Stellar Quine of the Month: Jan Bee Brown

How would you describe your current job and what do you like best about it?

Designing for the Edinburgh Fringe is always a wonderfully cathartic

3 dimensional challenge – as less is always more in design terms. I am passionate about new writing and different cultures and 13 Sunken Years is a beautiful new play from Finland.

What do you consider your best work and why?

That’s a tricky one – as a collaborative artist I work in Theatre, Exhibition curation and in Film, my best work I hope will always be my next work. Why? Because my work is always about telling a story, a human story and your skills grow and develop with every creative opportunity.

What was your first ever job?

Writing radio plays in Ladakh in the Himalayas – then going to Ireland to start work as Design Assistant at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin – the best apprenticeship going – and a hilarious and forgiving place to make mistakes.

What was the contact/opportunity/job offer that you feel has made the most difference to your career?

Becoming Subject Leader in Design on the original and in hindsight awesome Stage Management and Theatre Production Course at QM in the 90’s. Lecturing enabled me to afford to work on new writing for small-scale shows touring Scotland, with Boilerhouse, TAG and Stellar Quines. It made me design better, smarter, lighter… it also brought me in contact with an amazing bunch of theatre collaborators.

What’s the biggest opportunity that you missed or wished you had taken up but didn’t?

Je ne regrette rien! I have always grasped every opportunity.

What has been your favourite theatre production?

Ever? Oh too many to choose from! David Harrower’s Knives in Hens haunts me still. Back in the day anything by Robert Lepage or Peter Stein. Closer to home Dragon by Vox Motus and Huff by Catherine Wheels were awesome last year.

What do you like the best about working in theatre?

The written word. Opening a new script for the first time is magical.

Rehearsed readings are my secret pleasure. Writing is my secret passion.

What do you like the best about being an artist/designer?

The challenge of being a collaborative artist; the alchemy of working in a collaborative team and the joy when the magic happens in simple ways.

What advice would you give emerging female practitioners in theatre today?

Challenge inequality, challenge equity minimum rates, challenge management, challenge the norm, challenge rudeness. Be nice to each other and yourself.

Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?

Lisa Sangster because of the work she is doing with The Envelope Room promoting and supporting designers in Scotland – loving her work.

SQ of the Month