To accompany Inspector Sands’ production of Wuthering Heights, we have designed a rich online education pack to support the GCSE & A Level Drama and A Level English Lit curricula. These resources will offer students access to behind-the-scenes materials and insight into the processes of making Wuthering Heights, including some interviews with our creative team.
First up, we hear from writer Ben Lewis, who conceived and developed this adaptation with Lucinka Eisler:
1. What drew you to this project? Or inspired you to create this piece?
Lucinka suggested it! I’d read the novel as teenager and found it a bit weird and confusing. But re-reading it as an adult I saw how powerful and complex it is, and how much it can speak to the times we’re living in.
2. Tell us about your role before and through a rehearsal process – what sorts of things do you do?
Lots and lots and lots of drafting and re-drafting and talking beforehand. Then I come into rehearsals and see how it sounds and plays and feels and make more changes and cuts to the script with input from the performers and other creatives.
3. What research do you do as a writer, particularly when adapting a classic text? Does the original novel provide a helpful document or is it also a distraction? Did you look at other adaptations?
This adaptation is very much rooted in the original novel. A lot of dialogue comes directly from it. But by this point, I refer back much less and now it has to be its own living thing which works on its own terms. I’ve read essays about the novel and seen various adaptations. We also worked with a neuroscientist who works with young people who’ve been radicalised as part of the process.
Cast and creative team in rehearsals
4. Can you describe how you worked with the other members of the creative team? How did what you do evolve throughout the process in relation to the other elements of the production?
I’ve worked closely with Lucinka over many years on this. We did an earlier – very long – version with students at Central School of Speech and Drama, and have done other R&D (research and development) periods along the way, focusing on the use of sound and finding a visual/theatrical language for the performers.
5. What skills or techniques are essential in your role?
Not minding spending a lot of time on your own! Imagination. Doggedness. Capacity to process lots of feedback / notes from others.
6. What should audiences expect from the production?
A wild ride!
7. What are you most excited about for this production?
Seeing how it comes alive on stage with the magic of performance, set, sound and light.
8. If you could describe the show in three words what would they be?
Wild, funny, emotional.
The full education pack will be available in April 2023, please click here to fill in a form to be told when the resource is on our website.
We will also be delivering in-person workshops in schools throughout the tour. To find out more about our education offer, please email: [email protected]
Coming to Northampton, Oxford, Coventry, London, and Newcastle, Wuthering Heights will have its world premiere at Royal & Derngate, Northampton from 24 April – 6 May 2023, before touring to Oxford Playhouse from 9-13 May, Warwick Arts Centre from 16-18 May, Rose Theatre, Kingston from 23-27 May; concluding at Northern Stage from 6-10 June.
Visit the Wuthering Heights show page here to book your tickets!
Rehearsal image © Paul Blakemore