We catch up with playwright Luke Norris ahead of the opening of razor-sharp play So Here We Are. The production plays from 7th September – 28th September, and sees the play performed in its local setting for the first time.

So Here We Are portrays five Essex boys and their hopes, dreams and frustrations in a tightly-wound play. Born in Romford, Luke has a real ear for everyday speech of the Essex natives he depicts.

  • Tell us a bit about yourself! What’s your background?

I was born and brought up in Essex- mainly around Romford, where my family had a fish stall on the market (Fancourt’s) until quite recently.  I worked there as a kid, then left Essex when I went to drama school in 2005.  I now live in South London with my wife and two daughters. 

  • You’re from Romford and the play is set in Southend. What’s it like to have the play “come home” to Essex?

I’m delighted that it’ll finally be seen by the people it was intended for in the first place…  Essex as a place has a humour and a heart like nowhere else, and this play reflects those sensibilities.

  • What was the inspiration behind writing the play?

The two biggest killers of young men in Britain are (still) suicide and car accidents.  That bothered me when I first wrote the play, and it bothers me now.  So I suppose that’s why I started… But I knew I wanted the play to have a lot of laughs, so that my mates from home might actually enjoy coming to see it. 

  • What did the writing process look like?

I wrote the play relatively quickly (for me) over ten weeks on a Writer’s Group at The Royal Court.  At the end of that process the theatre turned it down, but it went on to win a Bruntwood Prize- which gave it it’s first production at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, and HighTide Festival in Suffolk.

  • Why is it important to have working class narratives on stage?

This is probably a question for someone else cleverer than me.  AllI know is that I want to see those stories- they speak to me, personally- and I feel compelled to write them. 

  • How does the play deal with men and men’s relationships with each other?

 It depicts a particular type of friendship between young men (especially) that I think isn’t really represented that much on stage or screen- that deep, fraternal, mawkish, sometimes suffocating, love you find in really close groups of mates.

  • Why should people come and see So Here We Are?

It’s funny.  It’ll make you laugh.  And on a good night it might make you cry as well.  But either way, you’re in the pub inside 90 minutes.

  • Have you been to the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch before?

It’s the only theatre I ever came to as a kid!  I’d never been anywhere else until I went to National Youth Theatre at the age of sixteen and discovered that the rest of London is full of theatres too.  I remember seeing Return To The Forbidden Planet and thinking: “well that looks like fun.  I wouldn’t mind having a go at that.”

 

So Here We Are runs from 7-28 September. To find out more or to book tickets click here

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