The planning

Messages between Darren (the Director) and Cheryl : Hi Darren, If it helps, what it feels like when the breakdowns start, is that it’s as if I’m as frozen emotionally as the watcher in the snow in THE SNOW MAN or Caroline in CAROLINE SAYS II, then suddenly all these totally out of control emotions […]

When I’m happy, Matisse

A lot of what’s in Alaska is from when I was very much depressed, but in the stage version we’ll get to a more joyous phase, and these Matisse cut-outs make me feel joyous: Turns out he started them after being so ill he almost died.  You can tell from looking at them there’s […]

About Alaska

How would you describe yourself and what you do? Surprisingly hard question. I’m a freelance artist, which has always meant working across multiple disciplines. I started as a poet when I was only nine; moved into performance poetry when I moved to Manchester; from there to playwrighting, and from playwrighting to directing. And I always […]

Louis CK on Sadness Hi Darren, I really like the Louis CK bit that’s in this article, because of the attitude he has to sadness.  Like the article says, it’s really matter-of-fact and not self-absorbed or self-pitying.  It’s just that life is sad sometimes, and everybody gets a slice of that. I think this is clip is really […]

World Through Alien’s Eyes I haven’t seen this movie, UNDER THE SKIN, yet, but I’m going to buy it next week when it’s released on video. Most teenagers feel a bit alienated — but the idea in here that the whole world is viewed from an alien’s eyes might be a way of thinking about what it means […]

The Background

Hi Folks, Darren and I are doing two days work this week to start to figure out how to transform ALASKA the poetry into ALASKA the show. We had a great day on Thursday. We put the poems into a chronological order, and I told Darren the backstory for each one. He then […]

At home at Tate Modern

The Salon, Meshac Gaba’s Contemporary African Museum of Art, Tate Modern A couple of months ago I found myself sitting in the Salon of Meshac Gaba’s Museum of Contemporary African Art exhibit at Tate Modern. I was very grateful that the room had a sofa I could sit on. I’d been up all night over-writing […]

The Paradise Garden

“I am going to The Paradise Garden one day.”  –  Simon Schama’s mother, as quoted by Simon Schama in episode two of The Story of the Jews, BBC2, September 2013 Watching Simon Schama go through the history of the Jewish people is a privilege.  I want to add, “and a delight”, but this doesn’t do […]

Ultimate Immersive: Audience as Protagonist

When I was explaining to my trainee crew how the last play I directed should work, I compared it to putting together a film.  The play, Heart’s Core, was made with refugee women, put together from their stories, folk tales, and dreams. What I said: It will work like a film montage:  juxtaposition creates the […]

Rollercoaster Theatre

Question:  Rollercoasters.  When people say a show or film is a Rollercoaster ride, most of the time they mean it’s spills and thrills and chills, but in a superficial, intellectually shallow way.  Lots of plot but no emotionally satisfying story.  Lots of showy tics but no rounded character. But think about the physical and emotional […]


Jazz singer

Theatre Director