Meet our lead performer – Stu Bowden

Stu is one of our longest serving Bakehouse performers, and clients often make special requests for him to be cast for their events! Find out about how he got into performance, his Bakehouse highlights and what the future holds!

How did you become a performer?

I started as an 11-year-old precocious Mancunian who went Contact Youth Theatre where I got referred to Sheena Simons Dance School, where I continued to study drama and dance through my childhood, along-side doing TV and international plays. I then pursued formal training at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and was awarded a first class honours degree in my Bachelor of Arts. I’ve not stopped working since I left, I am very blessed. I perform because I like to master physicality and perceptions through my work.

How long have you been working with Bakehouse?

From the beginning.  I’ve been privileged enough to work with a lot of members of Bakehouse for years, even preceding Bakehouse itself.

What’s special about working with Bakehouse?

Bakehouse is a bubbling hub of likeminded, genuinely nice people, with similar views on engagement and creativity. It’s the type of company you want to go on a journey with and that’s exactly what we offer in creative forums in our work.  I find the work really rewarding, I feel we consistently excel and deliver our high standards on every job and are constantly reaffirmed by the wonderful comments from audience and clients.

Can you share any particular highlights?

Probably the Sky Bet job when I had to choreograph 100 extras on a football pitch, in Manchester. It was refreshing and exciting to be representing Bakehouse in a managerial role whilst working with an up and coming creative media company. The shoot ended on a huge high for me, when the whole team of extras and creatives began chanting my name in celebration ‘We love you Stuart, we do. We love you Stuart, we do. We love you Stuart, we do. Stuart we love you!’ (Gemma has a video of this)

Who has been your favourite Bakehouse character?

I can’t pick one, I had to pick three:

Cecil Skycraft, a steampunk wizard and an expert in air, sky and broom’ography

Lee’da Lighton, a highly physical scatty ghost who was scared of the dark. It was nice that I played a physical character where kids were immediately on my side as soon as they knew my name and my fear.

Tyrees Kyle Brown, a visual stylist extraordinaire, from NYC. It was great to play an adult role, engage with an adult audience, and have them believe I’m really from the US.

What other projects are you working on?

I’m working on Rent Party which is a hard-hitting biographical physical theatre show, based on Harlem rent parties in the Harlem Renaissance of 1920s New York. Black residents threw parties and entertained guests, they charged on entry to raise the money they needed to cover their extortionate, and higher than white residents, rent. I worked on the R&D in the Royal Exchange, Manchester, and performed it at Home. It’s going to the Crucible, Sheffield as alternative Christmas show this year.

What are your ambitions for the future?

To continuing fine-tuning my trade, and developing my self as an artist but accepting challenges and being open, ‘ being an artist for is like imagining a colour, you’re always trying to find your own truth of shade’.