Thursday, November 23, 2006


Interview with Nottingham Trent University's Platform magazine.

What was it that first made you interested in the field of theatre and playwriting?

Interestingly - amateur dramatics. My dad was always performing in a play at the Church on Rise Park and I used to go along. When I was old enough I would have a small non-speaking part and then I was a main character in a play there in 1993. I talked about the show in my interview to get into Lancaster University to study theatre and that was that. I've never been that interested in playwriting as such, more the possibilities of performance. I write but I don't consider myself a playwright. My work takes on a variety of forms including text. I find scripts quite restrictive. I was involved in devising work with Metro-boulot-dodo - a theatre company I founded on graduating. But it is the most appropriate method for the MA project. And it was the most appropriate method for The White Album at Nottingham Playhouse. I think it depends on the context. In the mainstream or traditional context I'm a playwright but I am interested in how I can challenge theatrical convention within those specific contexts.

Why did you choose to come back to Nottingham to continue your academic study?

I returned to Nottingham two years ago and decided to undertake the MA after speaking to friends who were on the Performance and Live Art course last year. I had always wanted to get back into academic study but ten years on the road with MBD put that on hold. I felt the time was right to reflect on my current thinking as a writer and artist. I was working on The White Album and a four year live art project The Long and Winding Road. NTU seemed the best place to develop a multi-disciplinary practice within a critical and supportive framework.

How are you finding the course at Nottingham Trent?

It has been a Long and Winding Road. The course has challenged the way I think about the work I make and invigorated my practice. It has given me the confidence and ability to work in other media and helped to untrain my theatrical brain. At the same time - working as an amateur and an academic - I have remembered why I love what it is I do. More than anything - and I don't know why I had to do an MA to discover this - I have learnt that less is more.

Acts Of Communion is going to be showing in Nottingham this week. When you thought of the idea for this play, did you have Rise Park Church specifically in mind?

Acts of Communion is a site-specific project. The play was written with the Church on Rise Park Drama Group. I wanted to explore the acts of communion that take place in the church hall. Weddings. Christenings. Funerals. Plays. My work draws on self and site as source and I chose to respond to the space using amateur dramatics as it seemed the most appropriate medium and is in itself an act of communion. It was important to return to the church hall where I had discovered performance as both an amateur and an academic. As part of the project, I created an installation with the drama group's old stage blocks in the Powerhouse with stage directions from the plays performed upon them. The plays collided in an act of communion in an empty space and the amateur stage was transposed into an academic context.

It has been said that your work disregards theatrical convention. Is it your purpose to try and break to mould of what is seen to be traditional theatre?

Absolutely. We performed the play last night and even though people thought it was 'different' it was still a success. I think because it belongs to the drama group, to the community, to the church. I strive to balance thought provoking with entertaining and I am interested in how we can explore new vocabularies, new ways of working in traditional contexts. A piece of writing the length of a record with a non-linear narrative at the Nottingham Playhouse. A play within a play in the Church on Rise Park where the drama group perform themselves. We make our own moulds.

Do you have any more future productions in mind for Nottingham that we can look out for?

The Long and Winding Road is ongoing. I drive a car from Nottingham to Liverpool over four years. The car is packed with mementoes wrapped in brown paper and string, tagged and logged. In 2008, I drive the car into the River Mersey. I am looking for opportunities to show the work and invite people to join me on the journey of a drivetime. For more information or to become a member of the steering committee please contact

And lastly, do you have any pointers for current students or future playwrights?

Less is more.


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