We are A Real Theatre Company is run by co-artistic directors Ivor Houlker and James Hodgson. The company also work with collaborators and external artists on a project by project basis. These include Jacob Harrison (Performer and creative collaborator), Jonathan Grieves (Director), Tom Hodgson (Artist/Designer), Li E Chen (Performing Artist) and Solveig Eva Magnusdottir (Performer).
Formed in January 2011, the company is in its third year of operation and continues to devise and produce new works. In 2011 the company created their first professional production, Men Avoid Jars, which premiered in April at the annual Symposium at Rose Bruford College. Since then, the production has undergone numerous reincarnations and travelled to the Fringe Festival Prague in June 2011, where it was well received by audiences and critics alike:
“Self-Proclaimed Dadaists, Surrealists, Postmodernists. Men Avoid Jars spark with the potential for Genius. It‟s seriously funny.” – Prague Post
We Are A Real were subsequently invited to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011, and in July and August took the show to Summerhall, where they hailed further praise,
“Hodgson and Houlker construct singing, puppetry, tin foil costuming, precarious entrances, cheese as transubstantiation, anthem and tea bags around a sacramental performative arc that is decidedly non-narrative yet makes some kind of absurd logic. Totally Fringe-y” - The Skinny ****
“Men Avoid Jars is a bold and provocative work of contemporary performance” - Informed Edinburgh ****
Their second show, devised by James Hodgson, also debuted at Rose Bruford College, before moving to the Gatehouse Gallery in Harlow, Essex. The company and its members are continuing to produce new work, as well as work on existing ones, and carry out research projects both individually and as a collective. Jacob Harrison also works with the Barbican Centre, London. Ivor Houlker is currently working with Gardzienice, in Poland. James Hodgson is also currently working with The Albany Arts Centre, Deptford, and the Culture Space, Canada Water. All three are graduates of the European Theatre Arts course at Rose Bruford College.
The company’s third show, Clowns in the Closet, is performed and devised by James Hodgson and Jacob Harrison, with input and long-distance collaboration from Ivor Houlker. This was shown as a work in progress at the Roebuck Inn, Laughton at the start of 2012, and was premiered at Prague Fringe Festival in June 2012.
The latest show was performed in February 2014, as a collaboration between Jake Harrison and Ivor Houlker, entitled “A Treatise on the Influence of West Northumbrian Morris Dancing in Popular Culture”. The show was well-reviewed and continues to be developed:
“Ivor and Jake are actually damn good at what they do; the sound of the accordion nicely evocative of old-fashioned entertainment and the dancing planned and executed smoothly.” – London City Nights