What do the Falklands War, the miners’ strikes, Hillsborough disaster, Gulf War, Stephen Lawrence, Jean Charles De Menezes, Ian Tomlinson, MPs’ expenses, War on Terrorism, financial crisis, phone hacking scandal, the issue of immigration and Brexit all have in common?
Every director has a bucket list of shows they want to do, right? I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road is a show I have wanted to do for many, many years.
A career telling stories was a goal they presumed I’d grow out of once. But then ‘they’ were grown-ups, who, I have since come to learn, are still figuring out how to grow up themselves. Gin, our teenage protagonist in Strawberry Vale, is trying to discover what it means to be Adult.
I’m interested in responsive work and collaborating to research, analyse, visualise and present an audience with live experiences that have a direct link to their lives, politics, now, today and sharply and truthfully ask difficult questions.
It may not sound too dramatic to most people but starting a family is for some the most treacherous of journeys. Full of hope, heartbreak and at times hilarity, there is a silent epidemic of infertility going on in this country, and clinics both private and NHS are packed full of desperate, hopeful and embarrassed people who are doing everything they can to get the family they so desperately need.
Over the last few years my work has been pretty evenly divided between making work for children and young people (The Scarecrows’ Wedding, Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas) as well as site-specific, interactive experiences (Hotel Plays, Really Emergency Theatre). So this summer, I hope to put those experiences to good use with the outdoor stage adaptation of The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes.
Empathy is an important word in theatre. Compassion and human connection are at the forefront of what makes good theatre work, and my own starting point for any piece of theatre I may work on is ‘what does it make me feel?’ This was definitely the driving factor behind my decision to stage Tess Berry-Hart’s Cargo at the Arcola this July.
Alistair Beaton, the author of The Accidental Leader, one of five short plays now running at the Arts Theatre in London under the collective title A View from Islington North, wonders whether previews have had their day. And hopes they haven’t.