Tell us more about the play you're producing? When and how was it written and/or developed?
Puppy came about almost accidentally. I was walking home one evening and noticed some grafitti on the local tennis courts saying "dogging" with an arrow. When I got home I sat down and wrote a little ten-minute comedy thing about a group of doggers, in about an hour. Some friends performed it for a sex-themed theatre fundraiser, and people seemed to laugh a lot. At the same time I'd been playing with the idea of writing a play about sex from a queer feminist point of view, and I decided to make the dogging short scene one of full-length play. It felt like a really unexpected angle and I liked that. The other inspiration was the so-called "porn ban" or "facesitting ban" of 2014, which was clearly crying out to be turned into a play (a government attack on female sexual pleasure, and Nick Clegg randomly turning up to give a speech in favour of facesitting??).
So I wrote 'Puppy' and we did a run of it at VAULT as a work in progress, where it sold out and got some amazing reviews (including being name checked in the Guardian and Time Out), and is now in talks about transferring to a major theatre.
And what's the background of your theatre company?
I set up Little but Fierce in 2014. I acted in a play with an all-female cast the year before, and it was such a wonderful and holistic experience to make work in an all-female environment. When the show ended several of us continued to have regular get-togethers, to work/play/learn (rehearse audition monologues, test out new material, practise improv, etc.) in a supportive environment. I named the group Little but Fierce, and when the opportunity arose to perform a one-act play I'd written (at the Royal Shakespeare Company, as part of a festival) we formally came together as a theatre company.
The wonderful Rafaella Marcus directs. I met Raf in a Courting Drama "creative speed dating" event (pairing writers and directors), and we were each other's first choice. She directed a little thing of mine at the Southwark Playhouse, and her strong radical style and feminist principles made her the obvious choice to direct Puppy. I've worked with producer/stage manager Tori Gretton several times, and her creative eye and close attention to detail makes her absolutely invaluable.
What were the biggest challenges in bringing your show to life?
VAULT was fairly stressful because it was the biggest thing the company have done to date, and staging a six-person show on the fringe is a fairly major undertaking. We had a couple of late stage cast changes due to emergencies, which led to a more intense rehearsal schedule than we had planned.
As runner-up for The Bread & Roses Emerging Companies Award what do you hope to get out of the opportunity and what's next?
I've substantially re-written the ending of the play since VAULT, adding about 20 minutes of extra material and essentially creating an entire new third act. We're looking forward to the opportunity to test out the new material on an audience. What's next... hopefully Puppy will transfer somewhere. If not, I have a new play opening in February 2018, a screenplay and radio series in development, and am currently under my first playwriting commission.
And what can we most look forward to from your production?
Sex, laughs, feminism, laughs, queer politics, laughs. No actual dogs (sorry).
Puppy is runs 20th & 21st August at 7.30pm