Author Archive

Leaving the Lights On

I’m at the Royal Exchange for Happy Days. When the play starts, the lights don’t go down, the doors stay open, even the exit signs stay on. A baby crawls towards the water next to the rotating hillock in which Maxine Peake sits, and I wonder how deep it is.¬† Maxine directs her next line… Continue Reading →

Tell Me a Story

When I started to write plays I was taught about characters having objectives, journeys, barriers, needs and wants in order to create drama on stage. Apply action verbs to define what is happening on every line. All too often this leads to shallow characters doing vacuous things. Where’s the story, I would ask myself. Where… Continue Reading →

Poetry along the Bridgewater Canal

If you live in Central Manchester you may well have missed some of the excellent performance and arts events as part of est.1761, designed to inspire and engage local communities with the story of the Bridgewater Canal, including Take Me to the Bridgewater¬†last year in partnership with Blast Theory. Later this year textile artist Sally… Continue Reading →

Reviewing Feeling

Why do we go to the theatre? Is it for the narrative? Is it for the acting? Or is it for the emotional response? I look down my lists of top plays for each of the last three years and I am surprised by how many of these plays made me cry. At an event… Continue Reading →

Brighton Rock

I’ve always thought it was a tricky ask to put classic literature on the stage. Sometimes it becomes too heavy, too narrative driven. At the other extreme it becomes too detached from the original, perhaps through redrawing character or excessive physical theatre. But Pilot Theatre’s production of Brighton Rock at the Lowry as part of… Continue Reading →