If you’ve never heard of Mortal Fools before, what do you need to know about them? We asked Artistic Director, Kiz Crosbie, to explain more about the theatre company – who they are and what they do, why they do it and what’s really important to the organisation.
Mortal Fools are a group of theatre professionals passionate about making really great theatre which also seeks to help improve people’s lives. The company is led by Kiz (Artistic Director / CEO), Helen Ferguson (Creative Producer) and Zoe Anderson (Programme Co-ordinator), together with a magnificent team of Associate Artists and Practitioners who we work with regularly.
We are a company who pride ourselves on being people-centred – all our work is for the benefit of people and we work hard to always balance our business needs with human needs. The values we strive to live by as an organisation are Contributing, Growing, With Others, As Ourselves. These are things we passionately believe help people to thrive and so also help us to thrive as an organisation. They’re not for a poster on the wall – but for every day, present in all elements of our work - as a living, breathing enactment of the world we are working to create.
We are also a company who pride ourselves on crafting deep, supportive relationships with theatre artists at early stages of their careers. It can be extremely hard-going as an independent artist just starting out, so we provide opportunities for them, recruiting partly on the basis of skills and experience, but mostly seeking those who share our passions and beliefs and supporting them to develop as artists through our existing projects and their own projects.
We also believe that, when done in the right way, participating in and making great art can improve people’s lives. We love drama and theatre and work to bring the highest quality of dramatic arts into (sometimes) the most unlikely of places.
Earlier in 2017, we moved to a new base in Prudhoe, Northumberland. We’ve always worked extensively in the county, but we wanted to locate ourselves in an area that wasn’t well-served and work to change that. We’ve been welcomed by the community in the most wonderful way – met with curiosity, intrigue and perhaps a little confusion, but always with warmth.
In the last 6 months alone we’ve brought ‘Stupid’, a solo show by young artist, Sian Armstrong, to Prudhoe High School as part of a regional series of preview performances. She and director, Anna Ryder, were also in residence at the school for a week as part of the show’s development process. We’ve also delivered a leadership training day as part of our adult training programme for leaders in the voluntary, community and small business sector in the area, in partnership with Prudhoe Community Partnership. And now we’re bringing ‘Melva’, transforming a shop unit on the high street into a pop-up theatre and producing our own family theatre for the first time. We’re working with young actors, a young director, supporting a writer with her first full play script and bringing all this excitement to a community who’s had nothing like this there before.
What about Kiz? Who is the person behind the organisation?