Gaye Poole, co-director of Human Story Theatre and author of DRY tells us more about the show.
‘Human’ stories were precisely what we wanted to collect and portray when we started Human Story Theatre a year ago – and we have been overwhelmed with people’s openness in sharing their personal experiences for our first three shows. We only tour new writing with a health and social care at heart and thus far have tackled dementia, loneliness and breast cancer. For DRY, our new show touring in ‘Dry January’ 2018, we have been particularly touched at people’s willingness to talk about the usually taboo subject of alcohol.
We were commissioned by NHS Central South to write DRY for public information reasons. The detrimental health effects on middle age, middle class drinkers in particular are becoming a huge problems for our beleaguered health services.
In England, 25% of the population (33% of men and 16% of women) consume alcohol at levels that increase their risk of alcohol-related ill health (analysis of health survey for England 2013).
As I started writing DRY I was obviously examining my own drinking and of people around me and have had time to reflect on this habit that has insidiously taken a grip from the early reward of: a work success, ‘cheers!’, then as life moves on: ‘eventually’ getting the children to bed, cheers! and lately: …of just getting through the day!
This isn’t a play that preaches but we hope it is a play that raises as many questions as chuckles.
Bryonie Pritchard and Paul Ansdell play a middle-aged couple finding themselves indulging at one dinner party too many. Their teenage daughter is an onstage musical presence played by cellist Rachel Watson. Caught in the midst of this wine-filled environment, she is the emotional barometer of the household, as evidenced through her playing. DRY’s music is composed by Arne Richards of Oxford Concert Party and is directed by Anna Tolputt. Amy Enticknap, (my co-founder of HST) and I are choosing to try and hone our relatively new skills of producer and writer respectively for this show and to develop relationships with local artists: six out of our seven strong DRY team are Oxfordshire-based.
Following every HST show we have a Q&A with relevant experts or personal stories on the theme of the play. For DRY we are partnering with Turning Point who deliver the Oxfordshire Road to Recovery service for people who want to make positive change in their lives, also Al-Anon and Nacoa who provide information, advice and support for everyone affected by alcohol or a parent’s drinking respectively – and we are delighted to be once again supported by the Samaritans. All of whom will be present to build on the themes of DRY and to signpost people to services.
We always premiere our work at the very special venue: the Old Fire Station, Oxford. DRY is there 11-13th January then touring Oxfordshire. Tickets: humanstorytheatre.com