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Where do litle birds go?

Where Do Little Birds Go?

Writers in conversation

Local writer John Knowles talks to one of our home grown successes, Camilla Whitehill, whose since flown the coop but, who longs to return.

Camilla Whitehill is a local writer whose latest one woman play ‘Where Do Little Birds Go’ is heading for Edinburgh on the back of winning the People’s Choice Award at the Vault festival 2015. This uplifting and beautiful play tells the story of Lucy Fuller (based on real life Lisa Prescott) a young girl abducted by the notorious Krays in 1960’s London. Taking about her new play Camilla Says “I’ve always been interested in crime, and the way crime stories are told. We have to accept that most of history has been dictated and narrated by men, and it’s time to re-address the balance”. Where Do Little Birds Go? takes us back over 40 years to a very particular time when fashion, music, celebrity and corruption were shaping young women’s coming of age and East London, under the powerful grip of the Kray Twins, was famous for its “wall of silence”.

I asked Camilla about her approach, which she says is very much a shared experience with the director and her company, and she admits that although writing itself can be a singular experience she feels lucky that she has a company of actors and creatives to work with in developing the work, however she freely admits that when it comes down to the words “I have to write it”.

During our conversation it appears that Camilla and I both share a love of small scale theatre, as I put it to her “theatre were you can see the lines on the audiences faces”. For Camilla the one man/woman play is the ultimate in theatre experiences, a black-box intimacy which she describes as being akin to “being smacked in the face and then kissed”. This lack of anywhere to run or hide creates a heightened sense of drama, which Camilla likes to exploit to the full in her own work. Unlike full cast shows, with epic scenery where everyone is desperate  to create a reality, the one person show is a vehicle which immediately says, “this is a theatrical, you are entering my world”. And really there is nothing quite like the feeling you get between an audience and one player, an eyeball to eyeball engagement of profound possibilities.

As many of you who know me I have been bleating on about a lack of theatre venues pretty much since I arrived in Hastings in 1999 and for Camilla this lack of theatre spaces has proved a block to her bringing her shows to a home audience. Camilla says she’d love to return here with her latest work and who knows after our conversation today we might find a way of making it happen. In the meantime if you want to see the work of this rising talent then you’ll need to wend your way to…

The Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly), 56 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1EG from Thursday 6th – Sunday 30th August 2015 (not 17th), 8.55pm.


Posted 12:46 Friday, Jul 3, 2015 In: Performance

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