Image: Marcus Paragpuri (left) and Arte Artemiou (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 Marcus Paragpuri (theatre-maker based in Birmingham) and Arte Artemiou (academic and theatre-maker based in Northampton.)

You can find out what happened when Marcus met Arte 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.

Marcus on Arte

Where did your date take place?
We went to the Costa near the station as Arte had to return home for a meeting, but then we accidentally missed the train because we were chatting so much! We ended up getting a meal out as well!

What were you hoping for?
If I’m honest, just a friendly chat about theatre making and where we were both at. Something without much pressure attached.

First impressions?
It was such a relaxed time (once we met. Until then, I just knew that Arte had a beard and was wearing red trousers — at which point about three bearded, red-trousered men started to wander around the station).

What did you talk about?
Oh goodness, all sorts. Everything from what we were doing at the time both artistically and for a living, and what we wanted to explore when we made theatre or engaged in workshops. We also talked a lot about the state of the world and, perhaps slightly smaller, the state of theatre. We ended up going really in-depth on all our opinions; it was a great conversation.

What new thing have you learned or discovered?
We had this really interesting discussion at one point about how to do feedback. Arte mentioned a long-table style event: the audience knows that at the end of the show, we will all get around a table with tea and biscuits and discuss. It can be anything related to the show — what you enjoyed, what you didn’t, why something did or didn’t work, an idea sparked from the show, anything. It was such a new way (to me, at least) of getting meaningful feedback that I’d love to be a part of, both as an audience member and a creator.

Any awkward moments?
Not that I can think of! It was a lovely time.

Best thing about Arte?
His intellect, I think. He’s so knowledgeable about his field and he’s so driven to find a way to make it the best that it can be.

Would you introduce Arte to your friends?
Absolutely! Antonia, my partner, came along to chat theatre, and I can think of several other people besides her who would enjoy the type of discussion we had.

Describe Arte in three words.
Intelligent — driven — relaxed.

What do you think Arte made of you?
I’m not sure, but we seemed to get on well! Wouldn’t want to put words in his mouth though.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
I just wish we had more time! We accidentally got more because we missed the train, but even still, we felt so rushed with all we wanted to say and talk about.

Will you meet up again?
Absolutely! We’ve got a Whatsapp chat and just need to set aside the time and place.

Arte on Marcus

Where did your date take place?
Costa near Birmingham Station.

What were you hoping for?
To meet a like-minded person and have a worthwhile conversation.

First impressions?
Lovely 🙂

What did you talk about?
Lots of different things! We spoke about theatre, politics, our jobs, future plans, etc. We weaved in and out of topics and themes.

What new thing have you learned or discovered?
That there are others in my region who are similar in thought to myself yet have had different lived experiences.

Any awkward moments?
Nope.

Best thing about Marcus?
Oof that’s a bit of a deep question! I only met him once 😀 What resonated with me most was probably his desire for change.

Would you introduce Marcus to your friends?
Of course.

Describe Marcus in three words.
Wrestling to be…

What do you think Marcus made of you?
I think he thought I was the coolest kid on the block (I hope self-depreciating humour comes across in text).

[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!]
Why not?

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?
That it was longer!

Will you meet up again?
I hope so.