Can you tell us a little about Into the West?
Ally and Finn are Traveller children living in a high-rise flat on the outskirts of Dublin with their widowed and grief-stricken father. Here they are visited by their grandfather, bringing them a white horse which had appeared on the seashore and followed him to the city. He tells them that she is called Tir na n’Og, after the legendary land of eternal youth lying under the sea off the west of Ireland. Ally and Finn’s efforts to keep the horse in their flat are thwarted by disapproving neighbours when the law is called in. What happens next is a fast-paced, wild ride across Ireland as the children escape with Tir na n’Og, pursued by police, dogs, helicopters and their own troubled past.
This tour celebrates the 20th anniversary of the creation of the play – why do you think this story continues to enthral audiences?
Because it’s a heartfelt, funny and really moving story! Based on Jim Sheridan’s screenplay for the film Into The West, it takes us on a huge journey of loss and discovery that reaches out to audiences of all ages and stays with them long after they leave the theatre. Apart from that, what audiences connect with is the style of storytelling. Into The West is a fast-paced adventure with multiple characters and locations created by only three actors, a musician and a simple set. So both the cast and the audience have to be imaginative and creative in order to experience the story.
What do you love most about the south west theatre scene?
The south west is a great place to live, with wonderful countryside, a spectacular coastline and a mild (if rather damp!) climate. So a lot of artists choose to live, interact and make work here, resulting in a wonderfully fertile and vibrant creative scene, which in turn attracts more artists – and so it grows. As theatre makers we are privileged to be surrounded by so much talent. I love the fact that we can dip into this talented pool and create so much brilliant, home-grown theatre.
Into the West is performed in The Salberg on Tuesday 29 March 2016 as part of Theatre Fest West and is suitable for those aged 7 and over. For tickets or more information please contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit the Salisbury Playhouse website.