Made up of Rosa Firbank, Harriet Morris and Jessica Miller, Tick Tock Bridget is a group of dance artists who came together in 2015 to create live performances that celebrate the everyday stories we share. Using a joyful jigsaw of dance, music and theatre they intend to entertain and inspire their diverse audience.
Ahead of their April performances at Café 1901 and The Kiln here in Newcastle, we caught up with the Brighton based trio to find out a bit more about them and their tour so far, as well as what to expect from their latest work Rejoining Jane…
We’ve all been wondering about the name Tick Tock Bridget, could you tell us a bit about where it came from? (Is it anything to do with Bridget Jones?)
Rosa: Yes it is! We needed to come up with a name for a scratch night we performed in, the first piece that we did was about time and the pressures that you face as you get older.
Harriet: We’d all graduated a couple of years earlier and were thinking ‘are we at where we feel like we should be at’…
Jessica: I think we all had different perspectives of it, and different takes on where we wanted to be… and that quote (from Bridget Jones’s Diary) came up as something we could all relate to.
Harriet: It’s just that feeling of ‘come on.. .’
Jessica: ‘Tick tock…’
Rosa: So yes it’s just totally Bridget Jones!
So what have you been up to since you were here for Creative Summer?
Harriet: After here we had 4 more shows, Portsmouth, London and two in Brighton. Whilst they were going on our tour booker was booking the tour that we were going to apply to Arts Council for funding for. So as soon as everything wrapped up October/November time, we just cracked with arts council bids.
Jessica: We all work on other projects as well.
Rosa: Yeah so me and Jess are in a dance collective group called Swallows Feet and we’re producing a dance festival in Brighton which is at the end of March. It’s called Oops Festival so we’ve also been having to apply for funding for that and programming and planning so that’s taken over the last few months.
Harriet: I run a charity two days a week on the South Coast that supports vulnerable women and those at risk of being exploited, and I also do research for a couple of other charities.
Harriet: …and we’ve been organising the book!
Jessica and Rosa: Oh yes!
A book? Tell us more!
Jessica: So the book has just become part of the piece really.
Harriet: We wrote the story for the original show.
Rosa: But right at the end.
Harriet: (laughs) yes right at the end of the creative process, it was a bit back-to-front.
Harriet: So that’s sort of how it came about, and then our first private funder encouraged us to work with an editor so we edited it and developed it and extended the story. Then a friend of mine who’s a book designer was like ‘oh you know I could make it into a book for you if you want’ and we were like ‘yes please!’ So she’s put that together for us and we have a friend who’s a beautiful illustrator and she’s done illustration, now we’re going to get loads printed that we’ll sell at the shows.
Jessica: We actually had the proof posted to us last week!
Harriet: Yeah our host has it for bedtime reading at the moment.
Rosa: I think we initially thought it would be really straight forward and then towards the end it’s just been amends and panic and we’ve only just kind of sat back and thought ‘we’re actually writing a book!’
It’s kind of a big deal, like that’s some people’s only goal in life!
Harriet: I know, it was actually one of mine. Tick!
What was your inspiration for Rejoining Jane?
Harriet: Our original idea was to make a piece for a café.
Jessica: …and with character.
Harriet: Yes, we wanted to play with narrative and characters… and then I think we kind of wanted it to bring our own stories together. In our first rehearsal we all brought along our favourite books, poems and music that inspired us and used that as a starting point to develop movement and ideas.
Rosa: We spent a lot of time looking at characters that were going on journeys… adventures.
Harriet: Another thing that had given us inspiration was a book called ‘The 100 year old man who jumped out a window and disappeared’.. it’s a brilliant story and that style of storytelling I think gave me inspiration because he is a 100 year old man who climbs out of a window and goes on to have the most ridiculous adventures, but it’s all grounded in real life historical events, so it’s aaalllmooost feasible…
Harriet: We were making it for the Brighton Fringe in 2017 and so we had to actually send off a title and the blurb before we actually had anything… and then a week or two before the fringe, before the show started we decided ‘we need a story’
Jessica: Yes and we all need to read the same book… but one that would tie in with the story, so we decided to write one ourselves.
Rosa: We were just sat in a café and Jess was like ‘I think someone needs to write a book’ so I was like ‘um…Harriet you’ve always wanted to write a book?!’
Harriet: (laughter) so I wrote a story!
Jessica: Yeah in like a day as well…
Harriet: I went for a walk with my husband along the beach and we talked a lot about Jane.. we talked about what she was like, what her pets were like, what her friends were like and then I just went to a café and just looked at a world map, plotted a hypothetical route and wrote the story.
What was it that made you decide on a café for the space?
Rosa: We really wanted to do something site specific and something a bit different.
Harriet: Our original piece we’d made and performed in a studio theatre, but then we’d been part of this pop up event in an old underground Victorian police station.
Jessica and Rosa: ‘The Cells’
Harriet: I think that inspired us a bit, we were kind of like ‘oh, this piece really works in a random space’… I love watching site specific stuff and being part of the immersive thing, I find it really exciting.
What kind of music do you listen to when you’re getting into character?
Rosa: Because Jane travels around all of the places that she stops, including Ibiza and India there’s quite a lot of Bollywood… and some dance music…
Harriet: We created a playlist right at the beginning which was made up of songs we each brought that were important or inspiring to us… there was a record player in the original café and I have some really random records so I brought Spotify versions of those tracks… I think that’s where some of the Irish tracks come from. Basically just a really eclectic mix!
Clothes play a massive part in the show as you weave in and out of the story, do any of you have a favourite item?
Harriet (to Jessica): I love the life jacket that you wear, that was a recent addition wasn’t it… we were rethinking the journey that we wanted to take with the costumes.
Rosa: My skirt… I’ve got this really full circular skirt… a big flowery one and it’s just so much fun to move in because every movement is just (boom!).. it was actually an old skirt of my mum’s that was donated.. to the ‘cause’ (laughter)
What has been your favourite city (or town) on the tour so far?
Jessica: I think the first one we’d ever done was fun wasn’t it, just because we weren’t expecting anyone and then it sold out.
Harriet: and maybe when we did OH. OH is the studio that Jess runs and we performed at the launch there for about 60 or 70 people, but we’d set up the space for much smaller. Jess was also performing a solo that night so while she was doing that I had to run upstairs and make the space much bigger.
Harriet: and they were a very giving audience too, it’s really nice when you can hear people vocalising their enjoyment.
Jessica: but then I think town wise it was quite fun when we were in Portsmouth because we were down by the sea and we went to the beach.
Harriet: and even the second time we were in Portsmouth… it was all ladies in their 40’s and 50’s and they were just rolling in the aisles (laughter)
Jessica: Oh yeah!
Harriet: Yes, we were working with a videographer who filmed that run, and we were watching it back and just saw this woman sipping her drink and then literally splattering it everywhere (laughter)
Rosa: Going to different cities has been fun, but I think my favourite bit is being on the road, just the 3 of us. It just feels like such a privilege that we can just get up and go and take it anywhere – it’s really fun!
What can people expect from your performances when you return in April?
Harriet: Well, they can expect something a bit different with their cup of tea, to go on a journey.
Rosa: A bit of a surprise.
Jessica: Permission to eavesdrop.
And finally, how do you all take your tea?
Jessica: Milk, no sugar
Harriet: Earl Grey, dash of milk (am I allowed to say earl grey?!)
Rosa: I’m a dairy free person so normal tea with any non-cow milk variety – or I do quite like a herbal tea!