In December 2007, the Daily Telegraph asked arts world insiders to make their predictions for who would shine in 2008. RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd chose to write about Filter Theatre Company and had this to say about their three Directors back then:
'As theatre is a collaborative art form, it's not surprising that I am tipping three people for next year. They are Oliver Dimsdale, Tim Phillips and Ferdy Roberts, or Filter as they are collectively known. This year they have explored Twelfth Night with the RSC as part of our Complete Works of Shakespeare Festival and they have also collaborated with David Farr on their latest show, Water. These theatre artists clearly work out of a real shared sense of trust. They are college friends and retain a robust emotional honesty and playfulness, whether they are tackling Shakespeare or the sophisticated narrative of ideas contained in Water. Theatre is better than any art form at expressing the connectedness of human beings, and this young triumvirate are better than most at sticking to the task. Their address to the audience is direct, openhearted, and engaging, Tim Phillips is a musician and sound designer, and the cross-disciplinary curiosity of Filter is a crucial part of their creative potential and their appeal. Devised work doesn't always respect our love of narrative, of storytelling, but Water had the compelling quality of a page-turner. They explore the simple confessional like Spalding Grey, the complex imagery thrown up by a web of life like Robert Lepage, and they can dramatise and humanise an intellectual concept like Simon McBurney. These are very promising influences, but Filter remain very much themselves, quite unassuming, "English", and full of more surprises to come.'
In 2009, Michael Boyd ensured RSC audiences would be among the first to enjoy those new 'surprises' when he invited Filter to return to the RSC to work with the current ensemble on a new project, Silence.
As with all the plays during the Hampstead Theatre season, Silence will be cast entirely from the ensemble and will directed by RSC Associate Director David Farr. During his tenure as Artistic Director at the Lyric Hammersmith, David collaborated with Filter on the visually stunning Water, which became one of the most talked about productions of 2007.
The gripping narrative, beautiful soundscapes and knack of combining strong personal emotion with a political dimension all help to ensure that Water emerges as one of the most refreshing productions of the year.
Water is a distinctive and distinguished piece of theatre. You emerge after an unbroken 90 minutes feeling that you have been therapeutically immersed in an absorbing, vivid and scrupulously coherent new world. Highly recommended.
David Farr on Filter
As they begin their work together on Silence, David Farr said: 'Filter work in an entirely unique way. They make the stage a living, organic place where sound and image combine to tell wonderful stories. Being an audience at a Filter show is to be part of something very alive, where anything might just happen. My own love of telling human stories that resonate deeply within us, stories of real emotional and moral charge, combines nicely with their fabulous formal elasticity. It's a nice brew and I love working with them.'