Jesse Ayertey, Co-Founder of the East London Shakespeare Company talks about Duologue Slam!

When watching a theatre performance, film or TV programme, it may be very easy to focus your attention on the lead actors. Award ceremonies always acknowledge the performances of one actor, however, with every great performance, there must be a strong ensemble of actors to help carry the narrative. With auditions and theatre competitions, the focus mainly lays in the performance of monologues, however actors Jesse Ayertey, along with Arlindo Peti, Co-Founders of the East London Shakespeare Company have noticed the need for a competition that takes into account the collaborative nature of theatre, with their acting event, Duologue Slam. Ahead of the event, Theatrefullstop were able to speak to Jesse about organising the event, why Shakespeare plays an imperative part in the event, and where Jesse pictures Duologue Slam in 5 years time.

This will be the first Duologue Slam of 2015, how are you feeling ahead of the event?

Feeling really good about it. It was initially suppose to be a one-off event but it’s great to be here again.

This is the third Duologue Slam hosted by the East London Shakespeare Company, as a relatively new theatrical event, home do you feel that this will benefit actors?

Actors feed off each other’s energy on stage and good understanding is crucial in delivering successful scenes. Actors who take part in this would be able to learn to give and receive either on stage or in films.

What inspired the creation of the event?

The Duologue slam event is a lot about unity, togetherness and team work. It’s also an opportunity for actors to network and compete in a healthy environment. It’s much more trickier to do a Duologue with a fellow actor than a monologue. A lot of listening is required. We wanted to make sure actors learn from the experience a well as have fun.

Could you explain what happens during Duologue Slam?

Actors compete over three rounds. Classical, contemporary and improvisation where the audience tell the actors what scenes they would love to see them play.

Does the event attract a certain demographic?

The events attracts mainly young actors however our previous slams have seen mature Actors take part.

How long does it take to organise the event?

With some of our members at schools and most of us working elsewhere, it take about 3 months to put everything together.

Although there’s only been three Duologue Slams, have you learned anything from organising the event? We also learn from our event particularly the Duologue Slam. The most important thing we have learnt about the Slam is how actors would respond in a competitive platform and how that could make or break their scene.

Contestants in the competition must perform a comedic, as well as a tragic piece, of which one of those must be Shakespearean. Is this because of the East London Shakespeare Company’s ethos? Why Shakespeare?

That is usually what we do however this year actors to to present two contrasting Duologues. Their Genre is totally up to the actors. Yes Shakespeare is pretty much what we do and we always want actors to perform at least one Shakespeare

Where do you see Duologue Slam in 5 years time?

In 5 years we hope to have the Slam on a bigger stage and attracting great Directors and theatre makers. We would want to have over 15 pairs competing.

What do the contestants win?

The Contestants win a £100 prize money, a meal for two at Nando’s and a Duologue Slam trophy.

Interview by Lucy Basaba.

Duologue Slam will take place tonight at The Sanctuary, Tom Allen Centre at 7pm. For more information on the event, visit here…

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