In the Beginning there was Chaos

By Sindesign @Flickr

By Sindesign @Flickr

It was as if small bomb had hit the kitchentable: laptops open, papers scattered everywhere, excel sheets being filled in, calculators out, forms tentatively signed, all while the team was scratching their heads and occasionally sighing before falling into fits of laughter. Yes: the situation had a vague resemblance to The Apprentice gone wrong. A little worrying perhaps, seeing as this kitchen table was the birthplace of our enterprise: Papergang Theatre.

Papergang Theatre is formed by the first two incarnations of the Royal Court’s Unheard Voices writers’ groups and focuses on new writing that reflects a modern multi-cultural society from a British East Asian perspective.

It’s a mouthful but a pretty effective elevator pitch (40 sec, 3rd floor please – thank you), something we’ve learned on a course *insert East-Asian joke* and have tried to perfect ever since.

The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster ride, and when I say rollercoaster ride, I mean one of those rattling old-fashioned wooden ones in Coney Island style. The one of which you’re never quite sure whether it will make the top and when it does, the moment as you go down and over and back up again is thrilling and amazing: then it slows down again.

Setting up a theatre company is not for the impatient. There are meetings to have, decisions to make, dates to pick, forms to fill in, funds to find, documents to sign and the list go on. Glamour, my dear friend, this is not: no slick suits, power dresses or bragging one-liners honed to impress the CEO.

Papergang Theatre functions through meetings planned in the after hours or the weekends, phone calls during lunch, planning, documenting, emailing, office work outside the office. It has lead to passionate discussions, stirring of some spirit, the warm embrace of professional support, tea, cake and even a Harvester experience, a little bit of luck and bucket loads of kindness.

Over the last few weeks, the passionate input and hard work of our British East Asian team showed me one huge factor that sets Papergang Theatre from The Apprentice’s sole money motivation – for if we have nothing, we have this: a love for the theatre and a sheer belief that now is our time.


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