Friends and fellow Paris-based creative types Chris Newens and Alice Brace have launched a new arts collective called Fourplay. Here’s what it’s all about…
An interview with curators of “Fourplay” Chris Newens and Alice Brace
ERK Describe “Fourplay” and why it exists
AB The idea began as a conceptual theatre festival and has since evolved into an all-encompassing arts collective. The aim is to create a platform for artists of all disciplines and experiences to present their work and to connect with other artists and creative minds. So ‘Fourplay presents NOW’, which is a theatre festival, will be the first event (held December 11th-12th) but Fourplay will be presenting many more, varied events in the future.
ERK Who came up with the idea?
CN Well, both Alice and I have been heavily involved in Paris’ English language theatre scene for the past couple of years, specifically with the Montmartre Dionysia. And the big changes going on in that event opened up a space for us to try something a little different…
AB So we came up with Fourplay. It was actually while we were eating Bolognaise in Bologna this summer, and we sketched our ideas out onto a napkin. Right from the beginning we were really into having strong aesthetic, so I showed our designs to my brother, George, who’s a freelance graphic designer. He translated our vision into a website and, in his own words, a “brand identity”. Between us, and various friends, we built on the concept.
ERK What’s the name about?
AB The name comes from the early stages when it was just a theatre festival (with no more than four plays!) and has stuck from the start.
CN I mean, naming anything’s pretty difficult, but this just seemed right. I think it encapsulates the sense of fun we want to inspire, and how our events will represent a space for artists and writers to experiment with new ideas. The name is also something we’re playing with regards the content of our shows. For example, with our upcoming theatre event ‘NOW’, the four plays involved all have to make use of the same four props.
ERK Who’s involved in Fourplay?
CN The team’s growing all the time! Alice and I are calling ourselves its curators, which basically means we’re taking care of organising events and collaborations, and generally steering the concept in the direction we want it to go. Meanwhile, George has been working on all the imagery, everything from the website to the posters.
AB For ‘NOW’ he’s worked with a dancer, Tillie Ridge, to interpret our four props through a mixture of photographic and physical work. We’ve also had a beautiful illustration of the props done by an award winning illustrator, Alex Wood. And on top of that, there are our four playwrights, a fantastic troupe of actors, and one mime. ‘NOW’ is also going to feature live music and the all-important art of cooking!
ERK What are you ideas for the future?
AB Fourplay’s second event will be a show-and-tell style evening shortly after New Years’. Then, almost immediately after that we are going to start reaching out to artists and artisans for another theatre event in late spring.
CN It’s something we’re very excited about. We want to repeat the concept of the ‘NOW’ festival, though with a different theme, and instead of using four pre-fab props, we want to commission abstract, designed objects to which the next batch of playwrights and actors will have to react.
AB It will be like an arty version of that game in ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’
CN Aside from that, we’re planning a variety of events. We’re interested in the idea of putting on a dance spectacle and an exhibition of all the artwork produced for ‘NOW’. Basically, though, we’re open to ideas.
ERK Can people get involved and, if so, how?
AB Yes! We are currently looking for about 5 volunteers for both dates of ‘NOW’. Anybody interested in working with us in a broader sense for future events should contact us via email or through our Facebook page.