The Conn Artists Theatre Company return to the Connaught Theatre with their mystical production Mary Rose. We got the chance to interview Director Nick Young to find out the inspiration behind the spellbinding play.
Can you tell us about Conn Artists and what they represent?
They are a creative, innovative powerhouse of new theatre in a reeling world! I’ve always
loved working with them and Ross especially, as we share the same language and ideals of making live theatre special, and each performance being unique.
What inspired you to create this production of Mary Rose?
I love the play, and like Ross, I love JM Barrie. I directed a conventional production at the
Connaught many years ago, and knew that it would be impossible to do similar in a touring
production that would visit so many different sizes and types of theatres. Barrie writes the
most imaginative and inspiring stage directions (if you are ever bored, look at his original
script of Peter Pan). To give this production that unique Conn Artists feel, we have
incorporated the stage directions into the script, along with live music and action, and
taking the audience along with us to share this most imaginative, amusing, thought-
provoking story about love, loss and going home.
What has it been like bringing the production of Mary Rose to life? Has there been any
The challenge has been realising and brining to life a play which conventionally had changes of place and time, and making it all flow together. I think we have done that with the script and design, and now we are ready for the actors to arrive and make magic!
What do you think J.M. Barrie might make of the play?
He wrote the play just after World War I, where he had lost so many close companions. I
feel he was working out his grief along with his wonderful sense of humour and insight into character. I’ve always felt great affinity with Barrie, and just hope he would appreciate what we are doing with his masterpiece.
What do you hope audiences might take home after watching Mary Rose?
I hope they will feel uplifted and inspired by the journey the play takes them on. I know they will enjoy Barrie’s humour brought to the stage by our great actors, and empathise with all those who have ever loved and lost someone. The play moves beyond a mere five-sense reality, and suggests that audiences and actors question those eternal questions. Hopefully they will remember the music, and revel at experiencing things that are unique to live theatre.