TSOTA’s Rich Jevons talks to Pilot Theatre’s Associate Director Katie Posner about the new
production A Season Ticket.
How did you come about directing this play for Pilot?
I’ve worked with them as Associate Director for the past six and a half years and we’ve produced some 25 plays. Part of my job is seeking out projects for the organisation and I was working with the Artistic Director for Northern Stage. His idea was how to get people up the steps from the Gateshead Metro to Northern Stage and creating a new audience.
Why did you choose football as a subject?
Football is the religion of the city of Newcastle and my attention was drawn to the film Purely Belter and I enjoyed it. Then I read the novel on which it was based [by Jonathan Tulloch]. It is a really big cult film in Newcastle and they really hold it dear to their hearts. The two young protagonists – Gerry and Sewell – are the disenfranchised voices of today. It is about young people who are expected to conform in a variety of ways academically and these two young lads do not fit into that role. They are on the outskirts of what society expects them to be.
What is Gerry and Sewell’s motivation?
In terms of aspiration I think what is really interesting is that they don’t want to be footballers, they just want to sit in the seats at St James Park and find a place where they belong. Football today is prohibitively expensive and so they want to feel that they a part of a place that makes them feel safe and where they can share their emotions. It is their form of escapism and they will do every single trick in the book to get there. So they are a bit naughty and sell off supposed Gazza memorabilia and helium balloons that don’t have helium in and a load of TWOC-ing. But it is funny because they are such lovable blokes. Alongside are a very talented cast and there are some really recognisable faces.
What can we expect in terms of design?
The design is really based on high-rise buildings in Gateshead which I think is a really vibrant community. My research was at St James Park and Newcastle United have been really supportive.
And you mention family and friendship as key themes…
Family is a really integral part of the play – Gerry comes from a very difficult family with an abusive alcoholic father. And friendship is important too as it is like Gerry and Sewell take on the world and as long as they have each other they are going to be fine.
What would you like people to take away from the show?
I’d really like people to have a great night out – it’s really very funny. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and as always you want an audience to experience an array of emotions. Theatre is much like a football match – it’s the only place in the world where there is this palpable energy.