Nick Ahad

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - STAGE -

Since turn­ing play­wright about eight years ago, I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced some spe­cial mo­ments with my work.

There was the ex­cru­ci­at­ing beauty of see­ing a script I wrote on stage with an au­di­ence for the first time. There was the first time my work was broad­cast on na­tional tele­vi­sion and I watched my script for a show I’d grown up with, Em­merdale, with my fam­ily. Just re­cently there was a sell out run of my new play The Chef Show, a show that en­cour­aged com­mu­ni­ties to talk to each other and by which mea­sure it was a huge suc­cess.

Re­cently, how­ever, has come some­thing that went straight to the top of the heart-warm­ing mo­ments in my ca­reer as a play­wright. Last year the edi­tor of BBC Ra­dio Leeds asked me to write a play for the ra­dio sta­tion. It’s the first time since Alan Ay­ck­bourn was do­ing his thing in the mid-60s that the Leeds ra­dio sta­tion has com­mis­sioned orig­i­nal drama on this scale. I was a lit­tle over­awed but hugely priv­i­leged to have been asked.

The play I wrote, Com­ing

Home To­gether, was aimed at 9 and 10 year olds and was a time­travel ad­ven­ture that taught the au­di­ence about the fact that sev­eral mil­lion sol­diers from the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent fought in the First and Sec­ond World Wars. It was per­formed at Brad­ford Play­house in Novem­ber last year as part of the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Bat­tle of the Somme, and recorded as a ra­dio play broad­cast over Christ­mas on BBC Ra­dio Leeds.

I was thrilled when the edi­tor at the sta­tion told me that the play had been such a hit that the BBC had de­cided to fund a schools tour this Spring – an­other first for BBC Ra­dio Leeds. Which is how I found my­self at a cou­ple of schools this past fort­night, watch­ing my play with an au­di­ence of chil­dren. See­ing the play with 100 kids laugh­ing at the story and seem­ing to learn some­thing from the script I had writ­ten was ut­terly joy­ous.

This morn­ing I’ll be at Parkin­son Lane School in Hal­i­fax with the four ac­tors for the fi­nal per­for­mance of a two-week schools tour. They have been on the road with the play, and I have been drop­ping in and out as my diary al­lows. See­ing young peo­ple re­spond­ing to your script is a won­der­ful thing and a re­minder that drama has the power to really af­fect young peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar. For them theatre isn’t some­thing that’s ‘good for you’ – they see it is noth­ing more com­pli­cated or more sim­ple than imag­i­na­tion, joy and play on the stage.

Turns out the adage is true, if you’re feel­ing like the world is slowly turn­ing to some very dark places, time spent with kids is never wasted.

See­ing young peo­ple re­spond­ing to your script is a won­der­ful thing.

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