In at the beginning

Last week the Community Centre was given a rare chance to meet with a writer/director as they started the creative journey to produce a piece of theatre. Sponsored by the Lowry Theatre and mentored by Cheshire Rural Touring Arts, Laura Lindow met a group of rural promoters at the Action Transport Theatre in Ellesmere Port.

Scottish born Laura has worked in the North East since 1996 creating exciting theatre for both adults and children. She is a director, playwright and storyteller using words, music and puppetry to craft pieces that resonate with warmth and humanity. Her play, Heartbreak Soup, was nominated for an award at the Edinburgh Festival. Laura also takes her talents into children’s hospitals as a Clown Doctor, where she helps sick children cope with the stress of illness. (See www.clowndoctors.co.uk)

The piece that Laura brought to the group is provisionally called In Chips and tell of the emotional ties that bind families together, and that sometimes chafe. How do we talk about the important things that concern us when we can’t mention the really important issues that are like an elephant in the room? Laura read part the story as it is presently conceived, a captivating tale full of remarkable images that left all of us asking that most important question – “What Happens Next?”

In fact what happens next is that Laura and her producer, together with staff at the Lowry, will spend some weeks analysing, refining and moulding the story into a piece of theatre with a view to offering it to the Rural Touring network in the autumn. They will take the comments of the promoters on board because small rural audiences are not the same as urban ones, and Village Halls are often not proper theatres. How flexible does the set have to be? Is strong language acceptable? How long should the piece be? ( Interestingly rural promoters like a play that is long enough for an interval – raffle/bar, and long enough to give the audience a feeling that they have had a good night out!)

I would be delighted to be able to offer this play to Tarvin should it become available in the autumn menu. I would love to see how the gripping and evocative story I heard becomes a piece of theatre, so watch this space.

By the way, when I said there was an elephant in the room I wasn’t kidding – the story did contain a real elephant……………… possibly!

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