10 questions for 10 years – Sasha Wilson

How could you not love someone who would rather have an interval pint than an ice-cream?! Out of the Forest Theatre’s Sasha Wilson gets her 10 questions on

In the space of just a handful of shows, Out of the Forest Theatre have completely won my heart, their music-infused ensemble-based approach proving utterly compelling whether exploring Lizzie Borden’s legacy in Bury the Hatchet or ripping Arthur Miller (and many others) a new one in Call Me Fury. So I was delighted that their Artistic Director Sasha Wilson, cape-wearer extraordinaire, agreed to answer 10 questions for me.

  • Where were you 10 years ago?

    10 years ago I was at Georgetown University in Washington DC, studying English lit and Russian language and doing as many plays through the drama department as possible.

  • Best show you’ve seen in the last 10 years?

    I feel like it’s a bit of a cop-out to say Hamilton. But it was with Hamilton that I was the most excited about a show since I fell in love with Rent as an 11 year old, obsessively listening and relistening to the soundtrack. When I first heard ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’, I sat on the 159 Bus silently weeping until someone came over and asked me if I was ok. To which I responded that I was listening to the Hamilton soundtrack and they nodded sagely and gave my shoulder a bracing grasp that said, “I too have spent time in that trench.” Either Hamilton or Emilia (when Clare Perkins shouted about burning the house down, I was belly up to stage at the Globe and I imagine that feeling was like what being at Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream rally” would have felt like), or Operation Mincemeat (which though I saw it three times at the NDT, I’m livid sold out before I could snag tickets at the Southwark!). I think the unifying theme is that they are all utterly seismic and gut punching and they all bring a misunderstood, mis-remembered or silenced story from history to light: be it one of the founding fathers, a woman of colour who was a poet and writer in a time where women were meant to be seen and not heard, or a covert government mission to foil the Fuhrer.

  • What has been your professional highlight of the last 10 years?

    We just performed Call Me Fury at the Hope Theatre in September/October and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and Clare Perkins both came. During the final speak Clare let out a whoop and I nearly started crying because an utter hero of mine and I were in dialogue about art and connecting about female stories. Then we had a drink in the bar and kept having to pinch myself.

  • Top flavour of interval ice-cream?

    I don’t think I have ever gotten an ice cream instead of an interval pint, but my favourite flavour of ice cream is mint chocolate chip.

  • What show do you wish theatres would give a rest for a few years?

    For God sake, give Arthur Miller a rest.

  • Name someone who you think is a really underappreciated talent (in the world of theatre)?

    SpitLip are up and coming but I doubt they will be underappreciated for long – For the love of God drop that Operation Mincemeat cast album! – but their debut show was hilarious and poignant and gripping and just everything. They deserve all the success and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

  • Elphaba or Glinda?

    This may ruffle feathers, but I don’t really care for/about Wicked. Though once as a very small child I met the author of the book the show is based on because he had the same elementary school teacher. Seeing as I love a good ‘misunderstood woman story’ I’ll have to go with Elphaba.

  • What is one thing that you think would help theatre survive and/or thrive the next ten years?

    I think the only way theatre will survive is by giving more stage-time and more support to women, POC, people from various socio-economic backgrounds and making it truly be for more than just the posh white Etonians. As someone who works in the industry, the number of times I have wanted to see something but have been priced out is outrageous. Theatre isn’t a privilege; storytelling is a human right and a spiritual necessity. A nun once told me that what we as actors and theatre-makers do is the most important job of all because we can build empathy. We could use more empathy in our world. And since a nun told me, it must be true 🙂

  • Which is your favourite theatre?

    The New Diorama Theatre. The shows they have there are so so very good and very much unlike what happens across London. I feel there are other places where I feel like I’ve seen the exact same show repackaged again and again and again. But at the NDT, even if I haven’t adored everything I saw there, I was surprised and excited and inspired by the work those young and ambitious companies were doing!

  • Can you say anything about what’s to come for you, (in the next ten years or otherwise)?

    Out Of The Forest Theatre is going back underground to VAULT Festival with a story very near and dear to my heart. It’s called The Brief Life and Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria: Part The First. My grandfather is Bulgarian and I was raised speaking the language at home and I’m thrilled that we’re getting to tell the story about how this little country that many people couldn’t even place on a map stood up to Hitler and saved their Jewish countrymen, women and children from certain deportation and death. It’s a real life David and Goliath story that we’re super excited for more people to hear about!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.