Continuing our series of introductions to the writers for this years StageWrite, I am thrilled to introduce you to Bedford’s very own Christopher Loft. This year is Chris’ first submission to StageWrite and what a treat it is. The Interview Stage is something of a black comedy and I asked Chris a few questions in order to find out a little bit about him, and the play…
So Chris, tell us a little but about yourself?
I have been a teacher for over twenty years, at both primary and secondary level, as well as a part-time writer. I am originally from London, but have been based in Bedford for nearly ten years now, where I live with my wife Rosie and our two lovely children, Daisy and Arlo. I am an active member of local community theatre groups and I have appeared in many shows both here and in South London.
Great names for the kids!! And how long have you been writing plays for and what started you off writing?
I started writing plays for young people about fifteen years ago when, as a teacher charged with directing end-of-term productions, I thought I’d write the scripts myself. One of my first efforts was selected for the Young Vic’s Schools Theatre Festival and I never looked back, producing work for schools and community theatre groups ever since. It is only recently, however, that I’ve started to write for adults as well as children and this is my first ‘grown-up’ play.
What prompted you to write ‘The Interview Stage’?
The idea for The Interview Stage came from a ‘Secret Teacher’ article in The Guardian, which pointed out the increasing number of requirements demanded of teachers at job interviews. That started me thinking about how teachers are in positions of enormous trust and responsibility, often highly valued and appreciated by parents and pupils, yet at the same time viewed (particularly by the media and government) as untrustworthy, lazy Bolsheviks, always moaning, on strike or on holiday and in need of ever-increasing scrutiny and accountability! I thought there was interesting dramatic potential in the tension between these two views of the profession and that’s what the play explores.
Tell us a little bit about your process of writing.
I like to begin with an idea (in this case, an interview that may or may not be a police interrogation), start writing and see where it takes me. I don’t aim for anything particular but, when it’s finished, I put it to one side for a while and then see if there’s anything in it worth developing. Sometimes, a play will start off as a short story, or vice versa. In this case, I wrote a short sketch about school governors acting like sadistic policemen and then kept adding dialogue until I had a sense of what the whole play was going to be.
Fantastic. Thanks Chris. You can see The Interview Stage on Thursday 12th March at The Place Theatre, Bedford. Tickets available online at www.theplacebedford.org.uk and at the Central Box Office by calling 01234 718112.