Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Dramaturgy Killers: Eve Pearson-Wright @ Edfringe 2017

As part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017, The Long Lane Theatre Company presents
The Giant Killers
The true story of footballs greatest underdogs

Long Lane Theatre Company makes its Edinburgh Fringe Festival debut with The Giant Killers, a true story of class and sport, brought to stage to uplift and inspire.  

This new play will be performed at Gilded Balloon (Rose Theatre) at 2.30pm (3.45pm) from Wednesday 2 – Monday 28 August.
Football was not always a game for the masses. The first players to compete for the F.A. Cup were lords, knights and peers, in essence, a game for the wealthy and privileged. The pivotal moment happened when a group of mill workers from Darwen in Lancashire joined two talented Glaswegians to change football. The play tells the untold, true story of the Darwen vs The Old Etonians F.A. Cup tie. A story of a town that finds its voice and a team that change the beautiful game forever. They are The Giant Killers!

All questions are answered by me, Eve Pearson-Wright. I am an actress and have co-written and co-produced ‘The Giant Killers’. I run The Long Lane Theatre Company with my husband. This is the first show that we have produced at The Fringe. It is the true story of The first working class men to play to play in the F.A. Cup.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

A few years ago I was in a house fire. I was woken by my dog but couldn't get out of my room as the smoke was too heavy and the heat was to strong. I tried to smash my way out of my window but It was too dark to see. Eventually I passed out on the floor with my dog next to me. Fortunately the fire brigade got to me before I died. I lost my dog and my home and everything I owned. 

When I got out of hospital I didn't have any mojo for life. I couldn't hold memories, so learning lines and working as an actress was impossible. I was depressed. I survived thanks to the generosity of others. Then my boyfriend, now my husband told me a story about a group of men he had been reading about. They had lost everything during the cotton famine of the 1870's. They were poor with no jobs, no prospects. With time on their hands they started kicking a ball around, soon they formed a football team, then they took on the best in the country and eventually they changed football and their community forever. 

He said think - 'if that was a script then them losing everything would only be the first five minutes. And if we write a script about you then this is where we would start, you've only lived the first five minutes of your story.' That helped. Life got better and then last year we wanted to write a play together and so I said "what about that story about the football men?"

Is performance still a good space for public discussion?

It's the best space. We teach drama students a lot and we are always challenging them to answer what an audience requires of theatre. Escapism is a common answer but escapism from what? From boredom? From their mobile phones? From the strain of confirming? The strain of living in a world that is ruled by daft and unexamined conventions? I go to the theatre to care, to understand people, to not feel alone. I like things that make you care make you think and make you dream, dream that you are part of something. 

There is nowhere else where people come together to share an experience, to stop transmitting and sit and receive from somebody that is in that room with you, breathing the same air you’re breathing.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I think everyone has a need for storytelling to some degree, some people just take it all the way. When I was five I used to put on plays and charge my family 5p to watch me re-tell the story of Robin Hood or Ghostbusters in the living room and that desire for me has never gone away.

Is there any particular approach to making of the show?
Write, write and re-write. Writing is kind of like doing a sudoku, you sit in front of it for ages not knowing what to do then one idea opens up and it’s a domino effect. Then it was all about finding the best director, designer, cast and crew we could get. Research was a big part too, we found out so much amazing stuff about this story that the hardest thing was knowing what to leave out.
Does the show fit with your usual productions?
In a word…no. It’s been a long process to get us to the point of being commercially able to produce a piece of new writing. 
For a long time The Long Lane Theatre Company was just me and my husband in small scale shows usually within an educational environment. We’ve spent two years travelling the whole of England performing shows that were created for children bit that was always so we could build to this. This was always the goal though and hopefully from here we can grow further and make more theatre for adults.
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
The show rattles along, it’s got such a speed to it that you feel like you are watching a football match but aside from that I hope they are inspired as well as having a great history lesson. We want them to know the power of organisation and collaboration. That community is a force to be reckoned with and that unification in a world which seems set to divide us is the way forward.  Essentially when your chips are down, that’s when you start cooking. 

The Giant Killers is performed and written by Long Lane Theatre which is run by Eve and Andrew Pearson-Wright: the couple met playing husband and wife in the West End's longest running musical The Mousetrap in 2009. Long Lane Theatre was set up to run workshops and tours for stage schools and other theatre companies. 

As a result of their success with schools Eve and Andrew decided to make their Edinburgh Fringe debut.

The play also stars Tim Barrow who was born in Edinburgh and brought up in both Australia & Scotland. His screen acting work includes Taggart; Waterloo Road; Children Of The Dead End (Glass Machine) and The Queen's Wedding (Mentorn). 

Theatre work includes plays for Glasgow Citizens Theatre, Theatre 503, The Arches, Stoirm Og, Fire Exit, Bard In The Botanics, Prime Productions, Theatre Enigma & Nonsenseroom. Tim set up Lyre Productions to make contemporary feature films – work includes The Inheritance. Nominated Best UK Feature on its premiere at Raindance Film Festival, The Inheritance won the Raindance Award at 2007 British Independent Film Awards, and Tim was nominated Best Producer at 2008 BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards. 

Through writing he has also worked with Tom Hardy, Robert Delamere & Brett. C. Leonard of New York's Labyrinth Theatre Company. 

The Giant Killers will be directed by Natalie-Anne Downs. Natalie has been working in professional Theatre and Film for 12 years and is the Founder and Artistic Director of VENI VIDI Theatre & Film London. As a classically-trained pianist and composer, Natalie has always had a hands-on approach to the music used in all her productions, having written scores for several of them. Her 'Shakespeare Shorts' film series was recently selected to appear in Europe's largest short film festival.

LISTINGS INFORMATION: The Giant Killers will be performed from Wednesday 2 – Monday 28 August at Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre studio, 2.30pm (3.45pm)

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