Albion: The Story
As Albion opens for Press Night tonight we asked Rob Drummer, Bush Associate Dramaturg, and Rachel Tyson, former Bush Producer, to tell us the story of how we came to commission the play.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…
Rachel: The story of Albion begins with me meeting Chris [Thompson] for a coffee. We had a mutual friend who put us in touch as Chris wanted to know more about writing plays. I loved his passion and dedication and I offered to read his first playCarthage and fell in love with it.
Chris would send me emails in the middle of the night about his ideas for a new play set in a pub, inspired by karaoke and looking at fascism. It excited me and I passed on his ideas to Madani our Artistic Director. I bugged him to meet Chris, which he did, and Rob then offered him a commission to develop his idea.
Rob: I have worked incredibly closely with Chris on Albion. Chris was the first writer I met with at the Bush and remember clearly the first conversation we had about the play, sat in our library after he presented me with a one page outline of the story.
It has been fascinating supporting Chris through several drafts of the play and exploring both the theatrical language of the play, whilst engaging with the politics of the play in real time. The lack of liberal filter on the play was an early decision and one that has held through development, meaning at times the play directly addresses uncomfortable realities and stages the far right in a provocative way.
Rachel: I am so excited for Albion. The play is a melting pot of social commentary and family drama that totally grips the imagination. It has a real honesty and bravery that runs through it. I believe it is offering us a very real take on really important issues and concerns that affect us all. It is a brave and bold piece of drama and of course the karaoke is a fabulous medium to help tell the story.
Rob: I am most excited by the event nature of the play. Albion seeks to involve its audience at a night of karaoke in an east London pub. The play is razor sharp in its exploration of how the rise of the far right needs to be understood now more than ever. I feel that we have a piece of theatre that, through its theatricality will engage an audience to pay far closer attention to the nuances of extremism throughout our political ecology.
The Albion story is to be continued…