Chelsea Theatre in Conversation with…Harry Darell

Today we will be in conversation The Gift’s Harry Darell. Harry has written, produced and directed The Gift which is being performed at Chelsea Theatre 9th April – 15th April (10th,11th,12th April are SOLD OUT!)


If you had to describe the show in three words what would they be?

Funny, tragic and intense.

How did the piece come about?

I wrote the piece in about three months while I was living in Berlin. I returned to the University of Bristol at the end of the year to take my finals. During this period I wrote another play and put some finishing touches on ‘The Gift.’ When I graduated I cast the play and got a good team around me. The show went from there.

What was the reason behind writing the piece?

It’s a number of things really. I wanted to create something about ambition, particularly blind ambition, and its dangers. I’m also interested in environments that appear normal but are in fact host to some very sinister and unpleasant realities. I would say every play I’ve ever written is basically about that. Movies/ Oscars/ that glamorous world seemed like quite a good place to further explore this, especially given recent revelations!

How was it to write, direct and produce the piece on your own?

Directing and producing is effectively code for an unrelenting stream of problems to solve. That’s what it essentially boils down to. Particularly with quite a big cast and team like this show, I’d say something is dropped on you every couple of hours in some capacity. I absolutely love it and I get very excited by the challenge. Having written it as well, it’s a strange and incredible feeling to be involved in bringing to life something I sat alone in a room and hashed out.

How was the cast found / company developed?

After I graduated I decided after a certain point to just do it and figure out how it worked along the way. This is a tough process but if you want to fill all three roles it’s really the only way. The cast and team came about because people were excited about what I was doing and wanted to be involved. I did a casting call and people starting popping up all over the place via word of mouth.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Anybody who likes to experience a wide range of emotions over the course of two hours is going to love the show! It’s pretty fast-moving at times and I would say difficult to predict. The performances are outstanding. That’s something I’m confident of.

What was challenging about bringing this script to life?

I would say that it’s a greater challenge to write the script than to bring it to life. It’s important when you’re in charge of a project to listen to everybody’s input and not just impose your ideas, dictating how it should be done. Naturally, you make the final decisions and act as a filter for the suggestions but it’s been a collaboration of imaginations that has brought this play to life. So the challenge, I suppose, is being a good leader in that respect.

Why did you choose the Chelsea theatre?

It’s a fantastic space and very adaptable. Black box is great for fringe theatre as you’re granted an artistic licence to do what you like with it.

To book tickets for The Gift please click here

Or please call 020 7352 1967



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