Show and Tell #6 - Molly Freeman

Smoking Apples 2
06 September 2017

Molly Freeman is the Co-Artistic Director of Smoking Apples, the award winning puppetry and visual theatre company. We are teaming up with them to bring you a classic tale as you have never seen it before.

Smoking Apples is high quality theatre, that more often than not, works with difficult, hard-to-digest subject matter. Using puppetry and visual theatre, the company create innovative shows, making their subjects enjoyable and accessible for audiences. They combine puppets, live actors and an identifiable and unique style of movement.

Molly trained alongside the other Apples at Rose Bruford on the European Theatre Arts Course. She wholeheartedly blames her time studying abroad with them, in Prague (now her favourite place in the whole world), for introducing her to the three loves of her life, Puppetry, Czech Beer and travelling. With a keen interest in movement, Molly is fascinated with the anatomy of the body, both in performer and puppet, and this combined with a cracking story is the type of theatre she both likes to see and make. She also freelances as a puppet director/consultant, higher education facilitator and as a creative project manager. She's the one in the middle of the Smoking Apples company photo!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Spending Christmas at home in Cambridge with my family and loved ones or, to be contrary, a boiling hot beach with blue skies and white sand, surrounded by my friends and family!

What lies at the heart of your own desire to do your creative work?
Connecting with people is really important to me and massively fuels my creative fire and I know that my colleagues Matt and Hattie feel the same way too. I like to make other people feel, whether that is feeling entertained, emotional, loved etc. and theatre, specifically puppetry is a great way to do that. 

What are the first things you do in developing an idea in response to a subject?
Visuals and stories are really important to us so we normally sit down and look at photographs, films, music, materials and stories about people that are connected to the subject. We create visual theatre so we tend to respond with picture led things, however, we love telling stories about people that might ordinarily be missed so that will feature heavily too, in an initial development period.

Choose 1, 2 or 3 of your all-time favourite music tracks.
I have an obsession with film scores, especially when creating new work. We work with some incredible composers who write us bespoke scores from scratch but for inspiration and atmosphere, anything by Thomas Newman is incredible. 

If you were to die and come back as a person, animal or a thing, what would it be?
Haha, everyone who knows me, knows the answer to this question! I’d come back as a Cat! I would LOVE to spend my days sleeping and being stroked. That sounds a bit weird doesn’t it?!...

What is your greatest extravagance?
Travelling! I’m not someone who buys bags or shoes or expensive jewellery but I do buy plane tickets!

What turns you on creatively?
Our shows are always about people and we’re very interested in what it means to be human. That might seem a little at odds with a puppetry company but we like to use puppetry to magnify human behaviour. We’re interested in the untold stories and the anti-heroes, in the flaws and imperfections of human nature but also it’s brilliance and resilience. Our work always centres on this, no matter what the wider subject. 

Which artwork/film/book has most inspired you?
Anything written by Jonathan Safran Foer. 

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Matt, from SA, has a saying which goes, “This is one of the hardest jobs in the world but its also one of the best jobs in the world” and that for me is a good piece of advice because is perfectly sums up the whiplash you get when you work in the Arts.

Piece of equipment you can’t live without?
My Macbook comes with me pretty much everywhere. It’d be difficult to run a company without it!

Best recent read?
The Shantaram duo, they are fantastic.