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Preconceived is a play about sex. Here writer and director Jonluke McKie explains why he decided to create the show and how you can get involved:

As a theatre maker, I’m always thinking about what my next show will be.  For some time, I’ve been thinking that I would like to make a show about sex; exploring something that relates to us all but that we often find difficult to talk about.  But could I really make a show about it?  What would people think of me? That I’m obsessed with sex?  It’s funny, I do believe we live in a sex positive society but talking openly about it can bring up a lot of conflicted feelings. I for one still find it difficult at times.

For some reason people often come to me to talk about their sex lives, to share a funny story or chat about an issue their having or an insecurity; I started to notice that these conversations, along with my own experiences didn’t match up to the stories and images I was seeing in the media; that while sex is all around us, only a few narratives were really being told, and they were about specific people.

If you’re not the skinny girl in the music video, the muscle man in the porno, if you’re not the ‘right’ age, shape, sexuality, if you have a disability or don’t have sex for whatever reason – you’re not included in the mainstream conversation about sex. I believe whoever we are, whoever we do or don’t have sex with, sexuality is a central part of us and I want to shed light on some of the stories that are excluded from the conversation.

The trouble is, I’m no expert  – half the time I feel totally baffled by it – and the point of this show was to include a wide variety of experiences, not just my own.  So I decided to make the piece using interviews with lots of different participants as well as some of my own writing. I’ve spoken to all sorts of people, from all backgrounds and walks of life, and I’m looking to find more interviewees to share their perspectives.

Interviews are confidential and can take place in person in a place that suits you, or over the phone or Skype. They normally last between one and two hours and they’re really informal. Sometimes I interview two people at once, a couple perhaps, or friends and the interview can be conducted by another member of the team if you prefer; if you’d rather speak to a woman for instance. With permission some of these interviews will be used to form a script, in which case we’ll change any identifying factors about you, like your name, where you live and your job.

Preconceived will be a down-to-earth, funny, moving show, using physical theatre and some of my own writing as well as the interview transcription. It’s been a privilege to listen as people share this very personal aspect of their lives with me; the joyous, sad, uncomfortable, horny, scary, hairy and so often funny stories of people’s sex lives. I can’t wait to share it next year at Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle; I think the world would be a better place if we could speak a bit more openly about this centrally human subject, and maybe Preconceived will help to nudge us in that direction.

If you’re interested in taking part in an interview or have any questions we’d love to have a chat. You can contact me via my website here, or find us on Facebook, just search for @preconceivedshow.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Preconceived is supported by Arts Council England, Alphabetti Theatre, Dance City, Live Theatre and the NEADN residency scheme.

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