Town to inspire theatre show

Director Sam Pritchard and writer Chris Thorpe visited Boston as part of their theatre project.
Director Sam Pritchard and writer Chris Thorpe visited Boston as part of their theatre project.

Boston has been chosen as one of six UK areas to be the subject of its own theatre show – as part of a larger project set for the stage.

A writer-director duo from the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester spent five days in the town last week, speaking to people about the realities of living there.

A show set to reflect Boston will be written this year, with plans to rehearse and perform it locally in 2017.

It will combine with shows for other towns and cities, in a stage production entitled The Mysteries, to take place in Manchester – the fifth location. The other four are Whitby in Yorkshire, Eskdale in Cumbria, Staindrop in County Durham and Stoke-on-Trent.

Writer Chris Thorpe said: “What we want to capture is the sense of community here – the economics, the people and the day-to-day realities of life here. We’ve only been here three days so far but have already learnt some fascinating things.

“One thing that always comes up here is the successive waves of migrants who have been needed for the agriculture, but have also affected some of the locals living here.

“The town gets a lot of that in the national press and it’s understandably controversial.But we haven’t come to Boston because it seems problematic – as it doesn’t to us. There are definitely issues here that are more acute than other towns this size, but Boston is just trying to work out the best way to exist in the global economy.”

Mr Thorpe said, despite the national media focus on migration, he did not wish to base his writing on any pre-conceived subject.

“It’s not about focussing on one particular thing such as immigration or local eccentricities. I think Boston’s unique in the UK. It’s balanced on this combination of factors – looking inward at itself, looking outward at the world, Europe, global trade, the environment, how to change and adapt. It’s having to think about the future in terms of all those factors and constantly work out how it fits as a community within that.

“And there’s a huge variety of personal backgrounds and opinions that go into that balance, so it can be difficult.

“But everyone seems to care about what happens to Boston. We didn’t meet one person who didn’t care, even if they might not all agree. And that’s pretty rare.”

Chris and director Sam Pritchard spoke to agricultural firms, representatives of migrant communities, police, council, local businesses and organisations, among others.

Sam said: “We’ve had a fantastic time in Boston and found it to be welcoming across all its different communities. It feels like a place that’s growing and developing in all sorts of interesting ways.”