Meet Emily Carewe, Founder of MishMash
Emily founded MishMash, an inspiring new festival supporting the self-created work of LAMDA graduates and alumni.
Please note that applications for MishMash are now closed.
Thanks for chatting to us Emily. Can you give us a brief summary of what MishMash is and how it came about?
Well, I approached LAMDA a while back with an idea to create an annual festival that would give a platform to graduates and their contemporaries to present the work they are creating - I’d say 90% of the work I’ve had through my career (both before and after LAMDA) has been stuff I’ve created or produced myself, and I feel it’s grown to become something very common in an actors’ career. LAMDA MishMash was initially explored on a smaller scale over the summer as an opportunity to test run our ideas and see how it all works. It was an evening of 15-minute snippets of various different pieces, from a psychological thriller through to comedy and cabaret – it went down really well and now we are here, with a full three-day festival in the making!
What is the festival going to include?
Across the three days, we are going to have a number of different performance slots (from 15-minute excerpts through to full hour productions and screenings of films) mixed in with workshops and talks, featuring prominent figures within the industry. The performances can encompass any style or genre – from naturalism, through to movement, poetry, cabaret… anything! We are excited to show the variety of artistry LAMDA graduates and their contemporaries are creating, and to give a platform for people to share ideas and skills.
Why do you think self-created work is important?
It’s been a real saving grace for me. The industry can be really tough, and in a variety of different ways - whether you are getting auditions/work or not. By creating your own work, I really feel you start to get a say over the kinds of stories you are telling, and you get to know what your creative voice is. It has given me so much agency, and is the most empowering thing. It’s been a useful pathway for me to figuring out what I care about in this industry, what I want to say, who I want to say it with and how I want to say it. It’s also just a really great way to remind yourself that you are a creative and an artist, especially when times get tough.
Is there anything you’ve drawn on from your training at LAMDA for your own projects?
Definitely - but in ways I wouldn’t have predicted. Practically, LAMDA modules such as Autocours are a really safe way for students to experiment with self-expression; but for me, I don’t do much (or any) writing - my self-created work has ended up being producing and programming. I think that being in the world of LAMDA taught me how to appreciate and question work, how to collaborate, how important it is to support the creatives you admire, and the ultimate necessity - how to use time effectively!
Have you got any advice for someone who is keen to start creating their own work?
Just go for it! I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when I first started. If you try something out, the worst thing that will happen is that you will learn how to do it better next time. There are so many people in your network who would be more than willing to help you out if you need it. Get together, support each other and make something. I run a collective called GEMA (Gender Equality Movement for Actors) and we have a podcast. In one episode we interview the actor and writer Helen Monks and she phrased it so well: “Hold onto the people you are rising up with rather than trying to grab onto the feet of the people above you."
What do you hope you can achieve by bringing together all these LAMDA graduates and their contemporaries?
I mainly just want to see people I admire sharing work they are proud of. But I also seriously hope that it gives other artists the permission and confidence to go and make something themselves. I also hope that anyone currently at LAMDA or any other drama school - or someone hoping to train in the future - will look at the stuff these amazing people are creating and realise that it’s not all about agents and auditions. You can be an actor and a creative completely on your own terms.
Finally, are there any projects you are working on at the moment?
I’m currently Creative Producer for Theatre at 45North and have a number of projects going on there which will be announced soon. My work with GEMA is always on going - you can find out everything about that at www.gemacollective.co.uk.