On November 20th, Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder’s play ‘In Doggerland’ written by Tom Morton-Smith will be performed at the York Theatre Royal. As well as the excitement of returning back to her University town, there has been much anticipation for the play with it been Hannah’s production Company; ‘Box of Tricks’ first national touring production. It is an exciting step forward for Manchester based, ‘Box of Tricks’ and is just the first of many projects set to entertain audiences across the nation.
‘In Doggerland’ is a gripping and heart-felt play detailing the lives of four transplant patients. Using comedy to deal with such a tricky issue, Hannah describes Tom Morton-Smith’s script as “beautiful, intelligent and sensitive”. I queried Hannah about the title of the play, asking where the name originated and what it meant. Doggerland was an ancient land mass connecting Britain and mainland Europe before and during the Ice Age. There was a mass exodus of the land due to flooding as sea levels rose. Tom Morton-Smith, decided on this terminology to “portray the feeling of the land under your feet being pulled from beneath you”. Symbolizing how we all hold on to these material things in life, yet they can so easily be taken from you. ‘In Doggerland’ shows the trauma in which something you call your own; your body parts being taken and replaced.
Hannah was stuck .Her resolution; finding her very own company.
Although the accounts in the play are fictional, it was said that, Tom conducted a vast array of research on the issue of organ donations to ensure the feelings and emotions are realistic to the highest degree. Hannah spoke of a particular case Tom came across, that of a man who received a hand transplant. The ‘doggerland’ feeling of something not being your own is evidenced in how the male had the hand transplant removed as he was unable to endure the feeling of wearing someone else’s hand.
I spoke to Hannah about how she went from York student to successful artistic director/co-founder of a new and exciting writing theatre company. Starting off as been part of York’s very own drama scene, partaking in a spectacular 48 hour production of ‘Guys and Dolls’, Hannah was fully aware of the trials and tribulations of the theatre world. Only after graduating from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, where she trained as a director did she realize the true extent of the problem in finding a career.
With no experience in the working world of directing, Hannah was stuck .Her resolution; finding her very own company, alongside Adam Quayle who she studied with at Mountview. The theatre company’s mission statement “of the next generation of new writing” helps provide a helping hand to those who are just starting out. She pointed out that “it is not just 16 year olds finishing school, it’s for anyone, at any age, that is taking that first step in the arts”.
Her time at York certainly influenced her career through her degree in English and related literature, offering her the analytical and writing skills needed. But what makes her company different is that she aims to tell the stories that have never been told before. Wanting to emulate the same success as the National Theatre Company, but not purely imitate them, Hannah uses everyday life as inspiration. The scope of possible influences is endless. She often uses books, television and films to spark her imagination whilst also going out and watching theatre.
Being the founder of her own company allows her the freedom to “do your own thing”. No restricting boundaries, no one else to tell her what to do, She is her own boss. A highly attractive option for any budding dramatists.
Knowing what it’s like to be student desperate to break into the theatre industry, Hannah has some crucial tips to help get work in theatre production:
1. “See as much as you can – see it all!” – Use it to hone your ideas: talk about it and be critical. Read the plays’ scripts for yourself: how would you have done it differently?
2. “Find a job you don’t hate!” – Your day job should be enjoyable, and allow creativity. If you can’t get into theatre straight away, go for the next best option and don’t be disheartened. Hannah taught drama classes for children, which she enjoyed greatly. Do something that doesn’t suppress the mind and lets you give a little back to the community.
3. “Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing!” – Hold on to that original excitement that made you love theatre. Indulge in it!
All three can apply to any sort of prospects, not just in the dramatics. Apply them to your own aspirations. Especially number 3. I think that is vital in this day and age to enjoy what you are doing. It is so easy to slip into something routine and mind numbing.
To get your own piece of the action, you can see Hannah’s work on stage Wednesday 20th November at York Theatre Royal for only £8 (student price).
You can check out Hannah’s theatre company and keep up to date with the success of ‘In Doggerland’ here: : http://www.boxoftrickstheatre.co.uk/