#Aの38. Demi Leigh’s Concerns Of Sustainability In UK Fringe Theatre And Film Production

Writing by Avantelier, Photo by Demi Leigh team

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. We know the specific day was past. However, Avantelier’s mission is to continue promoting female professionals who follow our ethos in protecting our world. We named mission #Aの38.  The Avantelier team is humble to learn from their manifesto, the growth process, the path of solving problems, current projects and so on.

We have been following Demi for while, she is always optimistic, and enterprising and brings laughter in front of people. But behind the scenes, she has a caring and thoughtful personality, and her observant eyes take in every detail. Supporting friends and workmates in truly practical suggestions, not abstract and huge pictures. She has a project on 20-26 March, in King’s Head theatre. Can’t wait to see her latest play and explore her messages from the play. Below is her letter to our viewers.

Hello Avantelier, and thank you so much for offering me a platform to share the concerns of sustainability in UK fringe theatre and film production!

I am Demi Leigh, currently working as a theatre & film-maker. I act, coach, write and direct, and my productions are small to medium budget. I’ve worked with Site productions, creating and staging short plays within 24 hours. I work with Working Actors Studio, as a coach, writer & director. We put on a couple of showcases of original plays a year which I often write or perform in, and we also produce one-two week-long runs. I am currently directing and co-producing a production of Simon Stephens One Minute, 20-26 March, King’s Head theatre.

Additionally, I produce my own short films and plays with Driftwood Productions. I studied Audio Visual Arts in Corfu, but as Greece was in crisis which impacted the Arts the most, I moved to the UK and got a degree in Performing Arts from the University of Derby. I had a decade-long career in Tech, working for charities and TV before I decided to move back to the creative fields full-time.

This year I have already performed in two fringe shows, I’m directing One Minute and there are plans to direct and co-produce an original play in September. I work a lot on consulting creatives who are just starting in the field since the information for theatre-making is limited. With my own production company, I am planning to produce a feminist retelling of the Trojan War (Iliad) by the end of the year. Sustainability is a big concern with low-budget/fringe theatre. Due to funding cuts from the government, we often don’t have a budget for costumes, props and stage design, meaning that a lot of production companies have to buy cheap from online fast fashion companies, like Amazon or Shein.

What advice do I have for people trying to create sustainable theatre & film on a budget?
In a sentence, search for existing resources and talk to everyone, you will be surprised at how many items you can find from other creatives and thrifting! There are Facebook groups that upcycle props, which can come in handy. Always talk with the venue and see what resources they have. Sometimes they will put you in contact with stage designers who can advise on your particular needs. If your theme is modern, try to use items you already have – remember the magic of theatre and film comes from storytelling, not elaborate props.

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