After seeing 'Camels' debut comedy sketch show take off with side-stitching success, we decided to learn a bit more about exactly who helped the show's student comedians find a very well-deserved spotlight. Turns out we have more students to thank! In the following interview, Indigo founders Ed McGovern (University of Oxford) and James Lane (University College London) chat about the need for their new production company, what they hope to do with it, and how we can see the wonderful work they are facilitating at their very own Arts and Culture Festival, London, 27 - 30 March.
First off, what is Indigo, and who is it for?
JL: Indigo is split into three branches, Theatre, Media and Experience. Indigo Theatre’s mission is to take innovative ideas to a broader audience: Media works to heighten our clients’ digital media presence; and Experience looks to bring new audiences to theatre, providing schools and dramatic groups with an all-inclusive trip. Experience is also starting to promote a series of balls!
EM: So really, there is something for everyone. Whatever the area of the company, it all goes towards furthering exciting, bolder, theatre.
How did Indigo come about?
EM: We realised that there was excellent drama going on at Universities and Colleges, with people constantly writing and making challenging art. The issue is that most of these endeavours don’t get past a run of a few nights. Our aim was to create a production company that bridges the gap between the student and professional worlds. We are keen to create a network of creative people in our generation: writers, performers, technicians, musicians, you name it. [By] helping each other out, we can make sure no one misses out on opportunities.
Do you think young people can be confident at the moment trying to ‘make it’ in the arts?
JL: Absolutely. What ‘made it’ means has changed drastically in the last decade. The rise of fringe theatre has introduced new ways to measure success, not simply by notoriety or financial position. There are so many challenging topics to be tackled. I think our generation are excited to make their mark, and rightfully so.
What ‘made it’ means has changed drastically in the last decade. The rise of fringe theatre has introduced new ways to measure success, not simply by notoriety or financial position... I think our generation are excited to make their mark, and rightfully so.
Rumour has it we’re all getting cynical. Do you see that in the stuff you are producing?
EM: I think maybe it’s the audiences that are getting more cynical. A lot of the work we have in development is challenging social norms, it’s progressive rather than cynical.
Do you have defined roles working as a pair?
JL: For sure, I tend to do the work, and Ed tends not to.
JL: No, we do. I feel that, actually, understanding where our respective talents lie is one of our strengths as a team. Generally, Ed will oversee most of the administrative, financial and legal matters and I tend to take care of company aesthetics and brand management.
EM: It was actually one of the first things we sat down to define. As well as the more specific responsibilities, I approach things on more of a macro level, whereas James is more of a micro thinker and as awful as that sounds, it works.
Indigo is described as a ‘boutique’ company, one of whose specialties is 'digital media advertising'. What are your thoughts on navigating the way between instant, global media and authentic, local identity both as a company and for performers and/or writers in general?
JL: This is where balance has been really important for us: Indigo Theatre and Indigo Media are effectively two separate entities, but there is obviously a crossover. Digital media marketing has completely changed the advertising landscape for our generation. At the end of the day, we are hired to help people sell things and there is a certain way to go about that. However, we also believe that the public will only ever ‘buy-into’ what you are presenting them with if it has a relevant, local feel.
EM: I also think that for writers, it's more important than ever to be honest and open. As you said, people are getting more cynical, which also means authenticity is valued all the more.
For writers, it's more important than ever to be honest and open ... people are getting more cynical, which also means authenticity is valued all the more.
Are you performers or writers yourselves?
EM: We have both acted a lot, and James toyed with drama school for a while, as well as being lead singer of a very average indie band. I’ve also done a tiny bit of directing. We felt that was important when setting up the company. We understand that writers and performers are, rightly, very protective over their work.
What for you is the most important part to ‘get right’ when putting together something like the Arts Festival you have running from 27th through 30th March?
JL: I feel there needs to be a marriage between creative expressionism and a level-headed, logistical approach: to be a success, things like comfort and stress-free environment for those in attendance are vital.
What made you choose a barge as a venue?
EM: As the whole festival is supposed to be a relaxed showcase in support of a great cause, the National Deaf Children Society, we wanted a venue that was fun. We hope that people will come and get some food and drink, enjoy the very best of student drama, comedy and music and be able to support an important cause. Who doesn’t like art on a boat?
And where can we get tickets?!
We would love to see you there, and if there are any projects from theatre to an art installation to a creative writing evening that you have had an idea about, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get started!