name to represent its style what would it be and why?
I’d call him Gilbert because he just gives off that vibe!
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
Ruckus Theatre Co. is all over the place! Our website is www.ruckustheatre.com and you can find us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RuckusTheatre), Instagram (@ruckustheatre) and LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/ruckus-theatre-co)! Follow us for more frequent updates on all of our projects and how you can involved!
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Original, powerful and optimistic!Show quoted text