Alright, so I think we will start off with who you are, and where you are from, and what brought you here…
I am Billy Carden, I am the Artistic Director for the Ensemble Studio Theater, and we have come here to work with playwrights and actors.
I know as Artistic Director you aren’t working on a specific project, but do you want to talk about some of the projects Ensemble Studio Theater has been working on at SPACE in general?
Well, we got here on Tuesday. We have had a commission with a playwright, Vern Thiessen, for a long time to write a play about the Pugwash Conference, which people don’t know about. The first one happened in Canada in 1957. There was a wealthy man who was born in Pugwash who became an American industrialist, named Cyrus Eaton. You know, in 1957 there was the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, and everyone was living with the idea that an atomic bomb could be dropped at any time. Cyrus Eaton said, “I will bring scientists from all over the world together to talk about this, if they will meet in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, which is a tiny fishing village off the coast of Nova Scotia. There will be no politicians, only the scientists from these different countries.” He brought them all together, and they talked about how to save the world, basically. So, this was an opportunity for me to call up Vern who lives in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada and say, “Ok, we are going to be at SPACE on Ryder Farm, do you want to come work on Pugwash?” and he said “Yes.”
You feel so supported here, you get up in the morning, you don’t have to worry about making breakfast, you can come down and get something to eat and then work. Vern worked throughout. But there were others plays, in other forms, that happened. For us, wonderful work comes out, because creativity is a tricky thing, so when you give people support, and say “this is a place you can be creative”, a lot of the time it really works. It certainly has worked pretty much all the time for us.
So, as Artistic Director, being able to have these project you want to see grow, it’s useful to be able to bring these projects up here?
Oh, absolutely. This is all happening in a much more holistic way than if we were trying to do it in New York. There is continuity, and we are all focused.
What’s next for EST?
We are commissioning developing, and producing plays, and we are committed to producing the plays we develop. So, in the fall, we start working on a whole new series of plays.
Well, the final question is, if you were an animal on the farm, what would you be?
Oh, I think I would be a horse.
That is in part because I grew up with horses, I grew up on a farm where there were horses. That is where I would spend my summers. My uncle had a farm; horse riding was a huge part of my life. I think that is probably the way I’d go, like those two lovely white horses in the field.
Interviewed by Cameron Morton.