23 February 2021

DARE Festival 5, 2021: Meet The Learning Lottery Creator Katurah Morrish

DARE Festival is back with more inventive, unexpected and challenging new interactive work for audiences who want to play, and this year we’ve gone virtual so you can take part from wherever you are.

We got chatting to Katurah Morrish, whose playable show The Learning Lottery puts audiences in the black lace-ups of some UK teenagers and gives them one simple goal: do well at school.

Can you tell us about The Learning Lottery?

The show is derived from a large research project I did centering on the question ‘how is disadvantage being reproduced in UK schools?’ This research features studies and reports from a multitude of independent researchers as well as organisations like Stonewall, The Runnymede Trust, the NUS, and The National Austistic Society as well as government sources like the DCSF.

It’s been translated into a rip-roaring part game-show part verse story, 30 minute competitive extravaganza for the DARE Festival audience..

How have you adapted your performance to be portrayed digitally?

The show was in its infancy when DARE Festival submissions were opened so it was essentially just an idea of a show/game and a boat load of research at that point. This meant that I was able to pivot pretty swiftly from the initial live version I’d imagined, to a digital version where the characters’ stories and choices are played out through self-contained animated assets, led by me, the narrator.

It took a lot of experimenting to reach where it currently is, and adapting to digital storytelling has been a steep learning curve. But, this work in progress stage end result is a whimsical virtual rabbit hole that I’m very excited for audiences to fall down with me!

How have you found rehearsing while observing social distancing or rehearsing online? 

As a solo maker I’ve been quite lucky in this regard as I’ve only mainly needed to develop the piece solo with input from the fantastic Upstart Theatre team as well as my industry mentor, which works fine on Zoom – though I do miss IRL meetings a great deal!

The one thing that required a little thought was getting my fantastic voiceover actors prepped to record their segments, not being able to get together and work on them. I was really lucky though that the five of them were very in tune with what I was after and sent me fantastic material just going on the bits and pieces I’d sent over in emails and on the phone. I have found I’ve really craved being in the room with the other DARE Festival artists and companies a lot as I think getting a bunch of creatives in a room together creates a buzz that really enriches work, but a huge shoutout to the Upstart team for curating the best series of online workshops I’ve attended in the whole pandemic, which offset that craving a lot.

Which of the other DARE Festival shows are you especially excited to see?

Absolutely ALL of them! I know, I know, that’s a cop out answer, but genuinely the thrill I get from seeing my name and show on the same bill as this group of incredibly creative, bold and explorative pieces of work is huge.

Saying that, I work with young people a lot and so am always on the look out for inventive new work that caters to or centres on the opinions of younger audiences so The Think Tank and The Fourteenth Stop tick those boxes in a big way.

You can take part in The Learning Lottery and the full festival from Thu 25 – Sat 27 February. Click here to find out more.

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