Ahead of their run at Trowbridge Town Hall, Florence Espeut-Nickless and Gavin Osborn speak to Theatre Bubble about bringing local stories to the stage in their new festive play Miracle on 34 Seymour Street.
Can you tell us a bit about the show?
Miracle on 34 Seymour Street is a new, fictional play based on local stories from the people of Trowbridge, and our own Christmas experiences growing up. It’s a show with the town at its heart that celebrates family and the part that the community plays in making memories. It’s a story for anyone over 14 that will hopefully leave you feeling warm, nostalgic and proud to live in Trowbridge.
What are you most excited about for performing at Trowbridge Town Hall?
We love that the Town Hall is a multi-purpose venue used for so many events and activities. One day it’ll be an aerobics group, the next it’ll be home to a choir, or an art installation or punk band. To be able to bring new writing and live theatre to the venue seems like an exciting extension of the Town Hall’s vision to be at the forefront of celebrating arts and culture. It’s a historic building that some people in the town still relate to being a court room. So it’s exciting to reclaim it as somewhere that the community can take ownership of, hear their stories being told, and hopefully be inspired to take to the stage themselves.
The show takes inspiration from stories by Trowbridge residents. Can you tell us a bit about some of those local stories?
One story we heard again and again was about this incredible Christmas. There was an ice-rink and a helter-skelter, the lights were spectacular. Clearly, there was a lot of money floating around that year and things have never quite matched up to that since. This seemed a good metaphor for most Christmases as you grow up, trying to recreate the magical innocence of childhood.
We also spoke with someone who, every Christmas, watches the entire Back to the Future trilogy. Another, with six children “because TV wasn’t so good back then”, who cooks nine Christmas puddings for his kids in copper pans. And someone else who drives every year to the Highlands to be with their wife who died a few years back.
What can audiences expect from going to see Miracle on 34 Seymour Street?
We’re trying to make a show that is truthful and reflects the reality of people’s Christmases. Which makes it sound a bit bleak, but it also includes all the humour and absurdity that we also encounter in our lives. Ultimately, we want it to be hopeful and uplifting, and maybe it’ll make people see their home town a little bit differently too.
What’s 2022 got in store for you?
Gav: I’ve got a new album coming out, which weirdly isn’t about Trowbridge at all. I’m also touring with a musician called Gecko. Should be good I reckon.
Flo: I’m going back out on tour with my one woman show, DESTINY, including a run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
I’m developing my new play, Blinded by Your Grace, also set in Wiltshire, that explores grief for young people, after the death of a friend / peer.
I’m developing a few ideas for telly too.
Miracle on 34 Seymour Street runs from 20th – 30th December. For more information about the show, please visit the Trowbridge Town Hall website.