GMF Brochure 2021 - Flipbook - Page 15
on how the
The most personal impact of lockdown on us
as a family was that we've been unable to see
my son, Thomas, who lives in residential care.
Thomas has Down's Syndrome and Autism which
means that he's extremely vulnerable and had to shield for much of the time during the Pandemic.
Inspired by these circumstances I came up with a storyline for an audio drama about an elderly mother
prevented from seeing her son who has Down's Syndrome. I pitched the idea to Ashley Byrne from Made in
Manchester who encouraged me to write the script. The form of the drama was two 15-minute monologues
delivered by the mother and son respectively.
I'd worked with Sam Barnard, a brilliant young actor with Down's Syndrome, just before lockdown and he was
keen to play the role of the son, William. I was less certain who to ask to play the role of Margey, the elderly
mother. As I'd written the piece, the voice in my head was June Brown's so I asked Ashley if he knew a 'June
Brown type' of actress. "How about June Brown?" he asked. Genius!
June had confirmed her retirement from EastEnders the previous February – but not the profession. Happily, for
me, she read the script, liked it and agreed to play the role.
Missing You was recorded in the Autumn of 2020 with Made in Manchester travelling to a studio in Canterbury
to record Sam and to June's own home to record her. Incredibly, at 93, she'd learnt the entire script!
Of course, like everyone, I wish this wretched pandemic had never happened, but at least I was able to create
something positive; a piece of work of which I’m quite proud! www.distinctnostalgia.com
Missing You, at first glance has little in common with Leaving Vietnam, my show for Greater Manchester Fringe.
However, the dynamic of a monologue gives a character
an opportunity to confront themselves, to evaluate their
choices and relationships and accept the consequences
of those decisions. In Missing You, Margie must come to
terms with decisions she's made about William and
whether she can accept that he's an independent adult,
rather than her child in need. In Leaving Vietnam, Jimmy
is forced to come to terms with his past, confront the
bitterness he feels about the way his country has
treated him and try to face a future with a degree of
hope. I love the personal nature of monologues, how
they forge a special connection between audience and
performer that creates an atmosphere which can be
both unsettling and deeply moving. It's the first time in
10 years I’ve premiered a play at Manchester and I'm
The Kings Arms
5 – 6th September @ 7pm