Blog Takeover: The Kilburn Passion

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 by Tricycle
Suhayla El-Bushra

Suhayla El-Bushra

Today we have a guest blog from playwright and former Kilburn resident, Suhayla El-Bushra. Suhayla is the writer of The Kilburn Passion, a newly commissioned play written especially for the Tricycle Young Company to perform during the Takeover Festival. Suhayla grew up in Kilburn and used to be a member of the Young Company herself!

When the Tricycle asked me if I would write a play for the 18-24 year olds in their Young Company I pretty much bit their hand off. Partly because it’s nice to be asked to write a play at all, whoever it’s for, but mainly because it’s the Tricycle. I used to be part of the youth theatre there when I was 16* and it was hugely important to me. I was also excited about writing a play for 20 people. Before that I’d written for casts of about 3.

I had no idea what I was going to write about when I started. It would all depend on the Young Company themselves, their abilities and the things they cared about. I remember meeting them for the first time in the James Baldwin room, where I used to rehearse back in the olden days. It hasn’t changed. It smells the same. It even has the same vinyl benches. I’m not sure we were ever as loud as these guys though, who were playing “Wah!” so enthusiastically they could hear them in the theatre downstairs.

I spent a few sessions watching the group, led by their amazingly talented and big-hearted director Emily Lim. I was impressed by just how gifted, smart and passionate they all were. It was a wake up call in some ways. When you’ve been writing for as long as I have you can get a bit grumpy. You sometimes forget that working in the theatre is the best job in the world, that just being part of it is a thrill. Being in that room made me excited to be a writer again.

The work the young company did in those sessions inspired me – to write something that was heartfelt and un-cynical, that involved a range of styles to suit this eclectic bunch, and that incorporated some big old dance routines because I’m telling you now, these people can dance. It was pretty much the most fun project ever and I’ve really enjoyed being part of it. I hope you enjoy it too.

(*A very long time ago, so long ago it makes me gasp when I think about it!)


Click here to find out more about The Kilburn Passion. The Takeover Festival runs from 31 March – 5 April – you can see the full programme of Takeover Festival events online here.

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