A Cuppa and a Catch-Up with writer Elijah Young
Elijah is the playwright behind
The Remarkable Robin Armstrong’s Extraordinary Christmas Adventure which is a Queen’s Hall Arts and Alnwick Playhouse theatre production and will be performed from 10th - 28th December 2021 at Queen's Hall Hexham. Tickets are here.
I caught up with Elijah via email and was fascinated to learn more about his journey so far. I always think it's so interesting hearing from North East creatives about where their ideas come from and hopes they have for their work.
So... pop the kettle on and make something lovely and warming and let's dive into something a little festive...
Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your career so far?
Hello, I’m Elijah. I’m a playwright and actor originally from Teesside and now based in Newcastle upon Tyne. I’ve been working in Culture for five years.
I started writing when I was in school but never considered a career option until a director heard one of my pieces at an audition and encouraged me to write. My first major opportunity was being awarded the young writer residency at The Customs House, South Shields in 2019.
Since then, I’ve worked on different projects with several theatres/theatre companies in the region and I was also made an Associate Artist at Live Theatre. I am incredibly lucky to have received the opportunities I have so far.
Where did your idea for the Christmas Production come from?
From a really young age I was fascinated by fairytales and the idea of magical creatures being a thing. I think believing in magic is the most exciting thing about childhood.
I was the kid who would leave notes in the tree at the bottom of my garden thinking I’d get a response so I wanted to create a character that not only believes in all of that but gets to encounter it. I’ve also always had a really strong relationship with all my grandparents so I wanted to bring that to the story too.
How involved have you been in rehearsals?
So far in the process it’s been a collaboration between me and Mark Calvert, the director. Throwing around ideas about the script, the characters and helping in casting the play. I’m also assisting the composer, Jeremy Bradfield, in writing some of the lyrics which has been a new experience for me. I’m excited to get into the room and see this begin to come to life. Eventually I will have to hand it all over to Mark and the cast as this is their show as much as it is mine.
Who do you think should go and see the show?
I’d really like to think everyone would enjoy this show, there’s something in it for all. It’s a show for those who were like me and wanted to believe in fairytales, it’s for the kids who thankfully still do. It’s for those who like music, comedy and adventure. It’s for those who love their grandparents deeply, it’s a show for those who never fully fit in growing up.
It’s a show for families to enjoy together. It’s a show for anyone who wants a bit of magic and to get into the festive season.
What are you most looking forward to about the holiday season/ Christmas yourself and where will you spend it?
I grew up in Middlesbrough so like Chris Rea I’ll most likely be driving home for Christmas - if my partner kindly gives me a lift!
I love going home and being with my family as I’m one of seven so the noise, laughter and chaos of Christmas brings comfort to me.
I’ll also obviously be spending a lot of time in Hexham seeing the show many times as I’m dead nosey. I especially can’t wait to bring my niece and nephews, it’s the part I’m most excited for.
Thanks so much Elijah, where can people follow your work online?
I’m mainly on twitter so you can follow me @elijahyoung1998