Image: Katie Webster (left) and Hannah Torrance (right).

As part of our wider activity, Little Earthquake runs East Meets West, a network which aims to reduce barriers and encourage collaboration between and within the East and West Midlands’ independent theatre-making communities.

One strand of the network is the Easties Meet Westies Buddy Scheme which brings together artists, companies and other theatre people who are working at a similar level or scale on either side of the Midlands divide, in order to establish some new relationships and to provide some essential peer support.

One of our first buddy scheme pairings was Katie Webster (theatre-maker based in Birmingham) and Hannah Torrance (writer based in Leicester). Find out what happened when Katie met Hannah below.

If you’d like to apply for your very own buddy, a second round of the scheme has just opened! You have until 5pm on Friday 12th April to apply. For all the details visit: www.eastmeetswest.org.uk/buddies.

Katie on Hannah

Where did your date take place?
We met in New Street Station as Hannah was coming in from Leicester. This meant I was in charge of planning the date, and as my sense of direction around Birmingham City Centre is shocking, I decided to play it safe and go to places I knew well. We went to Cherry Reds on John Bright Street for a drink, then as we both realised we fancied a curry (we had so much in common), we went to Mowgli in Grand Central for a tiffin box feast.

What were you hoping for?
I was hoping for a relaxed, fun and easy-going night. I was also just hoping that Hannah was a nice person, to be honest, as a night of disagreements and awkward clockwatching wasn’t that appealing! I am happy to report though that Hannah is a lovely person!

First impressions?
When I spotted Hannah walking across the station I immediately liked her as she had such a big smile. As a fellow smiley person, I felt this was a good match and we were going to get on. We also quickly acknowledged how awkward this was and how it felt like an actual blind date. As a fellow awkward person, I felt this was a good match!

What did you talk about?
We started simple with the ‘so tell me about yourself’ questions, and I always feel like I’m just reeling off a CV at this point. When we met, I was prepping for an interview in the next few days so we talked about that for a bit. Hannah told me about her new job at the Y in Leicester which was very interesting. We talked about theatre a lot, naturally, and it was such a great moment when we both admitted we don’t like or understand Shakespeare (generally). I feel that’s a statement to bond you for life in the arts world, so this was a great topic of conversation.

What new thing have you learned or discovered?
Hannah introduced me to a new world – the world of Dungeons & Dragons. We didn’t play a game, but she is a hardcore fan and goes to a group which sounds amazing. I never really made the connection between D&D and performing before, but the way she explained it, I can’t believe I’d never seen the link before!

Any awkward moments?
We’d both been at work all week and we reached a point where we’d mutually agreed we were knackered and ready to call it a night. The bill was paid, our stomachs were full, we both were a bit tired. Hannah checked when her next train would be – 90 minutes… I wouldn’t call this amazingly awkward, but there was a definite moment of ‘well I guess we’re having another cocktail then!’

Best thing about Hannah?
Hannah’s just such an open and lovely person. She has really interesting views on theatre and is a great playwright. She was so easy to talk to!

Would you introduce Hannah to your friends?
Definitely!

Describe Hannah in three words.
Dungeons and Dragons. I’m joking… 1. Smiley; 2. Colourful (she had some great colourful clothes on); 3. Talented.

What do you think Hannah made of you?
I hope she thought we got on too and had a lot in common! I hope she thought I had good taste in Birmingham date locations.

[This is the bit where The Guardian Blind Date interview would ask if you kissed. But this wasn’t that KIND of first date. So we won’t ask that!]
I can confirm no physical contact was had other than hello and goodbye hugs, and maybe a high five or two.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
Not much! Maybe just planning timings a bit better on my part as I did feel a bit bad she had such a long journey back quite late.

Will you meet up again?
I hope so! We had fun and it would be great to see each other again – maybe for another cocktail and a game of D&D.
(Thanks for a great time Hannah! And thanks to Gareth and Phil for playing matchmakers — you have good taste in Easties!)

Hannah on Katie

Where did your date take place?
I got the train over to meet Katie in Birmingham. We went to some lovely places, none of which I can remember the name of! First a nice little pub, then a brilliant Indian restaurant, then I think Turtle Bay for a cheeky cocktail before I got the train home.

What were you hoping for?
Someone nice to chat to, maybe with some interesting projects going on that we could talk about.

First impressions?
Lovely, chatty, friendly, ambitious.

What did you talk about?
Most things! We started off with our creative practice, what we do and what we like, then just went where the conversation took us really. We have a lot of similar interests, often finding the other had done something we had thought about trying, so it was a nice nudge to give other things a go.

What new thing have you learned or discovered?
In the creative world, the six degrees of separation rule is far more like three.

Any awkward moments?
Not really. There was a small moment when we were getting ready to wrap up and I realised I had to wait another hour for the next train but we easily filled that with another drink!

Best thing about Katie?
She’s really fun and easy to chat to. There wasn’t a lull in conversation all evening.

Would you introduce Katie to your friends?
Absolutely!

Describe Katie in three words.
Fun — ambitious — expressive.

What do you think Katie made of you?
Chatty!

[This is the bit where The Guardian Blind Date interview would ask if you kissed. But this wasn’t that KIND of first date. So we won’t ask that!]
HA!

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
More time. We met one evening after work so I felt like I was clock-watching a bit to make sure I didn’t have to kip on her sofa like a stalker!

Will you meet up again?
I certainly hope so!