Caro Meets Theatre Interview

Lily Staff: Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down

By | Published on Thursday 3 March 2016


Heading over to now-in-south-London venue Theatre N16 this week is a revival of Richard Cameron’s acclaimed breakthrough play ‘Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down’, which is set in the playwright’s native Yorkshire, and focuses on three different women with three different stories to tell.
This fresh staging comes from an up and coming creative team that appears to be oozing with potential. I spoke to producer Lily Staff, to find out more.

CM: Can you tell us what the play is about? What’s the story?
LS: The play follows the lives of three women from Yorkshire, who don’t know each other, but who are all connected by their relationships with Royce Boland. Royce, who never appears on stage, is portrayed to us through the voices of the three women. The story is told through interweaving monologues which cut back and forward through time. Each character has their own moving story of love, abuse and survival to share with the audience.

CM: What particular themes does it explore?
LS: Domestic abuse, bullying, single motherhood, mental health, the death of a parent. Also survival, strength and power.

CM: What made you want to create a production of this play? What attracted you to it?
LS: First and foremost it is the writing. When I first read it, I was struck by how beautifully it is written – each monologue really draws you in. Richard Cameron’s works are not that well known, and I wanted to share this one with other people and give it a new life. I think writing in the form of monologues is really hard – but he really makes it work it quite a unique way. The play also has three amazing parts for women!

CM: Can you tell us a bit about the playwright?
LS: Richard Cameron is an English playwright from Yorkshire, where the majority of his plays are set. He has also written ‘Dear Nobody’ and ‘Stone, Scissors, Paper’ for the BBC.

CM: There are two directors on the show, aren’t there? How did this come to be a collaborative effort?
LS: I have worked on this play before, whilst at university. The team that put the production on became quite close and we were all really proud of the work, so I reached out to the same director this time (Marjam Idriss), knowing that she was keen to explore the play again. We also decided to bring Jesse Haughton Shaw on board, who had played Ruby in our student production. I wanted a team who were really in love with the play and I knew Jesse and Marjam could bring their knowledge and passion for the piece together to create something new. It has worked really well.

CM: How did you go about assembling the cast?
LS: We held open auditions and found our three actresses that way. They are all brilliant, and each very different, which makes for a great production.

CM: Do you have plans to tour this production further?
LS: I hope so! I hope the production will have a further life and I truly believe it deserves one.

CM: What other projects do you have in the pipeline?
LS: I am currently working on developing a concert piece called ‘Song of Dina’, based on the Biblical character Dina, with the writers Diane Samuels and Maurice Chernick.

‘Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down’ is on at Theatre N16 from 6-17 Mar. See this page here to book your tickets.