My Inspiration: Lydia Brickland – Tangerines | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Lydia Brickland is a writer from Gateshead, she likes to tell stories about big complex issues in a fun, lively and accessible way. Her work is humorous, playful and there is a radical kindness in all of her work. Lydia’s new play Tangerines is part of Newcastle Fringe Festival from the 25th – 30th July. 

Tangerines is a new play examining the royal family and their relationship to queerness. In the play we meet Princess Charlotte 11 years in the future who is studying at Durham University. She joins the Dance Society and begins dancing with Kae, however it quickly becomes clear that there’s more to their relationship than just dancing. 

We first performed this at The Kings Head in London as part of a queer new writing festival and after the show so many people were asking: ‘How did you think of this?’. In truth, not all that sure. In my experience I not the sort of artist who wakes up in the middle of the night gasping with the next big idea – it’s more a gentle process that’s informed by so many factors. I’m constantly inspired by those around me and will always take my notebook on the bus to write down interesting things people say. 

When I consider my inspirations for writing Tangerines it would be fruitless (see what I did there) to not mention my mam. My mam is a staunch socialist and proud Irish woman who was always very critical of oppressive structures, including the monarchy. Growing up in one of the more deprived areas of the UK, I felt very aware of the unjust nature of the royals. The monarchy’s wealth and splendour felt so wrong whilst our youth clubs and libraries closed. However, speaking with my mam recently I learned that my Irish grandma was OBSESSED with Princess Diana. She would often tell her sons to go down to the shop to get the English newspapers so she could see how her true queen; Lady Di, was getting on. Lady Di is the ultimate gay icon, she was pure punk and I love that my grandma was obsessed with her. My mam, much like her own, loves to hate the royals. We were even tempted to download the Spare audiobook and listen to it as a family. 

I haven’t read Spare and probably never will, but I did watch the Harry and Meghan Netflix show. Whilst watching I defo googled if there were any queer members of the Royal Family. There was a list – however a very small list compromising mostly of queer men and no one in the line of succession. 

I write plays about big questions, things that feel unanswerable – if it’s a question with an easy answer, I’m probably not the person to write that play. So then came the question: ‘What would happen if a member of the royal family was queer?’ ** Fun fact: ‘Tangerines’ was first called ‘Princess Charlotte is a Lesbian’ however being terrified of right-wing Twitter I settled on the less controversial name – like the snowflake I am. The play also has these tender movement sequences, because sometimes queerness feels too much and beyond words – shout out to director Bethany who handled all of these moments with such gentleness.

I really think everyone would get something from the show – but Tangerines will really resonate for the girls, gays and theys. It’s got this lovely rom-com style but equally there’s moments of physical theatre and form-breaking, those moments are really for queer audiences. I’m extremely proud of these moments and how they speak to people. Tangerines has been difficult to write at times, but it’s also been a pure joy. Collaborating with Bethany, Hannah, Romana and the other fab creatives on this project has been lush. It really does take a village and I was lucky enough to have a fantastic village, who pushed and constantly inspired me throughout this process.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout