A couple of days ago I realised I was running out of time to see Home, I’m Darling in the West End. It’s produced by Theatre Clwyd, and Liam Evans Ford, who along with Hester Evans made Sprite happen in Yorkshire every summer for a decade. Without any shadow of a doubt the summers I worked there were some of the happiest working summers I’ve had so far. They also helped form the skeleton of my support network within the industry – kind, hardworking people, some of whom have gone on to international stardom, and almost all of whom are still working and caring about their work, and who I can count as friends.
Liam knows how to combine joy and theatre. To make something fun and also thought provoking. To assemble a good team. It was cheeky to ask but relying on our history, Tristan and I – (well, Tristan) – asked if it was possible to get house seats at short notice. Against the odds, considering it won best new comedy at The Olivier’s just the other day, we ended up at the front of The Royal Circle for a whack of cash, but not as big as it might have been. And I was thrilled. Laura Wade wrote it, she of “Posh” fame. Tamara Harvey directed it. It’s part of a new wave of extraordinary and important work coming from Clwyd, which is an incredible arts theatre and complex in Flintshire, Wales – geographically close enough to Liverpool to catch an audience from there if they program well. With remarkable facilities, it has always been able to fly high in the regional theatre scene, and Tamara and Liam are taking it forward and forward. Obviously you know I’m an advocate for the place if you read this regularly as The Factory are there this week being beautiful and experimental while I sort out my storage and prevent myself from haemhorraging money on inertia.
I saw an old friend for lunch. She’s very pregnant. We spoke about why I’ve been single for so long, again, and, again I couldn’t really answer her. I tell myself I don’t know, even as I don’t look for a partner. As I said goodbye she impulsively said “I hope you find someone wonderful.” I felt her sincerity and appreciated it. Then I went to the theatre and watched a brilliant thoughtful comedy about the roles we play by habit and the need we have to constantly examine what we take for granted about ourselves and those around us. Good stories make us think. After the show both Tristan and I were in deep open conversation about the choices that have brought us to where we are today. That’s good theatre, by my book.
Even if where I am today is in a room full of weird porcelain with pictures of famous Victorians. Anything that is post Victoria is no good for Scrooge, but there’s plenty of stuff that will be great for him. The rest I just have to try to think of as energy and move it through my property quickly. I don’t have space to deal in this properly.