Comments from Industry about my work
Jen Malarkey is a rare artist; she is willing to take creative risks, to make work about challenging subjects and to connect with as wide a group of people as possible. She works cross artform – she’s interested in movement led work that has text and spoken language at the heart of the storytelling. The two forms (physical and spoken) have equity in her work and align to create an often explosive practice.
Louise Blackwell, Co-founder of Fuel and Independant Producer
I greatly admire Jen’s commitment to fusing dance and new writing. I HEART CATHERINE PISTACHIO is a startling creation, animating Lee Mattinson’s deliciously dark, sabatier sharp comedy with joyous, surprising, hugely entertaining physicality.
James Grieve, Freelance Director and previous Joint Artistic Director, Paines Plough
Jen’s work really interests us. She combines text and movement with rare confidence, flair and skill. Her ideas are distinct and convincing.
Christina Elliot, Senior Producer, The Place
Encounter’s work manages to attract and hold both theatre and non-theatre audiences through its skillful and unique choice of form. The form explores and exposes how absurdity is often in close attendance to tragedy. It manages to deliver an often shocking quality of emotional punch whilst never abandoning an audience to just deal with the consequences alone. Movement responds to language and language to movement with an authenticity that can only stem from a successful and deep creative partnership where form matches content. Encounter draw on this stable core of process for the courage and confidence to push into new territory.
During the pandemic, their surety of voice allowed them to embrace quite radical shifts when work was threatened with cancellation: to embrace film and headphone audio and to find audiences in non-traditional environments. This is not just about reworking a show, but about revisiting the fundamentals of the contract with an audience. Their commitment is beyond question.
There is a real respect for the audience evidenced by their ability to reach out personally to engage with a community: knock on doors, get to know people, run workshops, create with children, handle the fragile and the intimidating with equal dexterity. They are excellent ambassadors.
They have a readiness to own all aspects of their practice. No detail is too trivial: they care as much about how the work is sold and shared as how it is made. They exhibit a palpable moral core in how they conduct their processes and manage working relationships.
Finally, from a production perspective theirs is a sustainable and sparse aesthetic. Body and voice with the barest minimum of additional gubbins. Costume is a powerful tool for them and the principle visual asset. I would venture to say that this is what international touring needs to more closely resemble in the coming decade.
Stuart Heyes, Associate Director, Fuel.