[C]HRIS MANN: The Cambridge Junction launches its new season this very evening, with a star studded showcase event of comedy, music, dance and theatre. It all begins at seven thirty. Tickets still available. And the Director Daniel Brine joined me earlier to tell me more. (TAPE)
DANIEL BRINE: We’re doing really well. We rebranded and relaunched, a soft relaunch in January. We’ve got a new line in which we say, “Cambridge Junction, the place where art meets life.” And we’re trying to open up people’s understanding of the world through the things we’re doing. And that’s proving really exciting for people.
CHRIS MANN: Of course there’s lots of spaces at the Junction. There’s not just one theatre there, there’s several.
DANIEL BRINE: Yes. One of the things that we’re lucky about is we’ve got the three spaces that we present work in. Big spaces. There’s lots of people know to come to the gigs and the clubs, but also the Little Theatre, which has about two hundred seats which is actually fantastic. Theatre and dance, but also lots of the comedy and smaller music gigs is in there. We also have the Small Space which is about 100, which is really intimate, and great for things like doing shows for young people.
CHRIS MANN: Is there any shortage of talent coming to appear in your spaces?
DANIEL BRINE: No. We’ve always got a long waiting list of people who want to come in. The nice thing is we have a nice mix of national talent, but local talent as well. So we’ve got space for lots of local people.
CHRIS MANN: So if people were thinking, I might like to go to the Junction, what can they expect when they go to this place? Because it’s not like a theatre, and it’s not like a music venue. It’s a sort of mix of the two., isn’t it?
DANIEL BRINE: Look. We can be a lot of things to a lot of people. We are a lot of things to a lot of people. So if you want to come just to a gig, and experience a gig, and that’s all you do, that’s fine. But you might also want to bring your family to the children’s shows on Sunday, and experience theatre for the first time for your kids. Or you might want to take part in a workshop. Or you might want to come to a dance show, and watch some bodies move in different ways. There are lots of different ways to experience what we do.
CHRIS MANN: Now it’s called the Cambridge Junction, as opposed to the Junction before. Has that helped?
DANIEL BRINE: It really has helped, you know, for a number of reasons. People are asking us what we mean in the town. And we’re trying to put on things that mean something to the town. And we do that in a number of ways. We put on local acts. We’re trying to find people who have local roots, because audiences like it when it makes sense for them locally. But it’s also good just in terms of the national profile, people going Oh yes. There’s something happening in Cambridge, which is important. So people see us in the list of gigs for instance, oh, y’know, that’s happening in Cambridge. And so that’s good for us. It’s working well.
CHRIS MANN: You’ve been there for, what, a year and a half?
DANIEL BRINE: A year and a bit. Yes.
CHRIS MANN: So I guess it takes a while to move things and look ahead. So this new season has really got your stamp on it, has it?
DANIEL BRINE: This season’s feeling great. It’s not just me, it’s me and the team. We have a fantastic team. There’s a guy who does .. a guy called Rob Tinkler who does the music and comedy. He’s been there a long time, but he’s trying to find new ways to look at the music and comedy. A guy called Daniel Pitt who does the theatre and dance. And he’s really trying to push the boundaries of what we do there, and trying to find ways to connect to audiences, which I think’s really important. So I think the key thing is we’re working really well as a team at the moment.
CHRIS MANN: So we’ve got a season launch tonight, a bit of a tster, lots of hors d’ouvres, a meze or whatever you want to call it, or tasters. Am I right?
DANIEL BRINE: The season launch is a fantastic fun event, because it provides an absolute smorgasbord of things to choose from.
CHRIS MANN: Smorgasbord’s a lovely word. (THEY CHUCKLE) A little tapas.
DANIEL BRINE: We have a food thing coming up next year, but not quite yet. Things tonight include things that are coming up, but also some things that we’ve done. So it includes some films by the disability arts group that we work with. We have an artist in residence from Australia at the moment. They’re going to be doing some work in the Foyer. And we have some things that are coming up, and people are showing little parts of those. So it’s a great sense of everything we do, not just one part of the programme.
CHRIS MANN: And the hosts tonight are Hunt and Darton, and they’re fresh back from Edinburgh. They’re rising stars.
DANIEL BRINE: They had a fantastic Edinburgh. A lot of people noticed their space. Of course the cafe had previously been here in Cambridge, and we’re hoping to have it back. So yes. we’ve been supporting them as associate artists, so it’s great to have them on stage tonight. Interestingly about Edinburgh as well is that later in the season we have Bryony Kimmings come up.
CHRIS MANN: She did a show of course a few months back. At Christmas.
DANIEL BRINE: Yes. And she was a fantastic in Edinburgh though. She won a Fringe First.
CHRIS MANN: Local girl.
DANIEL BRINE: Local girl, working with her niece who’s nine years old. So we’re really pleased to have been a supporter of that project.
CHRIS MANN: If people are thinking, listening to this and thinking about having a career in art today, because a lot of colleges around here, schools around here, really push art. Is there a living to be made, is there a life to be had from art, whether it’s dance, performance, music or whatever?
DANIEL BRINE: I always believe if you do what you;re passionate about you’ll make it work for you and absolutely there’s a way to make a living. And there’s also .. it’s not only about the end really it’s about how you get there. It’s good to know that for instance we do a lot of support for young people who want to find careers in the arts. So we work with Parkside Federation offering a BTech in Performing Arts. But we also offer apprenticeships for young people to get their first steps into the arts. The apprenticeships are particularly good because we encourage people who haven’t gone to university who want to take those steps into the arts, and they’ve been really successful. And I’m delighted to say that just last week we employed one of our apprentices in a permanent job for the first time. And it’s brilliant to be able to support young people coming through and finding careers in the arts in that way.
CHRIS MANN: Brilliant. And if people want to find out more it’s junction.co.uk.
DANIEL BRINE: That’s right.