Introducing the cast & company of The Man Who…

Stephanie Greer - headshot
Stephanie Greer

Chloë
Stephanie Greer first worked with Kevin Dyer over a decade ago. She is delighted to join him on this production and to make her debut for Farnham Maltings. Her theatre work includes And Now It’s All This (Liverpool and Los Angeles), The Disappearance of Sadie Jones (national tour), Ajax (Altitude North/National Theatre of Cyprus), Twisted Christmas (Liverpool Playhouse), and Beauty and the Beast (The Dukes). Films include Deadlock (Directors UK/BAFTA) and The Surface of Impenetrable Things (RTS winner). Radio includes Love Thy Synth (BBC) and Liverpool to Dieppe (BBC).

Sam C Wilson sq
Sam C. Wilson
Ashley
Sam C. Wilson grew up in Cardiff and trained at Drama Centre London. He recently starred in an episode of Banged Up Abroad for National Geographic. His other TV credits include Hanna (Amazon Prime), Don’t Forget the Driver (BBC2), Stella (Sky1) and The Diary Of My Broken Vagina (Channel 4). Theatre includes Wave Me Goodbye (Theatr Clwyd), Mood Kill (Snippet Theatre Company), Sideways Momentum (The Bunker Theatre), Gorillaz Live (Block9) and Romeo and Juliet (Union Theatre).

Samantha Trussler sq
Samantha Trussler
Wife
Samantha Trussler grew up in Ash Vale whilst her Dad was serving with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers based at Aldershot. Samantha’s grandfather, uncle and brother-in-law also served in the Army and the RAF. Samantha has often worked either for or alongside the Armed Forces. She founded the Aldershot Military Wives’ Choir in 2012 and has supported a number of military charities with fundraising and event organising. She was awarded an Eagle Radio Local Hero Award for Arts and Music for her work with the choir.

Members of the company in rehearsal
(photos by Alex Harvey-Brown)

Call out for proposals: A new piece of theatre with young people.

Commission: A new piece of theatre with young people, Farnham, Surrey.

 – call out for proposals

We’re wanting to invest in a project which draws together young people aged 15-21 years in a new theatre opportunity which can be hosted here at Farnham Maltings potentially in July 2020.

We are reaching out to artists and creative practitioners who have a genuine interest in developing work with young people in our town context and propose innovative and mischievous approaches to this project.

The project should be participatory and created with the young people involved. We’d expect it not to be just about acting and performance, it could incorporate writing, design, production, dance, live art, film, comedy and other forms. It might encompass site-specific work or theatre that doesn’t look like theatre.

We’re hoping we can support a theatre experience which engages those new to participating in theatre whilst challenging and provoking those with more experience. The project should culminate in a celebration of the work developed be that a performance, a sharing, a festival or maybe a film and importantly incite a legacy of further theatre experiences here at Farnham Maltings.

The total value of this commission is £6000 to £8000 with some additional budget available for the celebration and project legacy.

We expect the project to be in two parts:

  • Engaging with community partners, schools and colleges, seeking and recruiting participants, developing project ideas in our community.
  • The creative, making time with the young people and celebration

If you are interested we would like to hear from you.

Email emma.jones@farnhammaltings.com with the following:

Please submit a maximum of 500 words detailing firstly your idea and approach to the project and then we’d like to hear more about you and your experience. This should be accompanied by an outline budget.

We will also accept video proposals, these should address the information above and be no longer than 5 mins.

Closing date for proposals: 9am, Monday 30 March 2020.

Shortlisted applicants will be notified by 7 April 2020.

Get in touch

If you would like to talk through your idea with us at any stage, we would welcome that conversation; you can text Katy Potter, Producer on 07798 812548 or katy.potter@farnhammaltings.com to arrange.

An insight into the writing of ‘The Man Who Left is Not the Man Who Came Home’

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The latest production from Farnham Maltings has been a labour of love for writer/director Kevin Dyer, who interviewed over 100 military wives over several years, before compiling anecdotes and stories into the story of Chloe and Ashley that we see on stage. We got together with Kevin and asked him about the process of writing this unique piece.

 

What inspired you to start working on The Man Who?

This project started off as a piece called ‘Mr and Mrs Macbeth’. It was about what it was like to be the wife of that warrior man called Macbeth. At some stage, as I was looking at the story’s connections with today’s world, I spoke to a woman whose husband was at war… and then the idea took its first turn. So the first draft was a dovetailing of scenes set in Macbeth’s castle and scenes set in the home of a woman whose husband was going to Afghanistan. I wrote scenes in pentameters and verse for the Macbeth scenes – sort of ’new’ Shakespeare. But all those ended up in the trash folder as I realised the most compelling way to write what I wanted to write about was to tell the story of Chloe and her man Ashley.

 

How did you start gathering people to interview?  

Facebook. I asked friends if they knew anyone. That  was the beginning. Also, Farnham Maltings – the  commissioner of the play – connected me to The Army in Aldershot. How I got to connect with military wives choirs I cannot recall. But talking to those women was fascinating and inspiring.

 

How did you find the process of interviewing so many people? 

I loved it. I think people want and need to tell their stories – in fact we all do it all the time. All I had to do was find the right questions and listen. I did find the people and their lives fascinating, touching, funny and sometimes desperately sad.

 

Were there any answers that took you by surprise?

Hundreds, because people were telling me intimate details of a life so unlike my own. I was surprised by the sensitivity and vulnerability of serving soldiers and by the honesty of people, the trust they had in me. I asked people to recount in detail what the 10 seconds were like when they said goodbye.. And the ten seconds when he came back. The variation in those stories was remarkable. That is why the play isn’t about all military wives and all soldiers – that would be impossible. It is just about Chloe and Ashley – but hopefully there is something in their personal stories that connects with all of us.

 

Tell us about a particularly memorable story or interviewee. 

The ones that cried? The ones that shouted? The ones that lied? There are so many. I tried not to record people’s names, because I didn’t ever want to compromise them – but the stories will never leave me. One woman told me how much she loved her husband – physically, emotionally, in every way… but how she wished she’d never met him. Because it had also ruined her life, being married and chained to a soldier.

 

Which stories became part of the play and why?

There isn’t quite a logical answer to that question. The ones that took my fancy, the ones that fitted in with the other ones, the ones that had a truth greater than themselves. I also knew, after a while, that I was writing about a front line soldier and not an officer, and about a woman that would be married to that man.

 

Did the characters come out of the stories, or vice versa? It’s a question that always comes up for writers: story or character led? I think a story is ‘the things that characters do’, so the play is a sequence of events that happen to Chloe. And Chloe is made from the things that she does and which happen to her. You can’t have one without the other. Of course, she doesn’t have to be called Chloe. But now she is and I can’t imagine her being called anything else.

 

When did you decide to have Samantha (Trussler, a military wife who tells her own story alongside the actors) as part of the play? 

There are two questions here: 1. why have a real ‘military wife’ telling her story, and 2, why Sam. I cannot remember when or how the ‘real military wife’ idea came to me. But I’m glad it did. It not only interests people when I tell them about it, but it adds another layer of truth to the true stories in the acted out play. I am always interested in truth – and now even more so in this world of lies and false news and political manipulation. When I work with actors I always talk about truth and the truths that underlay the story. Having a real person telling their story, alongside real people acting out real stories gives us different layers of reality. The text of the play, of course, is full of real words, by real people – and it’s full of real stories told by real people… but there is something (and it might be part of the cultural phenomenon that ‘reality TV’ is part of) that draws us into real people doing real things right in front of our eyes. And why Sam Trussler? Because… well, you’ll have to come and listen to her telling her life story, and then you’ll understand.

 

What can an audience expect when they come to see the show?

Theatre. (Because ’The Man Who…’ is clearly a theatrical event. It is neither written or performed like any play or TV show.) And real stories about real people just like them. And extraordinary stories too – about love and caring and families and how we try to hold it all together.

 

If this show was a playlist of 4 – 5 songs, what would they be? 

Well, the play does have it’s own playlist. It has a fascinating filmic underscore and also some icons pop songs – the song Chloe heard when she met Ash’, her favourite song from choir which she might sing for you if you’re lucky, the song she plays at home when life is getting her down and she she needs to dance to like a woman who’s crazy.

 

The Man Who Left is Not the Man Who Came Home is touring from 26 February, to venues nationwide. See if we’re coming near you on our tour schedule

Cast Announcement: The Man Who Left is Not the Man Who Came Home

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We are delighted to announce the cast for The Man Who Left is Not the Man Who Came Home, the latest touring production from Farnham Maltings.

Sam C Wilson will be performing the role of Ashley.

Sam grew up in Cardiff and trained at Drama Centre London.  He recently starred in and an episode of ‘Banged Up Abroad’ for National Geographic. His other TV credits include ‘Hanna’ (Amazon Prime), ‘Don’t Forget The Driver’ (BBC2), ‘Stella’ (Sky1) and ‘The Diary Of My Broken Vagina’ (Channel 4).  His theatre credits include ‘Wave Me Goodbye’ (Theatr Clwyd), ‘Mood Kill’ (Snippet Theatre Company), ‘Sideways Momentum’ (The Bunker Theatre), ‘Gorillaz Live’ (Block9) and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (Union Theatre).

 

Stephanie Greer will be performing the role of Chloë

Stephanie trained at Bretton Hall graduating with a first class honours degree in Acting.

Theatre credits include And Now It’s All This (Liverpool and Los Angeles), The Disappearance of Sadie Jones (National Tour), Ajax (Altitude North/National Theatre of Cyprus), Twisted Christmas (Liverpool Playhouse), Snow White (Tell Tale Hearts/Pif Paf) and Beauty and the Beast (The Dukes). Film credits include Deadlock (Directors UK/BAFTA) and The Surface of Impenetrable Things (RTS winner). Radio credits include Love Thy Synth (BBC) and Liverpool to Dieppe (BBC).

Stephanie also works as a professional aerialist and has performed at large scale events around the UK. She is delighted to be making her debut with Farnham Maltings.

 

Sam and Stephanie will be joined on stage by Samantha Trussler, a military wife, who tells her own story alongside the events of the play.

Samantha grew up in Ash Vale whilst her Dad was enrolled with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. Samantha’s Grandfather, Uncle and Brother In Law were also enrolled and she has often found herself working either for or alongside the Armed Forces. Samantha founded the Aldershot Military Wives Choir in 2012 and has supported a number of Military Charities with fundraising and event organising. Her daughter is keen to join the Red Arrows, on the days she doesn’t want to be a jockey or a horse…

 

The Man Who Left is Not the Man Who Came Home is produced by Farnham Maltings, directed by Kevin Dyer and designed by David Hayworth, with original composition by Captain Ben Mason. It will be touring to studio venues across the country, find the full schedule here.

 

For further enquiries please contact producer Laura Woodward on laura.woodward@farnhammaltings.com