Everyone knows one. Everyone has that one friend who is irresistible but also in the wrong context spells doom.
Inspired by our group's response to the friendship between Prince Hal and Falstaff, Frientimacy explores the grey area of dangerous, intimate friendships, how they feed or starve us, how they make or break us and ultimately, if pressed, whether we would save them our last chip. Frientimacy is performed by Clean Break graduates as a creative response piece to Phyllida Lloyd's Henry IV at the Donmar Warehouse. Henry IV continues to develop the exciting collaboration between the Donmar Warehouse and Clean Break that started with Julius Caesar in 2012. Henry IV is the second in a planned trilogy of Shakespeare plays directed by Phyllida Lloyd for the Donmar and, as with Julius Caesar, Clean Break graduates are included in the cast. Clean Break participants were also closely involved with Phyllida Lloyd and the company through the development of Henry IV.
A note from writer Stacey Gregg
Working with our Clean Break cast and having the opportunity to celebrate the Donmar's inspiring production of Henry IV has been a total treat. It was a challenge to distil our response into something that felt like ours but stories emerged quickly in rehearsal and we were able to shape those into a shared experience. We wanted something of the strength and warmth that we often see at Clean Break, and the natural rapport between our cast members.
A note from director Imogen Ashby
Frientimacy began with a night at the theatre to see Henry IV. The following day Stacey, our three wonderful Clean Break performers and I spent the day thinking about the impact of the play, the ideas, the characters and the pictures in our heads. We told stories, played games and watched funny women on Youtube – we ended the day talking about women we knew like Falstaff who were funny, charismatic and ‘on’ all the time but who had an edge to them which meant you were never quite sure where you would end up at the end of an evening. I remembered a story I was once told during a prison residency by a woman who said the person she feared most when she got out was her best friend. This was precisely because she was fun, irresistible and ultimately dangerous, and that moment, on release, when she would come round to her house gagging for a night out would be the hardest of all. This story has stayed with me through our five days together.
Erin Gavaghan is an experienced executive arts manager who has worked within both new writing theatre and contemporary dance / choreography.
Erin has been Executive Director and joint CEO of Clean Break since October 2018. Previously at Siobhan Davies Dance, she held several roles; most recently as Executive Director (from 2014). Prior to that, she was the General Manager of Soho Theatre (2008-2012), having also followed a path of progression from Front of House Manager (2005-2007) and Deputy General Manager (2007-2008). Since moving to London from Canada in 2000, Erin has also worked at the Royal Albert Hall as the Stewards Administrator and Natural History Museum managing catering services.
Erin studied English Literature and Theatre (Directing) at the University of Victoria (Canada) and attained an MA in Arts Policy and Management from Birkbeck in 2005. She has a passion for life-long learning.
Anna Herrmann has been working in the field of theatre and social change for twenty seven years, specialising in theatre and education with marginalised groups in the UK and abroad. She has been with Clean Break since 2002 as the Head of Education, leading the company’s award winning work with women in the criminal justice system and women at risk of entering it. Anna is co-author of Making a Leap: Theatre of Empowerment: A Practical Handbook for Creative Drama Work with Young People (Jessica Kingsley Publishers). She has an MA in Arts Education from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and a PG Cert (Distinction) in Race and Ethnic relations. She is a regular visiting lecturer on Applied Theatre courses at Universities across the Country and between 2006 and 2018 was a trustee of Leap Confronting Conflict; a UK based national charity specialising in youth and conflict. Anna sits on the Steering Group of the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and is also a trained coach and regularly mentors artists in participatory settings.
Róisín McBrinn is a theatre director with over fifteen years experience working in the UK, Ireland and internationally. She has been with Clean Break since 2016 as the Head of Artistic Programme and during that time has directed Joanne (Soho Theatre and RSC) and House/Amongst The Reeds (Yard Theatre) for the company. She was formerly Associate Director at Sherman Cymru where she oversaw the commissioning and developing of new Welsh writing. Róisín has directed for the Donmar Warehouse (Noveccento), Sheffield Theatres (Afterplay), West Yorkshire Playhouse (Yerma), Prime Cut (Villa/Discurso), The Abbey Theatre (No Escape, Perve, Heartbreak House). She has developed new work for Soho Theatre, The National Theatre, The Bush, The Abbey and Sherman Theatre. This summer she is directing a stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle's The Snapper for Dublin's Gate Theatre.