Collage Talks: Sophie Potts of the State Theatre Company

With the commencement of the first State Theatre Company production of 2018 a few days away, I had the opportunity to chat with the publicist, Sophie Potts. We talk about the significance of In the Club, which is a part of this years’ Adelaide Festival, as well as productions she’s excited for in the upcoming season.

 

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Promotional photo for In the Club. Image Credit: http://statetheatrecompany.com.au/shows/in-the-club/

How long have you been a publicist for the State Theatre Company and what is your role?

I started in October of last year, but prior to that I was a journalist. It’s like switching what you did as a journalist, because as a journalist I was being pitched to, and now I’m the one doing the pitching. My job is to see what’s happening with the show and with the creative process. I then pick out the bits that are really interesting and newsworthy and work out what publication and medium that it’s suited to. It’s a lot of organizing being a publicist, a lot of back-and-forth emailing, I have to be super organized and so I’m really attached to my phone all the time.

What are the elements that you find engaging in a production and entices you to publicise it?

It varies so much. Sometimes it about the show, sometimes it’s about the people involved, for example the award-winning playwright Patricia Cornelius who wrote In the Club. The things that I find really fascinating are the people who are behind the scenes, things that the general public wouldn’t know about. I like finding people’s personal stories as well as what drives them to make it work, and usually it’s the people that say, ‘Aw, my story’s not that interesting’, that are the ones you want to talk to, because they don’t like publicizing themselves but they’re the ones with lots to say once you get them started.

Could you provide a brief synopsis of In the Club and why theatregoers should add this to their festival schedule?

Patricia Cornelius is amazing for a start, if you just hear her talk, she’s so unapologetic and bold. She has a lot to say, but she isn’t preachy, she talks about issues that are taboo in a way, but she’s not trying to teach things, she’s just throwing it all out there and letting people come to their own conclusions.

In the Club was commissioned by Geordie Brookman the artistic director [of the State Theatre Company] in 2016. He had always wanted to work with Patricia, and after reading Night Games by Anna Krien, he was inspired to look more into the football world and instances of sexual assault and misogyny. He then thought, ‘I have to go to Patricia, she’ll be perfect for this’, and so they began collaborating with the State Theatre Company Ensemble. In the Club is told from the perspective of three female characters, set in a night club and over the night they meet these three footballers. It’s three separate interactions of the girls and the guys, and although it’s set around footballers it’s not about football, it’s about the general culture.

When this play was written, the #MeToo movement wasn’t a thing, and when they were working on it, it started to happen, so that has informed a bit of the rehearsal process and added another layer of relevance. This problem has been around for ages obviously, this is an eternal problem, but with the #MeToo movement it has really put that in the spotlight, which is why it’s such a good time to see this production now, because that’s the point of theatre, to reflect society. I feel like we’ll see more pieces like this as a result of this powerful time for women, who are speaking out a lot more.

What are other productions from the State Theatre Company that you are personally excited for this season?

I’m excited about Terrestrial – it’s coming up in May and was written by Fleur Kilpatrick, who is a past winner of the Flinders University Young Playwrights Award. Entries to that are open now, so if you’re aged 18-25 and have a script idea, the link for submission is below.

I’m also excited to work on the Gods of Strangers written by Elena Carapetis, who adapted A Doll’s House [an STC production from 2017] and resident artist at the State Theatre Company in November. It focuses on a Greek woman growing up in Port Pirie within the Greek and Italian migrant community. I’m really looking forward to that one, as seeing stories on stage that reflect South Australia is really incredible.

 

I’m incredibly excited to see In the Club as a part of the Adelaide Film Festival, previews begin this Friday February 23rd at the Odeon Theatre in Norwood and is running until Sunday March 18th.

Tickets for In the Club are available here: http://statetheatrecompany.com.au/shows/in-the-club/

Flinders Young Playwright submissions: http://statetheatrecompany.com.au/flinders-young-playwright-award/

Milly Farmer

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