How do you find the path to ‘coolness’? Broken Biscuits, the latest play from Tom Wells, attempts to find out.
Telling the story of teenagers Megan, Holly and Ben as they form a band in Megan’s garden shed in Hull, Broken Biscuits is a genuinely heart-warming coming of age story, produced by Paines Plough in partnership with Live Theatre Newcastle.
Tom Wells returns to Hull following his previous productions at Hull Truck Theatre, which include Folk, nominated for Best New Play at this year’s UK Theatre Awards, The Kitchen Sink and the critically acclaimed Jumpers for Goalposts.
I love Hull. It feels like a very particular place to me, with its own set of stories, sort of scruffy and funny and a bit of an anti-climax. It’s got magic in it too. A ‘Hullness’.
Born and raised in East Yorkshire, Playwright Tom takes a particular joy in writing about people struggling with quite ordinary things – like teenagers stressed with exams, embarrassing parents and not having sex. Alongside James Grieve, Joint Artistic Director of Paines Plough, Tom and the production team were looking for ‘soulful actors with funny bones’ to play the roles of Megan, Holly and Ben.
‘The three characters in Broken Biscuits are 16-years-old’ says James, ‘so we figured open auditions were the best way to find the best young actors from across the country to play the parts. We held open auditions in London and Hull, and with our co-producers Live Theatre in Newcastle.’
There’s lots of amazing acting talent around the UK but not everyone can afford to go to drama school or get an agent or move to London. So for six years now we’ve been hosting open auditions in an attempt to meet actors we might not otherwise have a chance to meet.
Broken Biscuits stars Faye Christall (Gone Viral at St James Theatre; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Edinburgh Fringe), Andrew Reed (The Fifteen Streets, Drama Baby and The Machines at Theatre Royal Newcastle), and Grace Hogg-Robinson in her stage debut (BBC One’s The Coroner, Casualty and Doctors).
The cast perform live music written by Matthew Robins, a musician, artist and filmmaker.
We’re trying to learn and do justice to Matthew’s beautiful songs, and making a joyous racket along the way. We’re having a huge amount of fun. Tom’s characters are so funny and charming and loveable, it’s a joy to hang out in Megan’s shed with them all day every day.
‘The actors – Faye, Andrew and Grace – are inventive, charismatic and naturally comedic’ says James, ‘so there’s a lot of playfulness and laughter in the rehearsal room which makes for an enjoyable, galvanising and creative atmosphere. And it’s a joy doing a play with music.’
Broken Biscuits runs from Tuesday 1 November to Saturday 5 November at Hull Truck Theatre before the tour continues to Scarborough. Meet the cast and creative team in a question and answer session following the 7.30pm performance on Wednesday 2 November at Hull Truck.