Dare to Know Theatre was formed by Jake Talbot and Miranda Parker.
Both born and bred in Oldham, they wanted to engage with the local community and inspire them to get involved with their work. Dare to Know were Oldham Coliseum’s associate artist the company is navigating what the loss of this vital theatre and hub means for them and the people of Oldham.
The show though will go on as their next piece, Young Love, is set to be staged at another beloved venue, 53two next month.
We caught up with Jake and Miranda to find out more.
What inspired you to write this piece?
I’ve wanted to write a thematic piece of theatre since I started writing, and working with young people over the past two or three years, it struck me just how complex the issues are that young people are facing, the struggles that they’re facing in their home lives, their love lives are incredibly complex. Personally, I think the emotions that young people are feeling are often dismissed and I think it’s important that young people can see their story or something they relate to explored and given justice on stage. It’s amazing just how open young people are, throughout the research process, it was fascinating when I found vlogs and YouTube videos of young people literally baring their soul to the world, whether that be a girl telling her coming out story or a trans girl explaining the moment she knew she was a woman. That is almost what this play feels like. Young people telling their stories.
How does the rehearsal process bring out new elements of the play that you may not see on the page?
For Young Love, we’re working in the room, with the writer, the director, the cast and the choreographer. The script is highly up for interpretation, and it’s a continual fun process of experimenting, testing things and building story and drama.
It’s a new style for us, it’s our first time working with a choreographer, a lot of the story focuses on movement, something we’ve been dying to experiment with since we started, but now we have the opportunity, with the cast, this story and the space to finally try this out.
Sometimes in the play, stage direction, context and even scene order are up for interpretation, there’s a lot of free will for creatives within the play, and working in this collaborative way is an extremely exciting way to work.
What does the loss of Oldham Coliseum mean to both you and the company?
We’re devastated by the loss of Oldham Coliseum, not just as the associate artists, but also for our home town. Oldham has lost a cultural hub that was a part of the town’s history and that was an important venue for the people of Oldham.
It’s a huge blow for the small theatre producers in Oldham, not just us, but the dance and drama schools, the community groups, the schools, colleges, and other theatre companies like In Parallel, who now have nowhere to perform.
For Miranda, working at the Coliseum was her first ever job, she started there on a YTS Scheme in the stage management department, Oldham Coliseum, like many others, was the start of her career.
How will you carry on delivering this theatre’s legacy?
We’re trying to figure this out ourselves, we’ve explored options personally to ensure producing theatre continues in Oldham. However, as far as Oldham Coliseum Theatre goes, it’s tough to say at the moment. It’s gutting to see such a beautiful building, with such a rich history allowed to be forgotten.
53two is really welcoming to newcomers. What do you like about his venue and this theatre space?
Both Simon and Alex have always been more than welcoming to us a company from the start, we’ve been continuing to develop a relationship with each other, which also shows in the scale of where our work has taken us. We share similar views about theatre, diversity and accessibility as 53two, it’s always really nice to work with people who are on the same page.
Staff have shared their Oldham Coliseum memories with us. Are there any that stand out for you?
I think Adam Gent spoke well about what Oldham Coliseum means with his funny anecdote about Jack and the Beanstalk, and highlighting what theatre and specifically the pants means to the kids of Oldham, right down to his last comment – “That’s why we do it, for the kids.” And I think we’d to extend that, to the people of Oldham. That’s why we’ve been doing it, that’s why we prioritise making work with and for Oldhammers, which granted has been tough and has now been made ten times tougher. But we’ll continue to look to find ways of making this happen, as will others. The people of Oldham deserve culture and especially high quality theatre.
Lastly, why should audiences come and see Young Love?
Young Love brings high quality ensemble work to Fringe Theatre, due to costs ensemble work has become quite implausible to do even for the larger theatres. It’s become quite a staple of Dare to Know Theatre’s work, with our local community projects usually involving 30+ people, to be able to use this in a professional capacity is incredibly exciting. Young Love is a large scale show, at a reasonable price, in fact tickets are completely Pay What You Can.
Young Love is a love letter to young people. People love to dismiss young people in all aspects of life and to bad mouth ‘wokeness’. The ‘snowflake’ generation now being used as a derogatory term, shrugging off genuine feelings and concerns from the young people today. Young Love is a story giving a voice to Young People, telling relatable stories that even people looking back at their own youth will understand, laugh and empathise with.
Young Love is a relatable, funny and heartbreaking spectacle at an affordable price.
Dare to Know present Young Love at 53two from 17th – 19th August and tickets can be booked here.