VPT’s Secret Santa

Dec 15 2015 | By More

Christmas Collaborations at the Village Pub Theatre

Snogs behind the water cooler, unrequited flirtations and inappropriate shenanigans of all kinds are the stuff that this month’s Village Pub Theatre will be made of, as its writers take the Office Xmas Party as their theme and inspiration.

Although, given the VPT writers sense of style, such clichés are likely to be but the starting points for flights of fantasy and exploration where comedy and laughs are sharpened by hints at darker motifs.

The Village pub ready for the VPT Office Xmas Party 2015. Gingerbread and image James Ley

The Village pub ready for the VPT Office Xmas Party 2015. Gingerbread and image James Ley

The four playwrights taking on the theme will not be flying solo. They are pairing up to create the two new plays, which will get their first script-in-hand outings on Sunday 20 December, under the direction of Caitlin Skinner.

Playwrights Louise E. Knowles and Samuel Jameson will pen one piece together while Sophie Good and Helen Shutt are in charge of the other.

Still on the theme of the Office Xmas carnage, as an extra Christmas gift to their audience VPT will also be presenting a very special trilogy, The James P(ley)s, written by VPT founder James Ley.

Speaking of the collaborative process in creating the office Christmas party plays, Helen Shutt told Æ: “It’s really exciting to be working with other VPT writers. Christmas seemed like the perfect time to explore a more collaborative process.

“We always support each other by feeding back on each other’s work but this is the first time we have been paired to make a new piece with another writer specifically for a VPT themed evening.”

spice and sparkle

To add that extra bit of Christmas spice and sparkle and in keeping with the theme the partnerships were selected by lottery out of a hat and each partnership was also a ‘prompt’ from a Secret Santa bag of gifts to help get the ball rolling.

Shutt adds: “I think both teams are responding to the idea of Office Xmas Party in quite different ways which should make for a typically diverse VPT night. Sophie and I have been sharing influences and are experimenting with a format that allows each of us to write individually as well as coming together to develop the piece further.”

The really exciting bit of the whole venture for the audience is the immediacy of the plays and the way that the writing process is putting all those concerned right on their mettle.

It’s an exciting prospect for the writers too, as Shutt attests: “It’s proving a lot of fun creating characters together and also a good challenge as we’ve questioned each other’s ideas.

“We’ve both agreed to keep an open-mind about where the piece could go so as for what the finished product will be like on the 20th, I couldn’t say for certain yet – though between us we’ve had quite a variety of some rather colourful office Christmas parties to draw upon for inspiration.”

To find out exactly which hues appear in the finished plays, be at the Village Pub Theatre on Sunday, 20 December. The plays will, of course, be served the usual home baking and maybe even a warming glass of mulled wine.


Village Pub Theatre Vs. The Office Christmas Party
The Village Pub, 16 South Fort Street, EH6 4DN
Sunday 20 December 2015.
7.30pm for 8pm.
Tickets £3 on the door.


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