the play follows Charlie and Grant - two teenagers who live in the village of Kilburn in Derbyshire. Charlie is growing up in the care system, and has just moved to a new home next door to his classmate Grant. as they begin to walk home and spend more time together outside of school, an unlikely friendship and relationship blooms.
but how do you learn to share your secrets and places with someone else? and how do you trust someone with the parts of your identity you’re still figuring out?
over a school year in the middle of nowhere, kilburn (not london) explores young love, sense of self and making somewhere home.
scroll down or click here for the captioned video version of kilburn (not london). you can also listen on the go, wherever you get your podcasts
where did the idea come from?
i love writing about Derbyshire because it is so rarely represented on stage or screen or in the media. growing up here the biggest feelings of your life take place against an accidentally epic backdrop of hills and fields and wide open spaces. I started thinking about the friendships and relationships that made me who I am, and how I see similar experiences in the young people I work with, and wanted to share a new story about that.
it’s always felt essential that I involve Plus One, as young people with lived experience of the care system, but also as an honest audience on whether the characters are interesting, the world feels real, and if it makes them laugh or feel something.
having Lucy, our composer, involved throughout has been amazing. we’ve worked together through Plus One and she’s such a star. she’s heard the script change and shift, and helped us get to know the characters better. her music does so much for the story and helps bring some of the Derbyshire landscape into your imagination.
how did you make it happen?
the script was developed from an idea for the stage, which I started reimagining into an audio piece during Autumn 2020. not only did making it an audio piece make it pandemic-proof, but also meant it could have a life of its own, as well as blending in music in a way that felt new and exciting for me.
i knew exactly the team that needed to be involved - Louis and I went to Sixth Form together in the Amber Valley that inspires so much of the story, John and I both wrote about home for Paines Plough’s Come To Where I Am with Derby Theatre, I’ve wanted to collaborate with Omar for years, and Matt was Sound Designer on my play ‘Bonfire’ which I started developing in 2019. in fact all of the team are a greatest hits megamix of friends and collaborators - having Fergus as Production Assistant for much of the process was a treat as a close pal from uni and a fellow writer, Rob and I were on the Boundless Advisory Group together, Lexi did Image Design for ‘Bonfire’ and has worked remotely from New Zealand the entire time (!), and Rebecca and I did youth theatre together in Derby over a decade ago!
well, when the play was going to be for stage, there was a whole second act where Grant and Charlie meet again as adults. John and Louis were pretty disappointed none of that was going into the audio play… so maybe an episode two at some point? A franchise!
i’d love to work with more organisations and theatres to help tell similar stories about their neighbourhoods, with their young people.
i do really feel there’s lots to be said about telling stories about overlooked places, especially from queer and care-experienced perspectives. i hope the play feels like a place of its own for listeners, and helps them value the connection to our environment the 2020-21 period revealed for everyone.
written and produced by Simon Marshall
inspired and dramaturged by Plus One
directed by Omar Khan
You were listening to:
John Booker as Charlie
Louis Greatorex as Grant
additional voices by Katie & Will Turner
original music and score by Lucy James
sound design by Matthew Cooper
Fergus Church was Production Assistant
Audio Drama Consultancy from Robert Awosusi
website by Rebecca Saw
image design by Lexi Clare
The ‘Got Shine’ demo and additional lyrics were mixed and produced by Zee Musiq and Brig