Actress Milus Kotisova being filmed by Czech TV after her performance of Alchemy in Prague. Photo: C. Budd
From the age of three, when I had to sit on my father's knee to see the stage, I've been going to the theatre. My mum and dad were really theatre hounds and on Saturday afternoon's when it was 2/6d (12.5p) to sit in the God's we'd just go and see whatever was on. Working our way up and down Shaftesbury Avenue or St Martin's Lane, it didn't matter what play it was, we went in and saw it. Howlers to sheer genius, farces to Strindberg, musicals to Shakespeare.
So I suppose it wasn't surprising when I noticed that my writing was becoming almost 100% dialogue.
My first play Dust at Midnight, was a winner of the Writers' Guild Theatre Showcase and had a successful run at the White Bear Theatre, Kennington. Using the device of Tennessee Williams as an internet surfing ghost, it investigates the layers of guilt that surround families when they try to deal with a sick and aged relative. It is a truly black comedy.
The 1998 production of Disparate Bodies in the West End exposed the lives of some of those living on the edges of society. It began as a one act play, Alchemy, which was performed in Prague the year before. Having already started working on a piece about an enigmatic rent-boy I had met, and worked with– in a science lab, and having previously worked on the case of the transsexual Human Rights’ activist Demet Demir in Turkey, Disparate Bodies weaves the stories of their lives into a challenging piece of performance art.
Linda with Turkish activist Demet Demir in London for the performance of the play about her life, Let Eating Dogs. Photo: C. Budd
At this point I realised that theatrical roles for mature women were in short supply so I established WIT (Women In Theatre) to promote works that did just that.
Diamond, inspired by the Columbia Road book, had already been a BBC Radio 4 play when it was performed as a play with music at the Kings Head Theatre, Islington. It garnered four stars from Nicholas de Jongh.
Dave Lynn as Lil and Johnny Barr as Maisie on Columbia Road. Photo: R. Workman
This is a real slice of life about Columbia Road during WWII and I am delighted to say that a run of a new version of Diamond in Brighton in June 2103 garnered similarly good reviews.
Other plays such as Puccini’s Women, Nijinsky’s Last Sleep and Absence in the Heart are in process. Screenplays include: The Normal Curve, Too Close for Comfort, Diamond and Dust at Midnight.
Louise Dumayne as Bess and her husband George (Alistair Scott) interrogate Mary Queen of Scots (Jane Murphy).
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