Artist Interview: PigPen Theatre Co.

The seven men of PigPen Theatre Co. are collaborators, theatre makers, musicians, and longtime friends of Arts For All.  PigPen is performing at our Benefit on April 21, 2013 – you don’t want to miss them!

In 3 words, please describe PigPen as an artistic company.

Stories. Music. Imagination.

PigPen Theatre Co.When did you realize you wanted to perform professionally together?

After our second show together, friends, family, and the people we respected most kept telling us to keep going further.  That was the moment that we looked at each other and thought, “Maybe we can really do this for a living.”

How does the group work?  What is the group dynamic in creating the shows, music, etc.?

Completely collaboratively.  Any one of us can bring in a song or a story or something we want to work on, and anyone can add to it.

What’s your favorite thing about performing/creating together?

The best part is that because we have so much fun together as friends, our work doesn’t feel like work anymore.  It’s challenging still, but it constantly feels like play.

What inspired you to make your album, “Bremen”?

So many people would approach us after our shows asking, “Where can I buy your music?” So making “Bremen” was the best way to get it to them.  We found that we loved playing music just as much as we loved making theatre, so the album really became a dream come true.  Because of the excitement around “Bremen,” now we get to spend as much time developing new music projects as we do new theatre projects.

What do you want to do next as a company?

We are looking forward to performing our show, The Old Man and the Old Moon, this fall at Writers Theatre in Chicago! We are also thrilled to be touring “Bremen” through some incredible concert venues around the country.  Both opportunities allow us to experience new cities and meet incredible new people.

Oh, and we’re writing new stuff too….

Who do you all admire, personally or professionally, and why?

Steve Martin.  Have you seen that guy play the banjo?

If you were trapped on a desert island with only one musical score, what would it be and why?

Anything Ladysmith Black Mambazo has ever done.  In particular, Paul Simon’s Graceland and “Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Friends.”

What challenges have you faced on your way to success as a company?  How did you get through them?

One time, on our way to Martha’s Vineyard, we left all our ingredients to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the week at Ryan’s house.  Fortunately, some friends we were staying with gave us cold cuts and potato salad.  Crisis averted.

Also, scheduling for seven people can be the biggest challenge in itself.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Keep making your own work.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  Practice.  And work with people you like.

In 1 sentence, please tell us why you support arts education and Arts For All?

If it weren’t for arts education, there would be seven less PigPen members than there are now, and we know firsthand that Arts For All inspires kids to pursue artistic futures.

Thank you!


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