Director, producer, actress, teacher. Montserrat Gili has developed all this facets throughout her fascinating professional steps in the theatrical world. Montse moved to London to study at the Physical Theatre School Phillippe Gaulier, where she was trained with members of Complicite Theatre and other professionals such John Wright, recognized awarded director and theatre professor. It is in London where Montse initiates her theatrical career in which she stands out because of her artistic talent. She has participated in several theatre project, she was Artistic Director of Dende Collective theatre company, and actually, she works as creative director in Hope Street Ltd. She loves working with young people as well as emergent artists; she likes to face new challenges. Her life is like a book full of adventures, we review with her some of this exciting chapters and we analyze the theater situation, “Behind the Scenes”.
Why do you do theatre?
That’s a good question I often ask myself! It’s not an easy choice, it requires a lot of effort and dedication. To top it up it’s the most transient of the arts. The theatrical experience is immediate, happens in the present, it can’t be captured and repeated at will, unlike cinema, TV, music, literature or most visual arts… all the hard work and effort leads to that precious moment of encounter between the audience and the actors and once the the curtain closes, that’s it, you can’t experience the same show again… Ever.
And perhaps that’s what makes theatre so addictive for an artist. On one hand is frustrating that you can’t leave a clear ‘legacy’ or proof of what you did, but on the other hand it forces you to re-invent yourself and your work every day, to try new things. At least in my case, maybe because I get bored easily and always need to be challenging myself, trying new things.
From the different facets you perform in the theatrical environment (direction, production, interpretation, teaching) what is the one you like most and why?
I’ve ended up doing all those different jobs almost by chance, a mixture of me trying new things and a need to survive in a very competitive industry. But I’m glad because I see all those jobs as sides of the same coin, one influences and complements the other and make a better, more complete artist. For example, teaching made me a better performer but also enabled me to direct some of my favourite shows and being a director taught me a lot about producing.
You are also Creative Director in Hope Street Ltd. Please, explain us briefly what is your job about.
Hope Street Ltd is an artistic creation centre where our main strand is the development of emerging artists, regardless of age, and their work as well as the innovation in contemporary theatre. It’s a unique place in the UK and I feel privileged to be there. Our most important body of work happens around our Emerging Artists Programme, a 6 month intensive experience. In 2014 we gather a group of 23 artists from different strands to make up a theatre company (actors, director, designers, production manager, digital artist, musical director, etc) and we produced 4 large scale shows, three of them with lead artists and mentors and last one on their own. My job requires me to put together the teams and dream up those large projects, create partnerships with other companies and of course the day to day support.
Which are the projects you have participated in that you consider more remarkable?
One of the stand out projects of this last year was ‘Race Against Time’ a film noir inspired immersive chase game. The audience/participants had to travel across the city of Liverpool, following clues and experiencing performances. It was very intense and a great challenge as a producer!
This isn’t the first time I work with Hope Street Ltd. Before moving to Liverpool after being offered the Creative Produce post, I directed two different site responsive shows for the Emerging Artists Programme, one of them a durational piece taking over the Tate Liverpool in response to a Picasso exhibition they had at the time. So I was familiar with the challenges that programme throws at you!
Dende Collective Theatre Company