Lucy Green has spent the last four years working in theatre and TV, directing at the Edinburgh Fringe and local Indie plays. She is now studying English at Wolfson. I sat down with her to discuss what the play means to her and what it has been like to direct her first ever Cambridge play.

Hannah Collins

How would you describe the play?

Beautiful Thing is a romantic-comedy about two school boys who fall in love in working-class London in the mid-nineties. Their relationship faces all sorts of obstacles; homosexuality is still something of a taboo, toxic masculinity is rife and socio-economic issues bring added pressures. But amidst all that, we get a really heart-warming love story.

What does the play mean to you, how did you connect with it personally?

The play is set in South London, but Jonathan Harvey, the writer, is a Scouser like me.  The play is also more broadly relatable than it seems. These are fifteen year old boys, awkwardly trying to figure out their identity. It’s reminiscent of those years in school when you’re angsty and want to be an individual; we all went through the same thing.

Why do you think a play written and set in the 90s is still relevant today?

The 90s are trending at the moment; fashion, music, culture. But we forget about the other not so cool issues; political, economic and social issues that Harvey highlights in Beautiful Thing. The 90s really wasn’t that long ago, so I think it’s interesting to see how much, or even how little, society has changed - especially with regard to our attitudes towards homosexuality. 

What has it been like directing a play in your first term at Cambridge?

Intense. It’s honestly been an incredible experience and I’ve learned so much. We’ve had about a month to pull it all together, which for a first time cast and crew has been pretty overwhelming. But I’ve loved it. We have such a talented cast and production team. Everyone has worked so hard. I’m super proud of what we’ve achieved. 

What has been your favourite aspect of the creative process?

Definitely working with the team. They’re all amazing people. We’ve spent nearly every day together, so we’ve formed close friendships. I’ve really enjoyed bouncing ideas around with the team. They’ve brought so much of their own creativity to the play.

How has your interpretation and portrayal of the play differed from the film version or the National Theatre Version?

Having a younger production team naturally brings a different perspective. Obviously, we’ve had a lot less time and a much smaller budget. But I also think that means we’ve had to work much more intensely on the play. As a student production, the process is a lot more collaborative than a professional production; so, I think our portrayal is a lot more personal. Individually, I have tried to draw out the comedy of the play, but in the process of doing so, I think we ended up creating really sweet, familial dynamics. We’re all freshers with a lot in common and that’s had an impact on the play.


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How important was it to involve the LGBTQ+ community in the process of this play?

The play is about the LGBTQ+ community, so they are integral to it. We’ve dedicated our opening night on Tuesday 19th as LGBTQ+ night, before Glitterbomb of course. We want LGBTQ+ culture to be celebrated and to create a place where LGBTQ+ people can get together and have a good time. We really hope to have as many people watch the play as possible!

Who do you think would enjoy watching this play?

I think anyone with a heart and a sense of humour. Obviously, I’d love to have as many LGBTQ+ people see it because it really is a refreshing, positive story about overcoming prejudice. But ultimately, it’s a love story, which everyone can enjoy. It is the perfect pick-me-up for the end of term. The cast is incredibly talented and the whole team have worked so hard; it deserves to play to sold-out audiences!

Beautiful Thing will be showing at the Corpus Playroom at 7pm, Tuesday 19th to Saturday 23rd November. 

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