Wow – well we have spent the last 3 days rigging, rehearsing, sorting sets and props and generally running around like proverbial blue **** flies!!! But tomorrow night sees the opening night of not 2, but 3 fabulous plays. We have, to kick off the festival, Fit Piece by the lovely Helen Shay (but more about her in a minute), Winter Light by Christine Foster and Voucher by Danka Throne. I’m pretty sure there’s nowhere else you’d rather be… you can still book online here or at the Central Box Office, but you can also get tickets on the door.
Without further ado, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to our final writer, Helen Shay who submitted our opening play for the festival, Fit Piece. So, Helen, tell us a little bit about yourself.
From Yorkshire. Lawyer by day-job. Always loved reading and writing and playing about with words (which is what lawyers basically do!).
Indeed – from Yorkshire you say… well, I suspect a duel may be required at some point. I’m pretty sure we won the war of the Roses… I digress… How long have you been writing plays for and what started you off writing?
I also write prose and poetry but have been dabbling writing plays for several years, but just short/one-act ones. However I have written one full-length play called Shakespeare in Terror (based on the premise of the Bard meeting Guy Fawkes in London on the eve of the Gunpowder plot and his writing Macbeth) which was put on in a studio in Leeds recently. I’m trying to find a way to get it re-staged next year, when it’s 500th anniversary of the Shakespeare’s death.
Wow – that sounds great. Do let us know when it’s on. We would love to come and see that. What prompted you to write Fit Piece?
I write a lot about themes connected to image and the pressure on people, especially women, to look a certain way. I’ve written another short play called Facing Up about a woman contemplating very drastic plastic surgery. I think body image is a subject I’ll keep coming back to.
Tell us a little bit about your process of writing?
Often I start with a ‘what if?’ situation, usually involving a character having to face something they don’t want to or be with a person they dislike or do something that’s not in their nature. That produces an interesting emotional conflict and then I can explore how they might manage to do it after all or find an interesting way round it or reconcile themselves to something.
Thanks Helen, that’s great and we are so looking forward to performing Fit Piece tomorrow evening. If this sounds like your cup of herbal tea then get your backside down The Place and come and see it.
Tomorrow I will be introducing you to two fabulous members of our team, Ben Haynes, our wonderful intern with us from the University of Bedfordshire who will be bombarding you with all manner of write ups on social media and Carrie Connaughton, truly one of the best photographers around, who is our official photographer for the week.