I first found out about Green Curtain Theatre and their ‘In the Shadow and the Shelter’ whilst I was training in Theatre Directing at Mountview earlier this year. I applied to be involved with directing, and after meetings with Anne Curtis was fortunate enough to be given not one, but two, fantastic plays to direct – Jackals by Night, Crows by Day by Maureen Alcorn and Body and Blood by Lorraine Mulaney. I love these plays for how they cleverly combine personal stories and great political contexts (Second World War, and post-war London, respectively) – they should make very interesting and moving watching.
Before embarking on this project I must admit I had fairly limited, or perhaps obtusely simplified knowledge about the history of Ireland and Britain-Ireland relations, having no immediate Irish background and being quite young! However, I soon found myself stuck in and fascinated with research, which absolutely enriches an understanding of these plays. Saying this, I don’t think audiences by any means need an existing detailed understand of the context to enjoy these works – they work perfectly well as an entertaining and sensitive introduction to Irish lives in London. And above all, they are great plays – I wouldn’t want to direct them otherwise!
My previous experience in the Fringe theatres of London are Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter at the Courtyard Theatre, Been on the Job Too Long, a new play by James Martin Charlton and Peter Schlemiel, my own adaptation of a German folk tale, at Theatre N16. As well as training at Mountview, I have an MA in theatre and performance by research from Lancaster University, and as part of my degree I trained in contemporary dance. In rehearsal, I like to work on movement with actors in order to create strong performances, and drama which is engaging and atmospherically striking. As a student I directed large scale and ambitious projects such as the musical Cabaret, Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children and Buchner’s Woyzeck.
I can’t wait to start rehearsing these shows with the six talented actors, and I hope to develop with them some very real, engaging and living characters. It’s going to be a busy four weeks and a fairly hefty task to direct two plays at the same time (not something I’ve had to do before!) but I feel prepared and it will be great fun.