Blog: Rav Sanghera

The writer of a new interactive play at Bradford Interchange toasts the past two years as it heads into rehearsals

Hero image

The End. The play I’ve been working on for almost two years, Brief Encounters at Bradford Interchange, is finally finished. I feel exhausted and I can feel a cold coming on. But I’ve got some fizz to mark the moment. A lemon-flavoured Beechams!

I never set out to be a writer. I mean, it was a nice idea but never going to happen, I thought. Not until I got a study to write in anyway. And the perfect desk to write at. And then a view. I’d need a view if I was going to write. And then… well. I ran out of excuses and the study got crowded with bills and ironing. I’d write little bits of a sitcom with my friend Paulette now and again but we were far too easily distracted by food or chatting.

And then a friend told us about a playwriting course being run for new writers at Freedom Studios in Bradford. We applied, not really believing we’d get on, but we were supported and encouraged, and a couple of months later we’d written our first short play, The Bridge, which was performed with proper actors and everything.

Freedom Studios stayed in touch. It was looking for ideas inspired by Bradford and about what happens when people from different cultures meet – stories that connected people and communities. And it wanted to take theatre out to people – set it in interesting spaces, something beyond the traditional curtains and stage setup.

So an idea started to take shape, a play inspired by Bradford, about connecting people from different backgrounds. Bradford Interchange seemed like a perfect and obvious setting.

As part of my research, I met people from different community groups who shared stories about their own journeys to Bradford, from escaping the Nazis in Germany to more recent arrivals from Poland. I talked to people who work at the Interchange, such as the cleaners whose job is as much about customer care and helping with problems and enquiries as it is about cleaning. I also talked to passengers and those travelling through the building. Some of them shared huge truths about their lives, such as how they were living with depression – a moment of quiet revelation before gathering up their shopping and boarding the bus.

Over the next couple of months, the piece evolved into a series of interlinking stories about people all looking to make a connection in some way. Five brief encounters that take place in different parts of the Interchange – some in places you’d never normally see, so as the audience you’re taken on both a physical and emotional journey.

In just a couple of hours time, the characters will start moving and talking as rehearsals start. Some of them have even got their own Twitter accounts! I’m excited, nervous and a bit overwhelmed. And so it begins…
Brief Encounters, Bradford Interchange, 6-10 October

Interact: Responses to Blog: Rav Sanghera

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.