Take a trip to Field Street, where all is not as it seems

The Field Street Monologues in rehearsal before showing at Titchfield Festival Theatre. Picture by Jules Garvey-Welch
The Field Street Monologues in rehearsal before showing at Titchfield Festival Theatre. Picture by Jules Garvey-Welch
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Step into the suburban world of Field Street, where all is not quite what it seems, in this new play by up-and-coming writer Jules Garvey-Welch.

Jules, a teacher by trade, has decided to take a career break and concentrate on her ambition to be a full-time writer.

The monologues had already been written as stand-alone pieces when a friend encouraged her to adapt them for the stage.

'It’s mainly comedic,' explains Jules, 'so there’s hopefully funny lines in it – most people that have read it seems to be laughing, but it also has some sinister turns to it, so there’s dark comedy in it too.
'There’s a potential murder and one character has post-traumatic stress, so that’s obviously a little bit darker.

'I’ve kind of given people a window into what appears to be an ordinary street but has extraordinary people living there.'

Jules took the bold move to step away from her job in September. Last year, having another piece she wrote, The Saga of Ken and Sandra, long-listed for the Kenneth Branagh Drama Award gave her the spur she needed to take the break.

'It’s very difficult to do anything else when you’re teaching, so I thought if I don’t give the writing 100 per cent and really concentrate on this then I’m never going to do it, and it will be too late when I retire. I’ve always written bits and pieces but now I’m taking it really seriously.'
'Again that’s a comedy and it’s set in the morris dancing world. I thought there was a gap there –I’d never come across anything written about that world.

'It was originally a duologue telling the story, and that one was a bit saucy in places, but there’s interest in putting that on the stage as well.'

The current show though is based on eight talking heads, and as that suggests, Jude has been influenced by the Alan Bennett series of that name.

'People have suggested that’s the style I’ve followed,' says Jules. 'When the other piece was long-listed, I was told that they could almost hear Victoria Wood-type characters, and they could see I’ve been heavily influenced by those kind of people.
'I love Alan Bennett and I loved the Talking Heads series, so I suppose in the back of my mind that’s influenced me when I write. I like that style of humour.'

Field Street is actually the name of the road Jules was born in, but the similarity ends there.

'I took the name, and I thought of the different characters you might expect to find there and others you might not. One character works in a theatre, so you hear about the goings on backstage there. And there’s another one with post-traumatic stress who the neighbours are giving a hard time. He sits outside and they thinks he’s a layabout. There’s one woman in particular who’s quite posh who doesn’t like that he’s bringing the neighbourhood down, but then we find out more about his past and get to understand him better.

'There’s a young lad, who’s very outgoing but has trouble with women so he’s going on a dating in the dark evening.'

The play is directed by Christine Lawrence, with music from Will Sutton.

'I wasn’t involved in the casting, but I have been involved in the rehearsals. I left the casting to Christine and as she was reading it she was saying things like: "I know someone who’d be excellent for this role…" and her casting has been spot on.

'It’s been amazing to see my words which have always been in my voice in my head read by someone completely different. It’s lovely, it’s really refreshing, I’m thoroughly enjoying the process.

'I’ve sat back and watched them and I’ve been in tears. That’s really got me, I wasn’t expecting it to be so emotional, and I’ve laughed as well. When you’re editing and editing again, you kind of get fed up of reading your own stuff. But when someone else reads it and other people laugh that’s such a lovely feeling. It’s an amazing experience.'

Aside from this, Jules has also got a piece that is going to be performed at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith.

'The BBC Writers Room was asking for monologues based on Notting Hill Carnival, and one of mine was chosen to be part of that.

'I feel really fortunate at the moment to be involved in such amazing things.'

Titchfield Festival Theatre

February 1&2

titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com