In just over a week, The Vaults in Waterloo will play host to 12 days of puppetry, physical theatre and cabaret as the Mimetic festival celebrates its 3rd year in its new home. A festival adamant on showcasing the bold and exciting works of emerging and established theatrical talent, the Mimetic Festival promises to be an event not to be missed. Ahead of this year’s festival, I was able to speak to cabaret performer and actor Michael Twaits about his new show, The Libertine Has Left the Building which he’ll be performing from the 25h-29th November, his reaction to being this year’s Mimetic Audience Bursary winner and how the show has been 7 years in the making!
1) Congratulations on winning the Mimetic Audience Bursary 2014 for The Libertine Has Left the Building, how does it feel?
Thank you! It’s brilliant. It’s provides a lot of support for developing the show and making it something that I hope will be really exciting and different. The show would not become the show it will be without this support – and the support of the Arts Council.
2) This year marks the debut of the Mimetic Bursary, whereby the public were given the opportunity to vote for their favourite performance via social media. How important do you find social media in terms of marketing and expressing opinions?
3) Could you explain what the show is about?
The show is a real fusion between cabaret, theatre and multimedia. It explores being an artist, queer politics and the way that intersects with the ‘normal’ parts of day to day life – and also how that changes over time!
4) What inspired the creation of the show?
Seven years ago I wrote my first theatre-cabaret show Confessions Of A Dancewhore. The show explored queer politics and ideas of multiple sides of personality. One key scene explored the myth that every seven years the body regenerates every cell in the body. So what keeps us the same person? I was developing the show with legend Bette Bourne and he just joked in rehearsal that I should put a date in the diary and come back to the show in another seven years. So that’s what I did. It isn’t a sequel but it’s exploring the same themes and the way in which expectations, ambitions and policies change over time.
5) The show will be playing at this year’s Mimetic Festival from the 25th-29th November, will this be the first time you have performed at the festival?
6) Will you be watching any of the shows at this year’s Festival? If so, which performances are you looking forward to watching?
I was always training towards being a ‘traditional’ actor but when Confessions took off so well – using cabaret a lot – my career just evolved in this direction. For me it is the very live aspects of performance, be it theatre or cabaret, that I love. Process wise – it varies depending on the show but I always like to fuse together different styles of theatre and create a bit of a unique evening for the audience.
9) Your previous works, most notably ‘Confessions of a Dancewhore’ received critical acclaim for its inventive and daring nature. Is this something you look to achieve with all of your works? Do you have a mission statement as a performer and writer?
That’s tough! Be prepared! You have to be passionate about what you do, resilient, confident and above all else love it! Work hard. If there’s no work then try to make some yourself! If ever [you] feel like performing is just a job, it’s time to leave. It should always feel [like] a treat to be a working performer because there are far so many who aren’t working!