02 September, 2009

Artist Interview - Thierry Poquet, Director of St Kilda

Image: St Kilda. Photo: Christian Mathieu.

We spoke to Thierry Poquet, Director of St Kilda, a staged opera telling the story of the 'Birdmen' of St Kilda. St Kilda played at the Festival Theatre this August as part of Festival 09.

What is your background and what types of projects did you work on before St Kilda?
As a music composer and actor, I started to direct in 1985 with big outdoors theatre shows with Collectif Organum (cf. Locos in Glasgow 1990). After a time directing contemporary texts (including Fassbinder, Genet, Motton, Berkoff, Pasolini and Tremblay), I now work with contemporary composers and orchestras (including Ars Nova, Musiques Nouvelles and Sphota) for operas and other shows combining poetry, musical theatre, dance and film.

How did you start working on this production?
I was called by Artistic Creator, Lew Bogdan, to go to a lost Island. They asked me to co-write the show, to coordinate the artistic European project and to co-direct the film. I took three planes and an 8-hour ride boat to discover St Kilda and these amazing stories. This place is such a special spot you can’t help but dream: it sacred, and you can feel it from the ground to the sky.

The production has many sensory aspects, including film footage woven into the live performance. Do you find your role as director to St Kilda different to other shows you have been involved in and if so, in what ways?
The size: it was a European project connecting 5 countries. But as I’ve said above, I like to use a poetic language involving music, acrobatics, dance, theatre, film and the new sounds.

What do you think audiences most enjoy about the opera St Kilda?
This story is an echo of each personal history: exodus by the war, exodus to find a job, exodus to survive, exodus for political reasons. We all have roots we need to take care of.

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