North-West born and based theatre maker Andy Smith reflects on 80 years of world history through the eyes of a Preston man in a unique drama at the Continental pub venue in Broadgate next week.
From World War Two to the election of Cameron, encompassing the fall of the Berlin Wall, Thatcher, the unions and America’s first black president, The Preston Bill charts 80 years of history and change through a life story.
The Preston Bill is contemporary theatre, but in many senses is very traditional
Smith, who was born in Carlisle and lives in Lancaster, where he teaches at the city’s university, recounts the life of a man called Bill using just a chair and ukulele.
Starting in 1935, it takes in national service, marriage, working life, union activity, retirement and death.
The Preston Bill examines the ideas of social change and political rhetoric using verbatim political speeches through the decades, and asks how world events affect one person, and how one person might try to make a difference in the world.
It opens next Wednesday evening and on October 15 and 21 local artists will be given a platform to develop a new idea in response to The Preston Bill in a 10-minute piece that will accompany the performance.
On October 22 Maddy Costa, a freelance theatre and pop critic, will be leading a post-show discussion.
In the past Smith has collaborated with playwright and actor Tim Crouch on numerous occasions, including their co-written and performed play: what happens to hope at the end of the evening (2013), commissioned by the Almeida Theatre, the world premiere of Adler & Gibb (2014) at The Royal Court, and the award-winning An Oak Tree, recently performed to celebrate its 10- year anniversary at the National Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe.
Andy says: “The Preston Bill is contemporary theatre, but in many senses is very traditional.
“It contains ideas of epic narratives, of telling a story, of political themes. The piece is a solo, but as with all my work, it makes some requests of the spectator to engage imaginatively with what the story offers.”
The Preston Bill is the culmination of a year’s research and development in Preston and other parts of the UK, and is part of Fuel’s New Theatre in Your Neighbourhood.
It is suitable for ages 12+ and audiences pay what they decide.
For more details call 01772 499425 or see www.newcontinental.net