Hope In Boxes and A Light In Every Window, two poignant and intriguing new plays written by Award winning writer Nicola Schofield, premiere at The Lowry on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 January 2012 before embarking on a North West Tour.This contrasting double bill is presented by Elysion Productions straight from their ‘Best Show’ success with Dev’s Army at the Not Part Of Festival.
Hope In Boxes sees two Grandchildren sorting through their Nan’s letters and photos. The story unfolds as the audience is transported back to life during the Second World War: social pressures spanning generations are exposed, and secrets of hidden sexuality are revealed.
A Light In Every Window catapults the audience into a fast and contemporary drama. The complex relationships of friends and lovers are brought into focus following a tragic event. This emotionally charged play sees friends reflect on their carefree Manchester party days and their love lives today. The impact of infidelity and the subtlety of sweet revenge make this a thought-provoking new play.
The plays are written by Nicola Schofield, winner of the 2004 Write 2 Bruntwood Competition and nominee for Best New Play at the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards. Manchester’s Finest Theatre Editor, Michelle Eagleton, caught up with Nicola during rehearsals:
What can audiences expect to see on the night?
Audiences will see the two productions with an interval in the middle. The same cast of 5 actors appear in both plays, becoming different characters. Hope in Boxes and A Light In Every Window are set in the past and the present which kind of links them together and shows the impact of time on the characters lives.
Did you find it a challenge writing the 2 plays?
Hope in Boxes was difficult as it was a different era I was dealing with. It goes back in time to the Second World War so in terms of dialogue I worried about it being too clipped and that initially my knowledge came from old films. I had to try and write it as if they were still people but remember that they wouldn’t use certain phrases, without making the language too formal or unnatural. It took quite a bit of reading and research into the history of that era to make sure I got things dates and events right.
Did you find you put more pressure on yourself to write a fantastic play after winning the Bruntwood Prize?
I think all writers want to improve and have that feeling that each thing they do they want to get better. You have ideas in your head and you are trying to get them down on paper but whether or not you succeed I don’t know because you can be the hardest critic on yourself. You are always trying to aspire to bigger things or be bolder and take more risks.What’s it like watching your words come alive onstage?
You just feel very nervous. ‘Is it any good’? ‘Will people like it’? You have those self doubts about your writing but you hope you are working with people who just ‘get’ what you have written and where you are coming from. On Hope in Boxes and A Light In Every Window I have been lucky that Elysion Productions, Gayle the Director and the actors seem to have clicked with the 2 plays- they like them and the characters. Having support like that from the team really helps because with Theatre only works onstage if it’s a collaboration.
How do you feel about the North West Tour?
I think it’s great the plays are going to be performed in different spaces and to different audiences. That’s what is great about Theatre, each audience brings a new feel to the production. One night the audience could find something very funny in the play and the next night the audience can get caught up in the drama of it…it just brings another dimension to the piece.
What’s next for Nicola Schofield then?
I’m on attachment at The Bolton Octagon as a Litery Associate and do a lot of work with young writers, teaching playwriting. At the moment I also write scripts for BBC serial drama ‘Doctors’ and would like to do more TV writing in the future, we’ll see what this year brings.
Hope In Boxes and A Light In Every Window at The Studio, The Lowry on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 January 2012 at 8pm. Tickets priced £12 (concessions £10) are available from www.thelowry.com or 0843 208 6010. The North West tour visits the Pavillion Arts Centre, Buxton; Square Chapel, Halifax and The Lantern Theatre, Liverpool.