Writer Gavin Yule talks about his debut show ‘The Bus Stop’ currently available on the Traverse Theatre website
A topic rarely explored on stage, writer Gavin Yule presents his debut play The Bus Stop, a piece based on his own personal experience of experiencing a disability hate crime. Supported by Lung Ha Theatre Company, champions of accessibility and highlighting voices often unheard, Gavin has created the show under the mentorship of playwright Andrew Edwards and director Nicola Tuxworth. With the hopes of raising awareness on this harsh reality, the show is currently available to stream on the Traverse Theatre’s website until Tuesday 8th December. Gavin tells us more about his pertinent show.
Hi Gavin, the rehearsed reading of your show ‘The Bus Stop’ is currently available to view on the Traverse Theatre website. How does it feel to have your debut play out for audiences to watch?
It’s quite surreal because this was actually my first proper go at playwriting; I’ve written small bits before but they never really came to anything, so the fact that I’ve had a first good proper go at it and I’ve actually managed to get it to that stage is really quite something.
The show is based on your personal experience of experiencing a disability hate crime. Why did you want to explore this incident further within your work?
It’s quite a touchy subject and I tend to find that it’s not really something that’s shown in a theatrical sense, I suppose because it can be exaggerated – so I think a lot of theatre productions don’t really show it and I kinda thought, it’s the 21stcentury, this kind of thing should be shown because it does still happen. I wanted to open people’s eyes to the fact that it still happens, even today. I also wanted to show people that I wasn’t scared to show it.
After the incident, you said you felt angry at the world and society, that we still live in a world where disability hate crime still happens. How has revisiting this incident through art made you feel?
It’s been quite a human process really, there was a time before I even started writing the play where I was in quite a negative headspace for an amount of time, I didn’t really know how to deal with it. One of my friends suggested writing down my thoughts, and the only way I know how to write is in script format. One night, I sat down and wrote what is the second scene of the piece, going through the process of writing the script, rehearsals and recording it has been a healing process. I’m still angry, but I’m able to deal with it a lot better than when it first happened.
The show is produced by Lung Ha Theatre Company and has been developed as part of their mentoring programme where you’ve worked with playwright Andrew Edwards and director Nicola Tuxworth. What have you learned from the process?
I’ve learned a lot, both from Andrew and Nicola. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a performer – I’m in the piece as well, I’ve had to play quite brutal scenes, I’ve had to be brutally honest. As a performer, I’ve learned to open myself up a lot more to emotions and be more emotional in scenes. Also as a playwright, I’ve learned from Andrew and Nicola that it’s ok to ask questions, it’s ok not to be perfect and to just go with it and not be afraid of the process.
The show marks your debut as a writer, is this a something you’d like to develop further?
Yeah absolutely because a lot of performers with disabilities are quite often overlooked by casting directors because of physicality or lack of physicality. It’s definitely something as a disabled performer I’d love to continue, I’d love to see what else I can come up with and develop my playwriting skills as well.
What can viewers expect from the reading?
I would hope that it would make them think, that’s the main thing – that’s the one thing I’d want them to expect, but also to expect to be emotional. I would hope that they would find almost a personal connection to the characters. I would hope that they enjoy it, but also that it’ll make them laugh, it’ll make them cry, it’ll make them think as well.
What would you like for audiences to take away from the reading?
The realisation that any kind of verbal disability hate crime is just as bad as a physical one, it still leaves emotional scars and also that it still happens in this day and age – and never be afraid to speak up.
Interview by Lucy Basaba.
The Bus Stop is currently available to view on the Traverse Theatre website until Tuesday 8th December 2020. To find out more about the show, visit here…