Interview with Alan Lane, Artistic Director of Slung Low

[All images courtesy of the Slung Low Facebook page] 

Slung Low is fast becoming a well known and admired theatre and arts company in Leeds. It’s dedication to provide original and inspiring theatre has attracted a wide range of audiences. TSOTA’s Sophie Joelle chats to Artistic Director Alan Lane about what’s next for Slung Low…


TSOTA: How did you originally start Slung Low? What inspired you?
AL: We started Slung Low back in 2000.  It was originally an ambition to continue making theatre once we graduated.


TSOTA: Slung Low’s a great name. How did you come up with it?
AL: We didn’t have belts when we were kids, and so our trousers used to fall down.


TSOTA: Has creating theatre always been an important part of your life?
AL: Yes, it’s the only job I’ve ever had.




TSOTA: Slung Low is involved with lots of fantastic projects. What’s been your most rewarding project to date?
AL: Camelot: the idea of a company of 137 doing something dangerous night after night in such a thoughtful way as to render it safe is absolutely brilliant.


TSOTA: You offer tickets to many shows on a “Pay What You Decide” basis. Why is this important to Slung Low?
AL: Theatre, especially publicly subsidised theatre, should be available to those who pay for it through their taxes. The current pricing of theatre means it is beyond the reach for many, and we want to make theatre and events accessible for everyone.


TSOTA: Do you think Pay What You Decide theatre will soon become a feature in bigger theatres, and possibly the West End?
AL: In subsidies theatre? Absolutely! I don’t know about West End, though, as that often involves market pressures. If we cannot find ways for the theatre that is paid for from the public purse to be more vital to that public, then that privilege will be taken from us by politicians under pressure from an unhappy public. Pay What You Decide is one of the ways we can work at making ourselves more vital.




TSOTA: How important is collaboration and support of other artists/companies to Slung Low?
AL: It’s our duty to be useful in what ever way we can, so it’s very important.


TSOTA: What events are coming up at the HUB to look out for?
AL: Our Fun Palace on 4th October has a horror feel which is going to be good fun, and Kill the Beast are playing the evening which is always worth a visit. It seems far away now, but our Christmas Fayre in December is a great way to get ready for Christmas.




TSOTA: If you could give one piece of advice to an artist starting out, what would it be?
AL: Know why you are doing it. I don’t think there is any such thing as a career in the arts any more, or rather it’s impossible to plot one given the theatre’s precarious situation. So know absolutely in your heart why you are doing it. Then crack on.


TSOTA: What’s next for Slung Low? Do you have any exciting plans in place?
AL: We’ve got both our adventures for young audience at the Crucible in Sheffield this Christmas. We’re all really excited about playing both 50 Minutes to Save Christmas and Emergency Story Penguin at the same time. We’re also going to be making another adventure with Leeds’ producer Dave Edmunds next year which I’m really excited about. Watch this space!


Keep up to date with Slung Low’s upcoming projects and events by checking the website.


Sophie Joelle