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Through the Looking Glass with Playwright, Becca Chadder

Becca joining the cast and creatives in the rehearsal room.

How did you first become involved with The Watermill? 

I joined one of The Watermill’s youth groups when I was eight years old and continued attending them until I was 18, so I grew up going to the theatre! I then re-joined as one of the Playwrights in Residence alongside the phenomenal Talitha Wing, and have remained involved ever since. 

What about The Watermill has kept coming back to work with us? 

The atmosphere and the people mostly – there’s something about the building itself that feels both really calming and really exciting, probably because The Watermill always puts on incredibly ambitious productions. I’d always hoped to see my work on The Watermill stage, I just never thought it would be so soon! 

Did your experiences with the Youth Ensemble shape your approach to writing this adaptation? 

Yes definitely! I always remember being in such fast-paced and fun plays, so I wanted to bring some of that farcical style into Through The Looking Glass, as well as some more emotional moments for the performers to really shine through. There’s one scene in particular that’s directly inspired by a show I was in where we had to sing a sea shanty, but that’s all I’ll say for now … 

What advice would you give to aspiring young playwrights? 

I’d say write as many plays as possible – good ones, bad ones, and absolutely terrible ones. Don’t worry about writing ‘the perfect play’, it’s much more important to practice writing as many different stories in as many different ways as possible. Also make sure you only ask people for feedback when you’re really ready to hear it – sometimes I’ll write something and won’t come back to it for years because I know I’m not ready to share it. 

What’s your favourite moment of the adaptation? 

I hope it’s not a cliché to say… the end. I found that the easiest bit to write because it made so much sense to me, and hopefully it’ll resonate with anyone else who has siblings. 

Did you have an affinity for the book before your work on the adaptation? 

Yes definitely, I was so glad when I was approached to adapt it as I’d been wanting to for a while! I’ve always been interested in the strange world Lewis Carroll created and it’s impact on pop culture today, but I definitely forgot how much utter nonsense is in the book. That definitely was a challenge to put into a linear storyline. 

Why do you think Through The Looking Glass is a fitting production for the Youth Ensemble to be working on? 

I think it’s fantastic that we can take these stories written by white men over a hundred years ago and make it relevant to us today. There’s a reason that stories like this are being told and re-told, so it’s wonderful that we can mould it to the Youth Ensemble and not take it too seriously. The world also makes no sense whatsoever, so hopefully it’ll be really fun for the actors and audience alike!