ANNA Ledwich returns to the theatre where she cut her teeth to direct the opening production in Chichester’s new temporary performance space, Theatre on the Fly.
With Dennis Potter’s Blue Remembered Hills, she believes she’s got the best possible play with which to exploit the new venue’s great advantage: it can be open-ended, as it will be for this, offering the audience a backdrop of field stretching towards the treeline.
OK, it’s not quite the Forest of Dean which the play specifies, but it will certainly do.
“We had a number of ideas which we whittled down,” she said.
“We had talks with the architects, and in a way the plays (for the Theatre on the Fly season) came from that.
“Also there is something very satisfying about the central idea in the play of having adults playing children, actors behaving as children.
“It’s a challenge that you have to approach in terms of the difference between adults and children – the way that children switch their attention from moment to moment, that it is mostly present tense for them.
“You have this sense that they don’t carry much by way of baggage – and that’s what we want to achieve.”
Blue Remembered Hills is the tale of a group of friends whose idyllic childhood afternoon takes a darker turn.
As the seven-year-olds play, fight and fantasise, their childlike games begin to reveal fears, hostilities and rivalries.
Anna was a trainee director at Chichester Festival Theatre from 2008-2010.
“It was a tremendous time,” she says.
“Chichester has a prodigious output. They have the highest calibre of directors, actors, designers working there.
It was a privilege to be part of that. I credit it as one of the most important jobs and training experiences of my career. I set up a lot of relationships and developed a lot of ideas about what I want to create.
“This business is all about relationships, whether it is with actors or designers or producers.
“It is all about your relationships with people, and Chichester is a great hub for that.”
Tickets are available from cft.org.uk/totf or by calling the box office on 01243 781312.