“Think Fleabag meets Miranda – with some fierce, heartfelt honesty thrown in for good measure”
BY YAIZA CANOPOLI
Female-led, queer – and creative as hell – theatre company Bush Productions takes their newest show, the gloriously Sue Perkins-inspired, In PurSUEt to Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
DIVA spoke to Bush Productions founder Eleanor Higgins to find out more…
DIVA: How did Bush Productions come to be?
ELEANOR HIGGINS: Looking around the industry I’ve loved and worked in for 10 years, I found very little space for LGBTQI performers, not to mention any work telling our stories or showing our lives. I wanted to be represented, have a voice. I felt like times were shifting and wanted to start a company that fully embraced that change, showcasing the wealth of talent that lies within our community. Starting Bush seemed like the best way to do so!
Why Bush Productions?
People laugh when I tell them the name of my production company. “All the lesbians will love the Bush reference!” Honestly, that didn’t cross my mind… Sounds crazy, I know, but as a long-standing Kate Bush fan, I wanted to pay tribute to her in some way. She embodies so much of what I care about and want to achieve with my work. She’s fierce, independent, insanely creative, and a perfectionist. She has never compromised her own artistic decisions – even at 16 years old she was doing her own thing. Her vision has alway inspired me. She’s an incredible role model.
What was the process of setting Bush Productions up like?
Great fun, for much if it. Designing the promotional material felt like a particularly important aspect. We’ve had a lot of fun putting that together, making sure we had the right image for our show. Then putting that image on everything and anything you can imagine, from flyers to cake toppers, bags to T-shirts, even In PurSUEt stickers!
And the biggest hurdle?
The financial side of things. We were very lucky to have an incredible Crowdfunder campaign to get us started. So many people contributed and seemed fired up by what we are trying to do. We were then supported by Natwest’s Back Her Business Scheme, an amazing project that supports female-led companies. It was such a massive vote of confidence, it energised us to work as hard as possible to make Bush Productions a reality. We are also fortunate that the brilliant Create Recovery decided to partner with us. Overall it has been the most incredible experience. We’ve had so much love and support, and this has enabled us to work harder to get our first show on the road.
Tell us about your show! What have you been up to?
In the past six months we’ve created a short film – as well as having written and produced our new show, In PurSUEt. The latter sold out its London previews to standing ovations, and we are now here at Edinburgh Fringe with it. We’ve already had interest from theatres around the UK, who want us to bring In PurSUEt to them too, so it’s a really exciting time. After that, well, we have a few ideas… but they’re top secret. We will however continue to focus on themes exploring LGBTQI lives. We’ve been given a voice by the people who’ve supported us – and we’re going to use it.
What’s the story behind In PurSUEt?
It’s inspired by a true story; a woman sent to a therapist to deal with her drinking problem ends up relaying her adventures in pursuing Sue Perkins. It’s set in a therapist’s office and also covers important topics such as mental health, infatuation, and addiction – with a dash of humour along the way. Think Fleabag meets Miranda, with some fierce, heartfelt honesty thrown in for good measure.
What’s the intention behind it?
Hopefully In PurSUEt will prompt a conversation about alcohol and substance abuse. It’s a play about hope, redemption, and resilience. Finding a way to function in a dysfunctional world where celebrity, image and social media are some of our primary focuses. Ultimately saying that by facing our demons, we are able to overcome them.
Why Sue Perkins?
The show is loosely based on aspects of own my life – obviously dramatised for comedic effect – but it comes from a time when I was drinking too much and trying to avoid facing difficult realities. I met Sue at various events and developed a bit of a crush on her; we worked in similar industries so I circulated around the fringes of her world. In PurSUEt felt like an opportunity to tell a story using strands of my own life, while having a few laughs on the way – mainly at my own expense. I actually had a lucid dream where I wrote it all down in a play. When I woke up, I remember thinking, “I have to do this.”
We had so many funny encounters, and whenever I told people the stories of my shenanigans, they all said I had to do something with it, so I did.
🌈 UPDATE! After sold out shows in Edinburgh, In PurSUEt will now open at Kings Head Theatre, London on 1 October 2019, running until 5 October. Grab your tickets here!
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