Our project is Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar set in the world of a fetish club. We’re performing it at Brighton Fringe over ten dates, these are 6-8 May and 30 May - 5 June. We did this show at last year’s Brighton Fringe and are excited to be re-developing it this year so we can focus more on our main themes of the taboo of fetish, gender binaries and women in power.
UPDATE! We've reached our target of £2000 and we're so happy to everyone who's funded us. We're now aiming towards our stretch target of £3500! As a special thank you we've created this video featuring fetish dancing ponies.
Why are we doing this show and where do we see it going?
The Shakespeare reason
We wanted to make this show because we wanted to stage a Shakespearean production, and because we’re interested in the way Shakespeare can be re-interpreted to engage modern audiences. We like Shakespeare, but we don’t like the way there seems to be a set way of performing it that often isn’t of relevance to our society.
The fetish world and sexual expression appealed to us as a taboo that we wanted to explore, particularly because Kelli already has insight into the fetish scene as she designs fetishwear when not working on theatre projects. Last year when we made the show we played around with gender and characters but looking back on it we feel we were too bound by the text and what we felt it was dictating to us. This year we’re trying to be more experimental, and use it as a basis for exploring our themes.
Our ultimate vision for the show is to develop it into a large scale immersive production, to be held in a club-like warehouse space that really becomes Club Rome.
Our total budget is just over £7000, production costs and expenses make up about 80% of this.
Included in production costs is rehearsal space, costume and set materials and technical costs.
For this project we are covering expenses for everyone for each day they are working on the show. We are choosing to pay fixed expenses to everyone, because this is more support than we were able to give than when we did profit share last year.
How are we going to raise the rest of the funds?
We’ve already got almost £1000 of private donations and we’re assuming 40% box office sales totalling £1800. This is a third of our budget.
To raise the extra funds we need to break even we are doing the following:
- Running a fundraising party in Brighton in April (date tbc)
- Holding a Shakespeare themed pub quiz in Brighton, 21st April at The Shakespeare’s Head.
- Selling advertising space in our printed programmes
Brief history of the company
Ellen set up Witness Theatre in 2011 with two initial productions, an immersive The Importance of Being Earnest at Brighton Fringe and a piece of new writing exploring the theme of memory called The Darkroom at Edinburgh Fringe. Both were really well received by audiences and critics. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“An imaginative and inventive style to performance making ... bold and adventurous” Jake Orr, A Younger Theatre on The Darkroom.
“Witness Theatre give a collective performance that is one of the most physically and vocally committed I’ve seen on the Fringe this year.” Paul Levy, Fringe Review, The Importance of Being Earnest.
In 2013 Ellen and Kelli met at a networking event. We worked together on a piece of new writing called Window which explored our society’s relationship with the Internet. The show was the company’s first train wreck and we’re really pleased this happened when it did as we’ve learned a LOT of valuable lessons from it.
In 2014 Ellen co-produced Brighton’s first Theatre Uncut event; an evening of political performances, displays of artwork and live music in a derelict market space in the city. The Brighton Real Junk Food project, who reclaim food waste to make pay as you feel meals, also collaborated on the event providing pay as you feel food for everyone.
Our next project was the first incarnation of Julius Caesar at Brighton Fringe 2015.
What we aim to do
As Witness Theatre we aim to make powerful and provocative theatre about contemporary issues and questions that interest us. We’re passionate about empowering audiences to engage with important questions. We don’t want our audiences to sit passively in the dark. We want them to be provoked, challenged and excited.
What we give to our supporters and how much we appreciate them
We really appreciate our audience and supporters and are so aware that without you none of our work could happen. Our theatre is always made with you in mind. Anyone who helps make this project happen will have so much love and gratitude from us, and good thoughts sent their way! But sometimes it is nice to have something tangible as a token of our appreciation. That’s why we’ve put together what we hope is a titillating selection of rewards for you.
A reward we’re really excited to tell you more about is our Official Friend of Witness Theatre Scheme. This includes 15% off tickets for our shows and workshops, a VIP invitation to our annual Witness Theatre party with cast and crew, behind the scenes newsletters with information on current and upcoming projects, and listed on our website as an Official Friend of the company. We would love to have lots of friends!
Most of our rewards involve entry into a raffle. Here is a list of a few of the prizes you could win:
2 tickets to Brighton’s Proud Cabaret
A £30 voucher for Taboo in Brighton
A £85 garment from Ethical Kink
Complimentary tickets to any Picturehouse cinema
A piece of artwork by Brighton artist Tony J Benn
An Ultimate Tea Cocktail Kit from Bluebird Tea
We also hope that you will continue your relationship with us long after this campaign is over by coming to see our work, letting us know what you think, joining us for workshops and just saying hello and having a chat about the theatre that we make.