A Light Grilling

Helen Goalen, theatre maker, performer and founder member of RashDash.

What inspired you to make theatre? Did you grow up in a theatrical household?

No I didn’t. My mum was a health visitor, my Dad a lecturer. But I did lots of drama / dance classes growing up, then a lot of theatre stuff at Hills Road sixth form and went onto study drama at Hull University. That’s when I met Abbi (Greenland – Co-director of RashDash) and started getting really into making theatre, rather than being in other people’s shows.


Have you had an encounter with a turning pointpiece of work (or artist) that changed the way you saw what theatre could be?

I think I would have to say Hangman by a Russian company called Do Theatre, a piece Abbi and I saw at Aurora Nova in Edinburgh in our first year of uni. It feels like a turning point for us starting to make work together as we both went ‘we want to make something like that!’ What we ended up making was of course very different but the incredible physicality and beauty / weirdness of that show were really inspiring.


What are your all-time top 3 favourite theatrical works?

Protect Me - a collaboration between Director Falk Richter and Anouk Van Dijk that I caught at a festival in Berlin.

Holdin’ fast - a stunning dance piece made by amazing choreographers Rootless Root for dance company Dot 504.

And a recent one - Paradise Lost by Lost Dog.

There are tons more but these were the first that sprung to mind…


Give us a quick overview of your career journey so far.

We started our company in Leeds and began making shows for the Edinburgh Fringe. That was really how RashDash got an audience. Since then we’ve continued to go on and make work but now with the support of theatres, the Arts Council and some awesome team members / collaborators.


How do you decide on the subject matter for a RashDash show?

The shows have to be about something we care about. They always have women at the centre of them… I think those are the elements that are consistent. The rest comes about in a number of ways.


How do you go about making a RashDash show? Is there a processyou tend to go through or is it different every time?

It is different every time depending on the form of the piece and the nature of the collaboration. We have gone into Snow White Rose Red with the firmest script and idea for a show that we’ve ever had. There is normally a lot more deconstruction and ‘finding the form’ that goes on. Which is normally a fairly painful and confusing part of the process…


What is a typical day in your working life like?

Hard to say typical as depends if we’re in rehearsals, performances, show prep or planning / administration time. But the job includes all of these aspects and so is really very varied which I like.


What do you most and least enjoy about your job?

I often feel at my most alive onstage or during a performance run, that is if the show is going well and I enjoy performing it! Getting to hang out with a lot of awesome people is also a huge perk.

I least enjoy the time that needs to be put into thinking about the core running of the company. I also hate the bit just before a rehearsal process starts as I still find it incredibly nerve wracking, it’s like the first day at school every time.


If you werent doing this job, what would have liked to do instead?

I would have liked to work for a charity that works with disadvantaged / vulnerable women. I’d still quite like to do that…


If money were no object, what would you do (that you cant do at the moment)?

I would do a lot more travelling and seeing the world. Which is also requires time as well as money!