Twitter Facebook
Off West End About Us Theatre Listings Adopt a playwright The Offies Links Sponsors

LUKE BARNES talks about BOTTLENECK, girls, Hillsborough and sharing stories....

For HighTide Festival Theatre, Luke has written Eisteddfod (Latitude Festival) and Bottleneck, which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival last year and will open at Soho Theatre in February, before touring nationally, concluding at the 2013 HighTide Festival.

Luke’s first play Chapel Street, premiered at the Old Red Lion before being performed during the Everyword Festival in Liverpool Playhouse , transferring to the Underbelly as a winner of the Old Vic New Voices Edinburgh award, then the Bush Theatre and later on a national tour including Traverse, Plymouth Drum and Leicester Curve. In 2012, he was shortlisted for an Off West End Theatre Award for Most Promising New Playwright. His other theatre credits include: Weekday Nights (National Youth Theatre/ Unicorn Theatre). He is currently Leverhulme Writer-on-attachment to the Liverpool Everyman Playhouse theatres.

What first attracted you to the theatre?
Initially it was girls. As far as I remember I started in High School because I wanted to talk to girls… Then I got there and didn’t really talk to any and enjoyed the communion of it. I liked the whole town coming together to share something and talk about it afterwards. Then when I started to see stuff (the first companies I saw were Kneehigh, Northern Broadsides, Shared Experience and the work at the Liverpool Everyman Playhouse) I realised that theatre could actually be thrilling, exciting and exhilarating as well. Funnily enough I didn’t know it could be boring until later… theatre at it’s worst is boring. I count myself as lucky to see such great stuff early on so I realised the boring stuff wasn’t what theatre could be.

If you could pick any one person or theatre company to work with on your next project, who/ which would it be?
I never really get excited by who the person is. Working with Steven Atkinson who runs one of the most well respected new writing companies in Britain hasn’t been daunting because we were united by the project and that’s what was exciting for me. So if I could work with anyone or any company next it would be the person or company that cares about the story I want to tell… and pays me. But mostly someone who shares my view on the world and speaks for the people I want to speak for.

What is your opinion of Off West End theatre, in general?
Love it. I rarely go to the West End so this is what theatre is for me. Had some of the best theatrical experiences of my life in them. From LEAVES OF GLASS, SHRAADA, BUNNY and AALST at Soho to MAD ABOUT THE BOY, THE WHISKEY TASTER, SNOOKERED and SEAWALL at The Bush, FUCKED at the Old Red Lion, A SKULL IN CONNEMARA at the White Bear, SHIVERED, TENDER NAPLAM, FUETNE OVEJUNA and all the work NABOKOV did at the Southwark Playhouse…

It’s shaped my work and formed the basis of what I believe theatre should be. Honest. Open. Relevant and urgent. And best of all it forces the best type of socialism: groups of artists breaking into a difficult industry working together to make something they believe in and sharing the spoils however small they may be. Whether they be financial, reputable or career-enhancing the pay off working in Off West End theatre is that you get to say what you want in a way you want…

What was the most inspiring performance you have ever seen? Why?
SEAWALL (produced by Nabokov at the Traverse at the Edinburgh festival and then later transferred to the Bush, written by Simon Stephens, performed by Andrew Scott and directed by George Perrin) and FUCKED (produced by Tangram Theatre at the Old Red Lion written by Penny Skinner, performed by Becci Gemmil and directed by Daniel Goldman) share the most inspiring performances in relevance to BOTTLENECK I think. Both were one person plays and what I loved about both of them was the honesty of it. They were just people in a space telling a story to some people that were listening. When I walked into the theatre for SEAWALL Andrew Scott was standing there, with a water bottle, no set and just told us the story and for me that affirmed what theatre could be – right back to the days I was speaking about before of High School performances. At it’s most primal theatre is the sharing of a story to people who are listening. And that’s what I’ve tried to do with BOTTLENECK – achieve the honest, primal nature of someone sharing a personal story… and FUCKED was the same, the most that I loved FUCKED for was on the night I saw it some fella walked in late, walked across the stage and sat down – Becci Gemmil just went “alright mate come in sit down” and, and this may sound stupid, something clicked… ah theatre doesn’t have to be fourth wall it’s us… we’re all in this together.

What piece of work are you the most proud of?
I’m proud of everything I’ve ever done for different reasons. CHAPEL STREET because it was literally me and some mates putting on a play in a room above a pub that received critical acclaim, and went on to play at a bigger theatre and go on a national tour to places like The Traverse and the Plymouth Drum.

BOTTLENECK because it was my first full production with a major company like HighTide and I was able to not only put a scouser on stage out of it’s native city but also share what I believe to be one of the most pertinent events of the last 50 years in the struggle of the working class and find a resonance with people out of the city.

I did a play called WEEKDAY NIGHTS with the National Youth Theatres social inclusion course Playing Up that I was immensely proud of because the work we created under conditions that were unfavourable to the process was above and beyond my expectation – the young people in that group created some of the most beautiful, spell binding theatre I have seen in my life – not because I wrote it but because of what they found in it. And to hear the stories of those people and what they’ve been through and have them come in and work on a piece of theatre and create work of that standard was unquestionably the proudest I’ve felt as a theatre maker.

What makes a really good character?
Truth… and that doesn’t mean behaving “realistically” it means… having a truth at the centre of them.

Are there any actors/actresses you would like to write a play for?
Thomas Turgoose, Jack O Connell, Lauren Socha, John Bradley, David Bradley, Katie Jarvis, Morgan Watkins, Leo Bill, Ruth Hawkins, Mackenzie Crook, Danny Kirrane, Andrew Scott, Melanie Hill, Shaun Williamson, Sue Johnstone, Imelda Staunton, Danny Mays and loads more. But I’ve loved working with James Cooney, Danny Kendrick, Ria Zmitrowicz, Cary Crankson and Theo Barklam Biggs on Bottleneck and Chapel Street this year and would work with them again at the drop of a hat.

What play do you wish you’d written?
I don’t really wish I’d written anything else because it’s not me. But I can say that if I had to lay claim to a body of work by another writer I’d take Robert Holmans…... Actually, thinking about it, I wish I’d written Posh. But Robert Holman is amazing.

Bottleneck transfers to Watford Place Theatre on 14th March, to book tickets please visit:
http://www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk/page/bottleneck






Previous news articles

PHILIP HEDLEY speaks at THE OFFIES 2014 and pays tribute to JOAN LITTLEWOOD.....

JAMES ALEXANDROU talks to Tom Wicker about playing Iago with Grassroots Shakespeare at The Leicester Square Theatre

Laura Lindsay talks to Tom Wicker about secrets, lies and holding up a mirror to audiences with HIDDEN

WINNERS OF THE OFFIES 2014

THE STAGE covers THE OFFIES 2014 and the arrival of THE PATRON SAINTS....

Patrick Sandford talks to us about stubbly dames, High Tide and SMALL HOLDING at Soho Theatre.....

Playwright Daniel Kanaber on tackling religion, family and loss in his first full length commission, SHIVER...

2013 FINALISTS NOMINATED FOR THE OFFIE AWARDS AS THE PATRON SAINTS GO MARCHING IN.....

Nick Gill on his latest play fiji land, the power of absurdism and building new machines in theatre

DOUG LUCIE talks to us about his double bill of BLIND and DOING THE BUSINESS at The Courtyard....

TESSA HART tells us about RETOLD, Goblin Baby Theatre Co and turning fairy tales into theatre relevant to today.....

CALLUM HUGHES and DAVID SHOPLAND tells us about THE LITTLE MERMAID at Riverside Studios and shattering theatrical preconceptions.....

Deborah Frances-White talks to us about not wanting to leave the stage at 3 years old, HALF A CAN OF WORMS and Soho Theatre.....

28th November ARCOLA TRAINING TOOLKIT - places still available but book fast.....

Writer A.J. Evans on bringing opera to the people with her new play DRESS REHEARSAL

SUSIE LINDEMAN talks to us about Vivien Leigh, mercurial magic and visions on a budget......

EXHIBITION: 10th November to 20th December at Ovalhouse on ALTERNATIVE THEATRE IN LAMBETH AND CAMDEN 1968 - 1988.......

THE WRITERS' GUILD INVITES WRITERS TO TAKE PART.......

First-time playwright Anna Longaretti on breaking into the theatre world with comedy drama SEX CELLS

LAST CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS BY 4th NOVEMBER for Small Story/Big City at RICHMIX.....

NANCY SULLIVAN talks about drama, comedy and honesty and THE FASTEST CLOCK IN THE UNIVERSE playing at The Old Red Lion

APPLY NOW for new playwrighting competition SCRIPT6 at The Space....BEFORE 28th OCTOBER!

BRAD BIRCH talks to us about Where The Shot Rabbits Lay and devouring characters.....

N Khalid discusses giant blenders, fierce women and THE PRELUDE TOUR ....

PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY to the JOAN LITTLEWOOD SCULPTURE

SAM WALTERS TO STEP DOWN AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE ORANGE TREE.....

WILTON'S saved from dereliction at last!

Matthew Bugg talks to us about Miss Nightingale at Leicester Square Theatre, Les Dawson and Una Stubbs....

Director David Cottis on putting Brecht on stage in SILENT PARTNERS at the White Bear

Fanny Dulin tells us about Exchange Theatre, Declan Donnellan and Lepage....

Grassroots Shakespeare London talk to Tom Wicker about steaming up the Old Red Lion with their Summer of Love season

Eliot Guiralarocca talks to us about Knackerman, Lucy Bailey and Dracula....

British Professor takes his secrets to The Lord Stanley

Victor Craven talks to Tom Wicker about staging Alan Ayckbourn's near-future comedy, COMIC POTENTIAL

FULL LIST OF THE 2012 WINNERS OF THE OFFIES 2013

LUKE BARNES talks about BOTTLENECK, girls, Hillsborough and sharing stories....

Tim Dorsett and Laura Hanna talk to Tom Wicker about tackling male anorexia on stage in new play LEAN

THE 2012 FINALISTS NOMINATED FOR THE OFFIE AWARDS

CALLING ALL THEATRE-MAKERS: Fin Kennedy vs Ed Vaizey!

DOMINIC GERRARD talks about building up to the challenge of a one-man CHRISTMAS CAROL!

GRASSROOTS SHAKESPEARE LONDON's Siobhan Daly on casting the Bard's spell over the LION AND UNICORN THEATRE this Christmas

Lara Bianca Pilcher talks us through her journey from Australia to singing I DO! I DO! at Riverside Studios!

Playwright Roger Mortimer-Smith tells Tom Wicker about bringing new thriller TRAUMA to the WHITE BEAR

Nirjay Mahindru and Iqbal Khan talk to Tom Wicker about reclaiming the past in GOLGOTHA

Sarah Pitard talks to Tom Wicker about new repertory company PARADIGM THEATRE and the challenges of adapting Oscar Wilde

Alison Pollard-Mansergh talks to Tom Wicker about bringing FAULTY TOWERS THE DINING EXPERIENCE to London

Mike Elliston talks to Tom Wicker about pop culture and his new play, TRAILER/Trash

Daniel Brennan talks to Tom Wicker about putting audiences first in the Off Cut Festival

DAVID COTTIS discusses cup cakes, Orson Welles and IT'S ALL TRUE at The White Bear

Tom Wicker speaks to MOLTON STUDIOS about supporting new production TWO-HEADED and the challenges facing younger theatre companies today.

Roland Smith talks to Tom Wicker about THEATRE DELICATESSEN

END OF AN ERA FOR THE CROYDON WAREHOUSE?

HANNAH JOSS talks to Tom Wicker about THE DEVIL INSIDE HIM at The White Bear

Tom Wicker talks to THE WRONG CROWD about The Girl With The Iron Claws

ALEXANDER ZELDIN and KIMBERLEY SYKES talk to Tom Wicker about staging Bernard-Marie Koltès

Tom Wicker speaks with first-time playwright ALISON EVANS about her controversial debut, The Supper Party....

MICHAEL PENNINGTON talks to Tom Wicker about his new book SWEET WILLIAM

Tom Wicker talks to Kamaal Hussain and Rachel Marwood about FOUR DAYS OF GRACE at The New Diorama

2012 OFFIE WINNERS ANNOUNCED at a fabulous award ceremony at Theatre Royal Stratford East................

Director ED DICK talks to Tom Wicker about reviving Philip Ridley's THE PITCHFORK DISNEY.....

Cardboard Citizens' artistic director Adrian Jackson tells Tom Wicker what inspired his new play, A FEW MAN FRIDAYS....

THE 2011 FINALISTS FOR THE OFFIE AWARDS........winners will be announced on the 6th February!

Harry Potter star ALFIE ENOCH makes his professional stage debut...

The LOST Theatre Company 27th Annual One Act Festival is open for submissions until 11 March 2012

Nouska Hanly reports on the launch of PARK THEATRE's fundraising campaign before opening in Autumn 2012

Time Out announces a good year for Off West End theatre in this week's edition....

CLARA BRENNAN wins 2012 ADOPT A PLAYWRIGHT AWARD

REBECCA ATKINSON-LORD and RACHEL BRISCOE talk to Tom Wicker about their vision for OVALHOUSE

Tom Wicker talks to Guillaume Pigé and Adam Taylor about THE GAMBLER at The Space..

MESHAUN LABRONE talks to Tom Wicker about exploring the life of legendary American rapper 2Pac

CHRIS LOSCHER and MIKE LEES talk to Tom Wicker about the UK premiere of COUNT OEDERLAND......

"What we do isn't polite and it's not middle-class - those things are, I think, death to theatre." KERRY MICHAEL from Theatre Royal Stratford East talks to Tom Wicker

NPPF MUST NOT BE SILENT ON CULTURE ......

Tom Wicker talks to HAMISH MACDOUGALL about THE LIGHTS at The Spring

In this second installment, MARK SHENTON talks to Tom Wicker about producing, reviewing and the theatres he loves...

Tom Wicker interviews theatre critic and journalist MARK SHENTON about the changing role of theatre criticism...

Tom Wicker interviews RICK BLAND in THICK at The New Diorama from 13 September

FREE workshops in the Olivier theatre for actors and directors at the POEL EVENT 2011

HOW TO REDEEM YOUR TIME OUT VOUCHERS BEFORE 23 SEPTEMBER......

BEN OCCHIPINTI talks to Tom Wicker about Mack & Mabel at Greenwich Theatre....

SOUTHWARK PLAYHOUSE needs your help NOW to lobby and tweet for their survival!

Amy Tez talks about FOUR DOGS AND A BONE with Tom Wicker

WILTON'S to remain open - hurrah!!

Offie-nominee JOS VANTYLER returns in CIRCUS BRITANNICA at Theatre503

PATRICIA CAMPER to leave Talawa Theatre Company

BOY GEORGE at GREENWICH THEATRE!

WILTONS are turned down by the Heritage Lottery Fund!!

GIANT OLIVE THEATRE CO talks to Tom Wicker about celebrating women playwrights, performers, directors and designers as part of the Gaea Theatre Festival at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre.....

TOM WICKER talks to the creators of an uncompromising new play about the death of Baha Mousa...

RoAm Productions and Madison Theatre Company talk to Tom Wicker about RUMOURS.....

THRILL ME transfers to Charing Cross Theatre from 17 May to 11 June!

Tom Wicker talks to JAMES HADDRELL about the new Emerging Artists season, Greenwich's break with the past and the problem with pigeons....

CATRIONA MCLAUGHLIN tackles life and directing while staging IRISH BLOOD, ENGLISH HEART....

HOW NOT TO RUN A FRINGE THEATRE Part 5

How far would you go for love? THRILL ME tests you until 30th April at Tristan Bates

JOSIE ROURKE appointed new Artistic Director of The Donmar

Award-winning NEIL MCPHERSON talks candidly to Tom Wicker

HOMOS PROMOS: Peter Scott-Presland talks to Tom Wicker

THE BLOGGER BLAGS IT TO THE OFFIES! Part 4

OFFIE WINNERS GALORE!!!! READ ALL ABOUT IT!!

Sisters Cindy and Sheila Rhyme are updating Alice in Wonderland at The Courtyard....

MATTHEW CRITCHFIELD and JAZZ FLAHERTY talk about The Black Death, conspiracy and friendship...............

OFFIE SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED after a day of contention, controversy and too much coffee.....

ANTHONY ABUAH talks about putting his heart and soul into writing....

HOW NOT TO RUN A FRINGE THEATRE Part3

Interview with writer Philip Ridley

HOW NOT TO RUN A FRINGE THEATRE Part2

JAMES BURN introduces Legacy Burns

HOW NOT TO RUN A FRINGE THEATRE Part 1 in an endless new series.....

POLIS LOIZOU talks about life, art and CLOTHES TO FALL APART IN

Glenn Chandler and Scouts In Bondage

What is Paul Clarkson doing at The Union?

Bill Bankes-Jones talks about Salad Days and surfing

Carole Carpenter on tour with Jane Austen

Dan Barnard is SHOOTING RATS at an epic new venue

Zimbabwe-born David Dinnell talks about HOW TO COOK A COUNTRY

Director Sarah Norman talks to us from The Finborough

Amy Molloy Interviewed (appearing in Kitty & Damnation at the Lion & Unicorn from 11 Aug 2009 to 12 Sep 2009)

Charlotte Gwinner talks about ANGLE

Kenneth Emson talks about Whispering Happiness and what inspires him....

THE FRENCH ARE COMING to The King's Head!

Paolo Rotondo talks from New Zealand

Writer Stephen M Hunt wishes he had written Slueth

Writer Jeremy Green talks about THE SERIOUS BUSINESS OF CHOOSING A MATE

Andrew Olay talks about inspiration, character amd Tom Courtney

Ellie Turner performs with LOVE&MADNESS

Sondheim's Saturday Night with Helena Blackman

Alistair Green directs The Thingumywotsit at The Hen & Chickens

Racky Plews directs Into The Woods

Robert Lloyd Parry is at Baron's Court

Interview with The Umbilical Brothers at The Leicester Square Theatre

Interview with Iain Pears at The Riverside Studios

Interview with Tim Roseman directing Overspill

Interview with Melanie Wilson

Interview with Gillian Plowman, author of Yours Abundantly, From Zimbabwe

Interview with Alex Helfrecht

Interview with Michael Gieleta

Interview with director Rhys Thomas

Interview with writer James Graham

Theatre Student Patricia Low posts her Malaysia Blog

Sabina Arthur performs in Under The Veil

Fin Kennedy talks about UNSTATED

Interview with Andrew Keatley

Interview with Ben Hales

Interview with Ali Taylor

Interview with Matt Ball

Interview with Tim Fountain

Interview with Glyn Maxwell

Interview with writer Coda Quashie

Interview with Sarah Mann

Interview with Yolanda Mpele

Interview with Howard Barker

Interview with Brian Timoney

Interview with Laura Stevens

Interview with John Sandy

Interview with Philly Greenwood

Interview with Dean Stalham

Interview with Jack McNamara

Interview with Caroline Partridge

Meet People Show artist Gareth Brierley

Interview with George Mann

Meet Phillip Brook, star of Uncle Barry at the Blue Elephant

Interview with Fin Kennedy

Interview with James Graham

Marketers On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown V

Interview with Cath Whitefield, now appearing at The Gate

Interview with Lavern Archer

Royal Court Announces Autumn Season

Marketers On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown IV

Marketing Managers on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown III

Marketers On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown II

Marketers On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown

Arcola to Create World's First Carbon Neutral Theatre

Interview with Nell Leyshon, Writer of Glass Eels at the Hampstead Theatre

A New Start for the Southwark Playhouse

The Mark Shenton Show

Theatre has moved on - whatever we critics think

pic:OffWestEnd.com logo
NEWS/OFFERS/PODCASTS
SUBSCRIBE
Get Our Special Offers & Latest News from Off West End

OffWestEnd.com is the London UK theatre information and bookings site that makes it easy to find great plays and performances in some of London's innovative theatres outside the West End. Buy tickets directly from these Off West End London theatres - with no fees and no commission ever being charged by us! OffWestEnd.com - Browse our theatre list below for what's on:
Above the Stag Theatre | Albany | Almeida Theatre | Arcola Theatre | Arts Theatre | artsdepot | BAC | Barbican | Barons Court Theatre | Bloomsbury Theatre | Blue Elephant Theatre | Bridewell Theatre | The Bush Theatre | Camden People's Theatre | Canal Cafe Theatre | Chickenshed | Cochrane Theatre | Cock Tavern Theatre | Cockpit Theatre | Courtyard | Drill Hall | Donmar Warehouse | Drill Hall | Finborough Theatre | Etcetera Theatre | Gate Theatre | The Globe Theatre | Greenwich Playhouse | Greenwich Theatre | Hackney Empire | Half Moon | Hampstead Theatre | Jacksons Lane | Jermyn Street Theatre | Jerwood Vanburgh Theatre | King's Head Theatre | Landor Theatre | Leicester Square Theatre | Lion & Unicorn Theatre | Little Angel Theatre | Lyric Hammersmith | Menier Chocolate Factory | National Theatre | New End Theatre | New Players Theatre | Normansfield | Old Red Lion Theatre | The Old Vic | Orange Tree Theatre | Oval House Theatre | People Show | Pleasance Theatre | Polka Theatre | The Queen's Theatre | Rich Mix | Riverside Studios | Rose Theatre | Riverside Studios | Roundhouse | Rosemary Branch | Royal Court Theatre | Shaw Theatre | Soho Theatre | Southbank Centre | Southwark Playhouse | Tabard Theatre | Tara Studio | The Space | Theatre Royal Stratford East | THEATRE 503 | Toynbee Studios | Tricycle Theatre | Unicorn Theatre | Union Theatre | Upstairs at the Gatehouse | Warehouse Theatre | Watermans | Watford Palace Theatre | White Bear | Wilton's Music Hall | Young Vic
OffWestEnd.com is a United Kingdom (UK) based company serving the international, the UK and London based theatres and theatre goers.
Write to Us at: OffWestEnd.com, 19 Eugene Cotter House, Beckway Street, London SE17 1QS, United Kingdom
Registered office address: OffWestEnd.com Ltd., 19 Eugene Cotter House, Beckway Street, London SE17 1QS United Kingdom - Company Registration No. 5308910