Interview with Lawrence Harp, Slap ’N’ Tickle Theatre Company

"If your idea is still exciting you, your passion still raw; then you will find a way to get it out there to an audience!"

Interview with Lawrence Harp, Slap ’N’ Tickle Theatre Company

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader? 

Hi! I’m Lawrence Harp and I’m a member of ‘Slap ’N’ Tickle’ Theatre Company whose show, The Meat Cabaret, is now streaming [email protected] 

What does a typical day look like for you? 

A typical day? Is there really such a thing any more!? Well, in my creative life, I am an actor, writer and musician. Our theatre company meets online weekly to share our ideas and check in with each other. We have found that this has been so important recently for our mental health. When we can be in a room with each other it’s always electric; sharing new pieces of text, songs, poems and physical pieces with each other. In my muggle life I'm a primary english tutor. 

What’s great about your job? 

The Company (Slap ‘N’ Tickle)! Simple as! Madeleine and Lizzie are such talented individuals chock full of amazing ideas and, most importantly, incredibly relevant and generous stories. When creating work together, they both never fail to amaze, shock and excite me (and occasionally embarrass me as to how uninformed a feminist I am!) 

What are the bits you don’t like or find challenging? 

The easy answer is anything pandemic-related. It doesn’t take much imagination to suss out what effect the “C-word” has had on theatre companies. The tougher answer is that some of the subjects we tackle are pretty challenging. Body image, objectification, and the grey areas of feminism all take a large degree of boldness which is the responsibility of us all to tackle. It is a pleasure to take part in that discussion; and you’d best believe we don’t always agree! That’s the joy of our work! 

You are participating in season 2 of [email protected] Tell us about your show? 

The Meat Cabaret is a short film that explores the female form and beauty myth through a fabricated cabaret performance. Using songs, poems and black comedy the show explores the underbelly of the female experience in the age of social media, giving a sneak peek into the inner world of the female psyche. It is aimed at all those who want to explore more of the female experience. 

What should an audience expect when watching the show? 

You should expect to be shocked and provoked! We take pride in the crudeness and visceral nature of the piece and hope that it moves you.

How have you found the transition from live performance to online? Have you found it constrictive or has it allowed you to experiment more? 

This is an interesting one because our company was actually born out of the pandemic. The show itself was written and produced during the 1st national lockdown in April. So, in our case we are already pretty well adjusted to creating content online. We are primarily makers of work for theatre and re-discovering the challenges that medium possesses has been the focus of our rehearsals since getting back to the rehearsal room. 

Do you think online performance will remain popular/necessary in the future? 

I think the appetite for online performance during this period has proved that it will continue to be prominent. Now, performances do not have to run for a short period and are then lost to the sands of time. Recorded performances increase the longevity of shows and streamed performances have the potential to reach an even wider (and crucially less London-centric) audience. 

How has it been working with theSpaceUK for this season? 

TheSpaceUK has been very supportive of us.They’ve really helped shape how the show fits into their online programme and have put us in touch with many valuable contacts and reviewers which contributes a lot to building our image. 

What are the highlights of your career to date? 

My personal highlight has been rehearsing and filming my first professional acting job in a pantomime this past winter. Unfortunately, it could not go ahead live over Christmas due to lockdown but there are hopes that it will play again in 2021. Watch out for ‘Cinderella’ at the Colourhouse Theatre, Wimbledon. 

How did you get into the industry? Have you also worked outside the arts? 

I’ve wanted to be a performer ever since my drama teacher at school pushed me to be in a musical! After a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies I took a Masters in Acting at East 15 Acting School. It’s there where we formed our theatre company Slap ‘N’ Tickle. 

Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it? 

The biggest challenge right now is that the industry is not as we knew it. Frankly, there were things which I had hoped I would be doing during the early stage of my career that haven’t come to pass. I find the trick at this moment in time, is to approach everything with compassion for myself. Not trying to force opportunities yet being ready to grab them by the scruff of the neck when they arise!

Have you noticed any changes in the industry? If so, what? Is there more change you would want to see? 

Noticed anything…different? I don’t think so!…I jest. I think we all want to see theatres reopening of course! I would like to see new and innovative ways to get theatre into wider communities and I would like to see this new sense of inclusivity reflected in future work. 

You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say? 

Take things one step at a time. Please! For the love of god! 

Do you have any advice for young people interested in following your footsteps? 

Do it…I know it’s a bit of a meme but I really do mean it. Before the pandemic started I couldn’t have imagined creating content for an online audience until i just DID IT! If your idea is still exciting you, your passion still raw; then you will find a way to get it out there to an audience! 

When and where can people watch your show? 

https://online.thespaceuk.com/show/the-meat-cabaret

Watch it here until January 30th. 

And finally where can people find you? 

Twitter: @SlapTheatre 

Instagram: @slaptheatre

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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