Here I am again, with more news about An Ordinary Hero: The Jack Harrison Story, the play I have written for two reasons.
It never ceases to amaze me how few people know anything about Jack Harrison VC MC, so that was one of the main reasons why I decided to sit down and write this play which will be performed at Park Street Performing Arts Centre on Friday 8th, Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November.
Originally I wrote the short play Our Jack, which was part of the work in progress at the time. We performed Our Jack three times to see how it was received. The people involved in those performances were Clare Crowther, Katie Stones, Jessica Palmer, Kenny Richards-Preston, Jordan Matfin and our original director who is back to direct this production Cassie Patton.
Our Jack then progressed into the feature length production that you will be able to see in November. It was originally performed in May of last year, before I came across some new information about Jack, thanks to my friend Paul Dunham in June or July, causing me to then re-write parts of it before presenting it in front of Jack’s closest relatives in November of last year.
The process this time is already feeling very different to the production that featured the likes of Luke Gillingham, Tim Bettridge, Kieran Danby, Kathryn Tinson (who is in it again this time) Clare Crowther, Sara Featherstone, Johnny Coupland and James Murtagh last year, however with an almost completely different cast and with a returning director, I believe that was always inevitable anyway.
Cassie is seeing it very differently to how I saw it before, and is undoubtedly putting her very experienced stamp on it, while I am largely leaving them to it. When you have an original Hull Trucker as your director, it is probably best to just hand it over and tell the cast and crew to get on with it.
Last night we had a fitting for the actors who need to wear World War 1 uniforms, while I was entrusted with the replica weapons that will feature prominently, but don’t worry they cannot possibly be fired, they just look very convincing, which you will see at the production.
At this point I do have to thank Stephen Manners who is being massively helpful supplying us with the uniforms and replica weapons, some of which are all handmade by him personally.
I know some people who have seen the production before are coming to see it again, and I can absolutely promise that what they see this time will be very different to what they’ve seen before. This is largely because a different director and a largely different cast will, obviously see it differently to who worked on it before, they will have their own way of doing things, which has already been clearly displayed in rehearsals, and they will see it differently and therefore, naturally will communicate it differently, something else which I have noticed in the rehearsals that I have been allowed to attend.
I am now in the strange position, strange for me anyway, of just leaving it alone, not attending rehearsals. Every production I have ever written before I have always been involved in rehearsals, helping by explaining context and how I saw it when I was writing it etc. It’s a funny feeling, but I trust everyone of the cast implicitly, which is also very important in this business. I have been very fortunate to always be able to trust the people I’ve worked with on any production, but previously I have maybe been asked to attend rehearsals, but now I’m being asked to leave them to it, which I am very happy to do so I can spend more time at home with my wife.
In the coming days and weeks I am planning meetings with some of the cast to discuss what local businesses can be given for becoming official backers of the production and the statue campaign, advertising, the special souvenir programme that will be available at the performances and at the end of next week we have a photo shoot for our advertising materials and the programme, so before too long I will have some new images to share with you here, which you can then look out for in various locations around our very cultured city.
Obviously the other reason I wrote this play was as a fundraising vehicle for the statue campaign. We really need as many people as possible to get behind this production by buying tickets to come and see it, or becoming official backers of it and/or the statue campaign please. We do have a JustGiving Page and a bank account, into which you can make one-off or regular monthly donations to support what we’re doing. I can’t stress enough just how important public support is for us.
But for now, just let me say thank you for reading this blog post, there will be another one in the next few days no doubt, and once again thanks very much for everybody who has previously worked on this production, and to Chris C. Corbett, Kathryn Tinson, Jules Lloyd, Cassie Patton, Dave Ross, Jayden Platten and Kev Shephard who are working so hard along with Stephen Manners and my good friend Shaun French who is a trustee at the venue where it will be performed.
#Statue52 #2Legends1Man #JackHarrisonVC