Katie Underhay is a performer, designer and theatremaker. Since graduating from Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama she has performed in children’s theatre all over the country, created bespoke puppets for theatre and film and taught puppetry to children and adults alike. She is Co-Artistic Director of Mumblecrust Theatre and a Puppet Place Associate Artist. We caught up with her to find out what she’s been up to and what’s next on the horizon.
(Right photo credit: Kirsten McTernan)
It’s been a while since we spoke last. What have you been up to? Is ‘The Tale of the Cockatrice’ continuing to tour?
Well, 2018 is another crazy year for Mumblecrust Theatre. After Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe 2017 we contacted lots of theatres and arts centres to book our first national tour and this year we’ve got a busy schedule! The Tale of the Cockatrice has been touring since Christmas and we have tour dates booked into October and even the start of 2019. We’re going to the Lake District, London, Devon, Kent, Greater Manchester and lots of village halls around Somerset.
We’ve just come home from another run at Brighton Fringe, part of our 2018 tour, which was a great success. We were even nominated for the Primary Times’ Children’s Choice Award! We didn’t win the award unfortunately, but after winning two at last year’s festival I can only say that 2 out of 3 ain’t bad! It was fantastic to be nominated and we also got a 5 star review from Brighton and Hove News, so we’re immensely proud of the show.
You recently received your first ever grant from the Arts Council (congrats!) Can you tell us about that? What are your plans?
Thank you! Writing the application was a totally new experience for us. We applied for funding to support our tour this year, and also to help us bring the show to eight Village Halls/Community Arts Centres around Somerset. We’re both from Somerset and we really wanted to take the show around our home county and to some rural villages that don’t see a lot of theatre – particularly family theatre. We’ve already visited a few of our Somerset Village Halls, which were amazing venues run by amazing people. We really enjoyed taking our show into communities and being a part of something a bit special.
We brought in a few different consultants and lots of people and organisations offered support with the project, and I don’t think we would have received the grant without their help. It was wonderful to receive the grant on our first application, but writing it was a steep learning curve. It took a little bit of time to get into the head space of how to write an application, but now we’ve done one it feels so much more achievable in the future. It’s a big step for us as a company!
Is there anything new in the pipeline?
We have lots of tour dates for The Tale of the Cockatrice this year, but we also have plans for a brand new show! It has been two years since we first started work on Cockatrice, so we feel it’s the right time to bring out something new. Hopefully this time next year we’ll be touring both shows!
We can’t announce very much yet as it is all very ‘hush hush’, but it’s going to be another family show with lots of puppetry, music and silliness! We’ve learned an awful lot in the last two years with Cockatrice, and we can use that experience to help us create the new show. We’re very excited!
The new show will be announced soon on our website (www.mumblecrust.com) and also across our social media (@MumblecrustUK on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) so keep an eye out! That’s also where you can find out about our upcoming tour dates for The Tale of the Cockatrice and the premiere of the new show!
Find out more about The Tale of the Cockatrice and future works at the Mumblecrust Theatre website, http://www.mumblecrust.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To find out more about Katie Underhay and her work, visit her website: http://www.katieunderhay.com
Our Associate Artists are part of our wider community who use puppetry and animation as part of their practice. They work in a variety of settings from community arts to the film industry.
Want to become an Associate Artist? The scheme runs April-March each year and we have availability on the scheme for 18/19. Download the application form here.