Caro Meets Theatre Interview

Jamie Eastlake: Deadline Day

By | Published on Friday 8 September 2017

I’m not a big fan of football, myself, but that hasn’t put me off wanting to see the show that’s playing over at Theatre N16 at the moment. ‘Deadline Day’, written by John Hickman and Steve Robertson, may be set against the backdrop of the world of soccer, but that’s just one facet of a peice that also looks at the north south divide, and what people are willing to go through for the sake of their loved ones.

To find out more about the show, I spoke to producer Jamie Eastlake.

CM: Tell us about ‘Deadline Day’. What story does it tell?
JE: It’s predominately a story about the North/South divide but centres around a character and the lengths he will go to for a loved one. Obviously as a base it’s about football but it’s much more than that. It’s a group of people locked in a car with their own story to tell. I think it’s perfect for what theatre N16 represents. Simple storytelling, little man v big man and what you will do for a bit of hope.

CM: Who are the central characters in the play, and who plays them?
JE: We’re very proud of our casting choices for ‘Deadline Day’. Myself and the director James Callas Ball wanted to ensure that it wasn’t just going to be three white blokes so we gender swapped a character and did our utmost to cast a BAME actor for Danny, the footballer.

Mike Yeaman plays the protagonist, he’s someone who’s worked with N16 before as a playwright with his piece Frank Sumatra, which we transferred into Europe. He’s a working class taxi driver and Mike actually was a taxi driver in a past life so obviously we thought he’d be perfect for it.

Danny Walters, who is the footballer ‘under offer’, is being played by Tevye Matheson in his first professional role. We’re very excited about him. He has a great energy and warmth that Danny has to give off.

And finally we have Victoria Gibson who was the lead in our production of ‘The Mountain Bluebird’ in 2015. She’s terrific at playing feisty, giving no shit roles. She’s also the daughter of Middlesbrough football chairman Steve Gibson so has been brilliant at giving insight towards the world of football.

CM: What themes does the play explore? Does it have any specific points to make?
JE: As I said earlier, North/South divide, but also the exploitive nature of top class sport and just what money has done to it. But there’s a very strong family element to it and what we do as human beings for our loved ones.

CM: What made you want to stage the play? What are its selling points?
JE: Everyone knows me as someone who adores football, and when we developed it and showed a draft to non football people we realised we had something special. I’ve always wanted to produce work about sport and the effect it has on us as human beings and thought this was perfect. It’s selling point is that it’s on around Transfer Deadline Day which is the footy equivalent of Christmas.

CM: Can you tell us a bit about the writers John Hickman and Steve Robertson? How did you come to be working together on this?
JE: Both John and Steve are people I’ve worked with for several years. They actually cast me in a short film when I was an actor and we stayed in touch. I’m producing their second feature film next year, which I’m super excited about. What they both write is heartwarming and hilarious at the same time. I’d describe them as Richard Curtis on crack. There’s also the added benefit of John being the next big thing. He’s recently won BBC writers room, BAFTA Rocliffe ,and had a best selling kids book about football which is perfect.

CM: Can you tell us a bit about about the director, James Callas Ball?
JE: James did a piece called ‘Drawn In’ with his fellow creative Ant Cule and we fell in love with how they worked. James has recently been based at the King’s Head and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for him to get his hands dirty with something. He’s also a massive footy fan. He recently bought a load of old school football shirts to sell on for profit on eBay as a side business. He’s yet to sell one. You may get a chance to see them in the play (and buy one).

CM: Obviously football is a major theme, so will this appeal to those with no interest in it?
JE: Absolutely. It’s so focused on the people involved and the effect family and birthplace has on us, football is just a side note. There are a few little gags for the avid footy fan to have a giggle at though.

CM: What else is upcoming for TheatreN16? What can we expect in the autumn?
JE: Our new AD Scott Ellis will direct his first full run at the theatre, ‘Lucy Light’ a new play by Sarah Milton. This is followed by Maiden Speech: A Festival of Fresh Feminist Voices and a series of military plays throughout November.

‘Deadline Day’ is on until 26 Sep, see this page here for details.