About the Folkestone Performing Arts Company
The Folkestone Performing Arts Company is an artist-led international theatre ensemble creating vibrant, relevant and compelling theatre through the celebration of local stories.
FPAC’s approach to theatre making is non-hierarchical based on observation, movement, time and space where all elements of production – acting, directing, writing, property creation, lighting design, etc – are given equal importance and there is a horizontal rather than vertical creative structure. This allows for a sense of ownership by all members of the creative team as opposed to a more typical vertical structure where the actors / designers serve a ‘vision’ of the director or playwright.
The FPAC creative foundation is firmly rooted in the improvisation technique called ‘Viewpoints,’ which was developed by the theatre director Ann Bogart in the United States over 30 years ago. Through working with the Viewpoints, FPAC’s focus is to play with form through responding to outside stimulus rather than the interior psychology of a character; this creates a highly collaborative ensemble and a fresh and dynamic approach to storytelling. This ensemble-based approach also places ongoing training on an equal footing to new work development so that the ensemble is constantly developing their craft in addition to creating theatre.
FPAC is a pioneering proponent of this technique and the only theatre company in Kent to use it in ongoing training and new work development; this use of Viewpoints gives the FPAC Ensemble a distinctive voice in theatre-making.
Matthew Hahn, the artistic director of FPAC, has been working in the Viewpoints technique for 30 years having first encountered Anne Bogart in university. Since then, he has trained with Ms. Bogart at the Abbey Theatre and Central School of Speech & Drama and with her company, SITI, in New York City. He has also led numerous Viewpoints workshops at RADA, Central School of Speech & Drama, & Goldsmiths College, amongst other drama schools and universities. As an international theatre director, he has co-created productions utilizing the technique to build ensembles and to devise new work.
With over 20 years of experience as a theatre for development practitioner in working with communities in struggle throughout sub-Sahara Africa and eastern Europe, he has co-created interactive and participatory international theatre projects focusing on developing and enabling young people, social cohesion, peace-making and conflict resolution in the Global South & North. Through FPAC, Matthew is combining two of his theatrical interests – professional theatre making and theatre for development – in his local area to advance creativity & accessibility to the theatre.