My writer’s residency with Imaginate came after a fairly varied few years of making different kinds of theatre. I started off as a student in Edinburgh devising and performing with an ensemble of friends. We made shows happen by ourselves. We produced, directed and performed all the work and expected no support from anyone. This was a good grounding in how to survive and form a career making theatre.
A lucky break and a trip to Australia introduced me to the Royal Court where one of my first ‘written’ plays was produced; A Girl in a Car with a Man. From there I was directionless. I thought the world would come to me. How stupid of me. No one in Scotland had seen my work down south and even if they had they probably wouldn’t really care. So I worked. I devised shows for the Edinburgh festival – Aruba and Fish Story – and I worked at the Arches and the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.
Then my real lucky break came. Andy Manley and Gill Robertson of Catherine Wheels Theatre Company took a punt on me and asked me to work with them on a small project which would experiment with how a one man show could interact with a school audience. We decided it would be brilliant to walk into a classroom and surprise the kids with a story they didn’t know was going to happen.
So I wrote Kappa. And it was a total mess. So I rewrote Kappa and it was less of a mess and perhaps even…quite good. Yeah! Quite exciting actually.
We followed this up with another 1 man show for a slightly large audience that could come together in school halls and we called it The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk.