Here we go...

So I’ve been given some funding to make a show, and I thought it might be good to talk about it a little. I will try and keep updating this blog, but if not I will probably be chatting about it on Twitter.

Arts Council England are kindly supporting the research and development of a project I am currently calling:

Papa Can You Hear Me?

Apparently this reminds people of Madonna, which I’m down with. It’s actually a reference to the song Barbara Streisand sings in Yentl.

I have to be honest when I say I wouldn’t mind finding a new name, but right now I can’t think of anything better. Answers on a postcard.

Anyway, this R&D is a period of research, interviews, consultation and writing for a touring bit of theatre about one woman’s attempt to build herself a brand new dad using digital technologies, pop culture and the web.

Image developed by Pheebs & RWig

Image developed by Pheebs & RWig

I am the one woman.

So I am going to interview stakeholders (dads, teachers, charity workers, magistrates, children etc.) workshop the shows themes with young people (we are going to make monsters) and write the thing. I will also spend some time in a studio putting it on its feet, all of this activity will culminate with a work in progress showing. The idea then is to apply again to ACE to give the show a team of creatives, an accompanying website where audiences can create their own father online and of course tour the fuck out of it.

Who is involved?


Well ACE obviously, I am chuffed about that. The Gulbenkian theatre in Canterbury, they are the partner venue on the project, it’ll be their youth theatre I work with and they will host the work in progress. Daisy Orton is my horse whisperer. Officially director/dramaturg she is working with me to turn the thing into a proper show, she is really good at what she does and you should work with her too. Surface Impression will make the website and do general digital consultation, they are proper fancy and working with them also means I get a few day trips to Brighton. Right now that’s about it.

A bit of context.


I live on the web. It is my oracle of first resort and I am not alone. It teaches me how to make paneer and contour off 3 pounds. It gets me to the large London theatre I pretended to have been to plenty of times. It sends me kawaii-post-it-notes and you-ok-babes. It cheers me up and it gets me off. I keep friendships there and if I go looking I will always find someone to tell me I am special and loved. So why not use it to make a male-role-model? A Brand New Dad or as I’m calling him right now, my Franken-Father. Because this thing is currently a bit of an ode to Frankenstein. More on that later.

Try as I might I have to concede that this show is indeed inspired by my own experience. But if it’s any consolation this could easily be yours instead of mine, because we have a lot in common, you and I. If there is anything my research is telling me, it’s that questionable fathering is universal, it spans class, race, gender etc. And everyone has an opinion. I am not seeking to answer any of the massive complex questions around this topic, I’m just exploring a little, nudging a bit, and in my own way carrying out an experiment where if it were possible to build my own franken-father from scratch- what would he be like? Look like? Sound like? I could talk in more depth about this, but honestly, I want to hold some stuff back for future blogs.

Yes my dad knows about this, we talk most weeks and we are talking about this. Again, more on this later.


Do you want to keep reading? Or come to the show? Or even be involved? I’m not a very good solo artist, I need constant interaction with people and the odd pat on the head. But if you have a question or thought or opinion I really want to hear from you. So tweet or email.

And if you want updates here is a mailing list, I hate them myself so I am going to try and include unrelated fun things in any emails in order to placate the guilt of my shameless marketing activities.  

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