A new production following a 15-year-old’s torment after his best friend massacres 16 classmates, then kills himself, has made its way to The Space due to funding from the Arts Council.
Burn Bright Theatre’s revival of Tanya Ronder’s adaptation of DBC Pierre's novel, Vernon God Little, is directed by Katherine Timms and produced by Isabel Dixon.
Katherine and Isabel talk about the play, media corruption and how they secured the money to stage the show.
Why did you want to revive this play?
Katherine: “I was very keen to revive this script as it encompasses all the elements of theatre that I love most – complex characters, an interesting story and lots of wonderful musical moments.
“We’ve been able to play with the immersive elements of Tanya Ronder’s script and incorporate a load of whacky switches between characters and locations.”
Do you think the idea of media corruption is an important theme these days?
Katherine said: “Reality TV shows and tabloid journalism are seen as a frivolous part of the media industry but this play explores what could happen if a malevolent force harnessed these two mediums to manipulate public opinion.
“It’s an extreme version of what could happen as it’s set in a part of the world where the death penalty is an accepted form of justice. But if you look at our own society’s obsession with programmes like Big Brother it’s easy to imagine a dystopian Britain where our collective lust for celebrity gossip could take a dark turn.”
How did you obtain the grant for the play?
Isabel said: “Short answer – hard work and incredible support from The Space. Katherine and I have worked together as a partnership on a number of shows since meeting at the University of York in 2008, but this is our first production going solo as our very own company.
“One of the biggest obstacles for young artists is the financial challenge. Arts funding is hard to come by for everyone in this sector – for a new company it’s even harder as you’re starting from scratch and have to build up a reputation as well as funds.”
What do you hope people will get from the play?
Isabel said: “My biggest hope is that they enjoy themselves – yes, there’s some powerful themes in there, but at the play’s heart it’s an incredible ensemble piece with larger-than-life characters, line-dancing, live music and amazingly quotable lines.
“But I hope it’ll also be a testament to what young artists are capable of – and how support from those more established in the industry can make a world of difference.”
Katherine said: “Vernon is a wonderfully flawed protagonist, I hope the audience will get sucked into his journey and share the triumphs and frustrations he experiences along the way. The cast are incredibly talented and have made some very imaginative choices with their characters. This show is full of surprises.”
March 24-April 11, 7.30pm (April 10; 8.30pm), £10-14, The Space, Westferry Road, space.org.uk