Tom Nicholas has worked with the Theatre Royal Plymouth on a number of projects and is the Artistic Director of New Model Theatre. In this blog Tom reflects on his connection with Plymouth and gives insight into how this influenced his latest piece, Parliament Town…
“Eighteen months ago I was asked by Paines Plough and Theatre Royal Plymouth to write a short play about my relationship with Plymouth as part of their Come To Where I’m From project. At first I had little idea what to write about – my relationship with Plymouth has always been firmly in the ‘It’s Complicated’ bracket. Speaking to others, I think that’s how we all feel, not just in Plymouth, but in hometowns across the world. You’ve only got to take a quick scroll through the comments on articles from local newspapers to sense a feeling of discontentment but also one of a devotion to our collective home.
I found myself wandering up to Freedom Fields park. I’ve no idea where the hospital stood but it was here that I, and the majority of Janners born before the mid-nineties, popped out. We’d done some research about the area in History at school but it was only in taking a closer look at the monument that stands atop the slope that the importance of this spot became clear. As I dug deeper and deeper into the history of the Civil War in Plymouth and it’s aftermath it became clear that this three year period of the city’s history has had a lasting impact.
Amongst all this historical research, I also went through a period of listening to a bit too much Bruce Springsteen. His appropriation of American folk tales into his music was fascinating – as was his obsession with running away from stuff. In rehearsals with Liam, who performs the piece, we spent much time discussing some of the unique quirks of the city and what results is a heartwarming tale of two men separated by three hundred years searching for the soul of their city.
We’re very much looking forward to performing Parliament Town in its, and our, hometown.”
Parliament Town will be performed in The Lab on Saturday 19th July as part of the Forge season which showcases experimental and exciting new pieces from both established and emerging local theatre makers.