phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
Jacksons Lane – An Interview with Artistic Director Adrian Berry
Jacksons Lane – An Interview with Artistic Director Adrian Berry

Jacksons Lane – An Interview with Artistic Director Adrian Berry

7 February 2017 Belphoebe New

North London’s Jacksons Lane is an artistic melting pot with a community focus. Since 1975 they have been instrumental in bringing arts to all sections on society, whilst also producing a diverse array of work with a particular focus on contemporary circus. This season is their busiest yet, with over 150 days of performances comprising contemporary circus, mime and interactive children’s theatre (circus for babies anyone)? We spoke to the man behind the operation, Artistic Director Adrian Berry, who has an impressive CV working with a number of cultural institutions including Stratford Circus and The Albany Theatre. Over the past few years Adrian has been working to bring inventive and original theatre to Jacksons Lane as well as developing an inclusive participation programme for people of all ages and backgrounds.

London Calling: You have a packed season coming up at Jacksons Lane  - is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to?
 
Adrian Berry: I’m really looking forward to a show called The Band, which is a duet of physical theatre and circus comedy about a band in the 1980s who decide to reform. What they do with this piece is seamlessly merge different forms of circus together. The guy is hilarious, he has a giant afro and 1970s mirror shades, which is always a bonus! And also the mime festival, it’s not the stereotypical black and white stripes, it’s more contemporary and includes circus, puppetry and visual theatre.
 
It’s particularly exciting this season as we have more shows than we’ve ever had. There’s a really strong visual, physical and circus programme merging with all the family stuff. There’s also four productions being supported by the Finnish institute in London, so it means we’re Brexit busting, bringing more European work over here!
 
LC: You’re showcasing your own work as well as intergenerational and international work, was it important for you to have a diverse programme?
 
AB: Diverse yes, but with a really clear artistic thread. Our three key things are circus, visual theatre and family, and the aim of this season was to bring these things together. The idea was that if you came to see something in January there’d be something bringing you back in February, March and April. We wanted people to trust it, with a strong continuity and artistic vision throughout the season. 
 
LC: And to anyone who hasn’t seen any – how would you describe contemporary circus and how does it differ from traditional circus?
 
AB: I think a lot of people have this conception of contemporary circus as very arty and inaccessible. What we’re doing is telling stories using circus, it’s not just about how good a juggler is, or the skills, really it’s just another theatrical discipline.  But you know it also has a lot of the traditional elements of circus, including trapezes and balancing acts, but often on a stage rather than in a tent.
 
LC: And there seem to be a lot of events for children including a baby circus event – can you tell us a little more about that?
 
AB: With these shows, what we don’t want is the kids loving it and the parents looking at their watch. The key to it is that it needs to be good theatre so that adults can enjoy it as well and see it through their children’s eyes. What we do is much more immediate, more intimate, and in the moment. We have a baby circus for newborns and they get to do a workshop with their parents where the parents learn to do basic acrobatics with them! I think that sums up what we do, we like to break down the fourth wall.
 
LC: Your participation work focuses on involving different generations and improving safety for women. How did this come about and what’s it like to work with the wider community?
 
AB: Our participation work is a really big part of what we do. People don’t always come to us, we actually go to other communities so that people don’t have to travel. Our borough Haringey is really diverse, one minute you’re in wealthy Highgate and the next you’re in Tottenham or Woodgreen. We work with communities that don’t have access to the arts, and we go out to them to work in gymnasiums and libraries.
 
LC: And this participation work, how does this fit in with your performance schedule?
 
AB: It used to be really hard to articulate. We sort of started out as a community centre with an arts programme.  What we’ve done is retained those community elements alongside the theatre programme. We don’t go ‘oh this is the social bit and this is the art bit’ those ideas are completely intertwined.  It wasn’t always like that, we have very limited space within the building, but we have around 3 and a half thousand people a week coming through so we’re running out of space!
 
LC: What’s a typical day like for you as an artistic director?
 
AB: Talking to you! Just taking the last week, of an evening I might be watching some really exciting Spanish clowning work, and then in the day I might be writing a funding application to keep Jackson’s Lane secure until 2022. You certainly get the rewards from seeing the performance work, but the background work, management and maintaining the spaces takes time too.

For more information about Jacksons Lane's current season covering 150 days, visit their website.
 

Tell us what you think

You may also like

This Week June 19-25

This Week June 19-25

The big news this week is the start of the 2017 Greenwich and Docklands International Festival – three weekends of outdoor performance and theatre from international…

Win a Terrarium Making Workshop for 2!

Grace and Thorn - Win a Terrarium Making Workshop for 2!

Quench your thirst for some nature-inspired creativity at a terrarium-making workshop!

Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction

Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction

The Barbican is staging a one of a kind exhibition exploring the genre of Science Fiction alongside several installations throughout the building. Featuring literature and…

“The number one priority for me is making you laugh” - an interview with Gina Yashere

“The number one priority for me is making you laugh” - an interview with Gina Yashere

Gina Yashere is a sensation, and has come a long way from her past as an elevator engineer. Having taken a punt on stand-up, Yashere…

Top 5: Museums about London

Top 5: Museums about London

We’re all big fans of London here, and it’s safe to assume you are too. What a city – one of the finest in the world –…

An interview with songwriter Charlie Fink

An interview with songwriter Charlie Fink

Charlie Fink, former frontman for noughties indie rock/folk group Noah and the Whale, has been working in theatre since writing the music and lyrics for…

Joseph Beuys Exhibition at Waddington Custot

Joseph Beuys Exhibition at Waddington Custot

This new exhibition revisits the German artist's famous boxing-match-as-artwork staged by Beuys in 1972.

‘Hokusai: Beyond The Great Wave’ at the British Museum

‘Hokusai: Beyond The Great Wave’ at the British Museum

Katsushika Hokusai is widely considered to be Japan’s greatest artist. Known for his serene scenes of Mount Fuji and intricately minimalist style, he achieved international fame…

Curious Arts Festival at Pylewell Park in Hampshire

Curious Arts Festival at Pylewell Park in Hampshire

Discover literary luminaries, cutting-edge comics and a host of family activities at this eclectic boutique festival set in the heart of the New Forest.

The Last Ever Secret Garden Party

The Last Ever Secret Garden Party

Spring 2017 brought with it one of the UK’s most important – and upsetting – announcements for the UK festival scene. The great institution that is the…

Most popular

Win a 3 Course Dinner, Cocktail & River Cruise For 2 People

London Day Out - Win a 3 Course Dinner, Cocktail & River Cruise For 2 People

See a different side of London with an exciting and unlimited cruise down the Thames, followed by a delightful meal.
Win four tickets to a Dustin Hoffman screening plus cocktails!

BFI - Win four tickets to a Dustin Hoffman screening plus cocktails!

Your chance to win four tickets to a Dustin Hoffman film screening, with two cocktails, throughout June/July.
Win Cream Cakes and Cocktails for Two!

Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour - Win Cream Cakes and Cocktails for Two!

Indulge yourself at this sumptuous London spot perfect for gin lovers.
Win Dinner for 2 and Entry to Gilded Interiors

Wallace Collection - Win Dinner for 2 and Entry to Gilded Interiors

We're giving away dinner for two in the beautiful Wallace Collection Restaurant, with entry to their Gilded Interiors exhibition
Win two weekend passes to a celebration of Japanese culture

HYPER JAPAN - Win two weekend passes to a celebration of Japanese culture

Tobacco Dock hosts a weekend of food, music, performance and more
Win a copy of the artist’s new book Arctic Light!

David Bellamy - Win a copy of the artist’s new book Arctic Light!

David Bellamy's new book documents his travels round the Arctic though watercolour
Win two tickets to see courtroom drama Terror

Lyric Hammersmith - Win two tickets to see courtroom drama Terror

A new courtroom drama puts the audience in the jury.
Win Tickets a Fringe Comedy Show

The Pleasance - Win Tickets a Fringe Comedy Show

Catch Nina Conti, Tim Key, Jayde Adams, Geins Family Giftshop, Adam Riches & more great comedy at The Pleasance this summer.
BRICKLIVE 2017

BRICKLIVE 2017

Get ready for the return of the fantastic BRICKLIVE this summer - on tour for 2017!

Your inbox deserves a little culture!!