Rachael Walton: actor and producer
Performer Rachael Walton bridged the gap between theatre and live art when she founded Third Angel, a company specialising in contemporary and devised performance, in 1995. The company’s latest show, The Life and Loves of a Nobody – devised by and starring Walton – examines our obsession with celebrity culture
This is the second time you’ve produced this show. Is anything different?
The show actually originally came from a half-hour solo piece that I did and the idea carried on knocking about so it feels like it originates from further back. That show ended with me being covered with 60 broken eggs so I didn’t really feel like touring it, to be honest. We kept the idea and developed it into a two-hander. Last year we toured it and ended up completely changing it. We took the ending out to see how it would go without it. With this version, we have increased the show element of it. The nature of devising shows is to tinker with them as you go along and also listen to audiences and see what they think.
Have you always wanted to devise work?
Yes, I think so. Third Angel as a company will be 20 this year, and central to everything we’ve done so far is devising. We’ve definitely changed the way we have devised work over the years, so we will very often have a writer on board – Chris Thorpe has helped write the current show. I think that in the early days I was very wet behind the ears and I remember wandering into a studio and having nothing and just expecting to make a show, whereas these days there’s a lot of research and there are lots of things in place to underpin the work before we even start.
Did you always plan to set up your own company?
The initial intention was to work for other companies, but through the jobs I fell into – including becoming a mortgage underwriter and a teacher – opportunities to go to auditions just weren’t there. One day, Alex [Kelly, co-artistic director of Third Angel] came to me and said there was a commission going. We didn’t get selected in the end but we decided to make the piece anyway, and that was it. For the first three years or so, we didn’t think of ourselves as a company. That’s the advice I give to young people now – just make the work, get that in place and then make the company.
How important is touring?
It’s essential. We try to tour to venues and make tickets as accessible as possible. It’s about getting people to see the work, but it’s also important to keep the work in repertoire as well. We try to make work free if we can. That’s not as easy as one would like, so it can be difficult, but I think people should come to the theatre, so we need to do everything we can to encourage them to do that.
The Life and Loves of a Nobody is at Hull Truck Theatre on March 13 and tours until March 27.