Well this week is rolling along nicely and all the preparations for next week are generally well under way. The company is pretty much formed for the week and we are all chomping at the bit to get on with it. I imagine this must be what it’s like for an athlete as they stand at the starting line of the race, waiting with a mixture of anxiety, excitement and impatience for the ‘official’ to shout, “ready, steady… go”!! Well, we’re on the ‘ready’ stage at the moment, reading through the scripts and planning, accruing props and anything else we might need over the next week! But while we wait with baited breath, it’s time for me to introduce our next writer. the lovely Trevor Suthers whose play, Accident of Birth kicks of Thursday’s proceedings. Accident of Birth is a thoroughly interesting little piece, set in a prison visitation room, and explores the issue of nature vs nurture through the dialogue between a man, incarcerated in Broadmoor, and his biological mother.
So, Trevor, as always, kick off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Aside from playwriting, I spent twenty years, on and off as a teacher with children with severe learning difficulties. I’m married with one daughter. Along with five other playwrights I co-produce the bi-annual short play festival in Manchester, JB Shorts. We are coming up to our fifteenth show in a couple of months. I’ve written for both Coronation Street and Eastenders but that was a long time ago. I have a number of plays published online, particularly the US based Youthplays organisation. I’m currently writing a couple of pieces of children’s theatre, one in the form of a short film, for two regional children’s theatre groups. Young people’s theatre is something of a passion of mine.
Wow, that’s amazing – That’s quite an accolade to have written for Eastenders and Coronation Street! How long have you been writing plays for and what started you off writing?
I have had stage work produced quite regularly for the past thirty years or so in every kind of conceivable venue. I’ve always written dialogue since contracting the theatre bug many years ago in Youth Theatre.
Ah – the joys of Youth Theatre – so many people seem to have found their feet there and caught ‘the bug’. What prompted you to write the play that you submitted?
I rarely, if ever write about myself but was prompted to write Accident Of Birth as I myself am adopted and many friends seemed to think the circumstances of my own experience of adoption was quite interesting. I set about incorporating some of my own personal biographical details within this play even though the setting, characters and circumstances are entirely fictional. It proved quite therapeutic in the end.
Interesting. So there was some degree of catharsis in the process of telling the story! Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your process of writing?
I consider writing credible, realistic dialogue as something of a craft and being lucky enough to have had a significant number of plays staged through hearing my dialogue spoken I’ve hopefully got steadily better at it. I hate it when I hear dialogue spoken on stage that is clearly from the mouth of the author rather than the character that is supposedly being portrayed. I try hard to avoid this. And to quote my erstwhile friend Paul Abbott – ‘writing is re-writing’
Indeed!! Anything else that you think reader’s of the blog will find interesting?
My hero in terms of relevance and commitment in writing is the late great Jim Allen.
Excellent. Thanks so much for that, Trevor. Great to talk to you. If you want to catch Accident of Birth, make sure you come along the The Place Theatre on Thursday 10th May kicking off at 7.30. Better yet, grab yourself a festival pass and come along to all 8 performances for a mere £20. You can grab your tickets online at The Place Theatre website by clicking here. We look forward to seeing you there!