An interview with the creative team behind The Important Man

‘The Important Man’ is a University of Hertfordshire Arts Production in collaboration with Cap-a-Pie. Cap-a-Pie pride themselves on being a theatre company that inspires thinking and learning.

 Set in the First World War, the show will give you an insight into part of the war you probably haven’t heard of.

 If the people you cared about the most in the world were in danger, what would you do?
In WW1 there was a massive increase in people going to see fortune tellers - everyone wanted to know what was going to happen to their fathers, brothers, lovers and sons. Following a fortune teller and his clients, this story focuses on the people who are left behind, preparing to go and their search for news of their loved ones.  

 

Have a read of interviews with the creative team below to see the influences and reasons for creating this fascinating piece of work.

Interview with Professor Owen Davies, University of Hertfordshire on creating 'The Important Man'

 What excited you most about The Important Man and what were the challenges?

The world of fortune-tellers and prophets during the First World War is full of potential for drama and comedy, and I hoped that the depiction of this unusual facet of everyday life on the Home Front in the form of a play, would better bring home to people the complex relationship between anxiety and faith in a time of war. The play also explores interesting ideas around the boundaries between science and the supernatural, at a time when spiritualism was popular, and electricity was still a novel force for many people.

 Interview with Laura Lindow – Director of ‘The Important Man’

What excited you most about the show an what were the challenges? 

Are you joking?! Fortune tellers? World War 1? What is Not exciting about that?!

The role that ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ had to play in the everyday world during the Great War is just fascinating, lending a sense of reason to life and to the unfortunately inevitable death of so many. At a time when the scientific world was negotiating its own role, innovations like electricity and photography were as unfathomable and inexplicable as the world of the occult. So why wouldn’t fortune tellers be viewed as reliable sources of information? As we found out more, it threw up bigger very current questions for me about where we place our faith and why.

 Interview with Brad McCormick on creating 'The Important Man'

 We were incredibly lucky to work with Professor Owen Davies from University of Hertfordshire, who is an expert in magic and fortune-telling. Owen was present throughout this process, from initial conversations about the kind of material we were interested in to him watching sections of the show and giving feedback, advice and ideas related to the historical content. He was also incredibly helpful for simply checking facts to maintain the accuracy and authenticity of the piece. And having someone so knowledgeable in the rehearsal room means it’s a very efficient way of working.

You can see The Important Man, THU 16 OCT at Harrogate Library. £10. Call our box office on 01423 502116 or book online here.