Move over Albert Square - It's now the Norfolk seafront for soaps!
- Credit: Richard Batson / SL
Forget watching EastEnders or Coronation Street in your lounge after dinner, the seaside prom is soon to become the place to see gritty soap opera action.
Playwright James McDermott, 27, has come up with Ghosted, a 'Covid-busting production' that will play out the promenades at Great Yarmouth and Sheringham - while the audience wears headsets to get audio snippets that add to the twists and turns of the plot.
Mr McDermott, who lives near Holt, said: “I love soap opera and Netflix box sets, which everyone has been binge watching in lockdown, and so wanted to write a play with all plot twists, grittiness and fast paced action of a binge-worthy TV drama.
“Ghosted features teenage characters from diverse backgrounds and communities representing 21st century life and placing lives centre stage that we wouldn’t normally see in Norfolk theatres.”
The story explores the efforts of five very different teenage friends, after their pal Ash disappears and his clothes are washed up on the beach. It delves into their characters, romances, and secrets which could explain Ash’s absence.
Mr McDermott said the play would be part of an ongoing storyline - just like everyone's favourite soap operas.
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”The aim is for Ghosted to be the first in a series of plays telling an expansive story that will unfold across several productions, similar to a Netflix story that unfolds over several seasons,” he said.
“We hope Ghosted will be as addictive as your favourite TV series with the audience desperate to find out what happens next and excitedly waiting for the next instalment."
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Casting will take place in February, and Ghosted will be staged in April by St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth and Sheringham Little Theatre in a joint venture partly funded by the government’s cultural recovery fund.
The director is Marcus Romer, who said: “This is an exciting opportunity to be creative and adaptable – so we can take theatre to the people, if people cannot return to the theatre. And the grant has enabled us to create new work using young local talent.”
Debbie Thompson, director at both theatres, said: “Ghosted is an amazing, creative piece of work that brings together an experience director and young playwright who both think out of the box. It will give us an exciting, and hopefully Covid-proof production to stage this year even if we cannot open the theatres just yet.”
Mr McDermott is taking part in EastEnders' writers' shadow scheme and will hopefully get to write his own episode in the not-too-distant future.