Reviews and Testimonials
Angus MacKechnie, Executive Director, ISAN, Clore Cultural Leadership Fellow, 2014-5
As Producer of the National Theatre’s Watch This Space Festival, I worked on several occasions with Luan in her time as Artistic Director of Ragroof Theatre. I always liked the work, professional and stylish, with a strong emphasis on engagement with broad audiences, but never at the expense of dramatic strength and production values. The National presented Make do and Mend, and it was an exception in the programme, as it was the only piece that year that reached out to older audiences – a rare commodity in Outdoor Arts generally, so it was pleasing to have that genuinely catered for with imagination and integrity.
'Shall We Dance' was an easy booking for a producer to make, as it engaged in so many different ways and at different levels, it was stylish and easily accessible. While the show rode the wave of a new-found national interest in ballroom and social dance, it kept it in a dramatic context and without resorting to easy popularism – although it was always very popular!
Luan also showed her skill as a performer (often cheeky and always personable) and was a leader of the company from within.
Although I never had the chance to book it, watching 'Deliences des vies a visage' created in collaboration with the French company 'La cercle de la Litote', was one of the highlights of my early days working in the Outdoor Arts sector and made me re-assess what could be done in the public realm, for which I am always grateful.
Lyn Gardner | The Guardian
‘It is fascinating to see how with the right skills, companies can tap right into people's lives and capture tiny moments of emotion. There is no distance in this kind of work and no safety nets. Ragroof Theatre's ‘The Button Museum’ is exactly what it says it is – an installation that displays an array of buttons donated by members of the public. But in this case, every button tells a story. You choose a numbered button, locate the related envelope and find out who donated it and perhaps the story behind it. If you want to, you can give your own button or choose one from a selection to add to the museum. Again, it is a very simple idea beautifully executed. Company members wear 1940s clothes and an actor types up the newly donated stories on an old manual typewriter.’
Katie Etheridge, Total Theatre
'The Spiegeltent was at its best when integral to the work. This cannot be better demonstrated than by Ragroof Theatre’s ‘Make Do and Mend’, which transported audiences back in time to a 1940's tea dance. The wooden floor is brought to life by dancers of all ages energetically jiving away to big band music. Just as the audience is getting comfortable with their cuppas, there is an air raid siren. The dancers scatter, and the story begins as a gawky female narrator spills a tin of buttons onto the floor. From these buttons flow a montage of memories, channelled by the six-strong cast. Local people’s reminiscences of living, loving and longing in 1940s Brighton are beautifully evoked through text, movement, gentle comedy and powerful soundscape. Three female performers, gorgeous in pillar box red 40s dresses, seem to totally embody the period as they create exquisite, clear images through elegant gestural choreography. It is difficult to think how else this genuinely poignant piece could be improved.
From the hands and hearts of female workers, weaving threads from North to South.
Roxie Curry | Shoreditch Audiences
Shall We Dance - Conceived & Directed by Luan Taylor.
A beautiful and touching production that speaks across the generations - long may it continue to be seen!'
Angus MacKechnie | Watch This Space Producer
'Ragroof Theatre's 'Shall We Dance?' was a delightful climax to the National Theatre's 2006 Watch This Space season. Witty, moving, energetic and well executed, it reiterated Ragroof's reputation for creating unusual outdoor theatre’