Szymon: Hello, Can you please introduce yourself?
'I’m is a Manchester born and based playwright and video games writer. I’ve been lucky enough to work with theatres including The Royal Exchange, Contact Theatre, Theatre503 and The National Theatre Studio. I’m a writer for Big Finish, creating audio dramas for well-known franchises such as Dr Who. I’m also the in-house writer for the multi BAFTA award-winning Video Games Company Ghost Town Games, where I wrote the story and dialogue for Overcooked 2. And I’m a 2020 BAFTA ‘Breakthrough Brit’...which is incredible!'
Szymon: What is 'Welcome to Shangri-la' about?
'The play is set in a small rundown seaside B & B, where it’s inhabitants have created a lovely family of sorts. As they struggle to survive, they long and wish to be normal. To be like everyone else. But you should be careful what you wish for. Late one night a stranger calls, looking for his missing wife. He brings with him a cash-filled wallet and the promise of a normal life. But this promise comes with a price – the very soul of Shangri-La'
Szymon: What inspired you to write Welcome to Shangri-la?
'Fitting in has never been a simple thing for me. Growing up LGBTQ+ isn’t easy and back then I was terrified of people seeing the real me. I so desperately wanted to be “normal”. As I grew, I learned to love and embrace who I was, but that word “normal” has always stalked me. I wanted to write a piece that makes us look at normal and reassess it’s meaning...if it exists at all!'
Szymon: Why do you think the message of the show is important in the current climate and society?
'Sadly in recent years we’ve seen the UK become more and more conservative in what it considers “normal”. It feels like we’re going back in time. Kids holding hands on a buses are getting beaten up, hate crimes are on the rise, racism has found a new voice...
Szymon: What should the audience expect from the show?
'Something unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. To go on a strange dark journey and come out the other end braver and armoured to stand up against those who’d impose an old way of life on them.'
Szymon: How would you like the audience to react to your piece?
'To come out feeling empowered to be who they are, not what an aged society demands they be. And I want everyone to ask themselves “Am I alright?” “Am I truly happy?” “Am I being true to myself?" '
Szymon: How's the production coming along so far?
'I’m totally thrilled with the team behind this show. Our director Joel Parry has brought together an incredible cast. His production company Broken Biscuits are passionate about promoting Working Class artists and I am so proud to be part of that. The Working Class talent in Manchester is PHENOMENAL. And I’m beyond grateful to HER productions for bringing us together and taking this play to Hope Mill Theatre, which is heaven (and an instagram dream!)
Szymon: Lastly, What advice would you give to any teenagers wanting to become a playwright like yourself?
'Take a look at Arvon Writing Courses - that’s what got me started. You get to learn under incredible, well respected playwrights and hang out in the countryside! And there are grants, so whatever the background, do check it out.
'Welcome to Shangri-La' plays at the Hope Mill Theatre from the 11th of February until the 20th of February.
To book your tickets Click Here