My New Normal: Emma Brunjes, Founder and Director ebp

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What social media do you regularly use?

For work: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Personally…not a lot.

What do you post?

Very little at the moment; normally we’re active about our productions, our work, our talent and the industry as a whole.

What podcasts are you listening to? 

I have a very long list to catch up on, including Michelle Obama; High Low and More or Less.

Current viewing habits, film, TV, online?

I have a young son so can I say ‘Hey Dugee’?! When we do get to TV and film, we’ve taken the opportunity of being at home to really indulge in catching up on box sets, documentaries and films. Schitts Creek was certainly a highlight in early lockdown, the writing and characters were sublime. I wept through the final episode and behind the scenes, I was very invested and love it even more, so that it’s one big family effort.

More recently I devoured Life by Mike Bartlett. I was lucky enough to produce his first play on the Fringe, at the Bush Theatre back in 2006. His writing and vision is superb, the performances were a masterclass. We couldn’t turn it off. I wept (again). This is why we need our stages back so the next generation can hone their craft, as he and many others have. Where would we have been without TV’s and online during lockdown?

What’s your favourite ad campaign and why?

Recently the new campaign from Farrow & Ball. Its first TV ads I believe. It’s so funny and for anyone who has done any DIY recently you relate immediately. But it’s also how cleverly F&B have moved into owning its position as the company who instigated the ‘Elephants Breath’ phenomenon. I adore how knowing it is. Smart.

Your favourite viral?

Don’t really have one, but, as I write today, a video featuring Roy Castle, Buddy Rich and Sammy Davis Jnr is trending on Twitter. If you haven’t seen it I urge you to take 3 mins out of your day and enjoy. The talent on display is overwhelming. Pure and utter joy.  It’s made my day.

Your favourite maxim for life (and who said it)?

Ad Infinitum et Ultra.

This is an unnecessarily highbrow (and slightly silly!) of saying ‘To infinity and Beyond’, which we have adopted as a family motto over the years. I even had it on my wedding invitations! Buzz Lightyear epitomises loyalty and friendship. He, and Woody, prove that if you believe and aspire to achieve, you can, if you stick at it and stick with those you trust around you. So, all in all, a pretty good maxim to remember and hopefully pass on.

How has your company responded to the challenges raised by Coronavirus?  

We were in a very fortunate position to not have any productions on the road. As such, we have taken this time to reflect, review and take stock of our achievements and more importantly our failures over the last, nearly, 7 years. How and what we do, to adapt, move forward changes daily…it’s a full-time job to keep up!

I have endeavoured to support, where I can, with involvement in various industry bodies and networks across theatre and comedy. I have been extraordinarily impressed by how we have collaborated and united as practitioners across all the disciplines to tackle all the challenges that the pandemic has raised.

What opportunities has it created?

I think it’s a time for us all to review not only our work but our processes. Are we offering the best work and delivering it in the best possible way, at every level, for our audiences? Our industry is remarkably resilient and adaptable, for example, how theatres are bouncing back in socially distanced ways is testament to that flexibility, and I’ve lost track of how many outdoor pop up stand-up nights there were from private gardens to car parks. Brilliant ingenuity and practicality all round.

There is work and behaviours being created and implemented that I hope will be adopted into the ‘new normal’ moving forwards. Even the best well-oiled machine needs a service every now and again and so now is the time to check every part is working and operating in the best possible way.

The future will be bright, we will bounce back, great work will be created which challenges, excites and entertains in new voices and new forms, but we have to accept that sadly the road to get there will be rocky. I remain optimistic, pragmatic and proud to be in an industry that will deliver all this no matter what.