I first discovered the story of The Portrait by Nikolai Gogol a few years ago whilst I was performing in a musical version of one of his other works; The Overcoat. I loved the story as it chimed very strongly with a personal belief of mine that any form of creativity should be true to itself and should not be created to just “please the crowds.”
It sometimes saddens me that theatre is created to tick boxes and make money. I understand that many think this is necessary for theatre to survive but I also believe that it is far more exciting to create the things you really feel passionate about, to reach out to new audiences, and to make theatre within the confines of a budget that forces you to be creative.
That, along with the fact that I love working with the team at Corkscrew, is why I decided to take Gogol’s story and adapt it for the stage last year.
Taking a timeless and relevant story and putting it in the hands of people who are passionate, playful and clever in different ways to me, meant that we created something I think was really special.
Performing it in the Cambridge Drama Festival was a joy and we were very grateful to receive some awards for all our work! We then planned to perform it again this year, as a fundraiser for a charity called The Red Hen Project, a Cambridge charity supporting vulnerable children and their families, which works in the area where I grew up.
Sadly, we are now not able to do that, but we have had a lot of fun adapting it into a radio play instead. This took a bit of a rewrite, many a Zoom rehearsal and a lot of patience as we learned how to edit audio as we went along! This play has enabled me to work with some people I love during this very weird time and will hopefully bring a slither of theatrical magic to others stuck at home!
So with great pleasure, there is a link below where you can listen to the radio play, and if you like it you can pay as much as you think it is worth to download and keep it forever.
And it would be lovely to hear what you think.