Introduction to you
I graduated the Trainee Resident Director Scheme at the King’s Head Theatre in March 2018. Since then, I have set up my own theatre company, Behind Closed Doors, which stages the unheard stories of the underrepresented. Our aim is to challenge what we know, and what we think we know, about people and how they perform in society. Mermaids will be the first show for the company, which we are extremely excited to bring to #Playmill.
What is the play about?
Mermaids is an exploration of growing up and being happy in yourself. It follows the story of Lia, a trans female; her brother Danny, who is experiencing alcoholism and post traumatic stress; and her best friend Carly, a single mother of two. It is a funny, relatable and honest piece of writing, celebrating the power of family and friendship when life presents its hurdles.
What messages did you want to share in this piece and why is it important?
I found Mermaids when I did a call out for new plays from working class playwrights. I read over 60 submissions of such a range of subjects and styles, which I hope to staged by other theatre makers. I wanted to share Mermaids with an audience because I think a lot of people can relate to how easy it is to push people away when times are tough, and how hard it can be to recognise who really cares for you. The message of the play is about learning from your mistakes, having empathy and showing respect to other people, and pulling through the hard times with a smile on your face and the people you love by your side.
My showcase as a Director should reflect who I am and what I care about, and so I gathered a gang of working class creatives together to tell a story that we can understand, and that we can tell through our lens, to anybody who wants to come and hear it.
Who are your influences and what do you admire about them?
I’m influenced by the people I come across in everyday life, that often have little engagement in theatre because they are the people whose stories I don’t get to see on stage very often, and whose honest opinions I love to hear.
I admire theatre makers and companies who bring about positive engagement with those who have limited access to theatre and represent their stories, such as: CleanBreak, Cardboard Citizens, Geese, Studio 3 Arts, Out of Joint, Kathy Burke, Phyllida Lloyd, Vicky Featherstone, Katie Mitchell...the list could go on forever, everything I’ve ever seen and every conversation I’ve ever had has influenced my work, whether it be theatre related or not.
What made you submit your production to Playmill?
New writing is current and responsive. You can’t research it or pre-read it, so you have to listen, watch and form your own opinion. You go because it sounds like something you’d like, or understand, or want to learn from. Playmill is full of exciting new shows and I wanted to add our story to the mix and hope people want to see this story as much as we want to tell it!
2 - 6 June. Tickets.
Writer: Joanne Sherryden
Producer: Alistair Wilkinson
Designer: Verity Johnson
Lighting Designer: Simisola Majekodunmi
Sound Designer: Rachael Murray
Stage Manager: Michaela Stewart
Lia: Jo Eaton-Kent
Danny: Ray James
Carly: Carrie Rock