'Mermaid' is a powerful, queer, coming of age production that tells the story of David as he navigates grief after the death of his estranged mother, leading to a journey of queer self-discovery. Mermaid combines clever comedy with a tender and heartfelt story to celebrate and encourage the power and euphoria that comes with discovering your most authentic self. We took the opportunity to speak to writer and actor of this production, Connor McCreedy, to tell us more information about this joyous and exciting play.
Q) Can you tell us a little bit about 'mermaid'?
Mermaid is a one person play written and performed by myself, directed by the wonderful Alex Jackson, and produced by the incredible Rebecca Prentice with Prentice Productions. It follows the story of David, who is a young, slightly lonely queer person living job to job in the rural North-West. When David’s estranged mother dies suddenly, they are forced home to confront their past. We follow David as they fumble through the initial grieving process accompanied by an unenthused undertaker, Ian, as childhood memories invade David’s thoughts. This reflection on the past brings new focus to the queer adult life they lead. This is the play’s debut run at Theatre503 and I’m so excited to show it to people! The team we have assembled is made up of some amazing LGBTQ+ creatives, and getting to be able to tell a story where the lens is on a Northern, working class, queer perspective is really cool to me!
Q) What was your inspiration for writing this play?
So I am from the rural North-West, Lancashire. Think sheep and fields and that's me! I moved down to London after I finished my actor training and the longer I was living down here, the more I started to realise some things about myself. For example, I finally came out as gay when I was 23 and I’ve only within the last year or so started to also use the term Queer as I feel it includes other parts of my identity and it feels a bit neater for me if that makes sense? I think I had a lot to unpack from my growing up, and moving away and finding my friendship group and working within the creative world has really shaped me. I also have had some pretty big bereavements in my life that I still deal with, as grief never really disappears, and I felt I wanted to express those experiences. I have always written but I wanted to finally commit myself to writing this play, so I took these aspects of my own personal experience, and mixed them together into ‘Mermaid’! The play is fictional, but there are some definite influences from my life that have shaped the story and characters. I was genuinely obsessed with mermaids when I was younger, so also that!
Q) What aspects of this production will entice an audience member?
I think audiences will be enticed by the general queerness of it! I think we are telling a really fun and interesting story with a protagonist we rarely see! The show is being created by a mostly LGBTQ+ creative team, all of whom are just amazing and so talented at what they do. I think audiences will be enticed by the fact the play is going to pack some wit and fun into a tender, heartfelt story about rediscovering what makes you you. I think what is quite cool is one audience member is going to be interested in one aspect of the play, whereas someone else another. That might be someone interested in the authentic northern, working class, queer character, or it might be that someone else just loves a good old solo play! It’s really exciting and I can’t wait for people to see it and for the play to begin its life onstage!
Q) What was the writing process like for this production?
When I first started writing ‘Mermaid’ (during my shifts working front of house in a little notebook during the show, sorry to my old managers!) It was a very different idea but the core of it has stayed the same, which is to have this particular character be centre stage and be able to be funny, and emotive, and a bit ‘spicy' alongside being tender and soft, and be able to be genuine and hold space. I wrote Mermaid mostly during lockdown and it went through many many drafts and I talked my partners ear off about it constantly (Sorry Aidan!). I was also really inspired by some incredible solo plays I had seen before and the actor part of me wanted to challenge myself to do a solo show, so I thought ‘I want to do that!’ and here we are! I am now writing a lot more and am working on some other projects currently that I’m really excited about.
Q) What are you hoping that audiences will take away from this production?
I’m really hoping the audience leaves the theatre having had a really fun time mostly! The play definitely has its more emotive and heartfelt parts, but I do really want audiences to enjoy the humour that comes with it. I also want them to leave feeling hopeful. The play explores the idea that we can remind ourselves that we don’t actually need anyone else's permission to live authentically, and in a way that brings us happiness. This is something I can struggle with, so even if one person leaves at the end and feels a bit more able to express something about themselves as a result of watching Mermaid, then I’m happy!
This production will be Connor's debut play and is directed by Alex Jackson and produced by Rebecca Prentice under Prentice Productions. 'Mermaid' will run at Theatre 503 on the 15th and 16th June - for more tickets and information, you can follow this link here.