Interview – Rurik Seven, Mage Plays

With Sheffield arts venues currently on lockdown we have no performances to review at the moment but that does not mean we are going to stop supporting Sheffield theatre companies, starting with an interview (by email not face to face in these times of social distancing) with the CEO of one of the city’s newest companies, Mage Plays.

Q. Tell us about your company?

Rurik. Mage Plays Is a theatre production company which is committed to putting on quality original theatre. Mage Plays have been established in Sheffield since 2018, and have run a number of original shows over the last two years. 

Q. What’s your role in the company and what does it involve?

Rurik. I am the CEO of Mage Plays and therefore oversee all of its productions from start to end! From the first concept to closing night and beyond!

Q. What is the best thing about being a part of the company?

Rurik. Mage Plays productions are always fun to be a part of, we put In a lot of work behind the curtains all so that we can entertain. The payoff of all this hard work culminating in a few nights of performances is incredible. Hearing the audience’s laughter and their reviews after are always worth the months of work we put into our shows.

Q. What are your favourite(s) shows you have been involved in and why?

Rurik. Personally my favourite show that we’ve put on (so far) has been our Summer 2019 original – Bullet & Bullet – We put a tremendous amount of work into that show on and off stage. The concept was that everything was to be made from cardboard (recycled where possible). From building a towering city scape for our backdrop to helicopters and old grannies, there was a joke in every prop we made and the cast performed beautifully across two nights at the Merlin Theatre. 

Q. What show(s) would you love the company to perform that they have not already performed ? 

Rurik. Since we adhere to only performing original works there’s so much potential as to what could come in the next few years! I’d love for people to get in touch with their ideas / scripts they’ve written and to see what we can do! As for what we will be performing next, we’re currently scheduled to perform ‘A (Very) Sketch(Y) Show 2’ this summer – A sketch show pieced together of original works from various writers around Sheffield. And this Winter we’ll be putting on ‘Quiet in the Wings’ a farcical comedy that I’m currently writing, which we’re very excited to be bringing to Theatre Deli! 

Q. What are some of your favourite off stage moments?

Rurik. There. Are. Too. Many. Honestly our rehearsal process could be a show in itself. We have open auditions for every show we put on, and we always get an eclectic mix of actors and personalities that just ooze comedy. To narrow it down though the morning after Bullet & Bullet’s closing night, we headed to the Merlin Theatre to remove all of the set and props. It took us around 20 minutes to tear down and destroy months of work that we’d put into designing and creating it all, there was something satisfying about it. We did keep one or two props however..There’s a cardboard bazooka sitting atop my fridge. 

Q. What are your favourite performance venues in Sheffield and why?

Rurik. I feel each venue across Sheffield has such a unique feel to it, from the Lanterns intimate capacity and stage, Theatre Deli’s sense of community and independency, to the grand Lyceum and Crucible which bolster some of the Uk’s finest productions. For Mage Plays the Merlin Theatre has a special place in our hearts, it’s where we performed our first show and most of our larger productions. The fact that it’s somewhat hidden away adds a unique charm to it, and the grounds it’s built on are such an idealistic place to rehearse and perform in the summer. 

Q. Which other performance companies in Sheffield would you recommend?

Rurik. With a melting pot as big as Sheffield there’s definitely a fair few to choose from! For myself personally, there’s the Dilys Guite Players and generally the whole bunch at the Lantern Theatre who put on charming performances month to month. I’d have to also recommend Butter Side Up Theatre Company, I’ve worked alongside and performed with many of their casts and crews and they’re all terrific performers. Lastly (and I’m cheating a little bit here as it’s not really a company) but the Sheffield Monologue Showcase is a fantastic opportunity to perform with and get your foot in the door with many performers and producers! So if you’re looking for an in as a performer, or looking for talent you’d like to see audition for your next show then that’s definitely something to keep your eye out for.

Q. What’s the best thing about being a part of the Sheffield theatre scene?

Rurik. There’s a wonderful sense of community and (in the best way) competition, which is perfect for lighting a fire under your ass! There’s so much talent within the Sheffield Theatre Scene that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with, with so many shows on over so many venues you’ve got to keep your finger on the pulse to keep your company active and producing quality theatre! Which is something Mage Plays strive to do. During the whole COVID-19 outbreak a lot of shows have been postponed or cancelled – Our own ‘Divine Invention’ being one of them – and the sense of community from the venues and performers was outstanding. Everyone’s doing their best and what they can to save their shows. I’m looking forward to the coming months as I believe this sense of community within the arts will have only grown stronger, and that there’s going to be some amazing shows that’ll rise from the ashes. 

Q. How can people be involved and support your company? 

If you’d like to perform in one of our shows we’ll be hosting auditions in the next few months for our winter original ‘Quiet in the Wings’ – So keep an eye on our facebook, instagram and website for further details to come on that! If you’d like to get involved behind the scenes with a production in any capacity, whether it be writing, directing, designing set, making costume ect – then simply drop me an email at rurik@mageplays.com and let me know what you’d be passionate about creating! 

If you’d like to support Mage Plays, see our shows! Or simply give us a like / follow on our social media platforms – Beating Internet Algorithms is the truest form of support in the modern age! 

For further information on Mage Plays visit https://mageplays.com/

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