Q&A With Writer and Performer of GAMBLE

Q&A With Writer and Performer of GAMBLE

Gamble is an extremely personal piece of work. Was your intention always to share this story with audiences?

Not at the start. I found it very difficult to talk about when I first discovered my partner had been gambling. There is such a stigma attached to a gambler and I didn’t want people to judge him or think he wasn’t wonderful.

After a few months of attending GamAnon I began to open up to some people and share my story. The more I talked about it the more I realised how many people wanted to share their stories and it went from there.

The project was very small to begin with. My partner became a consultant on it and for a while it was me, him and the co-creator Rosa Postlethwaite. 

You also spent a lot of time researching other people’s experiences to create Gamble. Can you give us a little bit of insight into your devising process? 

The devising process was a lot of playing and a lot of listening. Playing with Rosa on my story and listening to gamblers and their family members tell me about their stories. We spoke with numerous gambling industry experts, both pro and against, to hear different perspectives. 

In the devising process I wrote a timeline of my relationship with gambling and then created mini response performances for each memory. I went back to the very beginning when I used to play bingo at the village hall with lovely older ladies to my current understanding of the gambling world. I began making the show in 2019 and in 2020 my partner relapsed therefore the show evolved from that. I think the show will always evolve however long I continue to perform it. 

I also still love bingo.

The show obviously tackles difficult, and deeply personal, themes. What would you tell audience members to expect when they come to see Gamble? Who should come to watch?

It's fun. There's singing. And dancing. It’s also sad and deals with a subject that is still so taboo and causes so much pain. It’s relatable for people who have experienced someone who’s gambled and it’s also for others to learn about it. It’s important to me that audiences leave the show knowing that gambling addiction has nothing to do with someone's character.

Your show is followed by a Q&A with an NHS professional to encourage conversation. Why is it so important to you that your audience are given the forum to talk? 

Talking and listening to people's stories helps so much! When you realise that other people are going through what you are it makes it easier to come to terms with. It’s what I really needed when I found out about my partner and when I began to talk about my situation I created connections with people unlike any other. 

The Q&A is with Dr Matt Gaskell who is fantastic and doing incredible things to help people. It’s an essential part of the show and provides an insightful perspective about addiction and how the gambling industry practises fuel it. He points people in the right direction to get the help and support they need and he really cares. 

The performance is BSL integrated, rather than BSL interpreted. Can you tell our readers what this means, and how BSL integration became an integral part of your storytelling? A BSL interpreter usually stands at the side of the stage and interprets the show. Whereas an integrated BSL interpreter is actually in the show. Faye Alvi is our BSL performer and she’s outstanding! An interpreter isn’t usually part of the rehearsal process but because the BSL is integrated into the show Faye has been a big part of the devising process, alongside our deaf consultant EJ Raymond. The two languages speak together beautifully. 

We found that many people experiencing gambling addiction who are BSL users often struggle to access support. Therefore the BSL integration has become even more integral.

Showtimes & Tickets here: https://dukeslancaster.org/wha...