Listen again: 2nd December 2014

Emlyn Williams' play 'Accolade' at St James Theatre

Emlyn Williams’ play ‘Accolade’ at St James Theatre

Rosie talks to director Tim Luscombe who revived Mordaunt Shairp’s 1933 play ‘The Green Bay Tree’ at the Jermyn Street Theatre. The play tells the story of a young man, Julian, who falls in love with an independent woman, but then decides to go back to his wealthy mentor Mr Dulcimer. Tim remembers when he first came across the play in the 1990s and that he couldn’t find a theatre that was interested in it at the time. He points out that despite the 1930s setting of ‘The Green Bay Tree’, the play is still relevant today as it portrays the battle between ‘romance and finance’. Besides that, relationships between older and younger men still exist today. ‘The Green Bay Tree’ runs at the Jermyn Street Theatre until 21st December.

We hear culture reporter Denholm Spurr in conversation with actor Jay Taylor, who currently stars in ‘Accolade’ at St James Theatre. Written by Emlyn Williams in 1950 ‘Accolade’ describes how successful writer Will Trenting is caught between his private life and the public eye. Denholm finds out from Jay, who plays Will Trenting’s friend Harold, what research he did for the play. As Will’s private life includes some wild parties in London’s East End, Jay discovered through photographs, films and people’s experiences what that specific party scene looked like in the 1950s and early 1960s. He also highlights that William’s play is autobiographical and that the author, as a bisexual, had to change a few elements to make it more acceptable to a 1950s audience. ‘Accolade’ runs at St James Theatre until 13th December.

Jane Traies from Sussex University offers an insight into her research ‘The Life and Experiences of Lesbians over 60 in the UK’, which was taken up by Diva Magazine in November. Jane reveals that the loss of friends and the failure to acknowledge their gay identity at funerals prompted to her to find out more about these women as they seem to have been invisible. She realised through her research that there was a lack of positive role models and representation of lesbians in the first place. In addition, when young, they were often told that their inclination was a ‘phase’. She also discovered, that for some, being a lesbian, was a political decision. She is currently working on a paper on butch-femme-identity, which couldn’t go into her research: She had found out that some, who would now opt for living as trans men, lived as butch lesbians. After that, Jane plans to turn her research into a book to make it more accessible.

For rights reasons the music is not on the podcast, but that’s what you could hear on the show:

1) Rufus Wainwright: ‘Hallelujah’ from the album “Poses”

2) Caroline Trettine: ‘Statuesque’ from the album “Gay Demo”

3) Andrew M Pisanu: ‘Rufus Wainwright’ from the album “Collecting Diseases”

4) Perfume Genius: ‘All Along’ from the album “Too Bright”

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