Eggs Collective consists of Sara Cocker, Lowri Evans, and Léonie Higgins. Based in Manchester they are delivering punchy performances with a distinct political edge. Their latest production, Eggs Collective Get A Round invites you to join the girls on a night out. Tipped as one of the nations’ upcoming theatre companies these girls are taking their latest production, following its successful tour, up to the Edinburgh Fringe. However if you cannot make it to Scotland’s capital this summer Eggs Collective Get A Round is also being broadcast on BBC 2 later this summer. We here at culturised caught up with the trio and asked them a little bit more about both the production and their work as a company more broadly.
Your latest work Eggs Collective Get A Round centres on a typical “night out”. Where did your inspirations come from?
Well, we love a night out. Our friendship was forged over sticky pub tables and jokes made funnier by three glasses of house red. But it’s not just about the booze: it’s about being out, about being together, about being able to get stuff off your chest that you’d never dare whisper on, say, a Tuesday morning. On a great night out with friends you feel like you belong, like you’ve got each other’s backs, like nothing can touch you. We thought, well, what if you apply the golden rules of a night out to the rest of life? Would that make the world a better place? And that’s basically how Eggs Collective Get A Round started.
How do you work together as a trio? Do you collectively create the work or does somebody take the lead?
Yeah, we make it all collectively. Sometimes we go off and write bits on our own, then bring them back to the group and see what everyone thinks. It’s a delicate thing, coming up with brand new ideas and saying them aloud, so we’ve worked hard to find a way to work with each other in a way that’s kind but honest. Part of this comes from being friends; we laugh a lot together. It seems that as our bank of running jokes grows, so does our sense of trust and of knowing each other. It’s harder to feel wounded the suggestion of a line being cut when the person who suggested it has just spent twenty minutes with you making puerile jokes about yoghurt.
Why is it important for you to tell these kinds of stories? And is there a specific source for the show’s political edge?
Well, we suppose it’s important for us because they’re our stories. But there was also a impulse to say something to counteract that sneery media view of pissed women in crotchy skirts trooping into town centres to throw up in gutters every weekend. There is such creepy misogyny in that sort of reporting, so we wanted to say something back.
We started to make Eggs Collective Get A Round in 2014, the day after UKIP swept to victory in the European elections. We felt like we wanted to say something about what we saw as being an increasingly divide and conquer world. Depressingly, it hasn’t stopped feeling relevant. Eggs Collective Get A Round, although it seems on the surface to be about a night out, is a quest for kindness and belonging.
The show also has a lot of cabaret influences, has that always been an interest for you?
Over the years we’ve been really inspired by cabaret – performers like Dickie Beau, Bourgeois and Maurice and David Hoyle. We recently loved and were so inspired by David Hoyle’s Diamond at Contact, which felt like part-show, part mass-hallucination. We have loved performing at nights like DUCKIE, where the performances are part of a club night, so what’s happening on stage unleashes something in the audience and vice versa. Eggs Collective Get A Round was made with all this in our minds. (Saying that – we don’t ask anyone to come up on stage. People have been scared of that in our shows. We would never make anyone do anything they didn’t want to do…)
There has been a recent resurgence of female led theatre companies. Where do you see Eggs Collective in fitting in with this landscape?
Well, we just do what we do. We sometimes get mentioned alongside companies like Figs in Wigs, Sh!t Theatre, and Rash Dash, which is wonderful for us because we love those guys. But, aside from all being youngish, white women, we all do quite different things. It sort of doesn’t happen like that for the male companies.
Being based out of Manchester what are the difficulties facing regional theatre? Has it been difficult to overcome those barriers?
Really, there are no barriers for us. We are very, very fortunate to be based in one of the cultural hubs of the UK, and have had loads of support and opportunities from loads of places, venues, organisatons based there. Manchester’s great. Just look at the amount of shows that are coming up from the North this year – Kate O Donnell, Middle Child, Daniel Bye, Pamela DeMenthe… We get asked to talk about this subject a lot but it’s not something we think about. We feel sorry for the Londoners, to be honest.
Later this year you will be participating in Performance Live, how will you adapt the work for screen?
We’ve already done it! We filmed the TV show in front of a live audience earlier this year, and it is due for broadcast on BBC 2 soon. It was a mad process, not least because we became a TV production company for it. We had to write about 723,897 new drafts of the script before filming, and then on the actual filming day there was so much kit that the pub we filmed in looked like the business end of a Curry’s warehouse. But it was all brilliant, and we’re so excited to see what TV audiences make of it. We’re also really happy to be performing the live show at Summerhall at the Edinburgh Fringe. People tend to leave Eggs Collective Get A Round feeling like they’re ready for a wild night out, so we think ten past nine is a perfect time for it at the Festival. We’ll send you off into the Edinburgh night ready to paint those cobbles red.
Eggs Collective Get A Round is showing at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Fringe from the 6th to the 25th of August. For more information and tickets see here.