A first for me (and a hair-raising hoo-ha!)

23 Jan

My first play, Some Girl I Used To Know, is about to hit theatres, opening at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds on January 29th before touring the UK throughout February and March.

It’s a bit of a buzz to say the least, but a nerve-shedding prospect. The whole experience feels diffrent to the other things i’ve undertaken during my chequered career, because with theatre the reaction is so terrifyingly immediate. If you’ve penned a tune that gets played on the radio or had a novel published, you generally don’t get to see other folks’ reactions to your work up close and personal – good or bad. If they think it’s a pile of old shit they can either just chuck the radio in the bath or mutter a few obscenities under their breath before tossing your literary masterpiece in the Dr Barnardo’s shop pile with that old VHS box-set of Howard’s Way. You don’t have to witness it. With a book, for instance, you might get a two-star review on Amazon or a few unkind words from an acid-tonged journalist, but you can always put that down to personal taste or the fact that the writer of said review is a bitter old troll wearing underpants and a fleece, anonymously spitting bile from a bedsit in Thornton Heath. Now i’m not saying it’s easy to take criticism for anyone who puts themselves out there creatively (far from it) but sometimes that criticism is a bit easier to avoid or ignore if you’ve a mind to. I’ve certainly done it. Sitting amongst the audience on the opening night of a show, however – where every word uttered from the stage has come from your head/ heart/ fingertips – can be quite a sobering experience. Grisly, in fact. What if the bastards don’t laugh in the right places? What if they get bored and spend the whole show rustling noisily through a bag of Haribo Hearts and Rings? I have playwright pals who’ve had their work performed on numerous occasions, and I wonder if it ever gets any better. How do they do it? On the night we first put Some Girl up in front of an audience (we did three nights in November at the Leicester Curve Theatre) I was a blathering wreck: convinced that I was having a heart attack throughout.

What made it worse was that my co-conspirator (and the show’s leading lady) Denise van Outen, was just as anxious. We couldn’t even look one another in the eye after the final run-through before curtain up. Sure, she’s an old hand at stepping out on stage in front of an expectant audience, but as co-writer she was feeling my pain that day. I wanted to watch from another room, or perhaps from space. In fact, while the director and other members of the creative team mingled stealthily with at the audience during the interval, eager to overhear their thoughts and observations, my instinct was to lock myself in the shitter.

And now I’ve got to do it all over again when the show opens in Leeds next week. Look, don’t get me wrong: I’m not going in for major surgery or burying a relative. I’m absolutely over the moon to have been given the opportunity to do such a wonderful thing. I’m very excited, despite the fact that it scares the bejesus out me…far more than anything I’ve ever done.

Check out the website, watch the trailer, and buy tickets for Some Girl I Used To Know here.

Good New Stuff!

29 Jul

It looks like BECOMING NANCY is going to end up as more than just a novel and I’m really chuffed. I have to stay tight-lipped about the details at the moment, which is most unlike me, but a deal has been done and it’s all very exciting. Meanwhile, I’m about to start work on the follow up novel, which terrifies the bejesus out of me, but it has to be done. Yes, there will be more David Starr to come in the not too distant future.

SOME GIRL I USED TO KNOW is the name of the one-woman play with music that I’ve written with, and for, the lovely Denise Van Outen. I guess this is what you might call my next big adventure, and after several great workshops I’m really looking forward to taking it the next stage. My good friend, Steve Anderson, is the uber-marvellous musical director, and we have a brilliant director in Michael Howcroft. Over the course of the workshops, Michael has encouraged us to add, prune, tighten, tweak and refine the script, which has given it so much life and made it better that I could have hoped. It’s my first ‘proper’ play-type-thing so his expertise were invaluable, and we’ve had a lot of laughs along the way. Our producers, Charlie Parsons and Tristian Baker, are pulling together a great technical and creative team as we speak, and we start rehearsals *yikes* very soon.

Photos by Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris

TERRY READS FROM ‘BECOMING NANCY’ – ROUGH BOYS!

20 Jul

Hello there! I’m absolutely over the moon that BECOMING NANCY has been shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. I’ve never been nominated for anything before, so it really is the biggest of thrills for me.

Meanwhile, if you get the chance, please try to get along and see THE HURLY BURLY SHOW starring Miss Polly Rae, playing at The Duchess Theatre till late September. The show has fantastic creative team, which includes William Baker, Steve Anderson  (and my good self, of course) and it’s funny, musical, sexy and beautiful – all in one big mouthful!

Also, while I’m here, I would like to thank the miracle worker and all-round genius photographer, Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris, for my lovely new photographs. Who needs Botox when someone can make you look that good with a great eye and clever lighting?

Anyway, here is the second ‘Nancy’ video blog for your viewing pleasure. (Thanks to the lovely Bobby Hanlon of Don’t Stop The Pop for filming and editing). In this scene David Starr tells the story of his misery at the hands of the ‘rough boys’ and also about his love of a certain soap opera! If you like what you see.. click on the link below!

All the best

Terry x

Buy ‘BECOMING NANCY’ on AMAZON here: http://tinyurl.com/cnk92k4

“I laughed out loud! Terry’s humour translates perfectly to the page and his book is a joy!’ KYLIE MINOGUE.

“A touching coming of age novel” Paul Burston, Time Out.

“It will make you laugh and cry!” Heat Magazine.

“Full of hilarious tales- a great summer read!” Sunday Mirror.

SYNOPSIS: “For David Starr, being cast as Nancy in the upcoming school production of Oliver! is quite a shock. But David is up to the challenge. Living in a three-bedroom semi in 1970s’ working-class East Dulwich, surrounded by his somewhat colourful relatives, he is bright, smart-mouthed, fanatical about pop music and ready to shine. Rehearsals begin, and he strikes up a friendship with the handsome yet enigmatic Maxie Boswell, captain of the school football team. As their alliance deepens it appears they might become more than just good friends, but that can’t be right, can it?
Discovering a confidant in empathetic teacher, Hamish McClarnon, and spurred on by his no-nonsense best friend, Frances Bassey, David takes on the school bully, the National Front, and anyone else who threatens to stand in the way of true love.

Vibrant, warm, and full of life, this uproarious and touching coming-of-age novel, set against the backdrop of South-East London in the thrill of the late seventies, will transport you straight back to your first music obsession and the highs and lows of your first love.

 

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