The Mercury Theatre in Colchester has today announced the full cast and creative team for the world premiere of award-winning writer Emma-Louise Howell’s debut play I Really Do Think This Will Change Your Life, which will run in the Mercury Studio from 27 October – 4 November.
The Mercury Original production, which will be directed by Hetty Hodgson (she/they, Hot In Here – Gate Theatre & UK Tour), is a hair-pulling, fake-nail scratching, cat-fight against what it means to be a Girl Boss™.
Belles was the popular girl, the IT girl, the oh-so-very-fit-girl. When she was 17. Now, she’s 24 and spends her days bossed about by her Mum and the girls she 100% used to bully.
So, when a life-changing opportunity slides into her DMs, she carpes the diem, finds her tribe, makes her millions and proves the worth of women worldwide one Instagram post at a time. Except she doesn’t. Because…come on.
Emma-Louise Howell (she/her, Twelfth Night – UK/US tour), who was longlisted for the BBC Writersroom and will star in the one person show as Belles, developed her debut play as part of the theatre’s Playwrighting Development Programme.
The production team for the world premiere, which is Arts Council England funded, is comprised of an inclusive and diverse team. The production aims to address and change processes of making and engaging with neurodiverse theatre audiences and participants with a toolkit being created on completion addressing how to work effectively with neurodiverse creatives. The production will be created using immersive digital technologies including creative captioning.
Alongside Hodgson and Howell on the creative team are: Lulu Tam (she/her, Woodhill – Edinburgh & UK Tour) as Designer, Matt Powell (they/she/he, Animal – Hope Mill Theatre / Park Theatre – Offie Nomination) as Video Designer, Martha Godfrey (they/them, Bangers – Edinburgh, UK Tour & Soho Theatre) as Lighting Designer, Holly Khan (she/her, Blackout Songs – Hampstead Theatre) as Sound Designer & Composer and Tara Young (she/her, The Foreigners’ Panto – BOLD Elephant) as Movement Director.
Emma-Louise Howell said, “I’m beyond excited to be able to call the Mercury the home to my professional writing debut. It feels like a nearly impossible climate for new writers at the moment, but writing I Really Do Think after being selected to join their Playwriting programme with Kenny Emson in 2021 pulled me out of a pandemic slump and, since then, their never-ending support and encouragement through readings and redrafts has given me the courage and confidence to make this the boldest and most playful version this show could possibly be. And it’s turned into a truly riotous play; yes, it’s been fun to write about Girl Bosses and Pyramid Schemes, but it’s also been a chance to really capture and navigate the precariousness of our identities in the social media world and how, amidst all the duplicitous information we consume, we can maintain authenticity in ourselves and our relationships – it feels like new territory to tread and it’s a real privilege to now be able to share that world and story with audiences.”
Ryan McBryde, Creative Director at Mercury Theatre, said “The Mercury is committed to developing and producing new work by East based artists that ignites debate and an exchange of ideas. We encourage the artists we support to dig deep and take risks, to act on their instincts and challenges us, asking brave questions about the world we live in. New writing is the lifeblood of theatre, and every new play has the potential to enhance careers, provide a new perspective, and provoke change. Emma’s play is exactly the sort of work we want to champion at the Mercury”.