Interview with Ellie Pitkin, Artistic Director of Blackshaw Theatre Company

“As a kid we didn’t do Halloween, as an adult – I take any chance to dress up as something creepy!”

Interview with Ellie Pitkin, Artistic Director of Blackshaw Theatre Company

Could you introduce yourself to the reader?

Hi, I’m Ellie Pitkin!

Could you explain your role in Blackshaw Theatre Company?

I’m the Managing and Artistic Director of Blackshaw Theatre Company. As well as running the company on a day-to-day basis, I’ve directed a lot of our productions over the years, made a few cameos in our radio dramas, hosted our podcast, and compèred our live events.

What's your relationship with Halloween and horror in general?

I’ve always loved the adrenaline rush of a scary story – from the bizarre ghost stories you tell in primary school, to curling up on the sofa for a duvet day of low budget horror movies. As a kid we didn’t do Halloween, as an adult – I take any chance to dress up as something creepy!

What's your go-to Halloween costume?

Victorian girl in nightgown. Accessorise as desired (blood, singing, weeping, etc…).

What led to the creation of the Horror Slam, and why choose spoken word as a medium?

The brainchild of long-time Blackshaw associate, Helen Stratton, we started the Scare Slam in 2015 as an offshoot to our then-regular new writing nights. The Scare Slam is a wonderful culmination of our focus on new writing, love of horror, and audio drama – a real celebration of good, old fashioned storytelling.

What has been your favourite moment and the biggest challenge in making the Horror Slam happen?

My favourite moment in every Scare Slam is when you can feel the silence when a storyteller pauses, and there’s a collective goosepimpling and holding of breath – it’s like time stands still. 

It’s always a challenge to work out what running order is going to really pitch the fear and relief at a pace that will work for the audience (maximising scares but keeping energy levels high!).

Do you think it's important to have horror stories in our lives?

Absolutely – it’s a great way for people to exorcise their greatest fears and unite against common enemies (real or not!).

Is there anything else you're working on that you'd like people to know about?

There are some fantastic new episodes on our sister podcast, ‘Merely Roleplayers’ - we improvise heists, Wild West shoot-outs, high stakes talent contests and many more stories. Dice rolls add an element of chance, so no one knows which way the story will go - not even us! Choose any season to jump in. Just search any podcast app for 'Merely Roleplayers'.

Where can people find you online?

We’ve got a great catalogue of audio dramas - including all the previous Scare Slams, a serial adaptation of ‘Great Expectations’, and one-off dramas – on our podcast, ‘The Blackshaw Arts Hour’ (available wherever you get your podcasts). You can also follow us on instagram (@blackshawtheatre), Facebook (Blackshaw Theatre) and Twitter (@blackshawupdate) for the latest news, shows and behind the scenes fun.

Header Image Credit: Richard Stratton

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Oluwatayo Adewole

Oluwatayo Adewole Contributor

Hey there! I'm a student whose into all kinds of stuff, but especially: film, comics, theatre and trying to make the world a better place.

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