“I first came across Spine as a short play written for Theatre Uncut in 2012. Clara (Brennan, the writer) had written it directly in response to library cuts, and particularly a library that had been closed down in Kensal Rise, with the council quite literally stripping it of everything overnight – books, furniture, the lot. Theatre Uncut allows short plays in response to the political situation to be performed by anyone all over the world for a set period, and so I curated a Theatre Uncut in Plymouth – funnily enough where the tour is now opening – directing the short version of Spine. Spine stood out amongst the other short plays that year, with its unique and empowering story of elderly activist Glenda and angry teenager Amy.
In a twist of fate – and another Plymouth related twist at that – I met Clara at a press night at the Drum Theatre Plymouth, where she was a writer on commission and I had just recently finished a 9 month Assistant Director gig. We clicked and I told her I loved the play and that I thought it could be a good full length. She accepted the challenge and Spine was born. Well, actually, there were quite a few more redrafts and a lot of hard work and luck to get the play read and seen by the right people, which led to Soho Theatre coming on board and it winning a host of awards at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014.
I’m thrilled that it is coming back on such an exciting UK tour and will be seen by so many more people this time around. Rediscovering it with the brilliant Rosie Wyatt in the rehearsal room this time, it is more relevant than ever, a play that challenges you to change the little bit of the world that you can. Clara and I are also delighted that we are going to be teaming up with a number of libraries across the country and providing workshops around the play and ticket deals for those that might not usually go to the theatre, but for whom this play will strike a chord. The first of these is happening next Wednesday 21st September in Newcastle Central Library. We hope that this play full of heart and hope will galvanise a new generation of Amys across the country because, as Glenda says, ‘there’s nothing more terrifying than a teenager with something to say.”
Spine plays at Live Theatre on Tuesday 20 & Wednesday 21 September 2016. 7.30pm. Tickets cost £14-£10, over 60s concs £12 and other concs £6.
There is also a Post show Q & A with director Bethany Pitts and actor Rosie Wyatt on the making of the play and the issues it raises after the 7.30pm performance on Wednesday 21 September. Find out more.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.live.org.uk or contact Live Theatre’s box office on (0191) 232 1232.