Do you live or work in west London?
IM: Living and working in Notting Hill during Lockdown!
What’s your favourite thing about the area?
IM: The pubs, restaurants shops, cafes and markets (Portobello) – I miss them.
GG: I love how vibrant the area is. Portobello Road is often a cacophony of sound that enlivens your day.
Describe your perfect day and evening in west London… Any favourite haunts?
IM: Given how little we’ve been out, I’m dreaming of a breakfast meeting at The Electric Club, followed by a few meetings including brunch at Gold, Lunch at Julie’s and supper at Taqueria!!! With runs in Holland and Hyde Park to offset the culinary feats. Gala and I would take our computers to each meeting to offset the indulgence with work, meeting actors, writers and directors.
GG: A long walk down Golborne road and Portobello road on a market day ending in Hyde Park. My ideal evening would be a delicious dinner at Essenza ending with a night cap and a dance at Laylow.
You’re the co-founders of Platform Presents, a London based company committed to providing a platform to up and coming actors, writers and directors. How did you both meet and what inspired you to set the company up?
IM: Gala and I met at the dinner after Oliver Stone’s film premiere of Snowden. We got on like a house on fire and met up the following week. We wanted to create a space for rising star talent to have the opportunity to be nurtured and shine.
GG: We serendipitously met after a screening of Oliver Stone’s film ‘Snowden.’ We instantly clicked and discovered we share a huge passion for theatre, film and television.
Having left Guildhall drama school at 21 years old, I wanted to set up a production company that nurtured and discovered new talent. Meeting Isabella was the catalyst for it to begin – what with her experience as a producer and infectious energy, I knew she was the one to start the journey with. We met for coffee and discussed the arms the business would have, initially producing play reading, poetry events, short films and then developing theatre productions, feature films and now television. The company name was agreed the next day and in March 2017 we began.
What was your first Platform Presents production?
IM: A play reading of ‘Building The Wall’ a new play by Robert Schenkkan. We worked with young director Jesse Jones, and cast Zawe Ashton and Jason Watkins in the lead roles.
Do you think that the theatre and film industries as a whole have enough opportunities to support emerging artists?
IM: Different organisations and charities work hard to do this, and there are some amazing programmes out there, but now more than ever, with the arts facing such devastating times during Covid 19, we need to provide platforms.
GG: Our industry is getting larger by the day – the more support and nurturing by different initiatives, the better!
Why is it important to diversify not only the people getting hired but the work seen by audiences?
IM: Because theatre, that visceral, live experience that takes place in a dark room, provides insights into all walks of life, creating empathy and understanding.
GG: The power of story telling whatever art form is universal and should be accessible to all.
Was there anything or anyone in particular who helped you in your way towards the careers you have now?
IM: My parents. Obsessed with theatre.
GG: I was lucky enough to go the theatre from a young age. The many actors who were treading the boards then were the ones who inspired me to train and be a part of the magic of theatre.
Tell us something positive you’ve learnt from the last year..
IM: The incredible possibilities of theatre online, where the audience can be global and the ticket price heavily reduced. Blue chip theatre democratised.
GG: How important and special our working relationship is. We are nearly 3 years in and still loving it, laughing every day.
What’s next for Platform Presents?
IM: Our next production, Good Grief, co-produced with Amy Gardner of Finite Films and starring Sian Clifford and Nikesh Patel, written by Lorien Haynes and directed by Natalie Abrahami, launches on February 15th at OriginalTheatreOnline.com. It’s a romantic comedy about grief. Sian said “It’s neither a film nor theatre, it’s a hybrid that’s why it’s so thrilling to be part of it, something that is so innovative and has been born entirely of this chaos. I loved the idea of doing something radical and helping save our industry and to keep people engaged with the arts.”
We’re embarking on a feature film we’ve been working on for the last year, adapted from the winning play in 2019 ‘That Awful Sound’, written by Leah Gasson. We have many productions up in the air at one time, and they all develop at different paces. We’re very excited to read the next batch of plays entered into our Playwright’s Prize, which closes on March 1st.