The Jack Studio Theatre in Brockley, south-east London is an award-winning pub theatre where I’m Literary Associate. Like so many venues, lockdown hit hard but a lifeline for the theatre to continue came in the form of funding from Arts Council England. As part of the funding package received, the Jack Studio had proposed a project called CONNECT in which four writers who’ve previously had plays produced there, would each write a 10-minute short film script. These scripts would then be filmed and put out online in autumn 2020 on the Jack Studio’s website.
Having already been asked to direct one of the short films – Ray and Doreen – I was then approached by Artistic Director Kate Bannister to direct another. This piece, Chicken by Lin Coghlan was as different from the two-character, dialogue-driven story Ray and Doreen as it was possible to be. To start with, Lin’s film had three characters: a woman called Bev, a man called Mason and a chicken! But it also allowed the opportunity to tell a slightly fantastical, quirky tale largely with images, as the script contained only one scene of dialogue and one scene with a song.
I accepted this new challenge of directing Chicken enthusiastically and was very fortunate to be recommended two excellent actors: Chantelle Dusette and Brendan O’Rourke for the roles of Bev and Mason respectively and to meet a brilliant NFTS trained cinematographer in Lily Grimes to collaborate with on filming the piece. With Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s magical film Amelie as an inspiration, Chicken was filmed over an amazing two days in September 2020 and I look forward to sharing the finished film online on the Jack Studio’s website very soon.