Saving the bees and learning not to pick flowers: an interview with the creator of 'Me and My Bee'
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Me and My Bee is a show that involves not only great fun, jokes, and laughs, but serious environmental issues that, while entertaining, also inspire change. Below is an interview held with Josie Dale-Jones about this stunning show.
What was the creation process for the show?
"With this show there was more research than ever, so that was the first thing; getting to know the bees! We did a mixture of chatting to bee specialists, conservation organisations, environmentalists, beekeepers, and good old google.
There were bits of storyboarding happening in-between all that, but most of that went out the window when we got in the room. We did lots of what we found fun. That's what's most important, so, bits of improv, followed by writing, creating songs and choreographing routines."
Did you have an overall goal when putting it together?
"The whole time we had an eye on our audience. We knew we wanted it to be accessible for kids but didn't want to make a show just for kids. This, and wanting to make a comedy, led the material we made and kept in the show.
And, of course, trying to get our audience to understand the plight of bees, learn to love them, save them and consequently, save the world."
How did you manage to find the perfect blend of humour and serious issues?
"The bees dying out is a serious issue, but we always try to take a more positive angle. To us, that comes hand in hand with laughter. With comedy you can be more brutal or honest because it’s done in a funny way."
What is the typical reaction you get from your audience afterwards?
"Our favourite two are: '"that was THE BEST SHOW EVER" from a young girl after a work in progress at Bush Theatre, and "I want to plant lots of flowers. And not pick flowers." a young boy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe"
Do you have plans for any further projects that involve environmental or otherwise controversial issues?
"We’re currently developing two new shows - UNCONDITIONAL & dressed.
UNCONDITIONAL is a show I am making with my mum (my real mum). She is a theatre maker too. We’re making a show about facing the monsters! It is going to be previewing 3rd-5th July 2018 at Battersea Arts Centre.
dressed. Is a collaboration between ThisEgg and Made My Wardrobe. Made My Wardrobe is a project and blog my friend Lydia started in 2016. After being stripped and sexually assaulted at gun point, Lydia set out to redress herself with a new healing set of armour. We are working with 2 more of our best mates from school (one is now a dancer and one a singer). It is about making something beautiful out of something dark and traumatic. It is a celebration of female performance and friendship.
And… whilst on tour, we bee lovers are doing lots of research for another family comedy about sex ed so do watch out for that one…"
Do you think that your show is inspiring change? And how so?
"We are trying to raise awareness (even if that is on the micro-est scale).
When we meet people who have seen the show, they always tell us what bee they were (in the show everyone is given a type of bee to represent). They've remembered one new thing. That's a tick.
People also tell us that they either still have their seeds, or have planted them. That's a big tick. You can always do more, but starting small can make a difference. (As demonstrated by the bees themselves)."