Monkeywood Theatre, who brought us WITCH and MULTISTORY, are a Manchester based theatre company making authentic and innovative plays in the North West. Alex from the Octagon chats with the team behind their next production, TRIAL.
Alex: What was the inspiration behind Trial?
Sarah: We were working on another project at the time and I remember that we kept seeing these awful news stories about women in court not being believed. It was then that we decided we wanted to make a show about it. This was Witch (part of last year’s REVEAL Festival). The reaction to that made us want to pursue the idea further. People were very angry and energised in the post-show discussion, especially young people and young women in particular.
Martin: We were interested in the site-specific pieces of REVEAL and the idea of Trial being in a courtroom is really exciting. It’s an interesting metaphor for people being believed – a courtroom is where that is tested.
Alex: What was the writing process for Trial?
Martin: We had a week’s R&D where we read articles in the press across a range of topics, like women and power and how society and the media treat women.
Sarah: We found the stories and characters together and then we went away to write them individually. We didn’t want Trial to be news analysis – we had to find stories and characters that were interesting in their own right.
Alex: Could you tell me a bit about some of the stories?
Rosina: The piece that I wrote is about the double-standards that there are for women, which starts from a very young age and becomes accepted. There’s a scale that women are judged on.
Sarah: There’s a verbatim court transcript which is threaded throughout the piece as a whole.
Alex: Since Witch last year, we’ve seen the #MeToo movement and No Grey Area – did these influence Trial at all?
Eve: It made us bring the focus in tighter and concentrate on stories about sexual abuse and assault.
Sarah: Everyday, there was a new news story that would break. It was galvanizing; we realised that we needed to make this.
Rosina: Trial is a small part of it all but we hope that it’ll make people think.
Nisa: The fact that these themes are being discussed in a piece of theatre allows more space between the audience and the subject matter for dialogue.
TRIAL will take place at the Bolton Council Chamber, Bolton Town Hall, Wed 25 - Thu 26 April
Book tickets now: https://octagonbolton.co.uk/whats-on/theatre/reveal-festival-trial/