We chat with Alex Ogando about her vision for Balloon Woods…


Alex OgandoWho are the company and how long have they been together?

We are a company of actors from Bath Spa University from all year groups and disciplines across the board of the Performing Arts department. We have been together since January this year working on our first project which is Balloon Woods and hopefully our work won’t end here. Every member of the company is a dedicated theatre-maker within their own right with their own specialities and influences, so keep your eyes out for their own upcoming work in the near future!


What is the show about?

Balloon Woods is an Urban Fairytale. It takes influence and is set on an inner city estate in Nottingham and follows the story of Little Red Riding Hood but in a way that it has never before been portrayed! It is dark and twisted and takes the audience on a journey through unfamiliar territory… there’s also some good comedy in there too!


balloon woods 1What attracted you to directing/creating this particular show?

I come from Nottingham, and have always been aware of how under-represented Nottingham is within theatre. Coming to Bath and meeting people of different backgrounds made me want to embrace my upbringing as an influence in my work even more. There are so many people I have met throughout my life in Nottingham that influence my work, because there is not one person in the city that I have met, who hasn’t taught me something new, surprised me even. I find that when I re-tell these stories to people outside of the city, of people I have met, things they have told me, the way they speak people are fascinated and love to hear more, so why not do a show that uses these influences?


What was your vision for the production?

I have always loved films that people like Noel Clarke and Ben Drew create. Films about urban life in inner city areas that throw a harsh reality in your face. Films that allow people a glimpse into someone’s life you may never meet or even understand. I suppose this was the vision for my piece, to put a slice of life on stage. To invite an audience to come and experience being in the epicenter of Nottingham, and meet the people that live there. I also wanted to tackle crimes that were trending as of late within the UK and highlight them within the everyday, because to some people they sadly are the everyday, and the fairytale through-line allowed me to do this and keep the content at a safe distance to the reality of the estate on stage.


Balloon Woods 2Where can people find out more about you, the company and the show?


My twitter is @AlOgando and I am always keen to keep people up to date on anything that inspires me on there! The Balloon Woods twitter is @Balloon_Woods.

You can also find more information on our website balloonwoods.jimdo.com.

Everything you need to know about our upcoming show is also on the Bierkeller Theatre’s website – www.bierkellertheatre.com


What other productions have you directed or starred in?

I haven’t directed anything to this scale before but have turned my hand to a bit of Sarah Kane, and Steven Berkoff throughout my course at University. I have been lucky enough to do some smaller scale performances of new writing and new musicals over the past few years that have been shown at the Corsham Fringe Festival. I do hope at some point to be able to direct ‘The Fastest Clock in the Universe’ by Philip Ridley, I just love it.


Who inspires you as a director?

Danny Boyle, Ben Drew, Noel Clarke, Steven Berkoff, Billy Ivory, Shane Meadows. (Just to name a few!) All of these directors are brilliant at telling stories in their own forums whether it be theatre or film and that is why they inspire me. Billy Ivory in particular because he is the only writer/director heralding the flame for Nottingham at the moment, so I respect him for his commitment to the city and acknowledging its potential to inspire great stories!


What was your approach to directing this piece?

I decided to take a sort of Mike Leigh approach to my method of directing, in a sense of using real people to draw from to create the characters. I wanted to allow the script to come to life, so I gave the actors plenty of time to really develop, understand and become their characters. Together we created our world that we worked in within rehearsals, our Balloon Woods estate. We established in depth character relationships and acknowledged where worlds could collide! We lived it basically, we’ve been living in Balloon Woods since January!


You can catch Balloon Woods at the Bierkeller Theatre – TONIGHT (Tues 2 July)
Doors open 7.30pm starts 8pm 
£7.50 tickets (£5 concessions)