So tell us a bit about yourselves guys. How did you get into acting?
Phil- Well I was brought up in a theatre family. I attended theatre school when I was 19 and I’ve been pretty much pushing it since then!
Jim- Well I went to two different drama schools in London but actually stopped acting once I got out. Then a short while ago I came over to Shanghai to see what it had to offer. Then, actually not long after, I found my way to this audition through a friend of a friend. I met with the 3rd Culture group on Saturday, was cast for the part on Sunday and started work on Monday.
3rd Culture is the theatre company behind ART, how long have you all been together?
Elana- Yes, 3rd Culture is our company and we’re comprised completely of expats at the moment. This is our first production together in Shanghai, however our director Johnathan has been putting on shows for some time. This will actually be his 14th production here.
So as the new kids on the Shanghai drama scene, what are your hopes for the future?
Elena – The future is still up in the air for us. We’re still trying to figure out exactly what we want to do here. Basically we’re thinking of exploring all the avenues that Shanghai has to offer.
Johnathan – We’re beginning to consider possibly working on plays in Chinese!
Who would you say is your current target audience?
Elana- Our target audience is the existing theatre-going crowd, but we’re trying to go beyond that. We’re actually going to be holding our performances in an art gallery. Shanghai has a wonderful community of visual art fans and were looking to attract them to theatre. We’re hoping that by doing this we can push the theatre community to grow, and that by reaching out to different audiences we’ll help the community as a whole.
And how would describe the drama scene in Shanghai?
Johnathan- The drama scene in Shanghai is still very much in its infancy. The people who are part of it are very passionate but its a hard thing to do full time, especially here. Its a bit sporadic at the moment but the people who work here love it and are just trying to help it gain momentum.
How hard is it for a theatre company to gain a strong following in Shanghai?
Phil – It’s harder because we aren’t Chinese, we’re not locals. People want to get into the western acting scene but at the moment its presence here, much like most western influence on this part of China, is still very much in its infancy.
Currently how many companies are there?
Johnathan- There are three companies at the moment and were all sort stuck in the same mode. Were running on the same funds, doing the same amount of work, and working at the same level. Basically we’re all trying to do the same thing.
Any heated rivalries? Drama within the drama scene so to say?
Johnathan - ‘laughs’ No no, It’s a pretty cooperative and, in a lot of ways, incestuous relationship. We have all worked, at some point, for or with one another.
ART finished it’s run this Sunday but keep a look out for more from 3rd Culture Theatre soon. Or if your interested in getting involved email them: 3rdculture.theatre <at> gmail.com