Production Manager and Lighting Designer, Tanya Joelle Stephenson, talks about her role in So Many Reasons, what it’s like to work with Rachael Ofori, and what feminism means to her.
What role do you play in making the show?
I’m Production Manager and Lighting Designer for So Many Reasons, which has involved being present in all stages of the writing, researching, developing and rehearsing of the show. It’s important to witness and play a part in emerging ideas and creative discussions in the room as they can have a huge influence on any part of the production later on.
What’s the most interesting part of your job?
Meeting and working with all the different people who are involved in making the show happen. Those in the rehearsal room – we spend all day together getting to know the ins and outs of each other in order to help push the show to its most exposing and truthful limits. Producers – the care and support that comes into each project is extremely inspiring and necessary. The venues themselves – CPT has a very friendly base, from which you can meet other artists on a daily basis. The schools we’ll be touring to – hearing from teachers just how important theatre is to their students. Production team – lifesavers who love what they do: a joy to work with.
What interests you in Racheal’s work?
Racheal’s work is terrifically bold and honest. She’s not afraid of putting something risky and personally truthful on its feet and in front of strangers! Her energy (and her laughs) in the rehearsal room and on the stage is incredibly infectious.
Had you had any interaction with Racheal’s work before?
I worked on Portrait when it toured to Newcastle and Wolverhampton – a fantastically hilarious show about various women that should be seen in all corners of this country.
What themes in the piece resonate most strongly with you?
The idea that religion has played such an influential role in Mel’s sexual journey resonates with me the most. Coming from a family that led a church for the first ten years of my life had an unnoticeably (at first) heavy impact on the way I developed mentally as a teenager and then as a young woman: what I censored from myself and from my parents, what I thought was right and wrong, and what would make me happy (in more ways than one). In hindsight now, of course, it all seems very obvious!
What does being a feminist mean to you?
The freedom of choice whoever you are. Nudity may liberate and empower some, whilst modesty may liberate and empower others.
Who do you think this show will appeal to?
Anyone who ever drew a penis on a steamy window or who can’t remember THAT conversation with their parents must see this show.