Plymouth-made Static heads to stages in Greater Manchester, London and Edinburgh
STATIC is moving – the Plymouth-born play is heading on tour.
It was curtain up first at the Barbican Theatre in February as part of the Flourish project to develop new works.
Now city company New Model Theatre is taking the play across Britain.
The tour covers fringe festivals in London and Greater Manchester, and finishes with a 22-night stint in Edinburgh.
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That follows strong reviews at Exeter's Ignite Festival last month.
And it helps justify author Tom Nicholas' decision not to go down the degree route after years with the Theatre Royal Plymouth's Young Company.
"I didn't want to go to drama school," the 20-year-old says. "I got to the position where I wanted to do my own stuff.
"I didn't want to be taught to make somebody else's kind of theatre. I wanted to do my own.
"I worked for the Theatre Royal facilitating workshops and I took part in ones with a lot of visiting companies. I was picking up all the different stuff.
"Some had completely different ways of creating. That made me think."
So Tom formed New Model Theatre last year and took a show, April, to two Exeter venues, a pop-up theatre and the Bike Shed.
He teamed up with actor Hugh McCann – they knew each other from the Young Company – to work on the idea for Static, and the Barbican Theatre got on board. The aim was to develop something for a substantial tour.
That something became a monologue "with extra bits of sound cut in".
"Hugh plays The Boy, representing a lot more than himself, growing up in the early 21st century," says Tom.
"It visits him at particular moments in his life, always related to a significant moment in history.
"He comes home from school one day to find that Blue Peter isn't on the television because the World Trade Centre Twin Towers are falling down.
"In the digital age we have constant news coverage.
"We are so well-connected through the internet, but it's not as if we are talking to human beings.
"Is signing a petition the same as walking on the streets in a protest?"
Static builds on his previous work in Plymouth including a segment in Paines Plough's Come To Where I'm From, at the Drum, earlier this year.
Tom doesn't know where the theatre urge comes from. Neither of his parents has any background in drama.
He got involved in village productions growing up in Crafthole on the Rame peninsula, and his brother, Toby, 26, is a professional actor.
"He's done a schools tour and worked with Bish Bash Bosh in Cornwall.
"He did it the other way round than me, with a drama degree at Italia Conti in London."
Static's fringe runs are Greater Manchester on Monday and Tuesday next week, Camden in London on July 29 and 30 and at the Fiddler's Elbow, Edinburgh, August 3-24.