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Critically-acclaimed People, Places and Things at Cambridge Arts Theatre

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PPT, Credit: Johan Persson, 2017
PPT, Credit: Johan Persson, 2017

People, Places & Things director Jeremy Herrin gives an insight into tackling a powerful play which looks at addiction and rehab.

PPT, Credit: Johan Persson, 2017
PPT, Credit: Johan Persson, 2017

Following a critically-acclaimed season at the National Theatre and in the West End, People, Places & Things is currently being performed in Cambridge as part of a UK tour.

The play follows Emma, a women who was having the time of her life, but has taken a fall and is now in rehab.

However, People, Places & Things writer Duncan Macmillan has created a complex character – Emma has lost all touch with herself and must remember who she is. Even if she doesn’t like that person. And she needs to admit that she has a problem.

Loved the London critics, the play is showing until Saturday (November 25) at Cambridge Arts Theatre.

Tickets: £24-£39. Box office: 01223 503333 or cambridgeartstheatre.com.

Jeremy, why did you decide to take People, Places & Things on tour?

I think it’s important to share this story around the country. It made such an impact when we did it before that, as a national touring company, Headlong should invest in getting the show out and about.

Tell us a little bit about the play.

It’s a tale of one woman’s battle with addiction. She’s a challenging person who happens to be an actress. Her struggle to survive involves her addressing fundamental questions about who she is, but who is that?

Why is addiction an important story to bring to audiences across the country?

If people aren’t directly affected by it, they know someone who is. We can all relate to a direct or indirect degree.

People, Places & Things was originally a piece of new-writing commissioned by Headlong. What initially attracted you to Duncan Macmillan’s script?

Its humanity, its intellectual rigour, its jokes, its opportunity for great performances, its thrills, its theatricality, its soulfulness, its wisdom.

Who do you think this production will appeal to in particular?

Everyone will get something out of it: first-time theatre goers as well as regular attendees. Older audiences will appreciate the conflicts and tensions in the piece and youngsters will enjoy how visceral and explosive it is. And vice versa.

The characters in this production are complex. What do you hope that the new cast will bring out of the production?

Their own insights and truths, to find their own ways of communicating the power of this piece.

What do you hope audiences will take away from this production?

A sense that theatre is the most entertaining and lively way to grapple with complex subjects. That whether we are addicts or not we all understand Emma’s contradictions. Her will to survive and overcome her obstacles speaks to us all about the challenges we face in life and how we all hope to survive with dignity and self-respect.

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