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Local Young People’s Life Experiences Inspire New Audio Drama

A new audio drama, written and performed by a Derbyshire creative team and inspired by experiences of local young people, has been released as a free podcast following a successful premiere at a virtual festival.

kilburn (not london) was launched at In Good Company and Attenborough Arts Centre’s Check in Festival on Saturday (May 29) and is now available to download free on podcast platforms or on the website

The 55 minute-long kilburn (not london) tells the story of teenagers Charlie and Grant, played by Derbyshire actors John Booker and Louis Greatorex. The characters live in the small Derbyshire town of Kilburn and the play explores themes of falling in love for the first time, identity and how to find yourself in the middle of nowhere.

The script was written by Derbyshire playwright and producer Simon Marshall and directed by Derby Theatre Associate Artist Omar Khan.

The audio drama also features original music by Lucy James, another Derbyshire artist, who uses her personal and geographical experience to influence the music.

Writer and producer Simon Marshall explained: “I love writing about Derbyshire because it is so rarely represented on stage or screen or in the media.

“Growing up here, the biggest feelings of your life take place against an accidentally epic backdrop of hills and fields and wide-open spaces. I started thinking about the friendships and relationships that made me who I am, as well as how I see similar experiences in the young people I work.

“It was essential to draw on the feelings and experiences of local young people to write the play – particularly members of Plus One who have lived-experience of the care system – to create authentic and interesting characters in a place that many young people can relate to.

“I do really feel there’s lots to be said about telling stories about overlooked places, especially from queer and care-experienced perspectives. I hope the play feels like a place of its own for listeners and helps them value the connection to environments the 2020-21 period especially has intensified for everyone.”

Composer Lucy James, who is also a Plus One ambassador, explained how she wanted the music to help the listener get to know the characters and bring the Derbyshire landscape to life.

“Composing the score for kilburn (not london) has been an incredible privilege. As soon as I read the first script extracts, I felt such a connection with Charlie and Grant and their experience of navigating queerness whilst growing up in a small town, and the topic of care experience being brought to light is equally important to me.

“The opportunity to explore and voice these underrepresented experiences with such a talented team of creatives has been nothing short of a dream!

“There was truly such an outpouring of love, warmth and understanding throughout our process of shaping the world of kilburn (not london) and I had so much fun stepping into this welcoming space to compose and perform the score.”

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