PROFILE: Reece Connolly | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Having already tasted considerable success with his theatre company Red Cape Black Cape, young writer Reece Connolly’s new show WORMTOWN gets two outings this month, at South Shields’ Customs House on Friday 1st and Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle on Saturday 16th June, as part of their Youth Theatre Festival.

Reece, who has been the Customs House Takeover Festival writer in residence, explains how writing for the stage provides exciting opportunities. “Theatre works more than any other form of entertainment because it asks its audience to totally suspend their disbelief. You can take people’s expectations and warp them, subvert and surprise them, use the medium in a way they mightn’t expect to tell a story that you wouldn’t think could work onstage.”

Reece’s work in the horror genre has led to sold out shows at the London Horror Festival, and WORMTOWN draws on his sense of the macabre by reimagining the fable of the Lambton Worm. Set on a council estate currently being demolished, the movement of machinery has woken a monster far beneath the earth. “When it breaks surface and begins to stalk and terrorise the estate a group of teenagers begin a quest to stop it. It’s a good old-fashioned adventure told in a new way, set now, with all the ingredients of a classic legend but with plenty of twists.” When asked what drew him to the Lambton Worm fable, he explains: “I felt it was ripe for a modern reinvention. The character of this ancient evil monster is a bridge between the region now and then, back in the times of legend. I’m using the worm and the mythology it carries with it to unlock a ton of things – history, community, fantasy and reality – which feed the story and fuel the characters.”

Keen to produce more work in the North East in the future, Reece is full of praise for the likes of Alphabetti and the Customs House’s commitment to showcasing the work of young writers and actors, but believes more can be done. “It’s the original social tool of provoking debate and simultaneously giving escapism – it’s such a powerful thing if we harness it, and even more so if you hand that to young people because we have our finger totally on the pulse.”

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