A company founded by two UWTSD Acting graduates during Covid-19 is moving to new headquarters at Yr Egin and preparing for its first production tour.
Badger Sett Productions was created by BA Acting graduates Elicia Axon and Alexander Rice after they realised the pandemic was making it difficult for graduates to find work.
Canolfan S4C Yr Egin, based on the University of Wales Trinity Saint David campus in Carmarthen, inspires creativity and imagination, fostering talent for the future and will make a perfect new home for the innovative company.
Badger Sett Productions is an LGBTQ+ theatre company with an aim to support all things new. The company identify as LGBTQ+ not to be exclusive but to be inclusive.
Alexander said, “Setting up this company has been one of the most challenging things I have put my mind to. Elicia and I have limited experience in the field. However, it has been so rewarding and fulfilling to overcome each challenge. We have been lucky enough to be in a place where we are surrounded by so many people willing to support us. The university has been exceptional in guiding us and helping us get to where we need to be. I am so excited to see where we end up as I truly believe we have something special here with endless potential and if we do it right, then we could have a brilliant opportunity for emerging creatives.
“Someone recently told me that it’s always good to have a safety net, but what is the point of having one if you’re not going to take risks. So that is what we are doing here. Taking a risk for the chance of creating something wonderful. We have the commitment and dedication needed to make it work, so hopefully things will go our way.”
The University has supported Alex and Elicia in setting up their new venture. Principal Business Development Officer Dylan Williams – Evans said: “It has been wonderful to be able to support both Elicia and Alex with their new business venture, we take great pride in the support that we offer our graduates in setting up their businesses which in many cases is fulfilling their lifelong dreams. It is really important that we as a University are able to make a positive contribution to the social, economic and cultural areas that we serve whilst adding value to our local communities by hopefully allowing graduates to stay in their region without having to leave to find excellent opportunities.”
Through the support from the University, they met Carys Ifan, director of Yr Egin.
Carys said: “The Egin operates as a catalyst to promote new talent, by offering advice and support, as well as offering a professional workplace for graduates. It’s a pleasure to support the Badger Sett Productions team as they develop their company within the region, and I’m sure that they have a bright future ahead of them.”
Alexander added: “Carys gave us some great advice and offered us a hot desk, which means that all we have to do is let them know we will be in the space for a day, and we get full use of an office type environment. Within this room are various companies and creatives also making use of the service. Being in Yr Egin means that we are surrounded by so many other business professionals who are able to support us.”
As BA Acting graduates at UWTSD Carmarthen, both Alexander and Elicia acknowledge that there’s something special about the course, especially as students are constantly working with industry professionals during their second and third year.
“We can confidently say that we’ve met 10+ professionals over the last 2 years, all of which have been extremely supportive and helpful. Each industry professional has a different story when it comes to entering the industry and therefore, they can all give advice regarding different things,” said Elicia.
Some modules on the course were independently led, where students had to write and perform their own comedy set, as well as creating and working to their own rehearsal schedule. This element of the course helped both Elicia and Alexander, as having this kind of independence is vital when looking to run your own business.
The two main skills learnt throughout their time at university according to both, have been adaptability and independence. Being able to adapt is so important within the theatre industry, as you need to be able to constantly change your direction, whilst thinking of new ways to achieve your goals. As both have been given the time and space to develop their own understanding of the creative industries, they’ve been able to identify not only where we currently fit in but where they’d also like to go. Alex is now trying his hand as a producer with Elicia further exploring her abilities as an actor.
Currently the company is busy preparing for a tour around English pubs. Both Alexander and Elicia are interested in Pub Theatre and have decided to create something that will benefit both the hospitality and the theatre industry post Covid-19.
Elicia said: “The upcoming tour will hopefully become part of a series called ‘Amuse Boosh’. We’re looking to create plays that pair perfectly with your pint at the pub or your tapas on a Tuesday. ‘Woulda. Shoulda. Coulda.’ written by John James McColl is the first piece of writing that will hopefully make up a quirky group of plays that pair perfectly with your night at the pub.”
The ‘Woulda. Shoulda. Coulda.’ show will be performed in The Plough Inn, Bursledon Southampton on Monday 6th of September before travelling to The Ness, Shaldon Devon on Tuesday 7th September for two nights.
Both Elicia and Alex are eager to keep producing work that showcases emerging talent. They’ve promised for each new project created, they will hire at least one emerging creative, be that an actor, director, writer, stage manager etc.
“If we can support at least one person entering the industry each year we view that as being successful,” added Alexander.
Elicia is proud of how the company has developed so far: “In the two months we’ve been running we’ve had endless laughs and many a breakdown, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. For me, this is what theatre is all about.
“As long as I can continue producing quirky plays with some of my best friends then everyday will feel like a blessing. It’s really not been easy but the amount of support we’ve had has been overwhelming. I didn’t think anyone would really pay attention to a little queer theatre company from South Wales but we’re extremely proud to be making waves throughout the industry and hope to continue using our voice. Thank you to all the people who continue to believe in us, we hope to make you proud.”
The future looks bright for Badger Sett Productions, and as the company develops, they hope to venture down the Theatre in education avenue also.