From the Archive: BushGreen meets Jack Thorne
What plays should we been reading, putting on and going to see?
I’m not sure I know. Isn’t that the point? The next Simon Burt, Catherine Johnson or David Eldridge is out there – the reason why I really like the idea of this site is to give more people the chance to find these writers… I wish there’d been something like this when I was starting out.
What are your career highlights so far?
Reviews I got for my feminist agit-prop re-interpretation (ya-huh) of Taming of The Shrew at the Edinburgh fringe – The List described it as the ‘stupidest play I’ve ever seen’, Three Weeks called it ‘wanky’. Other than that, just moments when things sort of seemed right – whether on TV, film, radio, stage – moments where an audience seemed entirely still and listening and watching, totally in the moment if you know what I mean…. I’ve had maybe five of those moments in stuff I’ve written. Probably less. I’d like more.
What’s the strangest experience you’ve had in the theatre?
A panto production of Snow White in Tenby. Snow White has been poisoned by the evil step-mother. Muggles realizes she’s missing, Muggles is doing a dance – ‘we’re going to find Snow White’ – when a little kid walks up from the audience and says ‘you need to stop dancing’. Muggles continues, the kid tries to get on the stage, ‘you need to stop dancing’. Soon other kids start joining in. Muggles stops the dance. He has to. ‘How can I help kid.’ The kid explains ‘snow white is in trouble, you need to stop dancing and go and look for her’. Muggles tries to negotiate, he’ll finish his dance and then continue. But the kid is insistent. You need to stop dancing. Muggles stops dancing. It was a shit production, in a shit venue, but the kid utterly believed it. Maybe not the strangest….I don’t know. Stuck with me though.
Who is the greatest influence on your career?
Theatrically speaking (I have a couple of other people I need to thank for stuff I’ve done in other areas) Chris Hannan probably taught me more than any other person – not just how to write, but how to behave as a writer. Not that I behave particularly well. But at least I know the standards I need to set for myself.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen at the theatre?
This is really hard, because there’s so many different things to pick from, but, probably, a National Theatre Young Company production of More Light by Bryony Lavery as part of the Connections festival a few years ago. Very theatrical, very strange, but genius, and so beautiful.
Jack Thorne’s plays for stage include When You Cure Me (Bush Theatre), Stacy (Arcola and Trafalgar Studios), Fanny and Faggot (Finborough and Trafalgar Studios) and Burying Your Brother In The Pavement (NT Connections). His work for television includes episodes of Skins, Shameless, and, up-coming, Cast-Offs (Channel 4) and We Were Faces (Channel 4, co-written with Shane Meadows). He adapted When You Cure Me for radio (Radio 3), and has further written Left At The Angel (radio 4), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (adaptation with Alex Bulmer, Radio 4) and People Snogging In Public Places (radio 3). His first feature film The Scouting Book For Boys (Celador and Film Four) will be showing at the London Film Festival this year before being distributed more widely.