Alexander Kelly Interview
Posted by Guest Writer on Thu, 13 May 2010.
Class of 76’
Along their 10th anniversary tour, Third Angel will be stopping at Leicester’s Curve to bring us Class of 76’. The Jitty caught up with theatre director and star of the show – Alexander Kelly.
The Sheffield-based touring company Third Angel last appeared at Curve with Presumption in 2009 and now they will return on Tuesday, May 11 with five nights of Class of 76’.
This fresh and funny piece of performance art documents Kelly’s quest to track down each of the people in his class photo from 1976 and find out where they are now.
Kelly said, “It’s quite a simple piece to tell and it’s great that we’re doing our last tour of it in its 10th anniversary year.”
In 1999, Third Angel performed version one of the show, which saw Kelly tell fictional stories about the children in the photograph.
He said, “It was more of a drama piece in the beginning because the lives of the children were just stories we made up.”
In May 2000 they performed version two of the show at the location where the photo was original took - at Chuckery Infant School Hall, and they told the truth about the children pictured.
This final, updated production version three tells not only the stories of the children in the photo but also Alex’s story of how he achieved his childhood dream of being a detective.
Between the first two shows, Kelly, the companies’ Co-Artistic Director, embarked on a unique research project, tracking down as many of the 34 children in the photograph as he could find. When he found them, he asked them what they had been doing for the last 24 years and what they remembered about school and each other to create a catalogue of both shared and unique memories.
Alexander has inspired many others to do similar research pieces with their own old school photographs. He said, “The audiences I’ve performed to love this show. Now it’s been 24 years, I do have to explain a little bit of the historical process though. The younger audience members will ask why I didn’t use Facebook or Friends Reunited. And the simple answer is, they didn’t exist when I originally set out to do this.”
He added, “I’ve had people come up to me after the show who’ve said they’re now going to see if they can track down old friends and class mates, which is great.”
The 41-year-old, who studied at Lancaster University, says that Friday’s performance will include an optional after-show discussion and Saturday’s show will be followed by some film footage.
Kelly’s next two pieces of work – What I heard About the World and It’s All About the Full Stops – will hopefully tour the UK next Autumn.
Class of 76’ will run at Curve from Tuesday, May 11 till Saturday, May 15, at 7.45pm.
Tickets cost £12-£15 or £9 for under 18s. To book tickets or for more information phone 0116 2423595 or visit www.curveonline.co.uk
By Gemma Crowston