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Q&A WITH VILLAGE PUB THEATRE

Village Pub Theatre are bringing three evenings of exciting new writing to Rose & Grants. What is Village Pub Theatre all about I hear you ask? We found out from VPT Director Caitlin Skinner as well as Writers James Ley and Colin Bell.

Tell us a little bit about Village Pub Theatre?

Caitlin Skinner: The Village Pub Theatre is a pop up new writing theatre company based in a pub in Leith. We produce regular evenings of new short plays performed script in hand and usually accompanied by home-baking. We also develop full length plays and our notorious tweet plays – a whole play in 140 characters.

What can audiences expect from a Gay Fawkes Night (5 Nov)?

CS: Gay Fawkes night will be a fun, sociable evening featuring six ten minute plays by some of Scotland’s most exciting new writers. The plays are all inspired by the theme ‘Gay Fawkes Night’ and explore questions around protest, resistance, sexuality, fireworks night and taboo. Its an informal evening of fresh, stimulating theatre with work by Ellie Stewart, Helen Shutt, Louise E Knowles, Sophie Good and Samuel Jameson.

What was the inspiration for Alison and Paulo, Donald and Patrick, Fiona and Anyone?

James Ley: This play has evolved over a really long time. It’s one of those plays that is hard to get right, but equally hard to give up on. I started a layer of it in about 2006 as a response to the pension crisis. The pension crisis pre-dates the financial crisis. I wanted to write about a family on the brink of financial crisis that is also falling apart as a unit. A new layer came when I met and had a bit of a romance with a younger guy earlier this year. He found it really funny that I write plays and jokingly begged me to write one about him. He was very frank and very inspiring about living as an HIV positive guy. I was really inspired by his energy and wanted to use that in a character to confront perceptions about living with HIV and the remains of old and now defunct messaging that my generation (who remember the very early beginnings of HIV and THAT advert) have in their collective psyche. To tie this all together I added another layer this year to bring it all together as a play that addresses one generation standing in the way of the next. The play explores the problems of looking after your parents but having your own life too. I also just wanted to write something funny, naughty and sexually liberated.

Which taboos are explored in Samson?

Colin Bell: I wanted to write about masculinity, about the perceived ‘crisis’ in masculinity. Turns out masculinity has always been in crisis. I was fascinated by the aspect of power, which seemed to be central to masculinity, that becomes a force of violence and abuse. It feels to me that, despite the unending headlines about acts of sexual violence, we as a society fail to truly examine the root cause of violence. I wondered how ideas of masculinity related to the censorship of the male sex organs and the power that censoring the penis gives it. Samson was born from these ideas and hopefully asks society the question- what can we all do about it?

How do the three nights compare and contrast/complement with each other?

CS: The whole programme is very diverse! Gay Fawkes night presents a range of voices and mixture of quick comedy and thought provoking work and the evening will have our usual VPT informal feel. Alison and Paulo is a brand new play currently in development which is quite an epic exploration of sexuality, family and letting go. We’re sharing it for the first time and can’t wait to get an audience reaction to it. Samson is a play we have been developing for a while and is a hugely important piece about masculinity and power. It’s fully formed and completely original and should really round off the programme!

What other Glasgay! Festival events are you looking forward to?

CS: There is so much great theatre in the programme so we can’t wait for all of that, but particularly Slope and the Cardboard Fox double bill!

Tickets for Village Pub Theatre are only £8 including a glass of wine/soft drink. Come along as many nights as you can for different stories, witty writing and a warm welcome. 

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