Shaban Arifi came to London roughly fourteen years ago from Kosovo. When he first came to London he continued to act, always knowing it was what he wanted to do, taking small roles in other companies as well as acting for Victor Sobchak. He met Victor almost eleven years ago, working as an actor within his various companies before establishing Theatre Collection with him.
Shaban Arifi is currently performing as Raskolnikov within Victor Sobchak adapatation of Fyodor Dostoyevky’s novel at The Theatre Collection in Camden, London. Arifi (Producer and Actor) and Sobchak (Artistic Director) co-founded The THEATRE COLLECTION in 2009.
Sobchak, retains the original plot of the novel capturing the essence of this intense story, while Arifi demonstrates Raskolnikov’s dark and twisted conscious.
So far, Theatre Collection has developed due to their hard work, producing over 32 plays that gradually gained outside interest, mainly through word of mouth. The company is kept alive purely by the love of theatre and the funds accumulated through selling tickets. Arifi relayed the hectic story of how Sobchak was originally rehearsing in another location while he transformed the upstairs studio of The Lord Stanley pub in Camden into a potential set for these productions.
“The studio became a perfect location for our plays due to its isolating and intimate atmosphere. It was great for fringe theatre as a lot of the time it’s hard to gain enough interest to fill a large theatre space. Even when there are only 10-15 audience members, it still feels full making this a worthwhile endeavor” said Arifi.
All the actors take part voluntarily, which at times causes difficulties with commitment and organizing rehearsals, as they have to rely heavily on the actors being committed and passionate for the success of the play. They don’t have a huge marketing advertisement for Theatre Collection due to finances, so most of the audiences they gain are through word of mouth.
Arifi said: “I’m currently about to start rehearsals for the upcoming production of Madame de Sade. I’m not acting within this play, but directing it. Although I thrive on acting, and like to refer to myself as an actor, I find that directing is an easier position to intermingle with the other responsibilities I have within running Theatre Collection. I still act within other companies but only act every three months within this company, mainly directing productions instead.”
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