Writer Katherine Edwards tells us about Umbrella, her debut play in this year’s Bloomsbury Festival, which is being recorded as a radio play in front of a live audience.
Tell us a bit about your show
Umbrella is at its heart a love letter to my Gran. A way of saying all the things time didn’t permit. Umbrella is about the turbulent relationship between our memories and the present.
Tell us a bit about you and the company
I’m a trained dancer and actor so playwriting is new territory for me, but as someone who identifies as dyslexic the chance to use my words is a profound one. From my Masters at Goldsmiths I’ve found a voice and a way to use it at this festival, without NYT and Goldmsiths I’d never have had the courage to apply to this brilliant festival. The director Rohan Gotobed studied at UEA with me and I always admired his positive and driven directing style, in addition to his powerful writing, so I am thrilled he agreed to work on Umbrella with me. The actors are immensely talented and have given so much to this play, they worked on the preview at RADA Studios last autumn, and to have them back for the radio recording means the world to me.
What’s your favourite moment in the performance?
I love the penultimate scene. The actors bring such a raw and authentic performance to it, reminding me why I wrote this play in the first place: when everything else is forgotten, do we remember the feeling of being loved?
What do you want your audience to take away from it?
I’d love people to see the different forms of dementia in a new way, and to accept the present their loved ones are experiencing. Ultimately, I’d like people to leave reminded of the joy of looking back, the hope in the present and that it’s never too late to tell someone how you feel.
What does taking part in the Bloomsbury Festival mean to you?
Everything! This is my first ever play and to be putting on with Bloomsbury has given me a platform I never imagined having – as someone who identifies as neurodivergent it means so much to be able to express myself creatively with such an incredible festival.
Is there anything else you’re looking forward to seeing in the festival?
I cannot wait to see Bloomsbury itself come to life! Its such an immersive experience that is unlike anything else I’ve seen. The theatre and new writing at the festival is breathtaking and daring, I cannot wait to see the great works put on this October!
Umbrella is presented on 21 October at Dr Williams’s Library, London, as part of the Bloomsbury Festival 2022 bloomsburyfestival.org.uk/events/umbrella-katherine-edwards
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