We spoke to director Yasmeen Arden about nest, at VAULT Festival in week 6, which is a fond love story that explores issues surrounding social housing, and we also got to chat about why theatre is so important!
What drove you to make nest?
On first reading the play it immediately felt vividly alive and this rarely happens so I knew it was special. As a working class woman growing up and still living in social housing myself, I connected with the themes and I believe their relevance has only become more urgent. Mostly though, I fell in love with Jade and Liam and intrigued by their messy and quirky love story and knew that actors Charlotte Higgins and Arthur McBain would be gorgeous playing them - I will literally jump at any opportunity to work with them!
Who is nest for?
nest is for people who are interested in people. There are important themes of social housing, mental health and society but it is filled with hope and that makes it very attractive to both political and non political thinkers. At the heart there’s this flawed romantic story and a light, playful and poetic quality to Katy’s writing which rockets this play to a whole other level! So it’s good for anyone who likes a great night out!
Why is theatre important?
Theatre is important because it gives us all some much needed human contact, we sit together, we experience together and we story-tell together. And it has been like this since the beginning of our existence so it must be essential for our existence! It’s all about relationships with the story, the characters and audiences with all the actors and creatives.
If you had to make a new show, what CURRENT news story would you like to make a show about?
Living in north Kensington makes any story about those who are not being seen and heard more important than ever. Anything that inspires people to work together and listen is essential. I’m interested in challenging the current system that hugely profits from the selling of publicly/community owned buildings such as libraries, social housing and colleges at the expense of the poor and working class. This “social cleansing” is happening in all of our cities and communities right now.
What theatre ‘turn offs’ do you have?
Honestly I’m open to all kinds of theatre, if I was to say I didn’t like something I know I would find a contradiction.
What was the last show that moved you to action?
I just saw Mary Stuart in which powerhouses Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams excel in their intertwined performances of two queens dangling between war and sisterhood. I came out of the building stronger having witnessed the two extraordinary women sharing this platform, at the top of their game. Interesting to see that West End Theatre is pushing its own boundaries with the inspiration from the smaller, even more rebellious theatres.
What shows at VAULT are you looking forward to?
I’m very excited to see…Our fellow Week 6 Cavern shows Father of Lies & Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy, along with Cornermen, Burkas and Bacon Butties, Caravan Theatre shorts, Finding Fassbender, Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho, Archie Maddocks, Sparks, The Strongbox, Labyrinth, Forgiveness Project, Revolution and Tori Scott….takes breath!
nest is on 28 Feb - 4 March at VAULT!