Flossy & Boo theatre company are Anja Conti (Flossy) and Laura Jeffs (Boo), who create innovative and interactive theatre that looks at the world from an unconventional point of view. They're currently at Edinburgh Fringe with their family theatre show, Ned and the Whale. 

Can you tell us what you do?

Flossy and Boo is a female-led theatre company based in Cardiff and Pontypridd. 

We are currently artists in residence at RCT Theatres in the valleys. 

In 2014, Flossy and Boo was formed with an ambition and vision to create innovative work that looked at the world from an unconventional point of view. In just a few years together, we've developed our portfolio of work to include; cabaret, indoor theatre, outdoor theatre, street theatre, walkabout acts and immersive, interactive environments predominantly for festivals. What is central to the work we make is our audience interaction, the joy (and danger!) of asking people to be active engaged participants rather than passive spectators keeps us on our toes and our work alive. This in turn ensures that we are very much responsive to the environments in which we live and work.

Our work has enabled us to tour nationally and internationally, picking up four and five star reviews along the way; from Limburg Festival in the Netherlands, headlining Mavericks stage at Glastonbury, to performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and promoting Welsh made work. 

Why have you chosen to work in Cardiff? 

The main draw for us both to initially begin working in Cardiff was because of the excitement of the smaller companies coming out of Wales. Laura trained in Cardiff and loved it so much Wales adopted her in. Anja is from West Wales originally and not having trained in Cardiff decided that the big city was totally worth a shot. She has settled into the Grangetown family very nicely. We both really love that we can make work in Cardiff and in the valleys. It is this mix of cultures and diversity that our work thrives. Too often we see the big cities stealing the limelight, however we have seen that city and valleys combined makes for better, audience-focussed work. We feel honoured and excited to be flying the RCT Theatres flag across the world. Proud of our city and valleys roots. 

What inspires you about being here?

There are a number of challenges and opportunities that are put your way in Cardiff. Everyone in the arts knows everyone, much like being home in West Wales, however you are given a larger platform on which to play. The diversity within Grangetown, Cardiff Bay and surrounding areas really helps to ground our work. We are able to walk into rehearsals one day at the Wales Millennium Centre then the next day be working from Grangetown in a garden to being with an audience in the rehearsal room in the valleys. Variety is something that is keeping our work alive. We are extremely proud to have come through the Blysh Festival selection, sadly no longer a feature at WMC. 

What challenges have you found in working in Cardiff? 

We have found that making your own work in Cardiff brings more joy than being a jobbing actors. We wanted to push the boundaries of our work and tour to festivals and reach larger communities. When you are new to Cardiff it can be quite daunting. Lonely sometimes. We feel that more could be done to connect artists straight out of University or Drama school to working in the industry, something we are desperately trying to do with our work. Another challenge is funding, if you are new to the industry it can feel like a completely daunting arena. We have luckily had the help of some incredible individuals and companies along the way. Something to note here is the support we have had from the Arts Council of Wales, they have always been very helpful in hearing our ideas and championing our work. Without community, networks, funding and support you can feel quite lost, we hope that more theatres will open their doors, just like RCT theatres, WMC and Pontardawe Arts Centre. 

How successful do you think Cardiff has been at making itself a creative capital, particularly in your area of work? 

Cardiff has held some incredible events and on the whole celebrates the work of artists in many stages of their careers. From Bayside Festivals, huge community projects, to the amazing work of The Other Room we can really see the depth of talent coming out of Wales. We feel that we can hold our heads high when in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year with Ned and the Whale as we have already had interest from audience and bookers much of that due to the high standards they expect from work made in Wales. 

In your opinion, which three things need to happen to make Cardiff a more creative city? 

We need to open up possibilities of more street theatre and carnivals across the city centre. More meet-ups for artists, not just in grand buildings, but into the communities to find out what people really want to happen next. We need to see the development and support of family friendly theatre and access to the arts in schools and youth projects. We believe that the next generation need support now in order for us to move forward and really change up and develop our cultural and economic ideas. 

What do you think Creative Cardiff should try to achieve? 

To share more about what you are trying to achieve, shout it from the rooftops because many do not know what you are wishing to do. 

What’s next for you? What projects are on the horizon? What new ideas are you working on?

As always here at Flossy and Boo HQ, we don't like to make things easy for ourselves. We are taking our show up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, flying the Welsh flag for This is Wales. We are very excited to be taking up Ned and the Whale to The Space Tent at Symposium Hall, Venue 43. It is a stunning venue as it is a bell tent, surrounded by all the hustle and bustle of the city. A quiet oasis in the Fringe. We hope that with Ned and the Whale, our audiences will be able to have discussions after on the 'plastic ocean' and looking after our environment. It's recommended for 3+ but all are welcome as we've had six month old babies to grandmas in who have all loved it for different reasons. It is full of music and comedy and lots of wonderful characters - you can watch more here. We are also delighted to be offering four relaxed performances this year on 10, 11, 17 and 18 August at the 11am showings. Anyone who would like to have things in place for them to be able to enjoy the show can email us before hand should they wish. Otherwise these shows are specifically designed for relaxed performances. 

We will continue to create and develop family friendly theatre and help others to access the arts. A project that is extremely close to our heart is The Ramshackle's Brilliant Adventure, this show looks at non-traditional family set ups and has been in development for a couple of months. We hope to secure funding to develop it and tour this piece internationally. We also have a show called The Girl Who Couldn't Pretend which is a show that in essence gets us to focus on our imaginations and help us to see the world differently. We are constantly looking for funding and supporters of our work so if anyone is interested in helping please don't hesitate to get in touch

Tickets for Ned in Edinburgh.

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