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Interview: Off Main Stage bring Christmas cheer

Polly Waldron and Cameron Corcoran on Christmas Tales

OffFest Nominated Off Main Stage (read our 4 star review of their most recent production Wolf here), are all set to bring some Christmas cheer to White Bear Theatre this December with three seasonal stories: Freaks, Bike and Scrooge. Ahead of the show, Cameron Corcoran and Polly Waldron discuss why they decided to make not one but three Christmas plays.

What can we expect from Christmas Tales then?

Well there are three plays. They’re about Christmas. Freaks is about two sisters clearing their dead aunt’s house over Christmas. Bike is about a step-mum buying her step-daughter an extravagant gift, and Scrooge is about – can you guess? I guess Scrooge is different because it’s a modern one-man version, where Scrooge is a lawyer with grand ambitions.

Is there an over-arching theme within the three plays?

I think we wanted something to show the audience that was cheerful for a change; we have a track-record for putting on plays that have a very dark tone. This was a chance to bring the lightness in and maintain what works for us: the absurdity of being. The over-arching theme, then: togetherness.

So why Christmas?

I mean it’s the most beautifully absurd thing, isn’t it? It’s like being British we hold back our emotions and our generosity and then we just unleash it over the Christmas period. It’s the best reminder that we’re human beings. It’s fun. Our plays are fun. Maybe if it was Christmas every day like Slade wishes we’d always be kind…

Cameron Corcoran and Emily Wallace rehearsing Bike (Photo Credit: Thomas Newton)

Tell us about the writing process you go through?

We’re both big believers in having a script in the room, but that it’s not sacred: it’s limited to one person’s imagination and when you’re in a room there’s multiple imaginations to feed off. We can’t let the script get in the way of creativity, but of course we are faithful to the story being told, but sometimes rehearsals create a magic out of nothing and we always know that the script will develop for the better over the process – this is the sixth project we’ve done together and it’s worked for us so far…

Annoying each other yet?


How are rehearsals going?

Strangely. We are doing three plays, Polly is in Freaks, I’m in Bike and Tom Newton is in Scrooge. Due to schedules, we often have to rehearse the plays in separate locations, so we haven’t always been able to be present for each teams’ work in process. When we are though it’s reassuring to see that the work looks great and is actually really funny… and heartfelt… and relevant to the times we’re living in.

Why should we come and see the play?

Great question! They are human stories that we can all relate to. They’re exciting, provocative at times, sometimes uncomfortable, but deeply into the spirit of Christmas… and they’re all very funny. It’ll get you into the Christmas mood… and they serve a good pint downstairs.

Our thanks to Cameron and Polly. You can visit Off Main Stage’s website here and follow them on Twitter here.

Christmas Tales plays at the White Bear Theatre on 19 and 20 December. Further information and bookings can be found here.

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