I’m delighted to be able to contribute to Trisha Lewis’ podcast series. We’re talking about the importance of the arts and the ideas that may spin off to benefit businesses in this difficult time.
A podcast interview by Timo Peach called Talking Distance. Enjoy.
You’ll be glad to know that we are all well and have survived up to now. I hope the last few months haven’t been too trying for you. Oddly enough, for all that time in lockdown I haven’t done any updates for this site. I’ve been making some little You Tube videos which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3ivXR28aXGEQ4Pt7Ivxmr7AEQvI7JkOO
I’ll update you with some more of my other work as soon as I can. It also looks as though the site could do with a bit of a spring clean. I want to post some of the juicy bits from my musings on writing stories in My Story Story. I hope the rest of 2020 will give me time to get nearer to finishing Life and Death and Everything in Between which has been languishing on my hard drive for a couple of years now. Drop me an email if you’d like me to include any particular work.
Click on the link below for my documentary of Pink Champagne’s participation in the IBCPC Dragon Boat Racing Festival in July 2018. It’s very nearly an hour long so grab a cup of tea and a biscuit before you start to watch. I am very proud of it.
Sadly the tour has come to an end with an extraordinary evening at the Pavilion in Weymouth. A packed house saw Jane McKell, Phoebe Sharman, Sorcha Martin and Eltjo DeVries deliver my words with intensity and commitment. They made beautiful stage pictures as I had directed them but then made the play their own. Thanks also due to Kevin Butcher for the projection and to Annette Sumption for such a brilliant set that reflected exactly my vision of a 1920s painting by Harold Williamson and Sophie Fretwell for the puppets. This was probably the most charged play I have ever written, it demanded everything from those taking part and from the audience. I am very proud or their achievement.
ESCAPING THE STORM
Pennsylvania Castle, Easton, Portland
STRONG women are currently being celebrated in our society and nobody fits that description more than Dr Marie Stopes, a remarkable academic, writer and controversial campaigner for the promotion of birth control.
This production, written by Peter John Cooper and commissioned and performed by AsOne Theatre, examines the life and times of Dr Stopes, focussing on her association with Portland and the Old Lighthouse which was her haven for peace and tranquillity while her role as a fossil fuel scientist and her support of the Portland Museum are also touched upon.
The cast of four, led by the winning Jane McKell as Marie Stopes, take on a variety of roles in an informative and stimulating drama that tells of one woman’s fight to give freedom of choice to couples and to women in particular by initiating controlled family planning.
Telling a story about such a passionate and eccentric woman is no easy task and Cooper has handled it with great skill and tact, in particular by addressing Stopes’ obsession with eugenics and the darker side of her beliefs. The author does this by bringing into the drama a young quarryman and his awkward love life which talks about some of the worrying aspects of genetic inheritance that Stopes strongly supported.
Eitjo De Vries makes a marvellous job of portraying the rustic Portland character as well as taking on the role of being the author himself and even being Stopes’s pet dog, an amusing and lovable pooch.
Escaping the Storm (Marie Stopes on Portland) was commissioned by AsOne Theatre Company. This photograph by Howard Shep shows exactly the layered effect I was striving for. Photo taken at The Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth on the 18th October 2018. With Jane McKell, Eltjo Devries, Sorcha Martin and Phoebe Sharman. Set by Annette Sumption. Projection by Kevin Butcher.