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What Is Lepus?
by Script and Story Editor, Kate Leys

Listen to The Portal on all good podcast platforms

When I first found Lepus, I didn’t even realise I had.  I worked with a wonderful animator.  He introduced me to a gorgeous folk group.  Later I worked on a brilliant, funny short film for someone else, with two fantastic writers (I’m a script editor: I should cut all these superlatives but I honestly can’t, these people are very, very good).  All of them eventually turned out to be connected to Lepus. That’s what Lepus seems to be: a not at all secret network joining amazing people up with each other, all over the country, in every kind of creative field you can imagine. It is astonishing, but also somehow unsurprising. I feel like I might open a cupboard in their office and find, say, an ice cream van, or a clog dancer, and not bat an eyelid.


Before I understood that it was a network the person at the centre of it (one of the Martins!), who acts like he just happens to be there, rang up one day to ask me if I’d meet with a writer and a director to see if I might be the right person to work on a podcast. "I’ve never worked on a podcast", I said, "I’m film". "Yes", he said.  I asked, "is it a story?"  He said, "it’s about brass bands, 150 years of the labour movement and a radge 17 year old Glaswegian".  So of course I was totally sold, it was an instant yes - and then he said there would be an animated bit in it. In a podcast? These people were clearly mad. I loved them.


I met the writer, the other Martin, who said he wasn’t a writer, and the director, Wils, who said she really worked in theatre. (They both turned out to be geniuses!) We were supposed to talk about how or whether we might work together; instead it took about 30 seconds to start talking about the story. 


"I feel like I might open a cupboard in their office
and find, say, an ice cream
van, or a clog dancer, and
not bat an eyelid."

Photograph: Jon Calvert

Later I began to join the dots. Animation, music, comedy, dance, cabaret, podcast, theatre.  At Lepus, it’s a network. Film fits in nicely somewhere between poetry and sculpture.  


And it turned out, perhaps unsurprisingly, that working on this show, with these extraordinary people, feeling the fizzing and breathing of that network in the ground under my feet, was the most fun I’ve had in years.

Kate Leys is a script editor who has worked on the development of our new podcast to be released next year – our next creation from The Portal


Kate was head of development at several companies, including Film4 and was part of the small team commissioning and developing some of the UK's most successful feature films including FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL and TRAINSPOTTING, developing ORPHANS and brought in EAST IS EAST and GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING.


Recent completed films include BENJAMIN by Simon Amstell, HOW TO FAKE A WAR by Rudolph Herzog and has contributed to TV Dramas such as I AM (Channel 4), BABYLON (Channel 4) and the Emmy Award Winning HOFF THE RECORD.

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Want to read more? Suggested Articles:

Why we made The Portal
How lockdown inspired Martin to create some of his most experimental, and unique work to date.

"Make the thing we know we can make"
Producer Martin Atkinson talks through the challenges of making new work during a lockdown.

Enjoyed what you're reading? Please consider supporting Lepus make new work with communities and artists all over the UK by joining our Patreon or contributing to Donorbox.

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