Company Three

Listen to this episode of Culture Plan B here.

DAVID: Welcome to Culture Plan B. I’m David Jubb and this is the fourth episode in which I will not be interviewing government ministers about our cultural crown jewels. Instead, Culture Plan B will be meeting with artists and communities who create culture outside big cultural institutions, like most people do. Today, I’m delighted to be meeting and talking with members of Company Three, a theatre company that is led by the ideas of its 75 members who are aged between 11 and 19. I’ve been lucky enough to see some of Company Three’s incredible shows, often created in less than five hours a week. And yet they are award winning and their work has been adapted for BBC Arts. But today I really want to find out more about how the company works, what the young people get out of it, and what they think needs to change about culture. There is absolutely no evidence that young people were engaged with government ministers to come up with a pandemic bailout for culture. So all the more reason to hear their voices about what they think about the future of arts funding. Because after all, it is young people, communities and independent artists who are responsible for the big leaps forward in contemporary culture. Yes, it’s true that new artistic movements of our time have not been cooked up by artistic directors of big cultural institutions.

Think grime, think streetdance, think spoken word. Our culture is created by and owned by young people, communities and by artists, even though you wouldn’t think that by looking at the structure of funded culture. If you have an idea for someone to feature in one of these podcasts, or you want to create your own episode of Culture Plan B, then just get in touch with us at . I hope you enjoy hearing from the inspiring members of Company Three.

Music introduction – Don’t Tell Me by Conrad Murray and BAC Beatbox Academy “Don’t tell me what to be, Don’t tell me how to speak, Don’t tell me how to love, Don’t tell me how to feel, Don’t tell me how to do, Don’t tell me how to think, Don’t tell me how to be, Don’t tell me how to think, it will be ok if we agree to disagree, it will be ok”

DAVID: So hello, Company Three. How are you today?

AALIYAH: I’m doing really well, yeah.

KEZIA: Good, I’m good.


BAILEY: I’m good, I’m great.

ANGIE: Yeah, I’m doing good too. Nice to be here.

DAVID: Cool, it’s good – it’s very, very nice to have you all here. So this is an exciting first for Culture Plan B because we are a group of seven on the podcast today. So I reckon actually what we’ll do for listeners is just start by asking each of you just to introduce yourselves, and maybe just say a sentence about your relationship with Company Three.

ANGIE: Yep, well, my name is Angie, and I am a full time staff member at Company Three. So I’m the administrator and projects coordinator and do a bit of facilitation, stage management, urn….

DAVID: Amazing. I hear that at the moment because of the incredible time capsule project that Company Three is doing, which is I think working with 215 companies, and part of your job is that somehow you keep in touch with all of those companies?

ANGIE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, main point of contact for all of them. So anything that anyone needs sort of comes through me first.

DAVID: Amazing. Bailey…

BAILEY: Hi, I’m Bailey. I’ve been a member of Company Three for four years, I think… five years. I think Company Three helped… was one of the things that really helped me realise what I wanted to do with my life. And that’s acting.

DAVID: Wow, I’d love to hear more about that. And congrats on your recent viral Instagram, which I watched today, which is great. Ned….

NED: Hi I’m Ned, I’m the artistic director of Company Three. I started it 12 years ago. And I’ve been on the most amazing journey with it, and kind of discovered my artistic reason for being in the world, I think. I didn’t know it when I started it, but I know it now.

DAVID: Nice one. Thank you. Alannah, tell us about your connection with the company.

ALANNAH: This will be… sorry, this is my sixth year – it’s nearly been… I’ve nearly spent six years at C3.


ALANNAH: I mean, it’s been six years so it must be a bit good, right?

DAVID: Six years and you are still here. Y eah.


NED: We tried to kick her out loads but she won’t go.

DAVID: I hear you’re prodigiously musically talented though.

ALANNAH: Oh, that is so sweet. Y es, I do play the saxophone from time to time. Y es.

DAVID: Damn, I should have prepped that and we could have had you playing. Kezia, tell us about your connection with Company Three.

KEZIA: So yeah, I’m Kezia. I’ve been in the company for the same amount of years as Bailey said, five years. I had an older brother in the company. And he’s amazing. He’s gone now. So, you know, carrying on the family legacy. Y eah.

DAVID: That’s good. He’s created some space for you by going away.

KEZIA: Yeah.

DAVID: Aaliyah, tell us what’s your connection.

AALIYAH: I’m Aaliyah, and I’ve been in the company for five years as well. I think that Company Three has really made me show… like, show my skills on stage and like helps me to develop as a person, because I think without it, I wouldn’t be where I am now today.

DAVID: That’s amazing. Thank you so much for those introductions. I mean, it’s interesting that already, even just within those you’ve talked a bit, you’ve talked already affectionately and passionately about the company, but also about… about what the company has meant for you. But maybe we should start by just hearing a bit more about actually, what is it, what is Company Three, how does it work? I mean, let’s go back before the pandemic, because I’m guessing it’s like, changed and different now, but maybe Kezia, tell us about: what is the company, how does it work? Literally what happens week by week?

KEZIA: They have a Big Weekend that we’ve all been a part of, and it’s a two-day, like, kind of session of making loads of work, and from there, they invite year sevens and year eights to become a part of the company and they do their first year as part of the year sevens project, which focuses solely on what they have to say, and how they like are as year sevens and their qualms[?] and everything they have to do, and then you kind of join the bigger company, and then you’re there till year 13, or if you want to stay for a year longer, you can stay. And you never really leave Company Three, you’re always part of the family. Company Three is just basically a massive family and they just help you to make work and theatre that really speaks to young people, and helps adults understand what we’re going through.

DAVID: What made you want to join? Y eah, what was it for you that made you, I guess, want to take that extra step and connect with a company? Was there something about it? Or was it something about… yeah, what was it?

KEZIA: I think it was “Brainstorm”, because I’d seen, like, my older brother kind of doing C3, going consistently. And I went to watch the scratch, like, the very, very first like “Brainstorm” at Platform. And I was like, this is really cool, and I kind of wanna like get involved. So I think it was seeing the work that kind of impacted me and I was like, this is something I want to do.

DAVID: That’s cool, thank you. So Aaliyah, go on – what was your… yeah, that first connection point for you?

AALIYAH: My teacher had given us leaflets for Big Weekend. And since forever I’ve always wanted to join a drama company. So my mum… I told my mum about and she was like, yes, do it, join it. And then after I did Big Weekend, I got a letter from them, and a sweet in the letter as well, saying that I’d got in, and I was… I was excited, yeah. So I was really excited to join because it was something that I wanted to do for a long time.

DAVID: That’s cool. So how does that… Ned, how does that work? In terms of then who you’re choosing to join the company? How does that work? That must be really difficult, I imagine – are there are always more people who want to join than can join or how does that work?

NED: So I kind of believe, David, that like… that whatever you do when you set up a project that involves people like coming towards you, in whatever kind of community context, like… there’s always selection. Like if you just set something up, and it’s the first come first served, then that’s selection, right? And so what we try and do is we ask teachers and youth workers and social workers in the local area to nominate people who they think will really thrive in our work. And then the first taste of that is something called Big Weekend, which is like an introduction to our work. And after that we work with those teachers, often, and other professionals, to kind of go, who’s got a story to tell in this room? D’you know what I mean, who’s really going to thrive in this? And like, I won’t embarrass her too much, but like, I really remember Alannah arriving for her first week, Big Weekend, and I don’t know if this tallies with you Alannah, but like, I remember you arriving, and you were year seven, and you were really nervous. Is this your memory too?

ALANNAH: Yeah, I remember crying.

NED: I don’t remember you crying so you’ve just outed yourself on that! But like, I remember you being so nervous, and I saw you and I thought, if she manages to get in this door… like, that’s it! D’you know what I mean? There’s obviously both the capacity to kind of engage and want to be there, but also like the risk and the, you know, the need, and some of those as well.

DAVID: So Alannah, tell us a bit about that, Alannah, tell us a bit about that journey. I mean, sounds like the Big Weekend started… not dramatically, but anyway, anxiously… but yeah, tell us about your Company Three journey from that point.

ALANNAH: From that point… yeah, so basically, I remember crying when I went in. And then Sue Li[?]was there, and then we spoke about gluten free food. We had like the same intolerances. So then that reassured me and then I went in and then it was fun, I don’t know, I can’t actually remember, but I survived!

DAVID: And how are you different now Alannah?

ALANNAH: How am I different? Well if I walked into a room full of people, I would not get overwhelmed, certainly, yeah that.

NED: I think there’s something of value in it, d’you know what I mean, like, when you feel like, when you get that letter that Aaliyah (Aaliyah or Kezia? I can’t remember) described like, rather than… I think there’s a principle in our work that we never beg anyone to be part of our work. I mean, because it’s like if I have a party on Friday, and I beg you to come, like, please please come to my party, like, no one’s gonna be there, please come – like, do you want to come to my party? But like I kind of think we should value our work higher and we should always like offer an opportunity rather than a desperation. And I think that puts a better value for people in in their approach to the company.

DAVID: Do you remember the Big Weekend, Bailey? Did you… was that how you connected with the company for the first time?

BAILEY: Yeah. My teacher went, and she handed us a leaflet, and I was interested in drama at the time, but I didn’t like know that was what I wanted to do. I ended up feeling… I enjoyed the first day but I was like still kind of wary of it. And then the second day, I was just more like, you know what, it’s the last day, let me just give it my all, I gave it my all. And then like Aaliyah said, you got the letter with the sweet inside it. I completely forgot that I even had done the Big Weekend. And then I saw that. And then they said that I could join. And I was like, yay, I’ll join, it was great, it was fun. It was a fun experience. And it hasn’t stopped being fun since.

DAVID: And if you fast forward to now, Bailey, in 2020, several years later, what does the company and being part of the company mean to you now?

BAILEY: The company has given me like, kind of like a second family, because we’ve gone through quite a lot in only 5 years. You just have that like feeling of wanting to protect everyone and just feeling like they’ll protect you at the same time.

AALIYAH: That’s something that I believe strongly as well, I felt like we’re a big family and like we’re all human and we all sometimes… sometimes we don’t always agree with what one another says, but at the end of the day, we know that we’re gonna come back and come back stronger because we have this one performance in common. And I feel like that performance is “us” in a way. Like when we perform together, it’s all of our ideas and all of our thoughts and feelings that have gone into the play, whether we’ve said our own line or whether we’ve said someone else’s, it’s still us, and all of us are engraved in that play. So I feel like that’s what really creates a family because every single play that we’ve done, we’re all inside of it.

DAVID: As you’re all speaking and I’m listening, there’s a kind of a… there’s like a powerfulness about what you’re saying, which feels… when I think about myself at ages, you know, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, yeah, I don’t feel like I had that same sort of power that you’re that you’re talking with. Angie, what’s your experience of having been in the company but now you’re working kind of for the company. Do you still get that sense of family and connection and power? Do you still feel that or…

ANGIE: I think it was like really different when I was part of the company because of the way that the company’s developed has really changed. A lot of the work that I did or was a part of… a lot of the work that was created was commissioned. So we had a lot of like writers that would come in, and we’d do sessions with them, and then they’d be commissioned to write a play based on something that we’ve been exploring. But I feel like the company’s moved away from that, and a lot of the work that we create is very much like with the members, and they have a say, of what gets put in it and it gets written… like, a lot of the words that the cast say on stage I feel like is stuff that they’ve said during sessions and activities, and things that we do is all from a task that maybe the directors bring into the room, but then the words that get put in the play are the words that the cast have said. But yeah, the company’s really changed in that sense of like, I feel like a lot of the work is very much centred around things that the members say. And I feel that a lot in what we… where we’ve been doing the summer projects. So summer projects run in August, and it’s a week of everyone just coming in and everyone working together. So normally, sometimes we work in sort of the different age groups in the different groups. But in summer project, everyone from the company from 11 to 19 years old comes together and works on whatever it is that they’ll find interesting. So maybe there would have been something that someone mentioned throughout the year whilst we were working on a play, but we didn’t get to explore that thread a lot. So we’ll just bring back lots of things that people might have said and then in that week, new things get brought up and then from that, something might come up that’s been like a common thread that lots of people have been talking about. And then that’s what might be sort of a starting point for the new term in September, for ideas of things to explore. So yeah, that growth of going from commissioned work and having external writers coming into the work, now just being sort of by the cast members, I feel like is a big change that’s happened since I was in the company to now.

DAVID: And Ned, presumably that’s a conscious change. And it would be really interesting to hear what you think that change has meant for, yeah, I guess for different generations of young people that have come through the company.

NED: I think we’ve gradually been on a journey to where… maybe at the start, we were, we were thinking about teenagers in the way that a lot of the world thinks about teenagers. And the way a lot of the world thinks about teenagers, is that teenagers need to be developed into adults, and they need to be turned into good adults. And I don’t know how much you guys think of this, but like there’s a lot of talk in school and like the world about when you’re 18 when you’re 21. When you’re… like, you’ve got to think of the future. Y ou’ve got to think of the future – but there’s no other decade in life that people do that to anyone, like you don’t sit in your 20s and someone goes, you’ve got to think about when you’re 30, d’you know what I mean – you don’t sit in your 40s going cor you’re gonna be 50. D’you know what I mean like, you say, enjoy your 20s. And even with young kids, you say enjoy being five, like, you know, hold on to those years.

DAVID: And what can you do? And what can you make happen in those years, as you say, rather than trying to kind of prepare for some moment?

NED: Yeah, like, why are you preparing for being like, 18 when you can enjoy being 15. And I think we’ve learned as a company to celebrate teenagers for exactly who they are right now, and like we have a principal in the work that we will meet… I will meet Kezia, Bailey, Alannah, Aaliyah, all the rest of the company members for who they are right now. I mean, I care because time exists, that they are, you know, progressing in a good way, d’you know what I mean, that they’re happy and they can see a future for themselves. But like, each of those guys who we’re talking to now are incredibly valid, intelligent human beings, who have amazing thoughts about the future and can really change the future right now. Let’s not wait till they’re adults because their brains are really astonishing, and we should utilise that right now. And I don’t… I think we’ve learned that as a company, “Brainstorm” really helped that, like, and we’ve learned that if that’s the case, then we need to find a way to listen to teenagers better, and so we’ve shifted all of our working patterns and our vision and mission in everything we do as a company to make sure that young people have a space to be heard. And we don’t always get it right, I don’t think, because it’s theatre-making and it’s really complex, d’you know what I mean, and often we’re trying to, like, make a piece of work that speaks for 20 people in the room, which is basically ridiculous, but sometimes we do really get it right and when we do get it right, we see adults changing the way they think about teenagers. I sometimes say our audience is the audience that all the other theatres want. Because it’s the friends and family of the young people we work with, right? And they’re the audiences that all the other theatres are trying desperately to get into their buildings, but they come very happily to us because they love you guys. And they, you know, they want to see you and they… they care about what you say. And that’s where real change can happen. I can tell you so many parents who’ve seen pieces of work and have been different with their kids after it.

DAVID: Is that something that any of you guys can speak to in terms of, like, experiences you’ve had of being… going through a creative process with Company Three or being in a production? Where it shifted, yeah, your relationship with either a parent or a brother or sister or or indeed just your relationship with yourself? Would anybody be up for talking to that?

KEZIA: Oh, yeah…

BAILEY: … I have one…

KEZIA: …you go first.

BAILEY: When I first joined, I remember kind of like what Angie said, when we would do… when we would make shows, it was more, the directors kind of writing it, and then we would perform it. And then there was one show that didn’t go as well as we would have liked. And I kind of felt the company like shift into giving us more of a voice, and that kind of made me like realise, oh, what I’m saying is kind of… is being heard. And like it’s being absorbed as well. And now it can be put into something useful. And I think that’s something that has stuck with me now. Because now when I… when I think something I’m not afraid to say it.

DAVID: That’s really powerful, and lots of your company members are nodding. So I’m guessing… I’m guessing that’s resonating and connecting with people. Kezia did you want to say something?

KEZIA: Yeah, I think it’s not so much like my parents’ mindsets. But it would be just the ability to go watch this or to do this because my parents are very supportive of me or my siblings, like… like just involvement in arts, such as Company Three. But I think it’s just nice to know that the National Theatre right now are doing like loads of production reruns on YouTube, like – they’ll come and sit down, and we’ll talk about what we’ve watched and stuff. And I feel like it’s important to like, reflect on shows and stuff, and they’ll talk to me about the shows we’ve had and what they learnt. And it’s nice to be able to just talk to them about theatre, even if they don’t come from a theatre background. And I feel like a lot of people don’t kind of get that opportunity. So C3 kind of open up that conversation, to be able to talk about it.

DAVID: Yeah, that’s lovely. Alannah, is there any moments you look back on from the last six years? That you kind of think, yeah, that was a… that was a really important moment for me.

ALANNAH: Um, okay, well I have something I want to say anyways?

DAVID: Oh, yeah, go for it. Y ou say what you want to say.

ALANNAH: It’s related to what you was just talking about before.

DAVID: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ALANNAH: So like, I guess what is, I don’t even know, fun about C3 now, back in the day, I guess what… we would say stuff. And then Ned would go into the office and write a script, and now, we kind of do it too. But it would be more like, we’d actually get to, like, help form the play, you know, structuring the script and stuff, and like, yeah, we got rather involved.

DAVID: So that’s been a positive thing, has it, to feel that kind of agency, that sort of connection that you’re like the co-authors of the play?

ALANNAH: Yeah, definitely. It definitely felt like this is… this is our play, like, it made it so much more personal, I think for all of us. Y eah.

NED: And the hard stuff about that is that all these guys have so little time, d’you know what I mean, and actually that’s the only thing that stands in the way of like even more co-authorship, I think, in our work – we’ve opened up a second night of the week. Like imagine having five hours a week to work on a play, like that’s luxury for us. And it means that sometimes Angie or me or whatever, we’re having to do a little bit more work in the middle but the dream is to sit down with you guys for weeks and weeks and weeks on end, and script and co-author and you know, write. But we have opened up this second space where like, it’s a bit more drop-in, like you can come if you’re really into the dramaturgy of the piece, like if you really want to shape and structure it and play and get really deep into it, and I would say like Alannah, you’re someone who really does that, like you’re a really brilliant writer, for example, and like, you know… and so it’s been a space where we can throw drafts around and rip them up and rewrite and stuff, all together. Like I think an artist in a room is really important, a professional artist in the room is really important. But I also think the more I can give away my power in that room, the more the voice of the young people, who are actually the experts in the thing that we’re trying to make the play about, will come through

DAVID: And I’ve been amazed that you guys as a company have kind of carried on during this pandemic in that we mentioned earlier Angie, the amazing time capsule project. I don’t know if somebody would just want to describe what you have been doing with those 215 companies that have been, you know, working along with you just… yeah, does somebody just want to describe the time capsule project?

KEZIA: Um, so the time capsule site, I think it’s been like 16, 17 weeks now. And I think we kind of had this idea in our heads pre­ coronavirus, but we did not facilitate it yet. So it was kind of a perfect time to get everyone to kind of encapsulate what they’ve been doing and with the next few weeks, so it started off with, like message to the world. And then over the next few weeks, we’re boiling up like things we would have done if there wasn’t a pandemic. We do, like, food… we do, like, family members, lots of different topics, from a young person’s perspective that included maybe members of family, or just the scenery we had around us and yeah, it literally is the name, it was a time capsule, but instead of having just it exclusive to our company, we opened up to the world. And I mean, everyone had an opportunity to do the exact same things we could do. It didn’t just leave us to our own devices, we’d have Monday sessions, where we’d all as a group join and kind of discuss what we do for that week. They’d give us tasks, we’d do them, they’d help edit it. And, you know, we just enjoy watching the final product every week.

DAVID: It’s amazing. And it’s gone global as well. Is there kind of companies outside of the UK that are involved?

KEZIA: Yeah, there are a lot of companies. I think there’s like, America, I think there’s Spain as well. They’re doing it.

NED: Angie translated a whole Spanish language version of the blueprint that we make to accompany it.

DAVID: Did you use Google Translate Angie or can you speak Spanish?

ANGIE: Oh, yeah, I can speak Spanish. But G oogle Translate helped a lot. (laughter) Made the process much quicker.

DAVID: That’s amazing. I mean, it’s an incredible project and I think just speaks to Company Three’s sort of national and international reach, just in the way that you guys can start something which is a seed of something, but then actually just blows up and goes all over the place.

NED: I think is important because it helps us think of ourselves as a campaign, rather than just a theatre company, like we want to make change in the world, and there’s no point in us just being one little safe space for young people. Like we want the whole world to be a safe space for young people, for teenagers, we want the world to understand and listen to teenagers better. We’re not going to do that just by making some plays in North London. And we can’t tour, like it’s too much work, it’s too much money and like it’s environmentally disastrous, but what we can do is share all our stuff with anyone anywhere in the world, and they can adapt it however they like. And we don’t really mind as long as it’s useful for them. And if they can make use of it, then they should have it. And maybe we could, you know, exchange with them too.

DAVID: And presumably, that connection does happen. Have any of you had an exchanges or connected with anybody else from other companies? Bailey,

BAILEY: We did like a global session of Company Three with all the other companies that are also doing the time capsule. And there was like, maybe two or three members from each company plus like some of the staff that was there as well. And it was good to like see their take on it. And like be able to compare it to ours.

DAVID: So how many people was on that zoom call?

NED: There’s about 100 on that one. There’s one tomorrow with more than 200.

DAVID: Woah.

NED: I know.

DAVID: Is that the kind of drawing together of time capsule from all of those companies around the world?

NED: Yeah.


NED: Not all. I mean, it’s only 47 companies coming tomorrow.

DAVID: That sounds absolutely amazing. Let me ask you about the way that arts funding kind of works or doesn’t work. I’m guessing that probably Ned and Angie probably do most of the work to try and get in kind of project funds. But I’d be interested to know whether, yeah, any of you guys are thinking about in the future, trying to secure some funding for your own work or whether you’ve got that far yet. And I’d also be just interested to know any kind of impressions you have about how the system currently works. Kezia, you look like you were going to jump in.

KEZIA: So I feel like C3 kind of shows us a little bit from the world of funding. Because as far as I know, C3 is not doing too badly. They work really hard to secure funding for us. They make sure we’ve got everything we need, you know, they did get funding recently. And they decided to gift us with laptops for anyone who needed it, which was really helpful. Thank you C3

DAVID: And it’s amazing that you do what you do actually, without regular funding. I mean, just in terms of the sort of scale of the work and you know, C3’s been on telly with its shows, it’s been from the National to Manchester to London, you know, you’ve played in some of the kind of UK’s biggest and most prestigious venues and yet you yourselves don’t receive any sort of regular funding.

NED: Yeah, we’re small. But we’ve just, you know, we’ve just run a 215-company international project, and we’ve got four staff. And that’s just a bit of it. Like we’ve done about six other projects at the same time that we haven’t really shouted about because they’d been with, I don’t know, groups who have looked after young children in Islington, like a project that Angie just ran or, you know, I’ve just run a four day training course with artists who we think, you know, come from under-represented backgrounds in youth theatre, we want to change that. So there’s lots of stuff that we are doing on the side as well as running the big project.

DAVID: And it’s interesting, it’s interesting that that you seem to be as a company, you all seem to be kind of as busy and as engaged and as connected as ever. Do you think there’s a connection there between your scale and the way that you work with people on a sort of week to week basis that’s meant that you found, in what seems to be from the outside anyway, a very fleet-of-foot way to adapt to carry on working, to…

NED: I think there wasn’t a choice like, you know, I think there isn’t a choice to stop, because loads of people rely on us. Y ou know, you can see in the companies, the theatre companies who are working really hard the Slung Lows and the E den Courts and the Albanys, and you know, those companies who are working really hard, like it’s not a choice, I don’t think – it’s that you have a load of people who have been relying on you, who are your audiences, who are your participants, or whatever and like… you know, it’s really clear that those companies who have existing relationships with the people around them have stepped up in the pandemic, but they haven’t stepped up to do something different. They’re just doing like an amplified version of what they’ve already… they’ve always done. So all we’re doing is providing support and connection and a space to express themselves to a group of teenagers. And like we’ve done one project and I think in some ways, we’ve got it really right and in other ways it hasn’t been quite right, but we’re pushing and trying and part of that support is making sure that everyone’s got a laptop because how’s Kezia gonna do her schoolwork? Not that Kezia’s doing any because she’s like G CSE and like she’s had all her exams cancelled, (protest from Kezia) I’m sorry, Kezia Adewale is doing lots of work! (laughter) Like people need looking after right, and part of theatre is listening and looking after. I think people think theatre is a telling thing, but I think theatre’s a listening thing. And so if you’re going to do that, you have to be genuinely engaged with people, rather than just like pulling them in whenever you need, like, you know, a more diverse audience for your press night.

DAVID: And it’s a family thing, as you have all said – you’ve all used the word family, I think, kind of consistently. But yeah, that’s the idea of a kind of second family or a second network, you know, people that you can connect with and that will support you in some way. When you guys are looking to the future, are there things that you’ve done with C3, which have kind of helped you think about, of what you’re changing now, but also what you might change in the future? Aaliyah, are there things about the work you’ve done with C3 that you’re thankful for?

AALIYAH: A hundred percent I think, especially this project the time capsule has made me realise that I have an interest in directing. Because when filming these videos it’s all about… for me personally, it’s like, I go into depth into, like, how I want to film it, what angles I want it to be at. And I feel like I didn’t realise that one thing that I really did like doing was directing. So I think, from now on, I will look at my work and I’ll think, like, am I interested? How interested am I in directing a piece of work? So I think it really has shifted because before, the only thing I would think about is just becoming an actress or like being a singer and a dancer, but I never thought about going behind the scenes and becoming a director or even being able to do both.

DAVID: That’s great. Have there been sort of discoveries like that for others? What about you, Bailey?

BAILEY: Well, once I finish college, I’m hoping to just throw myself into acting, because that’s the only road for me, that’s where my head is going, and there’s nothing going to sway me. And something that Company Three has helped me with is focusing my drive on on to that. And also, just, like, kind of reassuring me that it’s all in a place where you can get there, because there’s people from Company Three who were in Company Three before it was Company Three, who are now at a place where I want to be, and it’s given me like an idol to look up to. And someone to strive to… not to be them, but like to try and get better than – if that makes sense?

DAVID: It makes total sense. Yeah, it makes total sense and good luck with it. I will follow your career with interest. In 10 years time I’ll be able to say I was on a crap zoom reception call with him (laughter)

NED: I think something that I hope we offer, like whether you go on and become an actor, or whether you whatever, like the industry doesn’t… it’s not a very hospitable place for actors, like, but the the industry, where people really succeed is by being a maker. And like, combining that, so we look at Michaela Cole or, you know, artists like her, and, you know, they write their own stuff, and they make their own stuff, and they make it happen as well. And so there’s kind of an entrepreneurial spirit in that. And when I like, when I look at Bailey, I know that like, Bailey has the capacity to do all of that. And that’s an extra, there’s a whole load more strings then to your bow, right, and also a better chance of expressing yourself as you want to express yourself rather than to be cast in a part as well.

DAVID: And do you feel Ned that there are things that from your point of view as somebody who has run this company since 2008, and has supported generations of young people who’ve come through it and when you look at the amazing people we’ve talked to tonight, the other members of your company. And then when you look at the rest of the sector, and you think about how hospitable or how welcoming that sector is, are there things that you would love to… what are the things that you always want to change for… sort of almost on behalf of the young people that you that you work with and have worked with over the last 12 years?

NED: Where do you start? Ticket prices? Ticket prices is one thing, but like the work… do you guys… I’m not gonna say this show because it’s feels a bit mean, but we went to see a show together quite a lot, I think definitely Bailey and Alannah, I think you were there, Kezia, I can’t remember, Aaliyah I can’t remember, but like, I just remember you guys coming out. And it should have been the show that you absolutely like loved, right. But there was something that killed it for us. And I think it was like the resonances of the space that it was being performed in, d’you know what I mean, I think it was almost too polite to its space. And I think there’s something about… it’s not just ticket prices, is it? It’s like, it’s atmosphere. It’s who’s running the building, it’s who greets you at the door, it’s the way you were made to feel, it’s that… whether you can afford to buy some chips in the bar, and like it’s whether you feel like you’re allowed in the bar. We had a load of young people who were regularly going to the Barbican and the National Theatre to do their homework, but they were never going to see the plays because it was like really quiet in the daytime. But then they were getting kicked out because they weren’t buying coffees and like… something, these buildings that are publicly funded, something kind of feels really wrong about… yeah, and really disconnected with then, like a load of outreach departments then going out trying to find young people to do their work. They’re in the building. Well, they’re nearby or they could be using that building, like…

DAVID: Does that resonate with you guys in terms of your experience of going in those kind of, you know, those big institutions, those big venues, is it… yeah, how does it feel?

KEZIA: That is so true, that is like literally such a truth like, I really like to go see operas and stuff. And they’re not massively expensive because I’m a young person and people plug me a lot. But like when we’re there, it just feels like such a massive space, and I just… I feel like I wouldn’t want to go there by myself. I don’t buy any of the snacks, they’re just like… yeah, and the atmosphere is a lot different to… I don’t know, we went to see Misty at Trafalgar Square Studios, and that was so… it was so good like, and I felt like… I felt at ease in that space. And what you say is just completely true. Like some institutions you go there and you just don’t really feel in the right place. And I feel like that kind of carries over to if you go watch a show, like sometimes it’s overshadowed by the fact that you’re in this massive institution. Y ou just don’t feel…

NED: Like with Misty, it’s interesting, I felt like you guys were were the primary audience. D’you know what I mean, that’s what Arinze was… like, that’s who he was writing for. Like he went to an Islington school, but also like when buildings don’t think of you as the primary audience, d’you know what I mean, when they’re making the show or marketing the show, they’re not like looking at Kezia or Bailey or Alannah or Aaliyah. Or Angie. And like, d’you know what I mean, they’re looking at someone who looks different, who has more, like, experience in certain areas or more money or more… d’you know what I mean, like more knowledge of how to act in that space.

DAVID: Well, look, thanks, guys. It’s been amazing.

NED: Thank you, David. It’s lovely to spend the time with you.

EVERYONE: Thank you!

DAVID: Take care guys, cheers.

DAVID: We hope you enjoyed this fourth episode of Culture Plan B. Big thanks to Angie, Bailey, Ned, Kezia, Aaliyah and Alannah. If you want to find out more about Company Three’s work then visit and do visit to find out more about this amazing global project. You can contact us at Culture Plan B with ideas for the podcast by emailing us at and do follow us on Instagram or Twitter for info on future episodes. This episode was researched and presented by David Jubb, the editors and sound mixers are Ian Dickinson and George Dennis. The music is from ‘Don’t Tell Me’ by Conrad Murray and Kate and Nate from BAC’s Beatbox Academy, communication support from Antonio Goddard. With thanks to David Bellwood for helping us to make the series more inclusive and accessible. Original artwork by John Bausor and the producer and creator is Matthew Dunster.


“Don’t tell me how to be, Don’t tell me how to speak, Don’t tell me how to love, Don’t tell me how to feel, Don’t tell me how to do, Don’t tell me how to think, Don’t tell me how to be, Don’t tell me how to think, it will be ok if we agree to disagree, it’ll be ok”