Initially all that existed was a title, The Believers, and the briefest synopsis – it is about belief systems. Apart from that, I was starting from scratch.
The first research and development we did was driven by the book Religion Explained, a fascinating insight into belief and anthropology, I then decided to look at horror films, as they inspire us to believe in the absurd and I was interested in how far our belief systems might bend and alter when presented with different situations. That might be fear and terror, or it might be the promise of great reward.
These were early directions but many of them are still applicable in what became The Believers. When you set out to make a show, it can take at least two years and in that time you can change direction, take wrong turnings, get lost, or meet sudden inspiration – something that came to Eddie and I in the early hours of the morning after our first preview as it struck us that what we had all just watched was a beautiful painting. It was crafted to within an inch of its life but it remained two-dimensional. It was not leaping out and embracing or shaking us, which led us to spending the next day giving the production a bit more oomph. By 21:00 that night, it had become clear that our hard work was well worth it – it had leapt out at us, gripped us for 70 minutes and then released us feeling shaken and very proud.
I think The Believers illustrates why I cast actors and then get them to move. The four performers were cast on their acting ability and their potential to give their best physically. Eddie and I were confident we could introduce them to the physical world and get them strong and confident physically. When we had achieved that, we knew that their acting skills would then come to the fore – and, of course, they did.
You can find out more about The Believers on our website here