Manchester Lines , the second instalment of our site -specific productions comes to an end of its run this weekend. So we asked director, Wils Wilson a few questions about the experience…
Q: What are your thoughts on the fantastic audience reactions to the play?
Wils: The audience response has been wonderful and very moving. A lot of people have felt a real connection to the themes and characters in the play. We’ve had audience members coming back to see it more than once, which is quite extraordinary. It’s the sort of play which gets different reactions every night – people laugh at different things and find different moments moving or affecting, so it has remained very fresh. I think the involvement of the audience keeps everything truthful and immediate.
Q: The use of the setting has been praised by both audiences and press. Did you realise at the beginning just how big an undertaking it was?
Wils: Amanda’s design is like an art installation in its own right. I’m still finding new things on the shelves even now! It was an immense achievement creating the space – the whole design and technical team have been amazing to work with. It’s space you don’t tire of. It gives the production texture and energy and provides layers of meaning which all effect how an audience experience the play. I feel we have been so lucky to have such a wonderful venue in First Street. I love the fact the building is almost a symbol in itself of Manchester in the world here and now, and yet it looks over some of Manchester’s most iconic older buildings. And the trams and trains perform beautifully for us every evening.
Q: Looking back now, what do you think you would consider doing differently?
Wils: Je ne regrette rien!
Q: What is the most treasured memory or experience you will cherish from the production?
Wils: That’s difficult! I think it might be the first show we did with our wonderful community choir. I stood in amongst the audience and suddenly all these people singing their hearts out poured past me and I thought – wow, where did they all come from? (even though I knew really). It was incredibly moving.
Manchester Lines is at Number One First Street until Sat 7 July 2012. In the summer of 2013, we will present our third and final site-specific production, Manchester Sound – The Massacre , before moving into our new home with Cornerhouse.