Playwright, director and theatre-maker Naomi Sumner has been in the STUN Studio space developing her new show ONE FLESH. We caught up with her to ask how it has been going…
How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I am a playwright, director and theatre maker who creates work exploring the difficult questions created by living in contemporary British society. These include issues relating to sexual orientation and sexual politics, the influence of religion in a “secular society” and non-nuclear families.
Tell us a bit about the work you’ve been making at STUN.
We have been rehearsing my new play ONE FLESH at STUN. This is a play which explores Evangelical Christians beliefs and practices relating to marriage including same sex marriage. The debate Churches are having re homosexuality and same sex marriage being widely publicised in the media so it is topical, especially as the LGBT History month theme this year is Religion, Spirituality and Philosophy. However, I wanted to make it personal and focus on how these big discussions and dominant attitudes affect individual LGBT Christians and their families.
What got you started?
I have always been interested in drama and acting and was a member of National Youth Theatre before realising I was better off the stage than on! I did a BA Hons in Performing Arts at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts specialising in Community Theatre and spent ten years in the participatory arts sector. I began writing for the stage in 2013 after attending classes led by award winning playwright Billy Cowan.
What was your big breakthrough?
In 2014 my play PASS was selected for the Manchester 24:7 Theatre Festival which meant my work was seen by a much wider audience than before including industry representatives and artistic directors of producing theatre’s in the North West such as Bolton Octagon.
What’s the best advice you’ve had?
Once you’ve got a first draft get it read aloud by actors – plays are meant to be heard!
Can you describe your process?
I don’t think I can actually put it into words (which sounds bad for a writer) but it involves a lot of time alone in my bedroom, drinking tea and staring at a screen…sometimes I venture out to a café with a notebook and pen – I do always start projects by doing a lot of handwritten work first before going near the laptop.
More about: ONE FLESH by Naomi Sumner (Writer , Director and Producer)
CALEB: Seth Daniels
LEAH: Rachel Creaer
ESTHER: Victoria Tunnah
NATALIE: Fiona Organ
DAN: Barney Cooper
HANNAH: Lucy Hird
Co-Producer/ Technician: Mike Heath
Backstage crew: Tom Byrne
Touring 27th Feb to 5th March 2016, various Venues including The Kings Arms Salford, Nexus Arts Café and Liverpool Quaker Meeting House.
Tickets via onefleshtheplay.eventbrite.co.uk
Keep in touch with Naomi online:
Twitter: @naomisumner AND @onefleshtheplay