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  • Writer's pictureLaura Atherton

Being an Associate Practitioner with imitating the dog

This post was written for and originally posted on the imitating the dog blog.

I remember travelling to my audition for imitating the dog. It was 2007, I was 21 and the short train journey from Wigan to Lancaster was spent nervously going over my character prep for the role of Millie in Kellerman. My aim was very immediate - I desperately wanted to get the part, it wouldn't have crossed my mind then that I would still be working with the company all these years later.

Nine theatre shows, six countries and a handful of other performances (including an outdoor, night time, stilt walking role!) I remain part of imitating the dog and am now an Associate Practitioner. I’m an actor, writer and theatre maker and being part of the company all of my adult life has had a huge influence on the way I make theatre and how I think about creating work.

Being an Associate Practitioner, for me, is about being part of a community, it’s about having a creative support network and it’s about being part of the ideas of the company. In our rehearsals I feel it is the role of the Associate Practitioners to bring ideas, to challenge, to provoke. We all bring different skills and as a performer I bring movement and physical theatre experience along with playing characters, having contributed choreography to the last two shows. And one of my favourite moments in a show was playing a version of Dennis Hopper from Apocalypse Now in Heart of Darkness, jumping onto a table and improvising movement every night. To have the freedom to explore and feel the music on stage was a joy.

In the making of the shows I enjoy contributing to the world of the shows that we create, to chew over the narrative of the story and interrogate the ideas we’re putting on stage. Being an Associate Practitioner gives me this voice and long term collaboration makes this a very fruitful working relationship.

It’s been a strange old year for theatre folk but being part of the company keeps a strong connection to creativity for me and I look forward to when we can all sit around a rehearsal room again talking about big ideas and making exciting theatre work!

March 2021

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