Christine Davey, the Artistic Director of Skin of Our Teeth Productions Theatre Company (SOOT), is a dynamo. She has a quick mind, talks fast and says what she thinks. She began performing with GSODA Juniors aged ten, not necessarily from an overwhelming desire to perform, but rather as an outlet for her boundless energy. ‘If I have ADHD tendencies aged 56, imagine me then’.
Eight years later and ‘too young to know what to be scared of yet’, Chris was living alone in London, working the theatre restaurant scene. One day she was a singing minstrel, the next a Cockney Pearlie Queen and next a Shakespearean lady.
Despite being paid a pittance this was the perfect setting to learn how to work an audience. By 1980, ‘having no concrete plans other than to just go and do things’ Chris Davey found herself acting at Bristol Repertory.
The British Rep system, is where a professional, resident, company develops a repertory of plays, presenting two or three each week and where actors and crew work in unison, no job too lowly, no-one’s position too exalted. ‘All ‘lovies’ getting the job done’ and unlike Chris’ earlier musical experience where the chorus ‘were not even allowed to talk to the principals’.
Christine practises this philosophy within SOOT where ‘everyone is in it together with no separation between that person on stage, that person in the lighting box and that person doing the sound.’ SOOT operates a profit share system where Chris bankrolls the budget and once that is returned from sales, the profits are shared equally between cast and crew. SOOT specialises in new works and adaptations; Richard III, Pride and Prejudice, and Macbeth produced to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Macbeth in the You Yangs, that was produced by Postcard Theatre Co, of which Christine was a founder member.
Postcard was renowned for producing ‘location theatre’ in non-traditional spaces, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Geelong Gaol) and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (in a disused warehouse). SOOT also offers opportunities for emerging playwrights to showcase their work to the public.
Christine’s aspiration for the Geelong theatre scene is to replicate Melbourne Theatre, La Mama’s model where performance ‘doesn’t cost $50 and doesn’t have to be perfect, but showcases new works that are a work in progress; a platform to trial novice writers, actors, directors, lighting people; a fabulous springboard for them.’
SOOT is constantly evolving and 2018 may embrace the development of a couple of short films or web series, or a tour throughout regional Victoria. SOOT has been commissioned by Shakespeare in the Otways to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream on October 21st.
SOOT’s current production is A Room With A View based on the novel by E.M. Forster and adapted by local emerging playwright Emma Watson, boasts an all-female crew, including director, assistant director, producer, wardrobe, sound designer, lighting designer and scriptwriter. It opens at the Shenton Theatre August 11-26. Tickets through http://www.trybooking.com/NSWF
Novice writers, actors and crew wishing to gain valuable experience are welcome at Skin Of Our Teeth.
Currently Christine holds scriptwriting classes at Vines Road Community Centre. Check out: https://www.facebook.com/christinedaveywriter/
If you wish to find out more about Room with a View or are interested in theatre and not afraid of hard work check out Skin Of Our Teeth Theatre Company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/skinofourteeth/
Written by Jacqui Connor. Photo, Christine giving directorial advice to actor Jules Hart.