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Behind the Scenes: What's taking so long?! AKA How We Find The Right Space

It is already - unbelievably - almost two months since Romeo & Juliet finished its extraordinary residency in Eastville Park Swimming Pool. And while the administrative fun that goes hand in hand with such a big production still has a few t's to cross and i's to dot (and a LOT of spreadsheets to update), here at Insane Root we are also back on the hunt for our next adventure.

Thing is, because we don't have a dedicated building, the work involved in creating our productions is so all-encompassing, and the core team also all work other jobs in the arts (and other industries)....the wait between shows can be a bit.....extended. Bear with us!

I've mentioned before how important the space is to what we do - we always find our locations first before we put the shows in them. So whilst we keep a number of shows in development, they only really take full shape when we find the right home for them.

Graham Burke - Macbeth 2015

We've certainly not been slacking, though. In the last six weeks we've had some wonderful location suggestions from our followers, clambered up and down various hills (and through windows) to reach more remote areas, and spent a mad whirlwind weekend at Open Doors scouting a huge variety of spaces. We've had meetings at iconic buildings in Clifton and we've begun dreaming new projects including and beyond Shakespeare. We've also been turned away from spaces due to concerns about preserving and protecting them. Some locations we love and already intend to use, but the time of year isn't right. Some spaces, frankly, we just can't afford.

Hannah Drake - The Tempest 2017

So, yes. Finding the right moment and space for the work we do is incredibly challenging, but I thought it would be interesting to share our 'guidelines' - the things we ask ourselves when we visit a new site to see if it's viable for the Insane Root treatment. Who knows, maybe you can help us find our next magical location? :-)

Hannah Drake - Eastville Park Swimming Pool 2018


1. Does it make you go 'wow'?

2. What is the accessibility like? Can we bring our set/tech elements in easily? Can people with additional physical needs attend comfortably?

3. Who runs or owns the space? How 'up for it' are they?

4. Take all the photographs

5. What is the capacity? Are there health and safety limits? Seating or standing?

6. What are the acoustics like?

7. Does it have any unique features that we'd want to highlight?

8. What shows/stories does it immediately lend itself to?

9. What is the infrastructure like? Are there toilets/dressing room possibilities/nearby pubs/a place for the Box Office? Does it have a roof?

10. What is the transport situation? Is there parking/good bus links? Will people travel for us?

11. Has it been used for theatre before?

12. How much does it cost?

Depending on our answers to these questions we'll either dismiss a location pretty much outright or start the process of conversations with the venue to see if it's a viable space to make a piece of theatre.

So......any more suggestions? ;-)

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