Managing and Artistic Director of Blackshaw and Director of Fetch, Ellie Pitkin, lets us grill her for 5 minutes.
Why did you pick Fetch for Halloween Tales?
Duncan initially sent us the play to consider for Wandsworth Arts Festival – we totally loved it but couldn’t find space for it in our WAFF program. I was really drawn to the effective simplicity of the concept – a chilling story with 3 actors and 1 location – a director’s dream! Halloween Tales is a great way to present a cracking short thriller like Fetch.
What’s your favourite past production that you’ve worked on?
Ooh that’s a tough one – I’ll have to cheat and choose two… Audience with the Ghost Finder because it was such a joy to work with two talented actors on a fun, quick paced, and spooky script – fab opportunities to play with space and physicality. And Gormenghast: Titus Groan because it was such an achievement – our own adaptation of a classic novel, with an 18-strong cast.
What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?
I think Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein is up there for me, and I’ve found Matilda pretty inspirational too – what they have in common is a beautiful synthesis of design and performance – and some really innovative staging techniques (I’m always looking to pick and steal little tricks from other productions).
What’s your favourite horror movie?
I’m a bit of a thrill junkie, and will watch any old tat – I’m particularly scared of little girl ghosts, but love anything with a spooky backstory. My favourite of those I’ve seen recently is ‘Insidious’.
What scares you silly?
You’re going to a Halloween Party, what are you dressing up as?
A zombie! I’ve got some excellent prosthetics which I haven’t had a chance to use yet. Just not sure what type of zombie to go as…
Have you ever had a spooky experience?
I don’t really believe in ghosts, but I did scare myself silly recently – I was staying in a big manor house over the summer, everyone else went out, and I was all by myself in this vast place. I was just settling down to a DVD when I heard a regular thumping coming from upstairs. It sounded like a door being slammed over and over. I tiptoed upstairs, with my finger hovering over the emergency call button on my phone. As I approached the top of the stairs, the noise got louder, and louder. SLAM, creak, SLAM. As I got to the landing, I could see that the bathroom door was swinging open (creak), then slamming shut. I thought it must just be a draught, and ventured into the bathroom. Sure enough, the window was open a crack. I closed the window, walked out of the bathroom…creak, SLAM. I turned around, the door had slammed itself shut again. Well, it’s probably on a slope or something, so it naturally falls shut, and I could see the handle was fully engaged with the door frame, it was shut for good. I turn again to walk down the stairs…creeeaaaak…I whip around, and the door is slowly inching open again. I ran back downstairs.
Not a lot of people know that…
By day, I work as a financial administrator *spreadsheet high five*.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Ice Cream. ALL OF THE ICE CREAM.
What really grinds your gears?
Slow walkers and inefficiency.
You can see the fruits of Ellie’s directorial labours on 30th, 31st October and 1st November. Get your tickets now.