The Tab Meets: Dippermouth

Wondering what to do after Cambridge? Quentin Beroud and Jack Gamble have started up their own theatre company. LARA FERRIS went along to find out how it was going.

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Dippermouth, the theatre company founded by Jack Gamble and Quentin Beroud, is nearing the end of its first season. They only graduated from Cambridge in 2013 but have succeeded in putting on their first season of plays in venues across London. I caught up with them at the Aldwych Theatre in the West End, just after the production of ‘Bombshells,’ a one-woman show directed by Jack and starring Ellie Nunn, another recent Cambridge graduate.

The Dippermouth Team (credit: Nick Rutter)

Where did the idea for Dippermouth come from?

Jack: We both did a lot of the theatre in Cambridge, and both loved it, and so the idea was to carry on doing it, and have a way of doing it in London. We were aware that there were so many opportunities in Cambridge to make theatre, and that, when you leave, those are much harder to come by. We also wanted to try and emulate the way in which the funding bodies and societies have developed in Cambridge. We hoped we’d be able to build something akin to that world of amazing opportunities.

Was it difficult to go from that Cambridge scene to competitive and professional London?

Quentin: Both of us started Dippermouth in order to create, direct and act in shows, neither of us had much experience as a producer and so all the production side of things has very much been ‘learning as you go.’

Jack: Although we are both excited about the first bit of producing: choosing the plays to do. We love thinking about what could work as a production, what would be exciting to do, and partly it’s commercial. We want to do shows that are really brave and interesting, but which people will come and see.

Do you think having the confidence of Cambridge theatre behind you has given you the push to say ‘we can do this by ourselves, we can run our own company’?

Quentin: The experience you get in Cambridge, because of the extent of things that you can get involved with in the theatre, gives you some idea of the whole process. It doesn’t prepare you for everything, but it does give you some idea of what it might be like.

Jack: I think it’s important to say, we didn’t leave Cambridge with a load of job offers, from the National Theatre, or the Young Vic, or the Old Vic, or whatever – it’s not like we had the option of going to work for a big theatre organisation, and having this high-flying career, and it is a myth that that happens to people. We just felt that we are serious about what we’re doing and so we’ll do theatre ourselves, and we’ll try our best to make it as good as it can be.

Think back to your third year and how it was when you were in Cambridge. What would you say to all the aspiring directors who are thinking about what they might do after university?

Jack: If you have an idea for a production that you might want to do, but you find the process of setting up a show in London difficult, we can help you. We’re always really excited to hear about proposals. Secondly, if someone is thinking that they want to do something by themselves, and set up their own company, well, it’s been a wonderful experience for us.

Quentin: There’s something about doing it yourself, as well, creating something. I feel like we’ve learnt so much in the last four or five months, and we’ve learnt more with Dippermouth than we would have learnt doing anything else in the theatre world.

And just in case you were wondering…

FIVE STARS from The Tab for ‘Bombshells,’ a one-woman play by Joanna Murray-Smith, directed by Jack Gamble, starring Ellie Nunn

Ellie Nunn in ‘Bombshells’ (credit: Nick Rutter)

‘Bombshells’ present us with a compelling snapshot of six women at varying stages of their lives, touching on comedy and tragedy, incorporating song and dance, and providing two hours of extremely entertaining and moving theatre. Ellie Nunn shone throughout, perfectly capturing the essence of women ranging from ‘harassed mother’ through ‘aging diva.’ Her acting is full of heart and soul, and Jack Gamble’s slick direction means that we feel the full force of the emotions running through the play. The action never stops, and the dressing room is brought on stage, half hidden behind a gauze, so we see our actor slip physically from one character to another, yanking on tights and ramming down wigs, and effortlessly flitting between ages, accents and emotions. It’s an exercise in physical and mental stamina that more than pays off, and the audience is treated to an exhilarating song to diversity of life.

Dippermouth’s next production ‘The Dumb Waiter’ by Harold Pinter runs from 19th – 27th February at Matthew’s Yard, Croydon.