Lauren Mooney on Freshly Scratched

Lauren Mooney developed her show Service through Freshly Scratched in 2016. She tells us about her experience and what she’s been up to since:

(c) Alex Brenner, no use without credit - Lauren Mooney, Service - scratch @ BAC (_DSC6140).jpg

What made you want to apply for Freshly Scratched?

I had an idea that I didn’t know what to do with, for a solo show I’d perform myself talking about work, class and mental illness, based on a combination of family, social and political histories. Though I wanted it to be much less dry than that sounds! I had no experience at all of performing my own work but I was really keen to give myself some time and space around my other work in theatre (I work for Clean Break and write/produce for Kandinsky Theatre Company) to have a crack at developing this idea into something approaching a show. I just wanted to find out if it had legs and if I was even capable of performing it! I saw an advert for Freshly Scratched on Twitter but never thought for a second I’d get in – I basically applied to have a go at filling in the application form, to see what I’d say about this show if I needed to get something down. So when I got the invite through with dates and times I was pretty shocked!

What was your experience of Freshly Scratched like?

I was extremely nervous for the entire day leading up to it, to the extent that at one point I thought I actually wouldn’t be able to do it. But the team at BAC were incredibly kind and welcoming, and as soon as I got in the space I felt much calmer about the whole thing. It’s a big room so be prepared for that, but don’t let it put you off applying – the crowd were so friendly. The motto of the night was to ‘embrace failure’ which is quite a relaxing way of looking at it, and certainly good for me to have a crack at as its the complete antithesis of my entire personality. There was good camaraderie between the acts and the feedback forms were really useful and encouraging.

What have you been up to since?

After seeing a short extract at Freshly Scratched, one of BAC’s producers spoke to me about how the work could expand beyond that short section, what I wanted to do next with the show and what I needed to make it happen. My director and I needed time and space to work on the idea further – and as a result, BAC kindly gave us a week of research and development time in the building at the end of February this year, in a small, very beautiful room which we had completely to ourselves for a week. It was exhausting but invaluable. We’re definitely going to turn it into something and are now just working out exactly what next – and we owe a huge amount of thanks to BAC for making it possible. Having the R&D time as support in kind also enabled me to fundraise for the week, which meant I could pay people who were working on the show with me, which was amazing. BAC’s support made the difference not only between having the space and not having it, but between having a musician with us and not, which completely altered the show. And it all came through Freshly Scratched!

Got any advice for people thinking of applying for Freshly Scratched?

Do it! Even if you don’t get in, just thinking about how you describe your ideas is a really useful exercise. I’m a producer as well as a theatre maker and the divide between ‘making’ and ‘making happen’ in the arts frustrates me: thinking about your work, what you want it to say and why you think it’s worth saying usually makes the whole thing much clearer in your head. And if you do get in, it’s an incredibly safe and supportive environment to try out new things in.

Applications for Freshly Scratched 2017 are now open. Click here for more information and send in your application by Monday 3 April. 

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