INTERVIEW: WE ARE THE BEST! | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Rebecca Glendenning by TJMov

The best of times is now for Northern writer Rebecca Glendenning, as this month marks the world premiere of her stage adaptation of cult movie We Are The Best!, which comes to Live Theatre, Newcastle from Thursday 26th May–Saturday 18th June.

Bradford-born and Newcastle-based, Rebecca is an engaging theatre maker whose passion for devising original creative content is infectious. Describing her writing as “very much Northern,” she has been setting the scene in Newcastle since graduating from Northumbria University with Masters and Honours degrees in Theatre Performance, Script-Writing and Visual Arts. She’s no stranger to these pages, as co-founder of North East theatre company Bonnie & The Bonnettes her previous work has been loud, fun and unapologetic.

Beginning a new chapter of her career, Rebecca exudes enthusiasm for adapting Lukas Moodysson’s Swedish movie, We Are The Best! Based on his wife Coco’s comic book, Never Goodnight, it’s a high energy anarchic comedy set in 1980’s Stockholm and follows the friendship of teenage misfits Bobo and Klara who start a band with Hedwig, the shyest girl in school.

Rebecca relates and says: “I don’t entirely think I have ever gotten over being shy but I am able to manage it better now.” As a teenager Rebecca spent a lot of time on the Leeds’ punk scene: “It gave me a place to out all that teenage angst, as politically and socially I felt that Bradford had been forgotten. The first time I ever saw a professional show it was a John Godber play at Leeds Playhouse and as a teenager it blew my mind wide open. So, the sooner we can make that experience possible for young people, only good can come from that.”

I feel we’re very used to hearing white, middle-class, straight, heterosexual male voices, so I would tell young people to come into the industry and add your voice to the pot

Teenagers can watch the show for free at selected performances, which is clearly something close to Rebecca’s heart: “It’s often assumed that you can only go to the theatre if you have the money. I feel we’re very used to hearing white, middle-class, straight, heterosexual male voices, so I would tell young people to come into the industry and add your voice to the pot. The more different voices we can have, especially Northern, is the best.”

The production launches Live Theatre’s new season and will be Artistic Director Jack McNamara’s first time directing at the Quayside venue. “Jack really wanted to do this show. He loved the film. I didn’t know Jack before but when we started talking it was a match made in heaven.” Rebecca enthuses. “This is my first time adapting and it has been a massive learning curve. I fell in love with the idea of putting the film and novel together. Jack has been very good at knowing what I need and when, I have felt really looked after throughout this whole project. It has been a real gift. It has been lovely translating moments and emotions which transcend language; I think theatre has such a lovely way to challenge what you think. To learn more about yourself and the world. Theatre gives you a language that you didn’t necessarily have before.”

When asked what audiences can expect from the event, her excitement shines through: “It will be a joyous, riotous evening. It’s the glorious bubble bit as an invincible teenager before you realise what the world is, so the audiences get to celebrate that with the characters.”

We Are The Best! is at Live Theatre, Newcastle from Thursday 26th May–Saturday 18th June.

 

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