In the latest of our spotlights on the Welsh shows going up to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, we talk to Tim Baker about the new company, Flying Bridge, and what they have in store.
Our latest project, and the show we’re taking to Edinburgh is Not About Heroes, a Fringe First winning play written by Stephen McDonald. The title of the play is taken from a preface that Wilfred Owen wrote to his last volume of poetry in which he said his work is not about heroes and his poems aren’t about heroes but they are about war. In this show, what is being celebrated is that Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, two influential war poets, met up during the war in 1917 and became great friends. An interesting fact is that they met in Craiglockhart hospital in Edinburgh 100 years ago. Their friendship grew specifically through poetry and through the experience of war. Although Owen and Sassoon were heavily implicated gay lovers their real cross-interest and developing relationship was about their shared passion to tell the truth about war through poetry. The play features a mixture of poetic content set to the backdrop of war and this, for me as a director, make the scene opposites a very exciting exploration to work with.
Tell us about Flying Bridge Theatre Company
Flying Bridge Theatre Company is a relatively new company based in Newport, one of the few professional theatre companies based there. Our focus is creating a work which bridges communities, by working with our audiences before and after they see our show. Our ideal is to visit a city and do more than just the booked performance, we are interested in sharing our work with people who might not get the chance to see it on the stage. We want to bring new audiences to see great theatre and that’s what we hope to do with Not About Heroes and a series of other projects in the future. Flying Bridge have created shows such as A Regular Little Houdini (which has now been performed globally) and Between The Crosses (which will also be playing in Edinburgh this Summer) and have a real passion for community driven engagement, ‘bridging’ that gap between theatre makers and audiences.
Tell us about yourself
I am Tim Baker, I have worked as a director and writer in Wales for 40 years. I am a Welsh speaker and I have worked with several of the National Theatres in Britain. I am as passionate about theatres and audiences as I have ever been. I enjoy bringing theatre to new spaces and encouraging young people to engage with the arts, whether as an audience or an active participant. The thing that drives me is working with a quality of work whether on a stage, on a street, in a community centre or in a primary school.
Tell us about your team
I am fortunate to have a great team. Not About Heroes is just two actors who are on stage throughout the whole play and the actors I have are terrific: Daniel Llewelyn Wiliams (who is the focal point of Flying Bridge Theatre Company) and Iestyn Arwel, an actor who I have admired since I directed him in National Youth Theatre of Wales. It is a privilege to work with both. We have a great designer, Ollie Harman, who is fresh out of Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and he is working alongside a fantastically strong production team. This show is also supported by Seabright Productions, an Olivier Award winning company. Together we are all very excited about going to Edinburgh.
Tell us what Edinburgh means to you
Sometimes, it’s difficult to see a lot of Welsh Theatre going beyond Wales and so we realise Edinburgh is our greatest opportunity to do this. We really hope we have something special to offer in the quality of work we’re producing and the choice of work we are presenting. Together with our vision. We’re excited and hope to spread our work to the rest of the world and help support the work being created in Wales really grow, we feel it’s something we should be proud of in Wales and are grateful for the opportunity to do so.