Three-time Fringe First Winner

 Tell us about the show

The Nights is a two-handed epic which grapples the thorny issue of ‘what to do with returning jihadis.’ Hopefully, we’ve got a gripping story, here. There’s ghosts. Murder. Love and violence. I’m aiming to entertain – but make you think. We did a couple of previews at the Prague Fringe – and the response was good.

Why write this story now?

Obviously there’s currently a polarized and heated debate about ‘what to do with returning jihadis’. There’s a lot of passion on both sides, so I thought I’d stir things up a bit!! For me, that’s the Point of Theatre: to fuel the national debate.

In fact, for me, that’s the most exciting and challenging task facing a playwright: tackling weighty political issues – and making them entertaining!

How do you find your next story?

I’ll see what’s a ‘topical issue’ next February, and start working up my next story then.I always aim to write about topics which are ‘in the news’. I guess it’s because of my background in topical comedy (I used to write Spitting Image, Headcases, Parsons & Naylor’s Pull-Out Sections, etc.) So when I’m writing a show for Edinburgh – I’ll try and guess ‘what’s in the news’ that summer. This year? The Caliphate collapsed in Spring, so I’m predicting that returning ISIS brides/fighters will be in the news this Summer. Whether I’m right or not – I still think it’s important that the country discusses its handling of British jihadis. Next year? Difficult to say what’ll be in the news in 2020. The Olympics possibly? Or maybe I’ll do something about Brexit? Originally I was going to write something about Brexit this year. But frankly I’m sick of it. I couldn’t face writing about it for six months! Also the Brexit story changes week-by-week – so it’d be easy to write something today – which would be out-of-date tomorrow. In short, I might return to it next year, when the country’s direction will – hopefully – be clearer.

 When and Where?

The Night:Henry Naylor, Gilded Balloon Teviot – Dining Room, 16:15, Jul 31 Aug 1-13, 15-26

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