INTERVIEW: Cora Bissett | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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When Cora Bissett came across her teenage diaries in the family’s attic about her musical exploits, it took her right back to rollercoaster days of touring with Radiohead and partying with Blur. Now expecting her first child, she’s begun to reflect on how she got to be the woman she’s become, and the journey from indie ‘bright new thing’ to wised-up woman.

Deciding to bring her personal story to the stage Cora created What Girls Are Made Of, the first play she’s written and performed in the traditional sense (although she’s devised and co-created a whole body of respected productions, including activist musical Glasgow Girls and an adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s book Room). So what was the experience of laying herself bare like? “Frightening and exciting and incredibly cathartic and really fun to do.” She enthuses.

Cora’s autobiographical story is set in Fife, Scotland and charts her time in indie band Darlingheart, living the dream “until she wasn’t”. Cora may be used to writing songs about personal experience, but they were, as she puts it “always slightly disguised, shielded and not quite literal all the time.” There’s a vulnerability in What Girls Are Made Of; it may be a feminist piece at its heart, but the universal tale of a woman finding her voice has struck a chord with all who have seen it, from the Edinburgh Fringe to Brazil and the USA. Ultimately, it’s a story of survival. “What do we do when the dream hits rock bottom? I’m just trying my best like everyone else.”

Performed with a live backing band, this accessible, warm, funny and open-hearted piece of gig theatre celebrates the euphoric highs and epic lows of Cora’s young life, and features a killer set list of Nirvana, Patti Smith and Dolly Parton. “We’ll take you on a rollicking adventure, but I’ll give you a surprise. The piece touches people in a really deep way. I like to give hope. I give them something to live for.”

What Girls Are Made Of is at Live Theatre, Newcastle from Wednesday 4th-Friday 6th September

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