Young Luton playwright who’s looking for crowd funding

Luton playwright Rebecca Hill and producer Bradley Leech of Unbound Productions
Luton playwright Rebecca Hill and producer Bradley Leech of Unbound Productions

A play that tackles sexual myths and mores head on is set to take the Edinburgh Festival by storm – if its talented young author can raise sufficient funds to get it there.

Travesti was written by 23-year-old Rebecca Hill who’s Luton born and bred.

It’s already received rave reviews from Harold Pinter Theatre director Ian Rickson – currently directing Hugh Jackman on Broadway – and Gate Theatre artistic director Christopher Haydon who called it “sharp, witty and genuinely shocking.”

Former Hillborough Junior pupil Rebecca runs Unbound Productions with Bradley Leech, 24, who used to go to Stopsley High. The two met via MSN and quickly bonded through their mutual love of theatre.

Rebecca said: “Travesti is a verbatim account of women we interviewed . . . about body hair, being groped on a bus, sexual violence.

“It’s a warm and witty play, incorporating music and dance, performed by a cast of male actors.

“By putting these stories in men’s mouths, I wanted to highlight the absurdity of typically ‘female’ behaviours – why are women expected to wear make-up and men aren’t? Shave our body hair? And consider our safety at night?

“Our intention was to make a feminist theatre piece that reflects the women I know: intelligent, playful, funny and sexy.”

Travesti has been offered a prime Edinburgh Festival slot at the city’s Pleasance Theatre.

She and Bradley can hardly believe their luck. They’re tremendously keen to take up the opportunity which will not only give their company a national platform but has the potential to put them on the map internationally.

But they admit the costs of staging the production are prohibitive.

Rebecca said: “We’ve calculated it will be around £22,000, between paying the actors, accommodation, set, props, costumes and of course marketing.

“So we’re crowd funding and applying to a number of trusts.”

Bradley has always been interested in drama and was a member, then on the board, of the St Andrew’s Players. He’s now producer and programmes administrator at the Italia Conti Academy in London.

Rebecca started writing as a teenager when she was in and out of hospital with intracranial pressure. She said: “I entered a competition via BBC writersroom and reached the final 10. It was so unexpected and exciting and it gave me a real determination to see it on stage, even if I had to direct it myself – which I did a few months later.

“And I knew then I had found the thing that made me want to get up in the morning.”