Can Amateur Theatre Handle the Pressure?
“I think amateur theatre is a terrific thing,” says actor/playwright David Haig, 63, whose play My Boy Jack about Kipling and his son who died at the Battle of Loos in 1915, is one of the most popular non-musicals chosen for performance by community companies. “The standard is usually very high and the levels of commitment are extraordinary. I love it.”And David has seen a great deal of amateur theatre including many productions of My Boy Jack. “I get lots of invitations along with letters and emails about the show,” says David. “But of course I can’t get to them all and may not get to many more having seen twenty-five or so.” He adds: “I feel rewarded and moved that so many people want to perform my play and I’m also delighted that amateur work reaches people who probably wouldn’t normally see live theatre.” His latest play, Pressure, looks set to enjoy the same popularity. It began life in Edinburgh, was revived at Park Theatre in London last year and then had a West End run at Ambassadors Theatre. Most critics, including this one, loved it. Pressure tells the story of James Stagg, a Scottish meteorologist whose contentious forecast, after much tension, enabled the D-Day landings to go ahead successfully. David played Stagg just as he played Kipling in the original TV version of My Boy Jack.
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