Andrew Day is one of the writers of The Big House production Bullet Tongue Reloaded. The promenade production, which runs at The Big House from 22nd May to 15th June 2019, tackles the topic of County Lines and was developed with a young cast, many of whom are directly affected by this issue.
Bigger, bolder, and braver than the 2018 production, Bullet Tongue Reloaded will submerge you in the underworld of county lines drug dealing, where teenagers fight for status, wealth, love, survival, and the simple right to be heard. The Big House works with care leavers and marginalised young people who are at a high risk of social exclusion, and provides a platform for them to participate in the making of theatre and to have their voices heard.
In the context of the ongoing escalation of knife crime and drug related violence amongst young people in London, this production works with the young people who are arguably most at risk of being involved with this violence, and helps them to tell their stories, and those of their peers, from their perspective – a perspective that is often ignored in the wider debate on tackling the concerning rate of knife crime and the issue of County Lines.
Interview with Andrew Day
Q: What can you tell us about Bullet Tongue Reloaded. How did it begin and how has it evolved?
Andrew: The original idea came from Sonya Hayle and Maggie Norris, the Artistic Director at The Big House. The success of Bullet Tongue in the autumn made us want to take it further. So in Reloaded, we’ve included more detail about County Lines drug dealing, which is sweeping the country at the moment.
Q: How does this production ‘work with young people’?
Andrew: We do workshops, improvisations and conversations with young adults who used to be in the care system, or were outside the mainstream for other reasons. From two hours with a group you can gather enough material for ten plays. What I write is built around their experiences and insights but also their talents.
It’s really exciting to write for actors that you know, in the certain knowledge that they’ll smash it out of the park!
Q: Who should get along to see the production?
Andrew: Go if you think theatre is boring. Because this really isn’t. We have a large cast full of talent, energy and commitment. And they’re standing just feet away from you, mingling with you. All the rage and the sorrow and the humour come at you for two hours. You won’t look at your watch.
Q: What next for you and Bullet Tongue Reloaded?
Andrew: We’ve had some approaches about taking this further. The potential is there. The challenge for backers is that our work doesn’t fall neatly into any existing category. It’s disruptive. But I feel that if we can take it to the next level, reach a wider audience than you can in a small theatre, then we could break very big indeed.
The Big House presents
Bullet Tongue Reloaded
By Andrew Day and Sonya Hale
Directed by Maggie Norris; Assistant Directors: Freddy Wilson and Steffi Novia; Designer: Zia
Bergin-Holly Lighting Designer: Michael Harpur; Sound Designer and Original Music: Ed Clarke
Video Designer: Mic Pool; Costume Designer: Paulina Domaszewska
The Big House
151A Englefield Road, London N1 3LH
Wednesday 22 May – Saturday 15 June 2019