*** Spotlight On… Sarah Jane Berger ***
To help to promote the new rep season at the So and So Arts Club, we’re delighted to have interviewed the inspirational Sarah Jane Berger!
Can you tell us about the creation of the So and So Arts Club, where did the idea come from and how is it progressing so far?
I founded the so and so arts club three years ago, because it seemed to me that I could use the fruits of a long career to establish a platform where other experienced artists from all across the industry could come together with people just starting out, and those of us in the middle, who are having to somehow re-invent ourselves in the ever changing landscape, to foster collaboration and generate paid work.
Do you find that your members are mostly from the performing industry or are you reaching a wider ‘audience’?
My members are mainly drawn from the performing industry but they include, producers, directors, film makers, documentary makers, writers and directors, not just performers. The club is aimed at them to help them to take control of their own destiny, but gradually we are accruing a wider audience for all of our work. We welcome people who would like to support artists, and feel that they are as valuable a part of the club as the artists themselves.
What is your proudest achievement in relation to the club, so far?
I think the two rep seasons, last year’s HopeFull Rep which for the first time brought together a full company of actors, writers, directors and producers to generate excellent new work, and of course this year’s Rep Ever Hopefull which has 50 artists in all involved in it, all of whom are being paid.
Tell us about the new rep season and what your involvement entails.
I am producing the whole season as well as directing one of the plays American Venus, based on the story of the silent film star Louise Brooks. So I have raised the money, and brought together everyone, chosen the plays and appointed the directors, and now will be running the box office during the season and doubtless cleaning the loos!
Is there a particular play that you’d like to direct, and what’s the reason for your choice?
I like directing new work, there’s a play I want to develop called The Burning by Ginger Lazarus, it’s a female Cyrano and is very topical as its about abuse in the US army. I hope to direct a full production next year.
You’re an actress, yourself with an impressive list of credits, what has been your most memorable acting ‘job’ and do you have any ambitions for your acting career in the future? (assuming you have time!)
That’s always a hard question, I loved playing Lady Macbeth, I would love to do some more Shakespeare and sometimes plays come in with parts that I would love to play myself, and I love comedy. I like to think that I can continue my acting career alongside producing and directing. My ambitions stretch across all three areas as part of what I am championing are better parts for older actors.
What’s your advice for anyone wishing to work in the arts in whatever capacity?
Work hard, listen to those who have been knocking around for a while and take every opportunity as you never know which one is going to make the difference.
Favourite Things (quick-fire questions):
Favourite childhood memory?
Being carried on my fathers shoulders round the miniature world in Holland.
Favourite holiday destination?
Favourite way to spend a day off?
With friends, laughing and drinking!
The Ever Hopefull Rep season details can be found here: http://www.everhopefullrep.com/
The website for the So and So Arts Club is here: http://www.thesoandsoartsclub.co.uk/