Spotlight On… Writer of Where Do Little Birds Go, Camilla Whitehill

Where Do Little Birds Go?
Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, London EC1V 4NJ Tuesday 1st – Saturday 26th November 2016 Press Night: Wednesday 2nd November, 8pm

Here’s the link to book tickets: http://www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/where-do-little-birds-go.html

Longsight Theatre presents award-winning Edinburgh Festival 2015 sell-out smash hit, Where Do Little Birds Go? starring Jessica Butcher and directed by Sarah Meadows. This uplifting and beautiful one-woman play is the debut play from Channel 4 and Bush Theatre writer, Camilla Whitehill.
It’s 1966.  Lucy Fuller is 18 years old and working at Winston’s Nightclub. One night, Lucy is kidnapped by the Kray Twins and locked in a flat with an escaped murderer.  This is the story of Lucy’s time with Ronnie, Reggie, and Frank.
A razor-sharp exploration of sexual exploitation and class, Where Do Little Birds Go? takes us back over 40 years, to a time when fashion, music, celebrity and corruption shaped young women’s coming of age and East London, under the powerful grip of the Kray Twins, was famous for its ‘wall of silence’. Based on real-life story of Lisa Prescott, we follow Lucy’s journey from small-town teenager to London sex worker.
Writer Camilla Whitehill comments, I’m delighted that Lucy’s story is doing a full run in London, the city that the play lives in. We still have a problem telling women’s stories in both the theatre world and the real world. It’s important to explore the pasts of those who have been ignored and restore a balance to the way we look at history. I don’t want my children, if I ever have any, to grow up with predominantly male stories like I have. This is a story of courage, music and spirit. I can’t wait to see it come to life at the Old Red Lion.
Longsight Theatre makes award-winning, brave, intimate theatre with a focus on new writing.
…the show makes us feel what it’s like to be trapped and used.  This spare, sobering, evocative hour of theatre is a low-key triumph (The Times).

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I chatted to Camilla about the piece and she has some terrific advice for budding writers, too!

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg. Tell me about Where Do Little Birds Go? and your inspiration for it

I am a bit of a true crime obsessive and read a lot of books in that area. I was reading a book about the Kray twins and Lucy’s story was a chapter in that book. Except, there was nothing concrete about her as a person – as usual, it was all about the men and their violence. I thought I’d wait until I was famous then make it into a BBC drama, but I realised I could be waiting forever, so I wrote it into a play.

Was it easy to put it all down on paper?

Yeah, I mean I wrote the first draft a good 3+ years ago now, and it’s been through a lot of rewrites, but essentially it was very easy. She was a lovely character to write.

Does it translate well from page to stage? 

I hope so!

How is the space lending itself to the piece?

It’s the perfect space. The play is set in a nightclub and I always wanted it to be in a good pub theatre. The Old Red Lion is the best pub theatre in London right now, in my opinion. It’s got history behind it and has an atmosphere that totally lends itself to an intimate, historical play.

What do you hope the audience will take away from Where Do Little Birds Go?

Well, I hope they like it. I hope they come away wanting to look further into this story and questioning how stories have been told historically, especially through the lens of white male bias. 

Finally, any advice for budding writers?

Be honest, take no sh*t, and surround yourself with wonderful, talented people.

That sounds fair enough to me! Thanks so much, Camilla, this sounds like a great piece of theatre.

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