Ahead of their show this Friday, we chatted to the wonderful duo that is ‘These Folk’ about how their show came to be, their biggest inspirations and best memories from the show.
1. Tell us a bit about your company. How and when did you form?
These Folk is made up of Susan Harrison and Justin Brett and accompanied by our regular musicians Rosie Bergonzi (on percussion) and Curtis Volp (on guitar) or (in the case of our show at BIT) Nathan Gregory on percussion.
We formed in February 2019 at the Welcome! Improv Theatre Festival in Rome. It really is the most welcoming festival I’ve ever been to and it feels very special that our show was born there. I feel like we have carried a bit of Italian Welcome! magic in our hearts ever since.
2. Tell us a bit more about the show, what inspired you to create musical folk tales?
It evolved out of a few things. I’m from a folk family; my Dad plays mouth organ, penny whistle and sings in folk sessions, my Aunt is a singer songwriter and my uncle plays banjo and fiddle, so it’s kind of in my DNA. I wanted an opportunity to explore folk music and celebrate it. Meanwhile Justin was becoming increasingly interested in storytelling and mythology and it felt like the two things merged. Folk songs are unfixed, flexible and ever changing. Exactly like improv. So it felt like a very natural thing for us to collide the two. Having said all that, this is not a poe-faced, serious folk show – it’ll still be fun, comical and full of nonsense!
3. What’s your starting off point for the show, have you had any unexpected/ remarkable suggestions?
In the past our starting point would be asking for something mundane, but we might ask for something different this time. Maybe we’ll just see if anyone has something they want to get off their chest!
The most memorable suggestion we have had so far was from an audience member called Equador who had made a bag from his dead grandparent’s curtains! Amazing.
4. Who are your greatest folk inspirations?
Mine are Joan Baez, Iris Dement and currently I’m really in to the Carolina Chocloate Drops. Also Bob Dylan is great. I love his creaky voice and his stream of consciousness lyrics, it all feels very improvised!
5. What are you most looking forward to doing on the night of the show?
I’m looking forward to playing, discovering songs and harmonies, creating something with the audience and finding out what stories lie in wait for us, hidden deep beneath the Bristol Improv Theatre floor.
(I’m also looking forward to teaching our workshop the next day. It’s always so nice to meet and explore with other improvisers.)
Enjoyed reading all about the fantastic These Folk? Then book to come and see them LIVE at the Bristol Improv Theatre this Friday!