How would you describe your show in one sentence?
From diagnosis to remission, relapse and treatment, experience a young man’s journey with cancer in this honest, fascinating and inspiring exploration of modern science and the wonders of the human body.
Is this your first visit to the VAULT Festival, if so what interesting tales have you been told about what to expect?
I visited the VAULT festival last year and saw a show in the space I’ll be taking on this year. It’s such an atmospheric place that the stories being told immediately take on an epic nature so I’m looking forward to bringing my, quite, intimate story to the space and see how it plays out.
How has the show developed on the way to the tunnels?
I developed a short story for BAC’s London Stories back at the end of 2013, it dipped into my journey with Cancer and it was the first time I had decided to speak about it.The response was fantastic and I decided I wanted to delve deeper into that world as I realised I had no idea what had happened. This life-changing event and I had no idea what had happened- it was all a blur. With the help of Old Vic New Voices, I developed the show so I could scratch it and then the unbelievable happened and I won the IdeasTap Underbelly Award. I was blown away as it meant I had to make the whole bloody show!! After assembling a cracking team, I headed out to Plymouth Fringe Festival to scratch the show further and experience solo performance – I had never performed a solo show before so it was very daunting.
Then came Edinburgh – we had a fantastic month getting it out there for the first time and were overwhelmed by the positive feedback to the show from audiences, press and industry alike, as well as being inspired by the learnings and ideas taken away from the experience. Since Edinburgh I’ve been off to perform the show a number of times and had the honour of taking it to Teenage Cancer Trust’s conference Find Your Sense of Tumour, for 300 young people who have or have had cancer and their support teams, this was an incredible experience and extremely rewarding. So after all of that we come to VAULT festival, and as we’ve just received Arts Council, National Lottery and Wellcome Trust funding, we can’t wait to get started and develop this show further to reach more audiences in the future.
How have you been preparing for VAULT Festival?
We go back into rehearsals next week. I use a lot of statistics and numbers throughout the show so I’ve been having to entrain my mind with those figures and instead work out new ones to replace them. We learnt a lot from Edinburgh Festival and the show has seen redevelopment in a number of elements as we look to build on the success of the Fringe. I recorded a new version of a scene yesterday and, not to spoil anything, but my Oompa Loompa Stem Cells look pretty cool now!
What do you think sets your show apart from all the other festival offerings?
That’s hard to say as I haven’t seen the others…I’m guessing no one has an affair with an I.V. stand, dishes out chemotherapy cocktails and contemplates Willy Wonka’s life-saving stem cell machine, though? If they do then I’m pretty screwed.
What’s the show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s VAULT Festival (apart from your own!)
One Under by The Lab Collective. Amy Fleming is mixing a game show with honest storytelling to showcase the science behind depression. I can’t wait to see what she produces.
If your show was a creature lurking in the depths of a dark tunnel what would it be?
Probably a Gnu orGnocerous…you’ll see why!
Toby Peach will be performing The Eulogy of Toby Peachat the VAULT Festival 17 – 21 February 2016