Eastern Front Theatre
By Sam Rosenthal, Artistic Producer
How is your practice different from the perceived norm?
In my rehearsal hall I always ensure to hire an intimacy director. This is my standard practice. As I’m writing this, we just opened Kamp, a very challenging piece on homosexual men in a concentration camp. There was violence, as well as challenging moments of intimacy. Siobhan and Matt Richardson came down from Toronto as our fight and intimacy coaches. The results were extraordinary. They helped set the right tone in the rehearsal hall which allowed the actors to feel comfortable and engaged. In my opinion, this practice should become the norm.
How and when do you engage the public during your process?
We ensure a strong social media presence through our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and website. We will often run contests, ask for feedback, and most importantly we ensure that the content on social media is always new, fresh and different. Recycling old material is a sure way to have your audience tune out quick.
Eastern Front Theatre (in conjunction with Neptune theatre on this fall’s production of Kamp) offers Industry night to our local artists, which includes reduced bar prices after the show for everyone to socialize and support each other.
We also have a Talk Back night bringing special members of the community in to talk about the show. In the case of Kamp, we have The Rainbow Refugees of Halifax offering one of their members to us to speak on their experiences. We also have some Holocaust educators coming to speak as well.
Some of our greatest inspirations and ideas come from the moments of greatest restrictions
What creative constraints do you place upon yourself or feel are placed upon you?
Creative constraints only come in one form and that is money. Budget is the main factor when it comes to limiting creative choices. Often times I will admit that budgetary restrictions will force me to think ‘outside the box” and many Artistic Directors and Artistic Producers will hopefully agree that some of our greatest inspirations and ideas come from the moments of greatest restrictions. So one does what one can with what we are given.
Having said all that I would say that, when I begin a creative process, I keep myself open to all possibilities, and most importantly am influenced heavily by my fellow artists in the room. No one person makes or breaks a show, or should not be able to. A strong show is built on a strong foundation of mutual trust and respect. Once this is built, and hopefully very early on in the process, then great things happen. The biggest obstacle to any creative process is ego.
What forms, themes, or stories do you gravitate toward as an artist? Have you noticed or planned a trend or trajectory in your work?
In terms of work I am drawn to, Immersive Theatre has caught my heart and soul these days. I have incorporated an immersive experience in our production of Kamp and audiences seem to really like it. For me the joy is watching people lose themselves in the world of the story. They are “right in the heart of it.” I am also a huge lover of musical theatre and the new forms of musicals we are seeing today.